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Why Socks Disappear

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My earliest memory is lying in a basket full of socks. I was in Wal-Mart, surrounded by socks of all sorts, from Polka Dotted socks to Striped socks, form Knee socks to Ankle socks. Every sock was scared—what would happen to them? I was there for so long I had lots of time to think. Who will wear me? What will their life be like? What’s my name? What’s the meaning of life?? I always dreamed about what it would be like to be worn and live in a house. I never imagined it would be the worst experience of my life.
When I was bought, a beautiful beacon of hope approached me. Her perfectly manicured hand gracefully picked me up, and then slammed me down into a hard plastic basket. The Polka Dot Twins were thrown on top of me, followed by the Plaid Twins and the Yellow Knee Sock Twins.
I was taken to the cashier, whose old raisin-like hands hauled me across the scanner, blinding me with its bright red light. Inside of the bag, no one could see anything. I could hear the Cheerio’s screaming in horror inside of their cardboard coffin.
“The end is near!”
“I don’t wanna be eaten!”
The elderly checker-outer threw the fragile eggs in also. I heard a sickening crack, as orange and yellow goop oozed out of the side of their carton. The other eggs clucked in morning for their sibling.
Our bag was lifted high off the ground, and dropped onto the front seat of the car. A rumble erupted form the front of the car and we sped off into the distance. When the rumbling stopped, my twin and I peeked out of the top of the plastic bag.
I had imagined the house for so long, with a white picket fence, a garden, and a chimney. What did I get? An ugly, rundown, dirty apartment building. That dream dropped down like the Twin Towers. We were lugged inside and thrown onto a soft warm bed. We sat there and looked around to see our new lives.
“Nice room” said my twin. I nodded in agreement. It looked terrible on the outside but it was clean on the inside. I especially like the lacey curtains. All us Socks were taken out of our packages, and left on the bed with some other laundry. That’s when the Argyle Twins came up and laid out the law.
“I know we’re all new around here, but we have to get some stuff straight. My twin and I are top dog. We are the Saint Bernard’s, the best of the best; we are victorious standing in the sunlight while you are wimpy little Chihuahuas, shivering in the rain. This will be like a monarchy, disobey our rules and you will be punished. Help us and you may be rewarded in the chain of command.”
The Argyle Twins…. I must admit, were stunning. They were an emerald green with blue and black diamonds embellished in their thread. My twin and I shrugged simultaneously. I didn’t want to get in a fight first day on the job!
“Good.” They said, and moved on to break it down for the Plaid Twins.
We waited on that soft blue bed for what felt like hours, because it was! I watched that clock on the bedside table the whole time. Then she was back, our Owner, our Savior. She scooped us up and dumped us into a dresser drawer. My twin and I were smushed to the side. It was so crowded, I began feeling claustrophobic.
After what seemed like months the drawer opened to reveal a newly manicured hand. It was a lovely site, purple like a plum with white tips with beautiful white daisies in the corner. It was just ravishing. To make this that much better she chose me! Well I wasn’t alone, she chose my twin too. She put me on her left foot, and put on black lace up shoes. We took off. It made me dizzy and nauseous at first, then it hurt, then all my stitches went numb.
It was wonderful, we went everywhere! First to the park, then to a place filled with wonderful smells. I think it was called a food court. But eventually, things took a turn. A sticky sweet blue liquid was dropped and covered me ankle to toe. Gatorade! Her foot began to sweat when she started talking to a dapper young fellow. Then she stepped in a puddle to make me wet all over again! Her toes held their breath as the bottoms of her feet gave off an awful odor, but the day was finally done. I could finally snuggle up to the side of the drawer for the night. Or so I thought.
We were in the apartment, and she unlaced her shoes. She peeled me off her skin, and tossed me aside like a booger, like I was worthless, like I hadn’t aided her all day long! She threw my twin across to the other side of the room. I couldn’t believe this rudeness. I could smell grilled cheese sizzling on the pan as she prepared her dinner. She left her dirty dishes in the sink, and crawled into bed.
