Do Socks Get a Divorce?

Inquiring minds want to know. Or at least this inquiring mind. I have a perfectly nice pair of socks. They look good. They feel good on my feet. There isn’t a soldier who wouldn’t like this pair of socks.

The pair would make a great companion for the long march ahead. After all, there are those in the know who say a battle is lost or won by the socks on a soldier’s footsies. Napoleon learned this the hard way. That was what defeated him in Russia. Not that he got cold feet, but that his soldiers had cold feet. They had holey socks.

You can see why this pair of socks I have brings me such comfort. Not only do they make me feel like I am walking on air, they make my feet smell good too. That’s no easy feet. I mean feat.

Last weekend I did laundry. Separated the lights from the darks. The whites from the lights. Put them into separate piles. ‘Fore you know it, my washing machine is going chug-chug-chug. Then my dryer is whirring away with my load of laundry. I open the dryer door, pull out the load, throw them into the basket, take them into the bedroom for sorting and folding.

At the end, there is only one sock left from the pair of those best socks. You know, the comfortable pair. The pair that look good. The pair that made my feet smell nice. Real nice.

I am frantic. Where’s the other sock? I hurry out to the laundry room, open the dryer door and hope against hope. No, it’s not there. I look in the washing machine. The sock isn’t there either. I trace my trail back to the bedroom where I once sorted. No sock.

So I give the sock remaining the inquisition. How did you do it? Did you poison your partner? Did you strangle her, then bury her among the lint? Then it hit me. Maybe it was a Sock Rapture. Maybe the Sock Jesus returned and claimed all the good socks. Yes, that had to be it. The reason for the disappearance. It could happen. Not.

If the Sock Jesus came and took all the good socks, why was this one sock the only one who disappeared. Were there no other good socks in the load? Was my sock drawer a regular Sodom and Gomorrah? I don’t think so.

No, it was looking more and more likely that something had come between the pair of socks. Maybe they had a fight and the female of the pair went home to mother.

They were such a handsome couple. Let’s call them Fred and Wilma. They seemed so happy. Deep down Wilma resented her lot in life. She deserved a sock much better than Fred. She was locked into a marriage she had come to despise, forced to stay home and clean house, babysit Pebbles and cook Fred’s Neanderthal dinners. When she wanted to go vegetarian, all Fred could spout out was “Meat. I want meat.” Then there was the Dino problem. He was the family’s pet dinosaur. Have you ever tried cleaning up dinosaur poop? As John Lennon once sang, “Christ, you know it ain’t easy.”

You get the point. Wilma Sock was deeply unhappy. She was a fine wine and caviar kind of girl and Fred was all pretzels and beer.

Then a day later, quite by accident, I discovered another sock missing. You know, those socks the tennis pros wear. This was a sock like that. Let’s call him Fabio.

After much investigation, I got to the root of the problem. Wilma found herself in the washing machine with Fabio. He was whiter than white and he was very unhappy with his partner. Her name was Betty. She had stains all over her. He wondered what had happened. When they were first dating, she kept herself spotlessly pure white. Then they married and she let herself go. She just didn’t seem to care anymore. When Fabio Sock saw an unhappy Wilma, he was smitten. She was something, taking pride in her appearance.

Fabio sang “Sock it to me” to Wilma’s, “Sock it to me.” Before Fred knew what had happened, Wilma ran off with Fabio to Sock Vegas. The couple got quickie divorces and remarried in twenty-four hours. It was like the dish running away with the spoon. As everybody knew, Fabio was a real stud and Wilma was a real dish, a very Socksy Lady.

Unfortunately there was no happily ever after for Fabio and Wilma. Wilma has triplets on the way and Fabio is laid up with tennis elbow. His pro career is over and he can’t even find a job in a pro shop at a country club.

In the meantime, Betty realized she needed some whitener. In the next wash, she had an extra dose of bleach. It worked. She was back to a perfect white. Fred and Betty met at a Speed Dating for Singles of the Socks Set get-together. They hooked up. Next thing you know Betty is a perfect housekeeper, loves to cook only meat, and is helping Pebbles, as a Girl Scout Daisy, earn her Golden Honey Bee Award. Fred got a new promotion. Mr. Slate retired and Fred is now General Manager of the Slate Rock and Gravel Company.

Oh, and one final thing. Fred and Betty have new neighbors in the drawer. Right next to them is what seems like a nice couple. Names are Barney and Wilma.

Near 500 words: The best of times

Charles Dickens begins his A Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”  Often we spend our time dwelling on and complaining about the worst of times. Yet life is filled with so many opportunities to say thank you. So why not make everyday a Thanksgiving.

For the world is filled with wonder. No day passes without at least one Wow. Many’s the time I’ve stepped out of my house: The birds were singing. The wind was a cool breeze. The grass was all green. And the roses were blooming.

Many’s the time I’ve listened to a piece of music that took my breath away: Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleaves”, Ravel’s “Une barque sur l’ocean” and Maurice Jarre’s “Lara’s Theme” from “Dr. Zhivago”.

Many’s the time I’ve looked at a face and realized Time is a master sculptor. Before me was a great work of art.

