Bang went the door of Kristi Lathmarker’s room. Whack went the light-switch. Thud went her back-pack as it landed on the carpet. Blare went her stereo as it switched on and began playing the soothing sounds of Justin Bieber. Flop went Kristi, as she stomped across the room and flung herself on her Powerpuff Girls bedspread. She had not had a good day.
Earlier that evening, she had been given the opportunity to sing the national anthem at her high school’s football game. She had been tremendously excited, and terribly nervous. It was probably the nerves that did her in; standing before a thousand people, every eye trained on her, she had flubbed the words to the chorus, belting out, “And the Rockettes’s red glare…there’s a bug in the air…oh dear I don’t know…and our flag was still there…” Kristi was humiliated. She never wanted to set foot outside in the wide world again.
After several moments of sobbing into her pillow, Kristi recalled the sage advice of C.S. Lewis in The Silver Chair, “Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” (She had only just received The Silver Chair for her birthday, and liked it very much). So, with a sigh of resignation, she sat up and looked about for her mini-DVD player. She had gotten a stack of Looney Tunes DVDs through Netflix in the mail that day and she was in the mood to relieve her sorrow through hours of wacky hijinks. As she searched for her player, Kristi decided that she had better change into her pajamas. Absentmindedly she pulled off one of her socks and flung it aside. It landed on the edge of her laundry hamper, where it lay still and forlorn.
At last, Kristi found her player. She was just about to pop in Bugs Bunny when she heard a tiny yet irate voice. “Hey!” it squeaked.
Kristi assumed her parents had the TV on downstairs. But then the voice spoke again. “Hey! You on the Powerpuff Girls bedsheet! Over here, ya moron!”
“Who’s there?” Kristi exclaimed, a little frightened. She’d never confronted a burglar before, and she wasn’t scheduled to take the self-defense class until next semester.
“I am! I’m on your hamper, you half-baked Objectivist!”
“Who…” she looked at her hamper, but all she could see was the sock she’d thrown there. The obvious conclusion was so impossible that she rejected it out of hand. Then the voice spoke again.
“Yeah, that’s right, it’s me! Your sock! And I’ve got a list of complaints I’d like to file!”
“My…sock.” Kristi took a long, slow breath. “And you have a list of complaints.”
“Yeah! Do you realize how hard it is to be a sock?”
“No,” Kristi said, “I can honestly say that I have never, ever, ever contemplated that particular subject.”
“”Well, it’s hard!” her sock proclaimed dramatically. “You’ve no idea! All day long I have to stare at the inside of your sneaker, putting up with the smell from your dirty foot, and let me tell you, it gets really bad after your two-hour karate class on Saturdays! And younever take a shower afterwards! Honestly!”
“I’m sorry…” Kristi began, and then it dawned on her that she was actually apologizing to her sock. “Look, I’ve had a really bad day, okay, and I promise I’ll be more hygenic, now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go to bed and forget this ever happened…”
“But that’s not all!” her sock shrieked. “You never take me out anywhere special! And I know you go to places special; I’m been talking to your makeup kit! Last Friday night you went on a fancy date at a nice restaurant with Graham! Did you even think that maybe Iwanted to meet Graham? Nooooo!”
Kristi was flummoxed. “But…but I had to dress up for that! I had to wear high heels, and you don’t wear socks with high heels!”
The sock actually shook with fury, falling off the edge of the hamper and landing on her carpet. “WELL WHY NOT?”
“It’s a rule! It’s fashion!”
“WELL, WHO DECIDES THAT?” the outraged sock roared. “Did anyone even think to get our opinion on it? NO! No one ever asks us! We’re invisible! But we have feelings too, you know! I am a sock! If you prick us, do we not bleed?”
“No, you don’t, actually,” Kristi interjected, but the sock kept on going.
“If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not REVENGE?
“That does it.” Kristi snapped to her feet, grabbed the sock from the floor, and hurled it into her hamper. “Now you listen!” she screamed. “I do not want a sock that quotes Shakespeare! I don’t even want a sock that so much as thinks! You are a sock, and that’sit! You’re an article of clothing! I am not taking you on dates, I am not cleaning up especially for you, and I don’t want to hear one word about it, okay?” She slammed the lid on her hamper shut with a very satisfying bang.
But as she changed into her pajamas and started the Bugs Bunny movie, she didn’t hear the evil little chortle emanating from her hamper. “And if you wrong us,” it repeated quietly, “shall we not revenge?”
Several days later, Kristi’s life seemed very much improved. She got a perfect score on a math test, the high school cafeteria in its infinite wisdom served pizza for lunch, and best of all, she saw Graham in the hallway. Kristi pushed her way through the crowd of her fellow students until she had reached him. “Hi…” she said, her eyes fluttering.
“Hey,” Graham said. “Last Friday was really fun.”
“Are you doing anything this Friday?”
Kristi opened her mouth to reply. Then all at once her foot gave a sudden twinge. It suddenly flashed into her mind that she had done her laundry the day before, and she hadn’t paid attention when she’d dressed for the day, which meant that on her left foot was lurking…she heard a tiny laugh, and she had only just enough time to realize that something very bad was about to happen. Then it did. Without warning, her left foot shot forward in a lightning karate kick that would have made her instructor weep for joy upon witnessing such perfection. With a loud smack, the tip of her sneaker slammed into the last part of Graham’s anatomy that he absolutely did not want to receive a karate kick in.
Graham emitted a small, high-pitched squeak, rather like a strangling chipmunk. Then he doubled over in pain. The school nurse had to be called. Naturally, no one believed Kristi’s story that it was a rogue sock who had done the awful deed; a whole hallway full of students had seen her do it, and they were quite eager to testify to her guilt. She received a whole month of detention, and Graham outright refused to speak to her again. And the next day, when Kristi arrived at school, she was wearing flip-flops.
While she was serving detention that afternoon and trying to take her mind off the disaster that had happened to her, back at home her little sister Cynthia broke into her room (as she often did) and starting riffling through it looking for candy. Downstairs, her parents were discussing the logistics of the vacation to Disney World they were planning later that year. None of them heard the tiny, grim chuckle coming from deep inside Kristi’s trash bin, not until it was far too late.
“And if you wrong us…”