9. Rock Tuff, P.I.: Washing Dirty Laundry In Private

"Why, Terry?"

"I've been a terrible sinner all my life, but I never realized it until a few months ago when I saw the light. I joined the Church of Everlasting Truth. I wanted to atone for my sins. The Bible says: 'By their deeds shall ye know them.' I wanted to be known for my good deeds."

"But no one knows you're doing these good deeds," I pointed out.

"The Bible also says: 'When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.'"

I remembered another relevant quotation: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven," but I didn't think this was a time to quibble about points of theology.

We were in a quandary: strictly, Terry's actions were theft, but everything was returned and in better condition than when it was stolen.

"Why don't we just tell the students that Mr. Ferguson will provide free laundry service?" John suggested.

"But then he would lose his anonymity."

We finally agreed that Terry could continue his good deeds as long as there were no complaints and we didn't anticipate any once the students and their parents realized what was happening. In fact, we expected even more dirty clothing to be left in the change room.

"I'll tell the students to make sure every article has the owner's name or an identifying mark on it," said John, "but what if other things begin to show up, sheets and pillow cases, for example?"

"That's Terry's problem."

A few days later John telephoned me. "The students want you to come back."

"I don't do supply teaching, especially in phys. ed."

"Oh, they don't want you to teach. They're having a skit night and they think your routine as a basketball instructor would bring the house down."

"When is the show?"

"April 23."

"Shakespeare's birthday. How appropriate. But I'm sorry, I'm busy that night. In fact, I'm busy for the whole week before and after that date."

I wasn't eager to make a fool of myself again; besides, I was afraid Mrs. Wilkins might prepare the food for the post-performance party.


Washing Dirty Laundry In Private

Gary E. Miller spent 29 years trying to teach English at several high schools in Ontario. In 1995, he made his greatest contribution to education by retiring. He now spends his time in rural Richmond, reading voraciously and eclectically, and occasionally writing stories and poems which do nothing to elevate the level of Canadian literature.
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