smuggling sweat socks by Karl Koweski

I was eleven years old
first time I decided
I might be a little
too short in the pants
to interest the ladies

I remember looking down
the front of my
stone-washed jeans
and thinking
there needs to be
a much bigger bulge
happening there

with my mother
shouting at me to quit
posing in the mirror
and get ready to go
I grabbed some
balled up sweat socks
and shoved them
down my pants

I entered that goddamn mall
like the patron saint of porn stars
never has an eleven year-old
the way I swaggered that day

I didn’t have
a cent in my pocket
but I had
an oddly spherical
bulge in my pants

I almost managed
to curve my spine
in on itself
in order for my groin
to arrive at Kaybee Toys
three seconds
before the rest of me

I tipped a wink
and snap/pointed
at the counter girl
who regarded me
with befuddlement
tinged with
what I could only hope to be
sexual curiosity

surveying the action figures
I readjusted the bulge
every three seconds
perhaps the fortieth time
I handled my junk
I shifted the bulge
too far to the left
and the sweatsocks
began the slow descent
down my pant leg

“can I help you?”
the clerk asked
more suspicious than
sexually curious
as though she
intuitively grasped
that not only was
I a penile fraud
but a lowly
sneak thief as well

“model cars,” I mumbled
“where are they?”

“next aisle over”

she stood there
waiting for me
to make my move,
her eyes flickering
to the impressive bulge
at my thigh

I knew taking a step
would only increase
the socks’ rate of descent
but I saw no other

by the time
I stepped around the clerk
my knee was twice
its normal size

something about my
sweaty, furtive demeanor
prompted the clerk
to follow me to
the rack of Testor paint
at which point
my knee was fine and
my ankle had swollen

she couldn’t take her eyes
off me and I couldn’t
take my eyes off the models
as the balled up socks
popped out of my pant leg

perhaps she didn’t notice

as subtly as possible
I kicked the
incriminating evidence
away from me

the socks rolled,
stopping at the clerk’s feet

“excuse me” she said
“you dropped your socks”

“those ain’t my socks
I’m wearing mine”

I lifted up a pant leg
to show her socks
nearly identical except
for the colored stripes

“those socks were there
when I came down the aisle”
I added as I ducked
passed her and streaked
out the store into the mall
to find my mother

swagger gone forever,
convinced the clerk
was even now
conspiring to tell
my mother everything


xTx said...

fucking clever and hysterical

Anonymous said...

Karl- absolutely hilarious and the visuals were incredible. I could picture it all. Kudos! JLBrekke


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