Thursday, August 17, 2006


By Quentin McGraff

The people of Albania awoke one morning to find that all their socks had disappeared — every last pair of them, including those with holes and unpleasant odors. Even the sock puppets of Albania had vanished, button eyes and all.

Was it mere coincidence that as millions of Albanians gazed dejectedly at their empty sock drawers, the town of Heifersburg, Kansas, was proudly proclaiming itself "Sock City, USA"? Yes, perhaps it was just that — a coincidence. But Gazmir Peco thought otherwise, and soon the young trout salesman from Tirana had slipped barefoot into a pair of loafers and talked his way aboard a cargo ship, which was, as luck would have it, sailing to Kansas that very day.

He would eventually find himself standing along Main Street in Heifersburg, watching the first annual Heifersburg Sock Parade, followed by the crowning of the first Sock Queen. Later, he would witness a rousing performance by Flapjack Granny and the Li'l Butterscotch Cloggers. Then he would eat five corn dogs and a glistening funnel cake.

And late that night, Gazmir Peco would steal away to the Topeka Airport with an upset stomach and a large sack, filled with what very well could have been all his countrymen's socks.

(Quentin McGraff has written about Eastern European footwear for a variety of national periodicals. This is his first published work of fiction.)

1 comment:

Hugh Jorgan said...

My mouth does, too, love the taste of corn dogs; my stomach wants to hurl them back up again. What IS it about corn dogs that so displeases the human digestive system??!

P.S. Wouldn't it have been faster and cheaper to have purchased round-trip airfare than to have to resort to lying to get to Kansas aboard a steamer and then fly home again on a one-way ticket? This guy used up a lot more vacation time than he needed to, as well as his hard-earned trout money. And they say Americans work too hard!

P.S.S. Whoa! My bad! I see now that this is a work of fiction. Sorry!