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Author: Surfette

Category: Short Story Competition

Title: In Amongst The Socks

Oh God. I’ve done it again. I’ve left it somewhere, and I can’t think where. Admittedly, it wasn’t my best set – actually it was my very worst. Grey, full of holes – more akin to an unwashed loincloth than a lady’s lingerie.

And, the problem, really, with leaving your underwear somewhere, is that it’s fairly irreversable. Especially if it’s preceded by fourteen tequila slammers. But it’s almost starting to become a habit with me, like having a kebab on the way home, or tripping over the homeless guy at the end of our street. And I have a sneaking suspicion I’m starting to make a name for myself.
I call my sister. “What am I going to do? This is getting ridiculous. I was down to the most disgusting pair as well. They had a hole in the backside.”
“Ooh,” she says, irritatingly, “kinky.”
“This isn’t funny. How many men across the city own a pair of my underwear by now? They probably all meet up in the pub and compare notes.”
“Or knickers.”
“God,” she goes on, unhelpfully, “how many people have you slept with?”
“Not…many,” I say, squirming, uneasily, “they’re mostly friends anyway. Or friends of friends.”
“Or complete strangers.”
“No. Definitely not. I’d never sleep with a stranger.”
“Okay, so what was this bloke called? That you slept with last night?”
I frown, and start to pick fluff off my pillow to distract myself from the harsh reality of being a slut. “I’m not sure.”
“So, he’s a stranger then.”
I pause. “Yes, but he was my first. Stranger, that is.”
“Really,” she says, with more than a hint of sarcasm.
“You’re not helping.”
“Well, what do you expect me to say?”
There’s a silence while I listen to her chewing on the last of her breakfast cereal. “Well, if you’re really that bothered, there’s really only one option.”
“Which is?”
“You’ve got to get it back. Get the underwear back.”

I am spurred into action, bouyed by the thought of amassing all that lost lingerie, as if it will somehow cancel out all my one-night stands, thus neatly bringing my magic number back down to Four. I decide to call Ben, who I went out with last night (and, crucially, avoided leaping into bed with).
“Ben. Who did I go home with last night?”
He sounds like he’s chewing glue. “Not sure. Was it that ginger bloke?”
My stomach floor shunts downwards. “Oh God…”
“No, no,” he interrupts hurriedly, “no, it was that dark haired bloke. With the nail varnish.”
My taste in men is clearly appalling. “Look, Ben, you have to be sure…”
“Oh,” he says, “well, in that case, I’m pretty sure it was that blonde bloke. Swimmer. Irish.”
“God, you know more about him than me. How many blokes did I chat up anyway?”
“What are so worried about? It never normally bothers you.”
“I’d really rather not say.”
“Oh, bloody hell,” he says sharply, “it’s not a disease, is it? Only I’m having my breakfast.”
I hang up in a huff. Mental note: must find troupe of repsonsible men to look after me.

After some fishing about, avoiding awkward questions, and several rounds of bacon sandwiches, I hop on the bus to Edgar Street. I am in hunt of the Irish boy, who is apparently quite good looking, making me wish desperately he wasn’t in possession of my most shameful underwear.
A short girl with pigtails opens the door. Horrified, I start to back away, thinking I’ve slept with a man who has an eight year old. But then I notice she’s got a White Stripes t-shirt on, and that her eyes are the sort of colour only available to buy. “Can I help you?”
“Yes,” I stammer, like an old lady, “I’ve come to see…”
“The blonde Irish guy. It’s about….his rent,” I say hastily, hoping I look convincingly like a debt collector, or at least the wife of a rich landlord.
“Oh,” she says, “you’d better go up. He’s third on the right.”
She eyes me suspiciously, and I wonder if she knows my secret. Maybe she’s his girlfriend, and has already found my smalls, flung sluttily over his lampshade. Maybe she’s about to go out and find me.

I knock on the door. He answers immediately and I’m in absolutely no doubt that it’s him. He stares at me as if he’s expecting me to whip out a microphone and tell him he’s won ten thousand pounds. He actually looks excited.
“Um. Hi. Do you remember me?”
It takes a second, but then the excitement dissolves into dismay. “Oh. Hi.”
“Do you want to come in?”
“Not really.”
“Look. I just want to say…I’m not ready for anything, you know, long term.”
I can’t resist a smirk. “Excuse me?”
“You know. A relationship,” he says, as if he’s talking about a rare form of bacteria.
“No,” I reply, trying not to laugh, “that’s not why I’m here.”
“Oh,” he says, pulling his shoulders back and coughing, “what is it, then? I’m a bit tied up at the moment.”
“I won’t interrupt then,” I say, dropping to a whisper in case the short girl downstairs is earwigging. “I just need my underwear back.”
“Your. Underwear?” he repeats, as if he can’t bear the thought. “What are you talking about?”
“You know…bra, knickers? I left them here last night?”
“Um…no you didn’t.”
“Excuse me, but I did. I remember.” I throw him a look. “It’s a bit strange if you want to keep it.”
“Believe me,” he says, convincingly, almost desperately, “I wouldn’t want to keep it. And I know it’s not here.”
“How?” I say, a familiar feeling of dread creeping over me.
“Because we slept at yours last night.”
I body blush crimson and creep downstairs again, where the short girl, trying not to laugh, lets me out into the harsh light of day.

It’s only later, when I’m trying to find my favourite top, that I start to remember. Hastily stuffed into the nearest hiding place, away from view, cunningly removed in the bathroom, then dashed into the bedroom under the cover of darkness. I open the drawer, gingerly, and there they are, scrunched into a sweaty ball. Right there. In amongst the socks.

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