Contributor: Eric Suhem

- -
“They are so disturbing,” Lottie said to Sol when they were both 14 years old, rejecting his footsie advances, and staring at his toes, which she found strangely misshapen. It was a comment that would stick with Sol for years, causing him to develop a complex about his feet, for which he would compensate via career achievement as a podiatrist.

After years of study, Sol received numerous degrees related to the foot, and started a successful practice. To advertise, he had a large electric toe sign set up near the medical building in which he worked. After a typical day seeing patients work he’d sit alone in his office to do research, but instead dwelled upon the girl from his childhood who’d said his toes were disturbing, as the electric toe blinked on and off, casting a reddish light.

Lottie, meanwhile, embarked on a career as a professional bowler, though for her it was a lonely life, driving down bleak deserted highways to various tournaments, staying at desolate motels, often with no companionship except her bowling ball. When feeling extremely lonesome, she would set the bowling ball on top of the television set to keep her company, its finger holes resembling eyes, and its thumb hole looking like a little mouth. Lottie fought through the isolation and worked her way up through the rankings, succeeding on grit and moxie.

“Your toes went over the line, a foul!” screamed Lottie’s competitor Lois during a crucial tenth frame roll. An argument ensued, and Lois angrily dropped a bowling ball on Lottie’s foot, before stalking out of the bowling center to the parking lot. Showing steely resolve, Lottie went on to win the tournament, but woke up the next morning with swollen and disfigured toes. The swelling eventually went down, but her toes remained permanently twisted, reminding her of Sol, that boy from her past.

Lottie began a comeback on the women's bowling circuit, rolling in small-money tournaments, though she was unable to find bowling shoes that fit her bent toes. Even custom-made bowling slippers did not wrap comfortably around the contours of her feet. “I'm not going to let this stop me,” said Lottie determinedly, clawing her way back to the top of the circuit, earning a finalist spot in the national championships in Las Vegas.

In Nevada for a podiatrist convention, Sol was channel-surfing in a hotel room as his crooked toes wiggled comfortably on a vinyl Ottoman. He tuned in to a bowling tournament, and was amazed to see Lottie, rolling strike after strike. His heartbeat quickened when he learned that the bowling tournament was near the hotel.

The next day, Sol sat in a lounge chair by the hotel pool, staring at his crooked toes after giving the keynote address at the convention. He was recognized worldwide as a leading figure in the podiatric world, but as he sipped his Mai-Tai, batting the little paper umbrella back and forth in a carved-out coconut, he could only think about how to find Lottie. He watched the lounge chairs by the pool fill up with other conventioneers, and pro bowlers.

Lottie wandered over to the hotel pool after a strenuous practice session, relieved that her toes were no longer confined in the bowling shoes. She sat on the lounge chair and spread her tarsal digits freely in the summer air, slowly noticing the foot in the lounge chair next to hers, a foot with the unforgettably contorted toes of Sol. He was having a flirtatious conversation with Lottie’s bowling nemesis Lois, ensconced on an adjacent lounge chair. Under the sun’s glistening rays, Lottie rotated her foot to the left and made toe contact with Sol. When their feet merged a lightning bolt sensation burst through their bodies, the toe friction transporting them into the cosmos. Lois recognized their bond, and slinked off scowlingly to the tropical-themed bar.

Sitting by the fire, near his podiatry certificates and her bowling trophies, a half century after their poolside encounter, Sol said, “They’re looking a bit long, it’s time for your trimming.” Lottie smiled as Sol wielded the toenail clippers.

- - -
Eric Suhem lives in the orange hallway (
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -