• Jessica Sherry

Rolling with my Gnomies


I wanna laundry gnome. I mean, hey, why not? Space travel’s become routine. They’ve sent cameras all the way to Pluto. There’re cloned sheep and who knows what else (a few good story ideas there, for sure). We’ve got robot vacuum cleaners and cars that tell us when we’re drifting out of our lane or there’s traffic crossing behind us (*nod to my new ride—my blue Suburu Forester Sport; I call him Blippie, short for Blue Hippie).


Is a laundry gnome too much to ask?

Just think of it. While you’re sleeping, a team of tiny gnomes slips into the laundry room and joyfully goes about sorting, washing, drying, folding, ironing, and hanging up clothes. In the morning, you awake to an empty hamper and clothes already hanging in your closet and tucked neatly in your dressers that are so linen-fresh you waste a solid ten minutes burying your face in them. Is that a hint of lavender? The towels are still warm from the dryer when you get out of the shower.

Ah, what wonderful laundry gnomes, you’ll think as you sip your coffee and imagine what other things you’ll now be able to get done. I can finally focus more on WRITING. My many novels will practically write and edit themselves with all this newfound time on my hands. Laundry gnomes would iron out some of the wrinkles in my busy life.

In the early days of my laundry gnomes, I’d leave them presents. Low hanging sticky notes that said, “Thank you!” and “You’re the best!” and even “I love you!” Tiny cups of juice, plates of finger-sized cookies, dollhouse-sized gifts, maybe even a Barbie convertible so they can have a little fun between loads. My laundry gnomes would be so happy.

So, would I, with the mystery of a happy, productive life solved! I’d quickly branch out with other skilled gnomes. Studious gnomes would edit my manuscripts overnight, so that each morning I’d come to my desk to find (gently) red-inked pages, ready for my changes. I’d bust out a novel every few months instead of one a year, maybe, (especially if I no longer have laundry to worry about). I’d have gnomes for dish-washing, dusting, bathing Brownie—that’d be fun to see, fixing dinner, plucking my eyebrows, cleaning bathrooms, and taking care of trash and recycling and, ugh, our new composting bin.

I’d be queen of a gnome empire, radiating cleanliness and productivity!

But, over time, things would change. They always do. I can’t handle life unwrinkled. I’d grow complacent with my new laundry freedoms. I’d take the gnomes for granted. The gifts would stop because I no longer have time to hunt down gnome-sized stuff. Instead, my gnomes would feel deflated under low-stuck sticky notes that said, “Please, more starch” or “Put some effort into getting out those stains” or “Hey, can you keep it down? We’re trying to sleep.” My gratefulness would diminish along with the novelty of having them.

They’d become disgruntled gnomes.

Yikes. A dark and sinister picture forms, a mix of Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart with Chucky. Angry gnomes would infiltrate my bedroom, wondering where their treats and thanks have gone, staring at me until I wake up in a fright. Then, they might ask, “Need more starch?” as they bludgeon me with tiny irons. They’ll teach me not to take them for granted, but the lesson will come too late.


It’s like the Roomba. When we first got that thing, I gushed over it like it was a precious, little angel. I rushed to its aid whenever it got stuck under a piece of furniture. “It’s okay, little Roomba. Mamma’s got you.” Now, the thing rumbles to life, setting out on its mission to clean up my dirt, and I roll my eyes. How dare it disturb my important work, nipping at my feet like a neglected puppy? I kick it away, annoyed. It rolls off, its tendrils spinning, but it doesn’t pick up things as well as it used to, and, sometimes, I swear it pulls up the ends of the rugs in an act of defiance.

Thankfully, Roomba can’t do much more than that in protest. Gnomes, on the other hand, could go medieval on my ass. Anyone ever see those weird Puppet Master movies? Oh, the eighties—when anything, and I mean anything, could be made into a scary movie. Ghoulies, blobs, dolls, cursed hands, clowns, staticy TVs, empty hotels, summer camps, bad dreams… Anyway, after suffering through Puppet Master, I never looked at my Barbies the same way again. Anything can turn sinister.

Hmmm, there’s definitely a story premise there. ANYTHING can turn sinister… what’s the last thing in the world you’d expect to turn to the dark side? (Here. Have some more writing ideas with your coffee.)


The little writer gnomes inside my head are scurrying to life, patching ideas together, creating stories I could seriously roll with. Maybe those gnomes—the ones safely tucked away in my brain—are the only ones I should have, for all our sakes. Maybe its best for me to clean up my own messes, edit my own books, wash my own dog, do my blog work. Safer that way.


Oh, laundry gnomes, I’m just not ready for you, yet.


What thing in your life do you take for granted and how might it go horribly wrong? Share your gnome ideas below. For more weird stuff, visit www.coffeebrained.com.

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