Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Captain Daggerfoot!

The following ridiculous tale is fiction. Any resemblance to real people or places is purely coincidental.

"Honey?" she says.

"Yeah?" he says from down the hall and around the corner.

"What happened to all your socks?"

Long pause.

"What?!" he says, as if he couldn't hear.


"What do you mean?" he says.

"What do you think I mean, Captain Daggerfoot?" she mutters and walks down the hall to confront him.

"Six months ago, I bought you 12 pair of new, identical black socks and now I can only find 7 socks like those. What happened to the other 17 socks?" she asks, holding up a sock.

"Um, I don't know. The dryer ate them?" he says while still playing his video game.

She reaches over and presses pause for him. "Look at me. Have you been using your toenails to help out downtrodden women again?"

He swivels his chair to face her and says, "Honey, they really seemed to be in need! The one yesterday had a baby the same age as Quint?! She couldn't buy milk! What was I supposed to do?!" he asks with hands raised in question.

"You were supposed to take off your sock first, that's what!" she says, shooting daggers of her own with her eyebrows.

"Right, like that's not going to draw attention in the middle of the dairy section of Kroger. A man in a suit taking off his loafer and sock in the grocery store is subtlety itself, much less the flash of light that follows."

"Hmph... well... you could have ducked into that doorway that's right there," she concedes.

“You know I have to be in contact with them for it to work,” he says, his voice gentling. “Would you rather have a husband who can see a woman in need and NOT provide for them, even if it costs us some extra socks?” He touches her arm, trying to make her understand.

She heaves a sigh, “Of course I want you to help them. I just get tired of buying new socks. At least the seven remaining socks can still form 3 pair. That’s why I buy so many pairs just alike when I buy you socks. That way, the orphans can still be used. It is really hard to find socks big enough for you, though.”

“I know,” he says, “but I’ve got a wonderful wife that could probably find somewhere online to buy large size black bulk socks.”

“Hmm… you might be right,” she says as she goes back to the laundry.

“Oh,” she pauses, an amused smile on her face, “how did she smuggle the milk out this time?”

He chuckles to himself, “the label was printed in Korean this time. No way they had it on the shelf at Kroger.”

“You’re kidding?!” she laughs.

“Yep! The only English on that thing were the words “Vitamin D milk”. I couldn’t believe it myself! That’s a first!”

The day before, Eustis was popping in to Kroger at his wife’s request to pick up yogurt, crystal light, whole milk and 2%. He had collected the chips, Dean’s dip, crystal light, diet Ginger ale, and yogurt when he saw her.

She was neatly dressed and obviously fresh from the office. She had a 3 year old boy by the hand, and a year old girl in the cart. The little girl had blond ringlets and was sucking her thumb. The boy had brown sandy hair and was a little wide eyed staring at all the cheeses. She let go of the boy’s hand to dig through her purse. She pulled out a calculator and her change purse. First, she added up a few figures, obviously prices displayed in front of her, and then added the tax. Saying the number out loud to the boy, she asked the boy to remember the number. Then she started silently counting out her cash and change into the boy’s cupped hands.

As she counted, Eustis examined them more closely. Her suit was clean and pressed, but was wearing thin at the cuffs and collar. The kids clothes were pretty clean for the end of the day, but with obvious hand stitched repairs in places. The boy’s pants had had patches on the knees for a while.

“Mama, can I have string cheese in my lunches?” the little boy asked.

She finished counting out the change and dug through the bottom of her purse looking for more change. “No, baby, not this week. But you can have the sharp cheddar you like instead of the mild. Would you like that?”

His shoulders fell a fraction, but he said, “OK, Mama.”

She noticed that Eustis was watching and listening. “I’m out of lunch makings at home and the kids have to take their lunches to daycare every day.” She explained while searching for more change. “We’ve got too much month left for the money. The food stamps have even run out.”

The little boy was distracted and dropped a coin or two. Eustis bent down to get it and touched the boy’s hand as he gave it back. During the connection, Eustis suddenly knew that the kid’s dad was around but away on a business trip right now. He saw a flash of a happy home with a sparse pantry.

Eustis nervously glanced around. There were quite a few people in the dairy section right then. Twenty feet away, someone digging through the frozen pizzas suddenly had all the pizzas slide off the shelf toward them, sending pizzas flying everywhere. Everyone stopped to stare and/or help with picking them up.

Now was Eustis’ chance! He slipped off his left loafer and touched the woman on the wrist. She looked up at his face quizzically, and then his foot. His toenails were in the process of growing right before their eyes. The sharp, dagger points broke through his sock. The nails grew and snaked out across the floor, a foot from the end of his toes. With a flash of light, they suddenly snapped and broke off. He picked one up off the floor, held it in his hand, and said quite clearly, “gallon of whole milk”. The huge, pointy toenail quickly melted into a blob, and then reformed itself into a gallon of milk.

He looked back at the little family. All three mouths were hanging open. He handed the mother the gallon of milk, which she dumbly took without thinking. Eustis quickly whipped out his handkerchief and picked up the remaining four toenails still lying on the floor. He wrapped up the nails and stuck them in her purse.

“Once you get home, hold them in your hand one at a time and say the name of what you need, including the size, and it will transform. Like "twenty ounce block of sharp cheddar". It will work just like you just saw. Wait until you get home so you won’t have to pay for the groceries,” said Eustis.

While they were still speechless in shock, Eustis grabbed a half gallon each of whole and 2% milk and darted away before the woman could recover or the pizza distraction was cleared. The boy recovered quicker. He said, “I wonder if the milk will taste like toejam?”

Eustis calls down the hall to his wife, "oh and Honey?"


"I'm going to need more hankies too."

"What? Why?"

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