Many’s the time I’ve looked into someone’s eyes and thought that there are amazing worlds inside this human being. An eternity of memories. Sadness and joy, wonder and tragedy.

Way too often I’ve forgotten to say, “Thank you,” for the feast laid out before me.

Thanksgiving day is a wonderful reminder of all the times I do forget

And I love the way Don Henley gets it all down in his song “My Thanksgiving”:

Near 500 words: Buddy’s dead, now what?

Episode #26 of The Writer

It was almost midnight when the police finished questioning TW (aka The Writer). He told the police what Buddy had told him. That there were two men leaving his house and one had slugged him. And now he was dead.

Sitting in the Denny’s, picking over his eggs, nothing made since to him. Two of the closest creatures in his life, Cat, then Buddy, were dead. And it was possible that their deaths were connected. But why? And why would two men be going through his house.

He lifted his coffee cup to his lips and drank, then set it back down on the table. He asked himself a question. If I were a character in a novel, what would I suspect was going on? And what would I do next?

If this was the plot of a novel he was writing, the two deaths definitely would be connected. That meant that the two men had been in his house before. They had let Cat out and sliced her with a blade. Maybe they had taken her with them and she escaped. Yes, that’s what happened. The thought sickened him.

And Buddy had surprised them. They were not expecting Buddy to drive up to his house. That also meant they knew where he was. Probably because they had someone watching him. So they had plenty of time to search my house.

But what were they looking for?

It was becoming obvious that the two men took the postcards and the two wooden carvings. What was it about the postcards? Why did they want them? And were they watching him right now?

Of course, they were.

Okay, knowing all this, what could he do about it?

TW was tired. He drove the several blocks to the motel the police had sent him to, almost falling asleep at the wheel. He pulled into the motel parking lot. The police had decided that he was not going to go back to the house since it was a crime scene.

He got out of the car and went into the manager’s office. The manager gave him a key. “It’s one of the rooms around the back.”

The second floor room was sparse. Two beds and two dressers, a TV and a lamp.

He locked the door behind him and slid the chain into place. Then he turned off the lamp and dropped onto the bed.

He woke up with a pounding in his head. After a minute or so, he realized that it wasn’t in his head. It was at the door. He pulled back the curtains to see two uniformed police officers outside.

He opened the door and the two men stepped inside. “We need you to come with us. The sergeant has some more questions.”

Near 500 words: TW and Sylvia

Episode 21 of The Writer

“Have you let Sylvia go?” TW (aka The Writer) wasn’t sure he was imagining the question until he heard Helen ask a second time, “Have you let Sylvia go?”

It was then that TW remembered the postcards. “I’m afraid not.”

“Then I’m sorry,” Helen said. “I was thinking maybe. But now I realize things aren’t going to work for us. Even casually dating. I’m not up to competing with another woman. I’m much better than that.”

She stood up. “Thanks for the breakfast. I’ve got to go.” Then she was out the front door and gone.

He paid for breakfast, then made the walk back to his house. It was a mile or so but it gave him some time to think. What’s moving on going to look like?

By the time he walked up his driveway, he had decided. The best thing was to keep busy. And the first item of his agenda for keeping busy was finding out more about Sylvia’s postcards.

Standing on the front porch, he opened his mailbox. There was only piece of mail. Another postcard from Sylvia.

Inside he sat down. On one side of the postcard, Sylvia sat beside an older woman dressed in red. The woman’s hair was long and white. The two were surrounded by children. Behind them was a Buddhist temple with blue and white and yellow and green flags flying above them.

On the other side was Sylvia’s short message: “The end of the rainbow. Shangri-la at last. Sylvia.” Then the ancient text below her signature.

As he looked at the  photograph of a smiling Sylvia, shivers shot up and down his spine. Then a calm came over him.

He sat the card down on the table, then pulled the box down from the hall closet. He opened the lid of the box. And the postcards were not there.

He searched through the other things in the box. Everything was the way he had left it. With two exceptions. Sylvia’s carvings of the robin and butterfly and the mustang.

He dumped everything in the box onto the carpet and rifled through the ingredients a second time. Nothing. Nada. The missing postcards and carvings were gone.

He sat staring at the items on the floor, then at the empty box, struggling to think what might have happened to them. He started questioning if he had put them back in the box. After several minutes of doubt, he was sure. They had gone back in the box.

He remembered his appointment with Dr. Christine Baxter. It had been for ten a.m. that morning. He looked at his watch. Two p.m. Maybe he could still catch her.

He grabbed the postcard and out the door he went. Thirty minutes later he pulled up into the parking lot for the social sciences and language disciplines. He locked his car and headed inside the white stone building and up the stairs to the third floor and Dr. Baxter’s office. He found her office and knocked on the door, then opened the door.

At her desk sat a pale, thin woman stooped over a text behind a wall of papers and books.

TW knocked again on the door and the woman looked up.

“Dr. Baxter? Dr. Christine Baxter?”

She slipped off her glasses and looked up. “Yes,” she said, her voice sounding like music.

It’s 6:52 a.m.

“It’s 6:52 a.m.,” the Boy said to his God.

“No, it’s 6:52 and a half,” God said to His Boy. “And it will never be 6:52 a.m. this October 9, 2016 again. Boy, what did you do with your 6:52?”