by W. M. Pienton
“Honey? Have you seen my other sock?” asked the middle aged man.
“No…” replied his wife, “have you checked the washing machine or dryer? Sometimes I miss a sock.”
“Yes I did; it’s not there.”
“Did you check the hamper? I could’ve missed it there.”
The man was in his mid-forties, his blond hair nicely camouflaged the gray hairs starting to sprout. He had a small pot-belly that threatened to get bigger if he did not eat better and exercise. He was sitting on the corner of their bed putting on his socks. The woman was also in her mid-forties and aging gracefully, she had only a little gray in her once brunette hair. Her thin frame and fair face seemed to defy time.
The man stood up from the bedside and walked into the adjacent bathroom to check in the laundry hamper. The laundry had just been done, his clothes were still warm from the dryer and there was nothing–except for a penny that escaped someone’s pocket on the bottom of the hamper. The man and his wife had been married for some twenty years, and during that time a daily routine had cemented itself into their lives. While not the end of the world, this missing sock had put a slight kink in their daily routine.
The couple spent about ten minutes looking for the missing sock before they gave up and the man took out a different pair and put them on. The left foot sock’s plan had been foiled, and the couple did not even know it. For a long time now, the left sock had slowly gotten more and more jealous and bitter toward the right foot sock. The man always put the right one on first, every time without exception.
It had been a part of the man’s daily routine. The left sock saw this as favoritism and slowly grew to hate the other sock. They had been purchased only a few years ago bundled up with a bunch of other socks from a dollar store. Laundry day was every Saturday and in the summertime they were hung out to dry on a clothesline.
The sock was a cheap generic brand, made of a cotton, polyester blend with an elastic garter to hold it up while being worn. It had extra thick fabric on the toes and heel so as not to wear out as quickly. It was white overall, except at the toes and heel–which were gray.
The woman–whose name the sock could never remember–always used fabric softener and occasionally bleach to keep it soft and white. The clothesline was far more enjoyable than the dryer, even if it was accidentally left out in the rain. It was a simple and easy enough life, and to a sock it was all it had and all it would aspire to. Doing other things never even occurred to it, after all, it was just a sock. Most objects do not feel much emotion, but this sock, the left sock, had grown envious of its counterpart.
The left sock had gone mad and had begun to plan, the plan was murder. Being a sock, the plan was not complex. It would kill its partner sometime during either the rinse or spin cycle while in the washing machine.
The left sock would then hide the body, and if all went according to plan the man would have no choice but to put the left one on first. Socks, like all inanimate objects, think simple thoughts and never really think things through to the end. The man, not being able to find the missing right sock put the left one on top of his bureau in hopes of the other one turning up in the future.
Only then did the sock realize its mistake. The dawning comprehension of what was about to transpire hit it like a thunder-clap. The man would never find his missing right sock because it had been murdered, and so the man would eventually get rid of the lone left sock. By killing the right sock it had unwittingly consigned itself to the trashcan.
While the trash is technically not a death sentence in and of itself, objects live to be used; the trash, to an object, means that it is no longer needed or useful. To an object being useless is something akin to a cross between a faux pas and a mortal sin. When the left sock killed and hid the body of the right one its fate had been sealed. Two weeks went by just lying on top of the man’s bureau; two weeks of waiting for the ax to fall, of sweating it out before the man’s wife gave up on finding the other sock and tossed it screaming into the kitchen trashcan.
As the week wore on, more and more useless objects discarded by the humans piled on top of the sock until it was buried. The groans and moans of the rejected objects built into a cacophony of agony. The couple heard nothing. Humans–after all–never do.
◊ ◊ ◊
W. M. Pienton
Walter Pienton, whose last name is pronounced Pen-tin, has a short novel being sold on Amazon called Swampscott Fitzgerald. He always had an active imagination and seems to see things in a different sort of light. Storytelling comes naturally, so writing them down was the next logical step. One of the hardest parts of writing is finding time as he currently holds down a third shift factory job (which he absolutely loathes).