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The Laundry Chute

Quick Hit #2

It's 1998

I'm 5

And Pokémon is HOT right now

I'm sitting in my mom's minivan on the way to my friend Lee's house

The sun is shining

And hopes are high

It's sure to be a fun playdate

We pull into Lee's driveway

My mom stops the car


I unbuckle my seatbelt and hop out of the car

I walk up the driveway and head directly to the steps

I'm excited

I get to the door and ring the bell

::Dingggggg Donggggggg Bingggggg Bonggggggg::

::Bingggggg Bonggggggg Dingggggg Donggggggg::

Lee has one of those long door bell rings

How do they make door bells have different sounds?

Can you choose any sound for your door bell?

Can you choose the Pokémon theme song for your door bell??

::🎶 I wanna be the very best 🎶::

::🎶 Like no one ever was 🎶::

I see Lee's mom!

She opens the door and let's me know that Lee is upstairs

I take off my light-up Sketchers, wave goodbye to my mom, and make a dash for the stairs

I run through the kitchen

I pass by the laundry room

I get to the steps

And I sprint up them two at a time

When I get to the top

I make a quick right and walk into Lee's room

He's not there...




I hear him call back


I still can't see him though

"Where are you??"

"I'm in my parent's bathroom!"


Why is Lee in his parent's bathroom?

Who knows?

I'll go find out though

I walk down the hallway and make a left into Lee's parent's bedroom

It's a nice room

So much space

Why do parents always have so many pillows on their bed?

What do they do with all of them?

I only have one pillow on my bed


I walk past the pillow pile and head for the bathroom

I step inside and there he is...



I give him a hug and a high five

"What do you want to do today?"

"Well I need your help with something" he says

"My help?"

"Yeah. I dropped two of my Pokémon cards down the laundry chute, and I need help getting them back"

"Okay. How can I help?"

"Come with me" he says

Lee takes me over to his parent's bathroom counter

He opens a cabinet under the sink

And he shows me a hole in the ground

"Okay, they're down here" he tells me


"The Pokémon cards. They're down there"

"You have a hole in your floor"

"Well the Pokémon cards are down there"

"How did they get down there?"

"I threw them down there"


"I don't know. But we have to get them back"


I hadn't thought about it like that

He is so right

We have to get them back

"You have any ideas?" he asks


I walk over to the hole

Look down

And wonder...

Why would anyone leave a hole in the floor of their house?

There is floor everywhere else

Did they forget this one spot?


Maybe they forgot

Then they put a cabinet here so nobody would notice

That must be it


Why not cover it?

Use one of those extra pillows to plug it up

That's what I would do

"You have any ideas?" he asks again


I sit down in front of the hole

I put a leg in and wiggle it around

I curl my toes to try and grab the cards with my feet

I lift my leg out...

No Pokémon cards

"It didn't work"

"You have any other ideas?" Lee asks


I get down

And lay on my belly

I slide right next to the hole in the ground

And put an arm down it

I pretend my hand is a claw

And start grabbing


::Grab Grab::


10 grabs later

I pull my arm out...

No Pokémon cards

"It didn't work"

"DANGIT! It didn't work when I tried grabbing either" Lee says

"You already tried grabbing?"


"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I don't know"


I hadn't thought about it like that

Lee makes a good point

We sit there and think

How are we gonna get these Pokémon cards back?

What's the smartest thing we can come up with?

"I got it!" Lee says

"You do?"

"Yeah. I'll be right back"

Lee leaves his parent's bathroom

I stand over the hole and look down into it

What the heck is this thing?

Who has a hole in their floor??

I don't have any holes in the floor at my house

And why is it called a laundry chute?

Who throws their clothes down a hole?

Where does it go?

I put my laundry in a basket


Lee's parents are from South Africa

Maybe this is how they get there?

My parents aren't from South Africa

That must be why we don't have a hole!

