House Call

The washing machine was making a terrible noise. It screeched and thumped and screeched some more.   “Should we call for someone to come fix it?” Mom asked. She looked worried.

“I’ll look online and see if there is a quick fix,” Dad said.

“I’ll look too,” Mom said.

But, in the end, they couldn’t find anything. The washing machine continued to screech, no matter how full it was or how carefully they tried to balance the load.

“We have to call someone,” Mom said. “Let’s look online for reviews.”

Mom and Dad wrote emails for estimates and finally, a week later, they decided on Motor Care Services.

“I’m tired of washing things in the sink,” Mom said. “I hope they can fix it quickly.”

Jeremy, who had to help wash things in the sink, agreed. It wasn’t nearly as fun as it sounded. Honestly, it didn’t even sound fun. When the doorbell rang, he hurried to be the one to answer it.

There was a little man made of metal at the door. He was holding an old-fashioned doctor’s bag. “Hello, young human,’ he said. “Are your parents here?”

“Mom! Dad!” Jeremy yelled. “The repair person is here!”

Dad came in the room. “Really? Already? That’s wonderful.”

He paused when he saw the metal man. “Are you here from Motor Care Services?”

The metal man held out a hand and dad shook it. “Mr. Frank?”

“That’s me,” Dad said. “And you are…?”

“Call me Andy,” the metal man said. “Could you show me to my patient?”

Dad led Andy to the laundry room. Jeremy followed behind him, and Mom joined him, both of them hovering by the door and watching. Dad waved a hand toward the washing machine. “It keeps making a terrible screeching sound no matter what we do. Is there anything you need?”

Andy inspected the washing machine. “You’ll need to plug her in so that I can talk to her,” he said.

“Yes, of course,” Dad said. He picked up the plug where it was resting on the back panel of the machine and leaned over until he could plug it in.

“It’s a she?” Mom asked. “Does she have a name?”

Andy turned. “Yes, Mrs. Frank. I’ll ask.” He started to root through his bag and pulled out a pad of paper and a pen. Then he started to make quiet clicking and whirring sounds.   Even though they hadn’t started a wash cycle, the washing machine started to screech. It paused and Andy began to click and whir some more.

After several minutes, Andy stopped writing. “Her name is Lauren. She has a sock stuck under her drum and it’s unbalancing the loads.” He clicked and tutted. Lauren screeched. Andy scribbled something and put his pen down. “I can fix it, but she’d like to be unplugged for the procedure.”

“Oh, yeah, of course,” Dad said. He leaned over and pulled the plug and draped it back over the back panel.

Meanwhile, Andy pulled a long, thin tool out of his bag and bent it into a u-shape. Then his eyes grew brighter, like flashlights. “I’ll need you all to leave the room for a moment,” he said. “I’ll call you back in when I’m done.”

They all left and waited outside the door. In a few moments, Andy called them back in. Andy handed Jeremy his long-lost blue and white striped sock.   “I believe this is yours.”

“Thanks,” Jeremy said. “Um, Mr. Andy, what’s the dryer’s name? Does the toaster have a name? And the stove? And the microwave?”

“That’s a lot of questions, young human, and none of them are my patients,” Andy said. The dryer rumbled. Andy nodded. “He said his name is Harold. He hasn’t met any of the others.”

“Should I plug her back in then?” Dad asked.

“Yes, yes. That would be great,” Andy said. Once Dad plugged the machine in, Andy whirred and tutted. The washing machine hummed. Andy nodded. “She feels much better now. Call me if there are any more problems. I’ll send you my bill,” he said. And then he left.