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Rated: E · Fiction · Family · #2254472
The Writer's Cramp 7/12/21


John came home today with just his shoes on. Now he’s not a styling kind of guy so I found this curious.

“Where’s your socks?” I asked him as I sat under a tree, my bare feet in the kiddie pool full of tepid water. I’d had to nudge the dog out of the way. The water had been sitting for a few days, a bit of green algae was starting to grow.

“You’ll never guess. Never in a million years.” He sat on the crispy grass, threw his shoes into the pool. His feet landed on top of mine.

“Okay, let’s see. You sold them for ice. The aliens abducted you, but they sent you back and kept the socks. Oohh. I got it, You didn’t want a tan line.”

“Like I said, Julie, you’ll never guess.” John splashed some water on his face. I worried he might be suffering from sunstroke or some such problem. He did look a little red.

“They melted. I was walking to the train, across the blacktop. My socks melted in my shoes.”

“Impossible. Socks don’t melt. They disappear into outer space, but never melt.”

“Here’s the evidence.” He produced two limp rags from his pocket, threw them in the water.

Buster, the dog, sniffed them, then ran for safety.

We thought on this for a moment.

“Weird. That’s hot.” It is so dry. No rain for weeks. Our well is sputtering, giving out muddy sludge. That’s all I could think of.

“Strange. Very hot.” The temperatures this year are above normal, as if everyone didn’t know that. But then the entire country seems to be baking. That’s all John could think of.

“What’s floating in the pool?” asked the kids when they returned from the neighbor’s air conditioned house.

“Dad’s dead socks,” we said in unison.

Both kids gave us the ‘I can’t believe you’ look.

“We have such strange parents,” said Jaimie.

“I hope I’m adopted,” added Nancy.

Soon all four of us were soaking our feet in the kiddie pool. Buster now sat beneath a thirsty tree.

“Don’t drink the water inside,” I told everyone. “It’s like a muddy milk-shake. Use the water in the jugs on the counter.”

First “How do we take a shower?”, then “What about the toilet?” and “Do we brush our teeth tonight?”

“This is what’s left of the good water.” I splashed the green-tinged water about. “Our well is just about dry,” I said. “After watering the garden, filling this pool, filling some gallon jugs, doing laundry, everyone taking showers, running the dishwasher, flushing the toilet, the well is about dry folks. It needs to rain. A lot.”

After that information sank in, I then heard,
“Ugh, don’t let those socks soak in there!”
“Get your feet out of here!”
“Don’t let Buster in here!”

The four of us sat for a time in the kiddie pool, until we were all pruny. No one wanted to go inside to the muddy sludge water. Finally the mosquitoes drove us indoors.

Jaimie, Nancy, John and I sat around the kitchen table. I poured a glass of water from a water jug.

“This is how much we can drink each day until the well comes back.”

“Now Mom will divide that among four glasses. We will use that to brush our teeth and drink. Questions?” John held up a glass.

I filled a glass from the tap. It indeed was like a mud milkshake.

“This is your other option. You can drink as much of this as you want.”

Nancy and Jaimie looked to the glass, to each other, then to me.

“Ew, ick. As if. Okay, fine. Whatever,” stated Nancy, a girl of few words.

Jaimie just said, “Gross! Are you trying to kill us?”

We struggled with the water drinking, no showers, no laundry, and no dishwashing for a few weeks. The toilet got flushed once a day. It was quite the adventure.

But just as quickly as the water tap was turned off, nature turned it back on. It rained for weeks. The well refilled.

Then I heard, “Mom, look at this! My shoes are turning green!” and “Why don’t the towels dry? This one smells moldy!”

Water is making me crazy. Perhaps I need to live on a desert island in the middle of an ocean.

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