Alone: A Story of Love, Loss, and Dishwasher Repair

Carl Bines, 23, had everything going for him; mediocre job, a mother who cooks for Him, and best of all, a decent squeeze. Everything was looking up. He was even getting a promotion at work! Head resident dishwasher repair technician. Yep, everything was going great. Plus, he was still in the process of having a semi-attractive female companion. Could anything be more excellent?

Six months came and went, and things were looking worse and worse for Carl. Things weren't going the way that he wanted them to at work, ever since Todd: Celebrity Maintenance came around and stole everybody's thunder. It makes sense, of-course. What could be more attractive and pleasing to the soul than someone that works in dishwasher maintenance? 'Celebrity' status is just icing on the cake. "Oh well" Carl thought. "I might be back to non-maintenance-related duties at work, but at-least there's someone at home that'll listen to my troubles". Carl starts to make his way home. It's an uncharacteristically windy night for any time of year, let alone summer. Carl regrets walking to work that morning.

Coming home late, Carl jumps his back fence in an effort to silently get into the house and into bed without waking the Mrs. Halfway over the fence, the sound of a car door slamming shut and tires screeching fill the otherwise silent, empty street. Carl chalks it up to neighborhood shenanigans. "Those damn kids" he whispers to himself.

Carl walks into the house. On the kitchen counter is a hand-written note with a knife piercing it, dead center. Reading through the note, the words hit Carl like a tonne of bricks. "I don't know who you are. First, you grow that beard, and you don't even fix things anymore. You're not the man I knew. Todd is more man than you are now. Don't try to find us. Goodbye".

"How could this happen?" Carl tries in vein to piece everything together "How could this be? Is it the beard? It can't be the beard. Wait." The brain has an odd way of looking at things, you see. Carl's had just had an idea. "The beard isn't the problem, but it's a clue. Where else, besides on the top and front of my head, do I have a thick patch of hair?".

The door burst shut through the force of the wind. Almost simultaneously, an idea burst forth through Carl. Almost silently, he searched for the tools he would need to implement his plan: Scissors and a razor. After a brief search, he stood naked in front of the bathroom's full-length mirror. It was time for a change. He looks down, takes a breath and begins.

After a quarter hour, the deed is done. A new, relatively-smooth Carl steps out from the now furry bathroom, a changed man. The breeze coming in from the open window now effects him more than it did. He returns to the mirror, inspects himself, and with a tear in his eye, and trembling lips, he mumbles; "how do you like me now, Susan? How do you like me now?"