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Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #2303546
A faithfully true story of my discovery one innocent summer morning.

The Probable Circumstances Surrounding the Disappearance of the Vanishing Man

Chapter 1

On a comfortable Sunday morning walk with Rosco, my 7-year-old boxer, I came across a pair of pants with a brown belt. Rosco sniffed about. I noticed a man's collared shirt further off in the woodline. A truck rumbled by and the open flanks of the shirt flapped in the air. I gave Rosco's leash a shake and we regained our pace down the sidewalk, away from the odd scene.

The rumbled pile of clothes stayed with me in my mind's eye. It was early in the morning when Rosco sniffed out the trousers with the belt still looped, hugging the waist like a brown boa.

Was it some artifact of a debaucherous Saturday night? Or, does the scene carry a more sinister history?

Was the decision to disrobe made under any sort of duress? Or, was the manner jovial - perhaps on a dare.

The man disrobed outside on the street rather than discarded a wardrobe other than the one he was wearing - laundry, for example. For, if the man had simply dropped the clothing on the sidewalk, still fully garbed himself, under what circumstances would the belt have been looped through the khakis?

Here I will discuss the impression each article of clothing made on me at the moment I came upon them. In this, I intend to instill a near picture-perfect representation of all the pertinent facts. The belt, the glint of which caught my eye first, was of glossy brown leather, as I have mentioned elsewhere in this recalling. The gilded buckle was lying on the sidewalk, pointing toward the gutter of the road. It snaked around the waist of the trousers, disappearing along the left front pocket and reemerging with a dappling effect between breaks in the crumpled fabric of the trousers. The belt was slender and long. The length of which accentuated the very slenderness of it. As for the pants themselves, they were of a beige color which caused them to sink into the pitted and pebbled tapestry of the city sidewalk.

A cursory glance offered an impression of direction and form. The pants were positioned as if dropped from the waist down and stepped out of. The orientation of the wearer was facing away from me when I first came upon the scene. If the orientation is to be considered in a vacuum, the bodily form of the wearer was traveling in my direction at the time of disrobement. I will note as well that, although the khaki pants appeared to be, as I have noted, "stepped out of", no socks nor shoes were evident at the scene. A sock or two may have concealed beneath the pile of cloth, as the waist was sizeable and the wearer no doubt of a blockish frame, for roundish carries with it an, at this time, unverifiable and very possibly slanderous assertion against the hypothetical disrobed wanderer. As for shoes, if any were present, they escaped my observation.

Then there was the matter of the shirt. Further supporting the large-man hypothesis, the opened collared shirt lay draped across vegetation just off to the right of the sidewalk and past a narrow passage of mowed grass. The spindly fingers of a dead branch pulled open the left breast. A piney bush held the other so that the shirt looked as an unfurled sail of white, pale blue and beige plaid. I suspect if a sudden torrent of rainfall had befallen myself and Rosco at the very moment we stalled upon this scene, we could not only have done quite worse than to take refuge under the breadth of the shirt, but we would have preserved ourselves by doing so. The question which kept returning to the top of my mind was, does a shirt simply fall upon the trees and shrubs in this nature, or was it placed with intent?

Chapter 2

The curious sight stayed with me all afternoon. What events led up to the scene I stumbled upon? In the quiet of the night, when the streets are dimly lit, a peculiar scene may have unfolded on this particular Saturday night. Maybe the moon hung a bit lazily in the sky, casting a soft glow on the empty sidewalks. This was the night that would forever be remembered as the Great Khaki Catastrophe.

This is where we meet Bob Thompson, a mild-mannered accountant with a knack for stumbling headlong into the oddest situations. Bob had been attending the annual "Dress-Backwards Party" at his friend Jerry's house. The theme was simple: wear your clothes backward and dance the night away. However, Bob, in his usual absentminded fashion, misunderstood the concept.

As the party reached its peak, the guests were in stitches watching Bob, who seemed to be wearing his clothes the right way around while everyone else was decked out in hilarious backward fashion. Bob, noticing his faux pas, was sure this was intended from the start. He was convinced that this was the best prank he had ever pulled off, and he beamed with pride.

Hours passed, and the party began to wind down. Bob had consumed a few too many glasses of his favorite fruit punch, which might explain his slowly decreasing grasp on reality. The clock struck midnight, and with a mischievous glint in his eye, Bob decided it was time to take his prank to the next level.

He stumbled out of the house into the steamy summer night, swaying slightly as he made his way to the sidewalk. The moonlight illuminated his slightly tipsy grin as he began his daring deed. With exaggerated flair, Bob began to strip off his button-up shirt, treating the empty sidewalk like his own personal runway.

"Behold, the man of mystery!" Bob announced dramatically to an audience of imaginary admirers, while raising his arms over his head and gyrating his wide hips. He shimmied his shoulders, all the while unbuttoning his khakis. His attempts at seductive dance moves resulted in a series of clumsy twirls and off-balance steps. His impromptu striptease looked more like a slapstick comedy routine.

