He dropped the penny in the dryer, turned it on, and turned around. “What” he called upstairs, pretending not to hear his mother’s question over the noise of the dryer. He had heard her ask “Could you bring up my underwear from the dryer” but didn’t want to touch her underwear any more than he had to. “I don’t want to bring up your underwear” he said to himself, and walked back upstairs as his mother was calling down again for her underwear.

“Did you get them” she asked when he opened the basement door to the kitchen. She was sitting at the table playing dominoes. “Get what” he asked. She peered at him and said “my underwear.”

“Oh I didn’t see them” he answered. He reflexively opened the refrigerator, reflexively bent down, reflexively tried to feign non-disappointment (appointment? he thought) at seeing the same disappointing empty pickle jar, old head of lettuce, crusty mayonnaise he’d seen already on the way down to switch his laundry over. “Paul” she said in that way that means Look at me. Paul looked at her.

“You had to get them out of the dryer to put your clothes in. Where did you put them?”