Advertising for the Laundromat: A Short Story

Once, there was a woman who owned a Laundromat. She called her two daughters and asked them,  

“How did you represent me today?”

One girl stepped forward and read from a sheet of paper in her hand:

“Mom. I told everyone about you. I wore all your clothes so everyone would know where I’m from. I did not stand for mud where I saw it and boldly spoke about how only you can clean clothes. I lost a lot of friends, mom, but for you it was worth it.”

Her mother smiled. “How did you lose your friends, my daughter?”

“There are those who couldn’t stand my words, so they walked away. There are others who refused to clean up so I left them.”

“And you, my other daughter – how did you represent me today?”

“Mommy, I told everyone about you, how you are the only one who can clean clothes.”

“I’m the only one who can clean clothes you say, then why are yours so dirty?”

“I was right there in the mud with them.”

“And how did that represent me, my daughter?”

“Mommy, I came right back with my all my friends.”
The first girl frowned at her sister. “So you intentionally got dirty so you could bring your friends back with you to get your clothes cleaned? Is that how you planned to show off mom’s laundry service?”

Her sister looked down. “No. That wasn’t my intention. I went out to keep my clothes clean, and like you – to boldly talk about mommy’s Laundromat. But the kids couldn’t hear me, they were playing in the mud, and I was too far away – I was standing apart so I wouldn’t get dirty. I became frustrated and jumped right in there with them. While they played, I talked about mom and how clean her clothes are, and how happy I am to know where I can go to get clean, and that if they wanted, they could come with me. Some stayed but my friends left with me.”

“But you said you came with all your friends!” Incredulous look. “How did you if some stayed?”

“Those were never my friends to begin with.”
“Ok, my daughters. Enough.” The woman raised her hand.

“Sweetheart,” she turned to the first girl. “You declaring that you’re clean and others are dirty, publicly shaming and cutting them off because they didn’t listen to you is not what I raised. You stayed clean, but who did you bring? I want you to go out and try again.”

“Babygirl,” she smiled at the second. “We don’t deal in dirty clothes in this house. You and your friends get washed up.”
The first girl was upset. “I don’t understand mom. Did you expect me to jump into the middle of muck with all the filthy kids just to get them to come to you?”

“No, my daughter. But did you hear what your sister said? While they played she talked to them. And now when they all go out to play, others will see and remember and say, “Weren’t we with those girls that day in the mud? Look how clean they now are. Let’s go follow them.” 

But as for you, when others see you walking up and down the streets in your clean, white clothes shouting in my name, they’ll say, “Isn’t this that girl who says her mom owns the best laundry service in the village? What does she know of dirt, the way she parades herself on dustless floors and under cool, shades from trees?”  Now go out there, and try again.”
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Advertising for the Laundromat: A Short Story

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