This is preposterous, I thought. I missed my twin. Why would she leave me here? I eventually fell asleep on the cold wooden floor.
I woke at dawn. My selfish, ungrateful master was sliding out of bed and rubbing her sleepy face. Her eyes landed on my twin. She sighed heavily and picked my twin up off the ground. I watched her as she shuffled into another room. I heard her rummaging around. I began to panic, what was she doing to my poor twin? I realized I was hyperventilating.

“Pst!” What was that? “PST!” I looked up; the Pink Toe Sock Twins were lying on the bed.
“Your twin has been taken to…” They gulped.
“Where, where?” I pleaded.
“The washing machine!” One twin whispered. They shuddered and closed their eyes, as though having terrible flashbacks. I asked them again and again what this washing machine was, but they kept shaking their head, saying it was too painful to even think about.
Something snapped inside of me. I was going to rescue my twin! I began crawling in the direction that my Owner went. By Declaration of Socks, Amendment One, paragraph three, section two, all socks must never be seen moving in the presence of a human. But I was taking chances, I was being a rebel. A rumble erupted from the chamber my twin needed to escape from. I crawled faster.
Then she came out. I stopped dead in my tracks. She stared at me and groaned. She clasped me in her fingers, and carried me into the pit of doom. What would be in here? Axes hanging on the wall? Dry bones or ferocious rats?
Turns out, it was a fairly empty room beside some piles of clothing particles and two big boxlike things. I learned later this was called a Laundry Room. I saw my twin swirling around in one, gulping for air.
She dumped me into a basket full of smelly clothes. I realized it then – it hit me. My twin was inside a washing machine! It would drown in there! It looked awful, I understood why the Pink Toe Sock Twins refused to speak of it. I watched in horror for many, many minutes. Finally the swirls became slower, and came to a stop. It dinged. My –ahem- “Savior” reentered the room, and took the sopping wet clothes out of the washer. They all groaned.
“I think I’m going to be sick…” moaned a fashionable white flouncy top.
“Oh shut up!” said some white skinny jeans.
That’s when I realized something. Everything in there was white, from sweatshirts to socks to jeans to sweats to tops to shirts and to undergarments! My twin! Where was my twin?
I saw my twin.
And I had a flashback. Once, in Wall Mart, I was picked up by a sticky, chubby little kid. He dropped me in the detergent isle next to a fabric softener. We exchanged stories. He said to me, “My brother was picked up a month ago. I get some news from him every once and awhile. A few weeks ago he had told me about being put in a load where the owner had dropped in different colors. Things went terribly wrong. The shirt will never be the same.” That’s when an employee picked me up and put me back in my isle.
My memory flashed before my eyes. I knew my twin would never really be my twin anymore. I felt a deep pain growing inside me. I was never alone when I got bullied. My twin was always there by my side. I always had my twin there to comfort me, but now I knew I was truly alone.
My twin had turned pink. Not like a really soft light pink, but not a jump out in your face hot pink either. Just pink. A beautiful pink. A popular pink.
My twin was put into the dryer, and I heard shrieks “Let me out!!”
“No. Let us all out!”
“We’re going to burn to death!!”
The yells went on for forty five minutes until a delightful ding came from the horrid machine. The murderer came in and took all the clothes out and put them into another laundry basket, and took them into the bedroom.
“Oh no!” exclaimed the bright red tank top.
“We’re next!”
I thought to myself, my twin got through this I can too. The devil women came back in to start drowning us next. I could practically see the red horns growing out of her blonde hair. She lifted our basket and then dumped us into our torture devices.
At first, all was quiet. Then, water began seeping out of the sides. It wasn’t that bad. I didn’t understand why everyone was screaming.
But then I did.
The room started spinning slowly. Then faster and faster until finally we were spinning so quickly I could not see anything. Soap was dumped into our chamber of murder, and it blurred my vision even more. I got sore from being banged around the sides.
