Flash Fiction: Good Socks go to Heaven
Orphaned socks in the laundry
“Where do those socks go?” Mama said as she glared at the two orphaned socks in her hand.
“Mama, good socks go to heaven.” Six-year-old Lewis piped up. He was standing in the laundry room door.
“Lewis, now where did you get such an idea?” Mama laughed.
“Tompaul told me.” Tompaul was Lewis imaginary friend.
Now Mama scowled. She had discussed Lewis’ imaginary friend, Tompaul, several times with Lewis, but he still maintained that his friend existed and came to play with him in his room every day. Mama had hoped that Lewis would soon outgrow this childish nonsense, and she had decided to play along, “And how many of those friends that I can’t see do you have?”
He had assured Mama that there was only one friend, whose name was Tompaul, and he wondered why Mama couldn’t see him because he could. “He’s a little boy like me, but he has blond curly hair, not red, and blue eyes.”
“They fly right up to heaven, huh, kind of like the Rapture?” Lewis remembered that the preacher said that good souls would be raptured up, leaving their mates behind. "Kind of like that except it’s socks, not people?”
“Exactly,” Lewis smiled enthusiastically. “Tompaul says the sock must be a very good one to go to heaven, so those aren’t good socks in your hand. Just throw those away.”
Big talk from a six-year-old, Mama thought as she placed the stray socks in what she called her “holding bag.” “Hoping bag” was more like it, she thought, because none of the family’s missing socks had ever reappeared. But his silly explanation sounded as reasonable as anything else. Today she had carefully counted five matching pairs as she placed them in the washer. She had reclaimed three matching pairs and two strays. This was getting frustrating. Very frustrating.
Two matching pairs of eyes watched them
Two identical little spirits watched them from the hallway. They carefully stood in the shadows because Lewis would have been able to see them and hear their giggles if they came too close. “We did it up good this time, didn’t we, Tompaul? Smart thing telling the kid that good socks go to Heaven. We upset Mama good!”
“Sure thing, Jonpaul.” Jonpaul was Tompaul’s twin brother, same blond hair. “It was a very good idea for you to hide while I made friends and played with the kid. I can’t wait until next wash day. I heard Mama say that there would be six pairs of socks next week, brand new ones to add to our collection. I can hardly wait. Mama will be so mad!”
"Oh, goody," the brothers laughed.
Why I wrote this story
Okay, so it's a silly piece of childish nonsense, so why did I waste my time writing it? It is based on one of my ridiculous true-life experiences, that's why. I was sitting on the bed sorting and rolling my socks when I discovered two more sock orphans. I keep my socks in a drawer built into the platform beneath my bed. I reached into the drawer and pulled out the handful of orphans I keep in the drawer. Sorting through them, I found to my chagrin that there were no mates there either, although some of them were holdover orphans from last winter and maybe even the winter before.
Frustrated I pouted a silly, "Now where do those socks go? I never find them. It's like they've been raptured up!" Raptured up, socks? How ridiculous is that? Wait, there's a story in there, I thought, and I just had to write it. So I with my muse prodding my posterior with a Mary Poppins' umbrella, you know, the muse who looks like Johnny Depp and talks like Keith Richards, I began to write the conversation using the idea of the imaginary friend. I'm not sure how I had planned to end the story, but half way into the conversation between Lewis and his mother, the idea of the twin brother came tumbling out of the umbrella. Everything flowed like water from there. When I finished and read what I had written, I almost hit the delete button. Then I began to think about making it into a children's story. Maybe I will yet.
I also got to thinking how futile the whole sock situation was to us who do the family laundry. I procured some soft nylon net bags, one for my white athletic socks and one for dark colors, mainly black. Each time I remove a pair of socks, I make sure that both pieces of the pair go into one bag or the other. When it comes time to wash, I place the securely zipped bag in with the appropriate color of laundry. So far I haven't lost a single sock because the bag comes out of the washer and dryer intact with all the socks conveniently packed inside. I just hope that Tompaul and Jonpaul don't catch on. Promise me that you won't tell them.
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