The Sock Thief

There's a monster that steals my socks.

Mechanically, stealthily, he slinks into my laundry,

while glancing to and fro, ensuring he is alone.

Carefully, he slips into the laundry room,

cringing and internally cursing over the

fluorescent lighting that makes him so nervous.

He tiptoes across the painted sky blue floor,

trying to tighten his body, bringing it as close together as he can,

so the sickening shadow he casts will be less significant.

He creeps towards the dryer, and with a little leap,

bounds towards the door.

He cracks it open with a creak,

but not before gazing at himself in the front-loader's plastic circle.

Snickering, he pinches his pallid,

rubbery cheeks. He sticks out his

black tongue, a barb-like snake peeking

out of its burrow. He scratches some

yellow plaque off of his

browning teeth with long,

cracked fingernails that haven't been cut in ages.

A little itch along the center of his back

makes him turn around, scraping into the scaly folds,

nails digging, leaving

flakes of dead skin to flutter to the floor.

Another coarse cackle and he creeps into the dryer,

which upon being opened, crawls to a stop.

Methodically, the gremlin sorts through my socks,

matching them all together. The no-show

athletic Nikes are put together,

and so are the ankle-highs that are worn on colder days.

He deposits the tall tube socks on the

inside rims of the dryer, creating a shelf,

although that can hardly be what the inventor had in mind.

After he's sorted my socks, he selects those that he will take:

A worn and holey white tube sock,

a black sock with blue strawberries, and a

lime-green no-show that has a hole in the left pinky toe.

Another titter escapes as he shoves

one sock after the other into his black mouth,

and swallows them

whole, even though his body cannot digest them.

With a little hop, he streaks from the dryer,

his little legs pumping him back to the secret hideout

where he will keep my socks,

once they have passed through him,

for any sort of unimaginable things.

Leaving me to try to match three socks to other odd ones

that have amassed over the years.