It is impervious to my ways. It multiples when I am not looking. It mocks me with its crumpled body. It has many appendages spread through the house like an infestation, though it has but one mind.

My children are its closest ally. They throw clean clothing back in the masses of unwashed heaps when they are told to clean their rooms, and snicker behind closed doors.

Socks disappear into the dismal black hole of the dryer and then laugh at me when I reach the end of folding. One loan sock stares at me with dead black eyes, but I hear its deep chuckle when I turn my back. It joins the other loan rebel socks that congregate on the top of the dryer. They plan their revenge for being stuck on smelly feet.

I double my effort. I do 7 loads. Sweat drips from my brow but I have accomplished something. I feel smug. I fold it with dexterous hands and stand over the folded towers with a gleam in my eye. My lip curls into a sneer. I have conquered it for a time.

Then I see it, limp and dirty. It stares at me from the stair on which it jumped as I lugged the heavy basket to its demise. It knew. The dirty underwear smiles at me. The remnant of the laundry dirt clings to its body. It is too small to wash alone. It will live to see another day, wallowing in its filth. And so the cycle continues. My nemesis holds on. And I stuff the underwear…in a basket.