There’s a little town between here and there. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know where it is; in fact I’m doing you a favor by not telling you where it is. Let’s just say, it’s the kind of town you speed by on your way to somewhere else.
This may seem like an odd thing but our story begins with a sock; yes, a sock. Just your typical cotton/spandex blend, like that one, lying over there on Danvers Road.
It was part of a pack of Hanes athletic tube socks, only $5.50 in the sale bin at the Walmart. Margery Morgan purchased them for her husband, Harry, a 50-year-old two pack a day smoker, and a rather despicable human being.
“Marge the Barge” is what Harry called her, regardless of who was around. But Marge didn’t give a rat’s ass about Harry’s insults. While he hurled them in rapid succession at her on a daily basis, Margie would only smile. You see, she was having a rather illicit affair with one Jefferson Emery, their landlord, and with each name Harry flung at her, Margery reveled in the fact that Jefferson, unlike Harry, truly loved her.
Harry never imagined any man would be attracted to Margery. “Fifty pounds overweight, and about as much fun as an enema,” he’d tell the guys at work.
“Well, why don’t you just leave?” someone would invariably ask.
“Why should I?” Harry smiled. “I got old Margie trained just the way I want.”
Harry, ya see, was a real peach.
Margery Morgan stood in front of the sign that read Irregular Socks, 50% off and asked herself, “Why am I still buying that man’s socks?”
Because Harry had always demanded it, that’s why. From day one the precedent was set, and Margery never had the nerve nor the inclination to object. She tossed the package of irregulars into the cart and shrugged. “He won’t know the difference.”
But Harry did notice a difference. He complained to his co-workers on the first day when his big toe poked through a seam. Called Margery an idiot when on the second day another hole appeared in a different pair. But by the third day, when his heel burst through an opening in yet another pair of socks, he had finally had enough. “Damn fool woman can’t even buy a decent pair of socks.”
So instead of heading to the bar like he did every Friday after work, Harry went home to put on a new pair of socks.
“I’m home,” he yelled as he walked through the front door. “Don’t bother puttin’ out my dinner. I’m going out with the fellas tonight as usual.”
But it wasn’t Margery who greeted Harry at the door. It was the lean, wiry figure of their landlord, Jefferson Emery, walking out of Harry’s marital bedroom without a stitch of clothes on.
“What the—” Harry started to say, but stopped when Margery came out, just as naked.
“Hi, Harry,” she said. “You remember Jefferson, don’t you?”
“You cheatin’ whore,” Harry said, moving toward Margery, hands poised to strike.
Jefferson stepped in front of Harry, not the least bit ashamed of his nakedness. “You can’t hit a woman,” he said flatly.
“She’s my wife, and I can do what I want.”
Harry went after Margery again, but Jefferson shoved him back. Then Harry clumsily charged the landlord, fists raised, his face as red as a beet.
Harry made it easy for Jefferson by running face first into the man’s fists. His head jerked back and Harry Morgan dropped to the floor with a thud.
When Harry woke up, he was inside the large spacious trunk of Jefferson Emery’s 1970 Pontiac Bonneville.
Harry began banging on the trunk. “Hey, let me outta this damn thing!”
The car continued on its way.
Harry pounded harder. “Hey, enough’s enough. This ain’t funny. Let me out.”
The driver stopped, and Harry heard the sound of footsteps coming toward the back of the car. When the trunk opened, he was looking up at the face of Jefferson Emery.
“Well if it ain’t the man fuckin’ my wife,” Harry said, oblivious to the fact that he was in no position to mouth off.
“Please keep quiet,” Jefferson said politely. “Besides, no one’s gonna help you on Danvers Road.”
Harry stiffened. He knew that road all too well. Knew it was the kind of place where a person could easily disappear.
Danvers Road used to be a main thoroughfare through town. However, after the highway was built, it became nothing more than an access road to the old dairy, which closed down years ago.
Only a few residents lived on Danvers these days, in run-down homes that were only one wind storm away from being condemned by the county. Those who remained minded their own business, ignoring the sounds that came from the dairy.
So when Harry, after having pushed his way out of the trunk, started screaming and running down the road, those longtime residents either turned up their TV’s or turned down their hearing aids.
Harry ran as fast as a man who smoked two packs a day could. He was running out of steam even before he’d lost one shoe. Then that sock, the one with the hole in it, the one that caused Harry to go home instead of the bar — yes, that one — got caught on a rock shard in the badly pitted road and was violently yanked off of Harry’s foot, causing him to tumble head over heels onto the rocky pavement. Harry was so winded, he couldn’t get back up.
He laid there on the ground trying to catch his breath. When Jefferson caught up to him, Harry saw that the man had barely broken a sweat.
“You ain’t got to kill me,” Harry said in between breaths. “You can have her.”
“I know,” Jefferson replied. “But it’s what she wants.”
Margery played the part of the worried wife as if she were Meryl Streep, calling all of Harry’s friends to see if they knew where he was. Causing a fuss down at the Sheriff’s office. “You need to be out trying to find my husband,” she’d yell.
Most people thought Harry had finally left old Marjorie after all those years of whining and complaining. And really, no one was too sad that he’d gone. Like I said, Harry Morgan was a despicable human being.
Margery and Jefferson eventually moved to Modesto, California, and opened up a convenience store.
And Old Harry was finally doing some good, albeit posthumously, as fertilizer for the massive Sumac bushes that lined the old dairy.
As for that sock, well, it disappeared down a giant sinkhole about a year after these events took place, along with some of the Sumac bushes and old Harry Morgan himself.
Oh, one last thing. Harry Morgan wasn’t the only poor sap to feed the greenery on Danvers Road. Old Margery had been married once before; then she met Harry, and wanted out of that first marriage almost as badly as wanted out of the second one.
Shouldn’t be a surprise, really. We’ve seen that Margery is pretty despicable in her own right.
“Well,” Harry said to Jefferson, as he knelt over the grave he had just dug for himself. Normally, Harry wasn’t very contemplative, but he’d come to accept his fate, the way a man might when he knows the end is near.
“No hard feelings,” Harry told Jefferson. “Old Margie might not know how to buy a decent pair of socks, but she sure can make a man do things he wouldn’t otherwise.”
“No hard feelings here either,” Jefferson said. Then he pulled the trigger.