“I’m going to hurl!” yelled a dark colored sweater. I heard a sickening noise as many clothes started upchucking lint balls. Yep, you heard me. That’s what lint is. It’s not just balls of fuzz. It’s clothing barf. Go ahead, don’t believe me! Just keep denying it to make yourself feel better. But it’s true.
I got so dizzy; I threw up some chunks of lint too. I couldn’t help it! I can’t describe how awful it was in there. Imagine being surrounded by people with the stomach flu in a tiny space that wouldn’t stop spinning. Doesn’t sound pleasant, does it!?
I wanted to get out of there right now! I banged myself against the door. I couldn’t stand it much longer. I don’t know how long this went on. An hour? A day? It felt like an eternity. Eventually the spinning became slower, and the water and some lint drained out.
Then came the next punishment. The drier. I could practically hear the horror movie music playing in the background. In the end, I’m not sure which I hated worst, drowning, or heat stroke? Both caused lint, I’ll tell you that. Both were horrible in their own unique ways.
The drier was hotter than heck. It was so hot that it sucked the energy right out of you. No one could speak or scream for the heat was so intense. I gagged up lint before passing out.
I awoke back in my drawer, snuggled up with my now-not-identical twin. Right away the Argyle Twins started picking on me. My twin didn’t even try to defend me. It didn’t want to be picked on again. One Argyle Twin hit me so hard, I cried out. I couldn’t breathe. The twins just laughed, and my twin just stared. Then night fell over us, and all the socks fell asleep. I nudged my twin awake.
“Zzz whu- what?” it said sleepily.
“Traitor!” I hissed, “How could you not help me? How could you just sit there?”
My twin sat up, “Twin, the Argyle Twins like my shade. They talk to me! They no longer bully me! How could I just throw that away?”
“If I had eyes, I would roll them at you!” I whispered angrily.
My twin just rolled over and fell back asleep. I couldn’t. I tried and I tried, but sleep just wouldn’t come. I had a lot of time to think that night. Was this even worth it? Could I stand going in that death trap of a machine again? What was the meaning of life? Who was I?
From the moment I was just a baby thread, I wondered. What was my name? Was I a female or a male? All those humans, they’re he’s, they’re she’s. What am I? I’m just an It. I don’t want to be an It anymore. I want to be somebody. I . . . had a dream.
There has got to be a better life to live than my crappy one.
So I set off.
I climbed out of the drawer.
I crawled across the floor.
I slipped underneath the door.
I bumped down the stairs.
I left that building.
I was in New York! This whole time, I had been living on the property of the brilliant where-your-dreams-come-true city, and I didn’t even know! I was amazed with my luck.
Later I realized it wasn’t luck at all. I decided since I was going to find the meaning of life I would need to get some sleep, because after all this is the biggest event to ever happen to me. I found a nice place to lay my elastic, in an ally outside of my old –ahem- “home”. I know what you’re thinking, “You left to find the meaning of life and as far as you go is the ally outside of that dumpy apartment!?” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I didn’t really think this through, okay? I should’ve slept some before I left on my mission. Or maybe I shouldn’t have gone, it’s really cold outside. But now that I’ve left it’s not like I can go waltzing back in there and be like:
“So, when I left before I was only kidding! This is my home, why would I leave it?! Oh yeah, and you, yeah you, the Argyle Twins! You guys can pick on me as much as you want! It’s fine, no worries, okay?!”
I started this and I’m going to finish it. That’s when I dozed off, dreaming of Twin, the Argyle Twins, and my new life that’s ahead of me.
Well if I’m going to find the meaning of life I may as well give myself a name, because that’s one of the reasons this whole thing started isn’t it? I began thinking of all the names I’ve heard throughout my life and the ones that were my favorite. I walked all around Central Park. Who knew that place was so big!? Looking at the signs and the people I began to make a list. Leanne, Meredith, Phillip, Joseph, Mary Lou, Anna Beth, Shawn, Peter, Mack, Jolene, Chris, Richard, Luke, Etienne. Wow, it didn’t hit me until I finished my list. I couldn’t officially give myself a name because I wasn’t sure of one thing. Am I a boy or a girl?!?!
