Frank’s socks smelled like Frank. It was a tough, orangeish smell, like the smell of crying orange. As he unrolled his socks in the morning, Frank thought about pain – the pain of mortgage payments, the pain of dental treatments, the pain of the endless cycle of death and rebirth and endless craving and dissatisfaction, but most of all, the pain of socks. He thought about how his body had begun to break down and decompose – gracefully, at first, then rapidly and all at once – almost as soon as it had reached the closest it would ever come to perfection. His socks were socks.
As he drove to the office, he felt the cold clam hands on his eyes. He had started a new job a week ago, and his socks clung anxiously to his toes, but not to the space between them. That’s the problem with the space between things – It’s not occupied by anything.
He arrived five minutes before the start of his shift, groggily pouring out some already-stale coffee. The caffeine didn’t even really affect him anymore – It was just habit, the feeling that this infusion of burnt seeds could inspire him to work, to excel, to contribute. But compared to an egg, he was just half an egg. Compared to half an egg, he was just a quarter of an egg. When it came to workers at the place – when it came to work – Frank was never going to be the best at work. After a week, he knew this already, but he clung to his false optimism, optimism that he’d one day find his place in the place, like a sock wrapped snugly around a thing, a thing with no toes and no space between them.
He laboured throughout the day, doing his stuff. But his mind wasn’t in it – He thought about the socks on his feet, one sock for each foot, two socks and two feet in total. He tried to count each one in turn, but he never got past two, because there were only two of each. If he stretched – in the same way that a sock stretches to cover a thing that is bigger than the sock – he could get to four, but that really felt like a cheat. Deep down inside, he knew the most it could be was two, and then another two, and that made him feel small – so small, like a small sock.
Finally, the work day came to its weary close. Frank didn’t even know how much stuff he had done – Because really, how can you tell the difference between stuff and something that isn’t even stuff at all? The only real certainty was the certainty of two socks that clung to two feet, a certainty that clung to him like two socks cling to two feet. As he drove home – still in socks, still lost in socks, always socks – it began to rain. And the sound of the rain, at least, managed to drown out the sound of his sobs.
When he got home, he took off his socks.