Somewhere out there in the sewers beneath our homes lives a sock demon. He waits for the appropriate time, and steals just one sock. Why just one you ask? Nobody knows. But, my guess, he works for the sock companies, or maybe he just likes to irritate people.
You gather your laundry and take it to the washing machine. A chore you have done for years. You know that you put two matching socks into the wash. After the wash cycle finishes, you transfer the clothes into the dryer. All that’s left is to fold your laundry.
The dryer buzzes. You get your clothes out of the dryer and start folding. You come to end of the basket, and one sock remains. It’s mate, missing. Of course, it’s one of your favorite pairs, not a generic white sock that can be put into the drawer and used when needed.
It’s a mystery. How can a pair of socks go into the wash, but only one sock come out? You scratch your head, and grumble. Now the search begins. It’s best to start at the beginning, so you check the hamper, and finding nothing, you check the floor. It’s not there.
Next, you go back and check the washer and dryer. It has to be there. Where else could it be? Meanwhile, somewhere below in the sewers, the sock demon is laughing. The washer is empty. You check under the agitator, if you have one, or look in the drum for the stray sock. Not surprising, it isn’t there.
You move onto the dryer. It has to be there. After checking the cavity and finding nothing, you pull out the lint trap. Still nothing. Do you hear laughter? It must be your imagination. It must have gotten sucked into the crinkled vent hose. After taking that apart and finding nothing a voice in your head tells you, check the clothes you just folded. It’s probably stuck in there.
A groan escapes as you look at the crisp folded laundry. Piece by piece you unfold and refold the clean clothes. The basket had been emptied and still no sock. Unbelievable.
Unable to find the sock’s mate, you toss the odd sock in a basket kept just for that purpose―hoping it will turn up. It never does. You look at the basket. It’s filled with unmatched socks left to remain unworn, perhaps even repurposed―flute cleaner, waxing cloth, car cleaner, dog toy―a terrible fate, but unavoidable with no mate to keep him from it.
Where could that sock be? You do one last check, just in case you missed it, but you didn’t. A trip to the store to buy more socks is in your future. You curse the sock demon. You wonder, is there a land of the lost socks?
For writers, what would you do? How will your characters deal with something missing, something lost? Nothing ever goes as planned. Things come up missing. Do you throw a monkey wrench into your work? How do your characters deal with the unexpected? Share with us. We’d love to hear from you.