Okay, let’s just choose two of my favorite names and see which I like the best. I thought. This could work. But I couldn’t make up my mind! All day I walked around talking to all different kinds of trash. They told me about their lives and about the city. I was determined I had to learn exactly where I was before I could really know where I was going. I was at a dumpster talking to this candy wrapper who told me about this museum called the Museum of Art and Design.
The Reese’s Wrapper said, “They said it’s one thing to learn about the city through your eyes and it’s another to see it through someone else.” I was told how to get there. We’re on Terrace Drive; I need to go all the way down to the Central Park Loop, across to 65th street Transverse, down to West 65th street, down Broad Way, across to Central Park Street. Then I was told that it would take weeks unless I could find some other way of transportation.
I met Styrofoam Cup that said it knew an ally cat that might be willing to take me there. It said, “He usually hangs out at the end of the Central Loop, ask for Frederico.” It took me the rest of the day but I made it to the Loop. I decided I could take a nap, so I cuddled up to a tree trunk on the right side.
I woke in the paws of Frederico, who was toying with me like a ball of yarn.
“Stop! You’re unraveling me! Stop!” I yelled.
Frederico eyed me, and hissed.
“Look, I was talking to Styrofoam the Cup and it said to find Frederico which is you and I found you to take me to the Museum of Art and Design and please don’t kill me I just want to know if I am a boy or a girl so I can figure out what my name is and the meaning of life and-“
Frederico placed his paw over my mouth. “Hush, if I take you there, you must give me a reward. I don’t work for free. Money does me no good. I like food. Find me food. I will wait here.”
I crawled around the park and found a half drank bottle of 7 Up. Do cats even like soda? Frederico does. Isn’t that lucky? I hopped on Frederico’s back and we sashayed on down to that fancy museum. Frederico even told me a story on the way. Apparently he and a house cat, Susie, fell in love a year ago. But her owner found out, and boy was she mad. She didn’t want her precious Susie-Poosie interacting with such a filthy alley cat. But they continued to see each other. It was scandalous. So Susie and her owner moved.
He sighed. “Owners, eh? They are awful.”
I nodded in agreement.
When we got to the Museum of Art and Design, I was almost reluctant to go. I didn’t want to leave Frederico when he was so depressed. But I had to . . . it was my mission. I gave Frederico a hug and told him I would find him and tell him all about what I found out in the museum.
I turned to the museum. It was so big. I sucked in a deep breathe, and walked in. Or, well, crawled in. The first thing I saw was a painting. It was such a simple, yet wonderful, glorious, magical painting. I knew. I knew at that moment whether I was a he or a she. Everything clicked into place. I knew the meaning of life! All my questions have been answered by this one painting! Humans spend so much time thinking, what is the meaning of life? Well I’ll tell you right now that its –
BAM! Right in the head. A broom smacked me across the floor and into the wall. Every part of my body went numb, and I completely blacked out.
I had a dream. I was in the museum with my twin, and we were staring at the painting. Then Frederico came up and ate my twin for being so mean and selfish. I got on his back and we sped off into the night, back to my apartment. Frederico gobbled up the Argyle Twins and then we crept into the kitchen. I saw my owner, and we pounced on her. But she kicked Frederico in the head. That’s when I woke up.
Immediately I recalled what happened. The janitor saw me. He probably thought, “What is a nasty old’ sock doing in here?” So he went ahead and smacked me in the head, and threw me in a trash bag. And let’s not forget, he ruined my dreams. Martin Luther had a dream, and it came true. Susan B. Anthony had a dream, and it came true. I had a dream, to be free, and live happily, and to know the meaning of life.
The meaning of life! Didn’t I figure that out? I - I can’t remember. I think I have a concussion. . . I sighed, and looked around. I was surrounded by trash, and garbage. I was at the dump, surrounded by the things people take for granted, the things people don’t want anymore. I bet Owner didn’t even care I was gone. I guess the meaning of life is just meant to be kept a secret. I don’t know what to do with myself.
I guess I’ll just stay here.



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