Passersby who had been innocently heading home from a late movie or a casual stroll were met with an unforgettable sight. Confusion, shock, and uncontrollable laughter spread among them as they encountered Bob's eccentric performance under the stage lights of the telephone pole. Some even whipped out their phones to capture the absurdity on camera.

Just as Bob triumphantly removed his khakis, leaving him standing in his unbuttoned shirt and underwear, a gust of wind decided to make its grand entrance. It swept the collared shirt right off old Bob's back and sent it rolling down the street like a bizarre tumbleweed, leaving Bob chasing after the escaped button-up in only his skivvies.

By this point, a small crowd had gathered, their laughter echoing through the night. Amid the chaos, Bob finally caught up with his rebellious shirt, huffing and puffing, his face flushed with a mix of embarrassment and exertion. He draped the garment over a discarded tree branch, held it proudly over his head, and struck a triumphant pose. He looked like a valent knight vanquished a formidable foe in epic battle.

And so, in the middle of the night on that memorable Saturday, Bob Thompson stood on the sidewalk, his gut protruding over his tighty-whities, holding up a flag of blue and beige plaid like a conquering hero. The audience of onlookers filled the sidewalks and streets. Applause. Bob's button-up billowed majestically in a cooling night breeze.

Chapter 3

Bob really took life by the horns. He is my sort of guy. I smiled at the concept of the sedentary, middle-aged officer worker whisked away by a compulsive urge to dance. My mind raced to serve up images of Bob, and his party-going ways. I wanted to know who Bob would be if he truly embraced his hereto repressed love of dance.

What happened during dance-crazed Bob's wild Saturday night?

Last night was a cool Saturday night, breaking from the summer heat and bringing with it an energy like no other. The streets were alive last night, and something unusual was afoot. Weekend revelers poured in and out of pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs, but the real show was a peculiar scene unfolding on one dimly lit street corner.

Bob Thompson was an accountant by day and a closet salsa dancer by night. Bob had a secret passion for Latin dance, and he had been secretly taking dance lessons for months. He was a man of routine, always dressed in his meticulously ironed button-up shirts and khaki pants. But tonight, something had possessed him, something that could only be described as the "Spirit of Salsa."

As the clock struck midnight, a catchy salsa tune wafted from a nearby nightclub. The seductive rhythm pulled at Bob's heartstrings in an instant. He felt the irresistible urge to dance. Without a moment's hesitation, Bob began to shimmy and sway, his hips moving like a seasoned pro.

At first, passersby simply stopped and stared, their jaws dropping in disbelief. Bob's khakis, once so impeccably creased, were now a tangled mess around his ankles. His button-up shirt soon became drenched with sweat as he twirled and spun with more flair than anyone could have imagined. He began unbuttoning.

A crowd began to form around Bob. The middle-aged, latin-dancing accountant breaking a leg with such intense enthusiasm pulled in passersby. Some onlookers cheered him on, while others couldn't contain their laughter. Someone even started a spontaneous conga line, and before he knew it, Bob was leading the charge. They took two laps around the traffic circle and sashayed toward the center of town, the conga lengthening as more and more spectators joined in.

Bob was dancing his heart out. He couldn't help but grin from ear to ear as a powerful feeling of being alive-of being truly alive-washed over him. And as for the onlookers, they found themselves caught up in the infectious joy of the moment. People strolling by couldn't resist the urge to dance. The impromptu salsa party soon covered the sidewalks and spilled out into the street, blocking traffic and causing a commotion.

Blue and red lights flashed in the void of night. Police officers arrived at the scene and, expecting trouble, approached the mob cautiously. Each uniformed man, only human under their crisp uniforms and polished boots, couldn't help but smile at the spectacle. In an act of regulatory defiance, a rookie cop flicked the intercom in his cruiser. A booming salsa beat emanated from the cop car, bringing the dance party to life. Instead of breaking up the revelers, the veteran cops kicked off their boots and began showcasing some impressive salsa moves of their own. Their blue and red strobes pulsated to the music.

So, there Bob was, in the middle of a Saturday night, wearing nothing but his heart-patterned silk boxers, dancing like Sunday morning was never coming. The city streets transformed into a dance hall, and for that one magical night, everyone danced their cares away, all thanks to Bob and the mysterious Spirit of the Salsa that had possessed his very soul that night.

Chapter Four

In the heart of the city, on a moonlit Saturday night, something utterly unusual unfolded. The normally bustling streets were surprisingly quiet, with only a few scattered souls braving the late hour. Among them was Bob, an unassuming accountant who had a reputation for being as predictable as clockwork. Bob had always been known for his strict adherence to routines and his rather reserved nature. But this particular Saturday night, fate had a different plan for him. As the clock struck midnight, a series of improbable events began to unfold.

It all started with a rogue gust of wind, much stronger than anyone would expect in the middle of a city night. Bob's tightly-buttoned shirt and perfectly-pressed khakis bore the brunt of the gust, leaving him momentarily disheveled. He paused for a moment, looking around to see if anyone had witnessed this wardrobe malfunction, but the streets were seemingly deserted.