"I have the answer!" Lee yells

He runs back into the bathroom

He holds his arm out in front of him and shows me

"I got a belt" he says

"Does this hole go to South Africa?"


"Oh okay"

Lee walks over to the hole

He gets on his belly

And he dangles the belt

He fishes around for a few seconds and pulls the belt out

No Pokémon cards

"You try"

I try

No Pokémon cards

"DANGIT! We have to get those cards, Harry"

"I know"

"What should we do?"

"Where does that hole go to?"

"It's not a hole. It's a laundry chute"

"Where does that laundry chute go to?"

"I've got it!"

"You do?"

"Yeah, I'll be right back"

Lee leaves his parent's bathroom again

I wish I knew where this hole went to

::🎶 I wanna be the very best 🎶::

::🎶 Like no one ever was 🎶::

"Here we go!" Lee yells

He runs back into his parent's bathroom

He's holding another belt

"What are you going to do with that?"

"Watch this" he says

Lee picks up the first belt

Then ties the two together


Look how long those belts are now!

This kid is a genius

His parents should have consulted him before putting a hole in their floor

We look at each other

Those cards are as good as ours

We walk over to the hole

I let Lee do the honors since he came up with the amazing idea

He gets on his belly and puts the belts down the hole

He starts to fish

One Mississippi

Two Mississippi

Three Mississippi

He pulls the belts out...

No Pokémon cards

He's shocked

I'm shocked

"You try"

I try

No Pokémon cards

I give him the belts back

He throws them down the hole in disgust

"What the heck?!" Lee shouts

"Any other ideas?"



"I have to go to the bathroom" he says


"I'll be right back"


Lee leaves his parents bathroom for the third time

Wait a second

Why didn't he just go to the bathroom in here?


I'm sure he has his reasons

He's a genius

I stand over the hole

I look into it for about a minute

And then I hear Lee stomping back towards his parent's bathroom

He walks in with a determined look on his face

"I'm going in after them"


"Move over"

Lee pushes me out of the way

He sits down next to the hole and puts one leg in

"What are you doing?"

He doesn't answer

He puts his other leg into the hole


No response

He turns onto his belly

And he shimmies in further

His body halfway into the hole

"Uhh Lee, are you sure?"

"I have to get the cards"

"Where does the hole go?"

"It's not a hole. It's a laundry chute!"

He slides down further

Past his belly button


Past his shoulders

And then he realizes what he's done...




I run over to the hole

Lee's entire body is inside of it now

His arms are outstretched

And his fingers are holding on for dear life

He looks up


"Here, take my hands!"

I grab his hands and start to pull

Why are they so slippery?

"Lee why are your hands so slippery???"


"Why not?"



I hadn't thought about it like that

Even with everything going on he still makes such good points

A true genius


His fingers start to slip

First his pinkies

Then the others

He looks up as the last finger slips

I lose his grip completely...






















My heart is racing

I'm freaking out

Lee's dead

This is NOT good!

What do I do?


"Lee's mom!"

Where is she??


Lee's mom walks into the bathroom

"What do you need Harry?" she asks

"Lee fell down the hole..."


I point at the hole

"Lee fell down the hole!"


Lee's mom runs out of the bathroom

I run right behind her

We rush downstairs

Through the kitchen

And straight to the laundry room

Is this where the hole leads?

Why didn't Lee tell me this before?

We could have just come down here and gotten the Pokémon cards

What the heck, Lee??

We get inside

Lee's mom heads for the cabinet above the washing machine

She reaches up and opens it

And there he is

I see Lee

Sitting on three green towels, two belts, and a pair of khakis

With a big smile on his face

He holds up the Pokémon cards

"We got 'em"

- Harry W. Brodsky


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May 19, 2020



Harry Friedman
Harry Friedman
May 19, 2020

There was more education that day than all the years at Hebrew Academy.


Oh “chute”! You should always try to solve a problem from more than one side. 😊

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