Lost and Found by Dianne Klammer
East Boulder Community Center has a fence for lost articles. I’m certain of it. The woman’s locker room has a sign that says “East Boulder Community Center is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Please report problems to staff immediately.” Now why would they care if they aren’t responsible? They want to KNOW, that’s why. Then they can steal the stuff and if they don’t want it, sell it to the fence.
I’ll be more specific. Every two weeks they give away all the things that have been lost during the period preceding it. But it doesn’t matter when it’s lost. I had a pair of Zoomers swim fins. I left them at East Boulder on a Thursday. I came back by the next morning.
“I left my Zoomers here yesterday. Can you please check the lost and found?”
“Sorry,” the muscle at the counter said. “We moved that stuff out last night. Gave it to the Good Will.”
“But it hasn’t been two weeks. I left them last night,” I protested.
“We move it every two weeks, regardless of when it’s left.”
I could feel it happening. I was about to launch into an “I’m pissed” bout of verbal diarrhea. “Do you realize how much those fins cost me? I have big feet. Zoomers are unisex. YOU could fit into them.”
“Are you accusing me of stealing your stinky fins?” he sneered. That was the most animated I ever heard him.
“Well, if the fin fits. And, they were brand new, by the way. Not that stinky seems to discourage any of you. Hasn’t it occurred to you bozos to have two big boxes of lost items and label them week one and week two and then just rotate the stuff? It would be good exercise. Some gyms have boot camp where they move heavy bricks. It could be part of your routine.” He turned an ugly red and asked me to leave. He seemed a bit smaller.
I knew then that they took home whatever they wanted and sold the rest. But could I prove my case?
Previously I had lost a tiny diamond stud earring. I was doing Nia. If you don’t know what Nia is, you jiggle a lot, dance a lot and roll on the floor a lot. It’s like holy rollers without the religion. Afterward when I noticed it was gone, I went up to the front desk, still jiggling. “I just lost a diamond earring in Nia.” I told the blond. “Did anyone turn it in?” She turned green and gave me a guilty look.
“I don’t think we have anything like that.” She went back to look for a second. “Empty .”
Can you notify me if someone turns it in?”
“Yep, but we rarely get anything like that.”
After turning in my share of jewelry that I found sprinkled on the floor from adult watches to children’s bracelets, I knew she was lying.
It gets worse. People are wandering around, waiting to grab your stuff and sneak it to lost and found. One day I was showering after swimming, and damn, that water went cold again. When I shivered back to my locker, all my stuff was gone. The locker room was deserted. I took a big breath, wrapped myself in my towel and dripped to the front desk.
“My stuff is missing from the locker room.”
“Can you describe it?”
“Bathing suit. Shampoo. Dress. Goggles. Cap. Lock. Bra. Everything.”
I could hear laughter coming from the room behind the counter. It sounded like the staff was playing poker and betting on my royal blue swimsuit.
“We found the dress.” My white dress with purple flowers appeared crumpled in her hand. I was lucky. As I was leaving I saw a guy go to his car in a towel with masking tape holding it in place. He and I were both barefoot.
Yes, I am forgetful. But a lot of forgetful people visit gyms. Exercise paralyzes the brain. I used to go to another smaller gym in town. They had a lost and found box in plain sight. It was huge. There was everything in there from dentures to black lingerie. Party hats. Dog leashes. It was a very friendly place. I forgot my exercise clothes at home, so my trainer gave me a shirt from the box. She ordered me to throw it away when I got home. But my husband liked it. A black shirt from No Name Bar with a mug of beer on the back and the caption: “What will you have?” God, it was ugly. He wore it practically every day. I wore that same shirt again just once to East Boulder and naturally, forgot it. So I went back in. It was a Wednesday night, and some beefy guys were leaving with big boxes. That shirt was on top.
“Isn’t Thursday your Goodwill drop-off day?” I asked.
“We don’t keep to a consistent schedule.”
“May I have that shirt back? My husband is attached to it.”
“Sorry. It’s off the premises and already spoken for.”
“I can’t believe anyone would want that.”
“Halloween is coming up. It would make a good zombie costume.”
That was the one time I was grateful for their thieving ways.
I proved my case. However, my husband was not happy. “What do you mean, they took my shirt?”
I told him the whole story, adding that happiness is losing it all and then finding it again.
He looked at me cross-eyed, shook his head and went to the gym. When he came back he was wearing a new t-shirt that read, “Made from seventy four percent dark energy and twenty two percent dark matter. The remaining four percent is bullshit.”
“It’s amazing what you can pick up at the gym,” he told me, grinning.
Copyright © 2011 Dianne Klammer
Diane Klammer, is a wife, mother, naturalist and retired Counseling Psychologist, who started writing seriously about five years ago. Her poetry has been published in Tattoo Highway, Pirene’s Fountain, Heavybear, Midwifery Today, Rattle and elsewhere. Her Fiction is in Fast Forward Mix Tape Edition. Diane’s first book, “Shooting The Moon”, was published by Monkey Puzzle Press in October of 2009.
“I still feel like a new writer, constantly editing, changing and trying to write one word at a time. We must learn not to wallow in the nadir of self criticism or in the zenith of conceit concerning our work, but remain on the level horizon where we can be at our best.”
posted by Paragon Dream
Tags: boot camp, boulder community, bout, boxes, bricks, camp, Center, Community, diamond stud earring, Dianne Klammer, diarrhea, Dress, earring, east boulder community center, everything, exercise, fence, gym, gyms, home, klammer, locker, locker room, next morning, Nia, period, Place, report, roll, shirt, sign, stinky, Thursday, tiny diamond, verbal diarrhea, woman, yesterday, Zoomers, zoomers swim fins
Filed under: Fiction