“And that’s it. Final score: Red Sox 10, Orioles 6. You know what that means: tomorrow is a one-game playoff between the Red Sox and Yankees. The winner gets into the postseason and the loser goes home.”
Karl Murphy turned off the television and let out a contented sigh. A playoff, winner-take-all. Twelve days ago the possibility had seemed as good as Karl shacking up with Gisele Bundchen. Ten games out of first place with the hated Yankees in the top spot.
Karl looked down at his feet. The socks. It was all the socks.
Twelve days ago his mother had yelled at him to clean some shit out of the attic. Upstairs, Karl had found boxes full of old toys, school papers, and misshapen art projects. As he hefted a box, something fell on his head—the red socks from his Little League uniform. They had won the city championship that year, the highlight of his baseball career.
He had thrown the rest of the crap out, but he kept the socks. He wore them first as a gag. “Check it out, red socks,” he said to his buddy Stench as they watched the Red Sox game. That had been the start of the streak. By the fifth straight win, he vowed not to take them off until the Red Sox won the World Series.
That was still a long way away, but tomorrow’s game would be the first step of the postseason. He stayed out late that night with Stench to celebrate the Red Sox victory. By the time he got home at four, he barely had the strength to climb up the stairs to his room. He was out before he collapsed onto the bed.
He awoke the next afternoon with a shiver. He was cold. Not his whole body so much as his feet. His feet. The socks!
He rolled over to confirm the horrible news: the socks were gone! Who would have taken them? Karl replayed last night in his mind. After the Red Sox won, he’d gone out with Stench to the Golden Seal to get some beers. Stench. That bastard.
Karl found his cell phone and dialed his friend. “You son of a bitch! I always knew you was a Yankees fan!”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“My lucky socks. You took them last night, didn’t you?”
“What? I didn’t take nothing. You were still wearing them last night when you got in the cab.”
“I don’t remember no cab.”
“That’s ‘cause you was too drunk to remember.”
“You remember who the cabbie was?”
“Why would he steal your socks?”
“I don’t know! Who else would have taken them?”
“Shit if I know. Look, I gotta go. Molly’s wanting to go out and shop for drapes or some damned thing.”
“Fine. Some friend you are,” Karl grumbled. He tried to call the taxi company, but they couldn’t tell him anything. Next he searched his room from top to bottom. He threw the blankets off the bed, lifted the mattress up, and emptied the closet. He found plenty of other socks, but not the socks.
He checked his watch; shit, the game had already begun! He hurried downstairs to turn it on. As soon as he saw the score, he moaned. The Yankees were already ahead by four runs! Karl sagged onto his chair. The socks. Those damned socks. Without them, the Red Sox were doomed.
“What was all that racket upstairs?” his mother asked.
“I was looking for my socks.”
“Those stinky red things? I put them out in the trash, where they belong.”
“You what? Those were my lucky socks, Ma!”
“I don’t care if Jesus himself wore those. I ain’t going to have those things stinking up my house.”
Karl grumbled a stream of curse words as he stomped outside. His mother had already put the garbage cans by the curb. Why didn’t anyone understand? Those socks were all that stood between a World Series or another dismal loss to the Yankees.
He opened the lid of the first trashcan. His mother couldn’t have just left them right on top. He opened the bag inside the can and then began to toss its contents onto the lawn.
“What the hell are you doing?” his mother shouted from the porch.
“What’s it look like? I’m looking for my socks!” he roared and then hurled a detergent bottle at the porch. ...Tweet