Deciding that he was alone, Bob attempted to adjust his clothing discreetly. Unfortunately, his attempts only worsened his predicament. One button popped off his shirt and rolled away into the shadows, and his attempt to re-tuck his shirt led to an accidental belt unbuckling. Bob knew he had been going heavy on the double cheeseburgers but was growing alarmed by his now tattered garments. In the chaos of the moment, Bob stumbled and managed to step on his own shoelace, causing him to lose his balance.

Down he went, right there on the sidewalk. With a comedic twist of fate, his shirt got caught on a protruding nail from a nearby wooden crate, and as he fell, his shirt was dramatically torn off him, leaving him in an unintended state of half-undress. His khakis, too, suffered a similar fate, as the fall tore a sizable hole in the knee.

Bob sat there, half-naked and disheveled, on the sidewalk of an empty street, wondering how he had become the protagonist of this surreal nighttime spectacle. And just to add a touch of absurdity to the situation, a stray cat sauntered over, giving him a bemused look as if it were the audience to this bizarre performance.

With a resigned sigh, Bob decided that he had reached a point of no return. He might as well own this moment of unexpected liberation. Summoning his inner showman, he stood up, raised his arms triumphantly, and performed an impromptu sidewalk shimmy. He jutted out his pelvis this way and that in a fashion that would have made Elvis blush.

And just as quickly as the situation had escalated, it diffused. Bob tried to salvage his torn clothing, realizing that there was no way to salvage his dignity, and in short order abandoned both. He ordered an Uber, and in five minutes was entering the backseat wearing a lopsided grin and not much else. The hesitant kid in the driver's seat popped his eyeballs half out of his head at the sight of the nonchalant passenger in the skin-tight boxer briefs and argyle socks.

As the car sped away, leaving behind the empty moonlit street, the stray cat sauntered up to the disserted button-up and pawed softly at some tattered threads. Unbeknownst to Bob, the cat was no stray, but rather was attracted to Bob by familiarity. Across the street lived Bob's friend Jerry, and the cat was his. The Ring doorbell that captured the entire episode, ready to become a viral internet sensation, making Bob the unwitting star of an unintentional comedy that would live on in digital infamy, was also Jerry's.

Chapter Five

Jerry rubs me the wrong way. Here he is, witness to Bob's absurdity, and yet he remains on the sidelines. He claims to be Bob's closest confidant, but he protects his own skin, his own reputation, and lets Bob hang loose solo. How would Jerry like it to be made a public spectacle?

In the heart of the city, on an unusually chilly Saturday night, a man named Jerry found himself in quite the predicament. You see, Jerry was a meticulous planner, an "everything in its place" kind of guy, and his life followed a carefully structured routine. But fate had other plans for him that night.

Earlier that day, Jerry had attended a quirky seminar titled "Unleash Your Inner Spontaneity." The seminar, led by a self-proclaimed "spontaneity guru," promised to transform the lives of its attendees by encouraging them to embrace the unexpected. Jerry, feeling adventurous and perhaps influenced by the free snacks at the event, decided to give it a shot.

Fast forward to midnight, and there Jerry stood, under the dim glow of a flickering streetlamp. His button-up shirt and khakis, garments of normalcy and routine, were the very symbols he was about to shed. The city around him was relatively quiet, except for a lone cat observing the spectacle from a nearby windowsill.

With a deep breath and an almost theatrical flair, Jerry began to unbutton his shirt. Each button seemed to represent a layer of his usual inhibitions coming undone. He folded his shirt with an air of determination, setting it neatly aside on a makeshift pile of cardboard boxes that happened to be on the sidewalk.

Next came the khakis. Jerry paused for a moment, looking around to make sure no one was witnessing his impromptu metamorphosis. The cat on the windowsill blinked slowly, as if offering a feline nod of approval. With a sly smile, Jerry unzipped and unbuttoned his khakis, letting them fall to his feet. He carefully folded them and placed them beside his shirt.

Now clad only in his boxers and socks, Jerry struck a pose that he hoped exuded a mix of confidence and absurdity. Arms outstretched, he spun in a circle, basking in the cool night air. He even threw in an enthusiastic moonwalk, though his socks didn't provide the smoothest gliding experience.

Just as Jerry was fully embracing the "spontaneity" of the moment, a passing car's headlights illuminated the scene. The driver's eyes widened in disbelief as they caught sight of a nearly naked man dancing on the sidewalk. Jerry froze mid-moonwalk, his face turning a shade of red that could rival a ripe tomato.

Embarrassment turned to a frantic scramble as Jerry attempted to redress himself. He fumbled with his boxers, nearly toppling over in the process. The passing driver, unable to contain their laughter, honked the car horn in a rhythmic pattern that vaguely resembled a cheer.

As Jerry finally managed to regain his modesty, he looked around, realizing that he had inadvertently become the star of a rather unusual and humorous midnight show. He couldn't help but chuckle at the absurdity of it all, a hearty laugh that echoed through the empty streets.

And so, that chilly Saturday night, Jerry learned that even the most meticulously planned lives could use a dash of the unexpected. As for the cat on the windowsill, well, it probably went back to its nap with a tale to tell the other neighborhood cats about the night it witnessed a man's impromptu dance of liberation.

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