He was feeling restless in his overheated testicles on that day when everything changed.
The man named Steeple resembled a yellow wooden pencil as he shimmied down the sidewalk and away from the store on Story Street that sold mostly women’s lingerie and unmentionable undergarments. One of the clerks in the store had caught him grotesquely fondling frilly panties that were displayed like religious pamphlets on a table in the center of the store. He had been quite brazen about it, too—whispering unspeakable things and moaning. The clerk forcefully asked him to leave.
“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy I’m in trouble,” he said aloud to himself in a sing-song kind of way in his getaway. He walked rapidly, his long legs skating along awkwardly, arms pumping, elbows cocked out to the side. He kept turning around to look to see if anyone was following him. His head spun in all directions as he scanned the cityscape for a fresh poppin’ police cruiser tailing his ass. There were none.
He ducked into a small park and hid behind a tree. He suddenly had the urge to make pee and he undid his zipper and let it out. A woman holding a small child by the hand saw him as they passed by. “What are you doing!?” she cried out. She whipped the child around so she wouldn’t be able to see him.
“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy I’m really in trouble now!” the man who resembled a yellow wooden pencil said, and he quickly zipped up and scurried off like a frightened small mammal.
“You’re a pig!” the woman called out after him. “You should be behind bars!”
Steeple started to run, tripped, and fell, and then hurriedly got back up again. He had ripped his pants when he fell and could hardly stand it. He went straight off to see Mr. Calypso, the tailor on Harding Street.
A small bell attached to the door jingled when he walked in. “Hello… Mr. Calypso! Are you here!?”
A short man with flowing white hair and a big white moustache wriggling beneath his swelled nose emerged from the back of the shop. “Oh, hello there, Steeple. How are you?”
“I’m having a rough day,” Steeple replied. “A very rough day. And now my pants are torn… Right here in the knee.” He displayed the rip to him.
“Oh, my,” Mr. Calypso said, and he came out from behind the counter to take a closer look. “Take them off and I’ll get them fixed up for you.”
Steeple looked around the dim shop. “Right here? But people will see me in my underwear.”
Mr. Calypso bent his head down and looked at him judgmentally over the top rim of his glasses. “Do you think I have that much business?” He waved a hand in the air. “No one will come in, but if it makes you feel any better, you can come sit in the back with me while I work. Okay?”
“But then you’ll see me in my underwear.”
Mr. Calypso shot him an annoyed glance. “It’s underwear, Steeple. Everybody wears underwear. If you want, I’ll take my pants off, too. Then we’ll both be in our underwear. Okay?”
“That’s fair,” Steeple said, and he followed the old man to the back of the shop and the area where he did all his work.
“Now,” Mr. Calypso began as he undid his pants and stepped out of them. “I’ll just sew on a patch, okay?” He folded his own pants neatly and set them aside before spreading Steeple’s pants out on a broad table. He sat down on a stool and clicked on a light and went to work repairing the pants. “So, what’s this about a rough day. Do you want to tell me about it?”
“Just between you and me?”
“Just us, my friend.”
“I got caught messing around in the women’s lingerie shop.”
Mr. Calypso suddenly stopped what he was doing. “What? What kind of messing around?”
“I was just touching the women’s underwear.”
“More god damn underwear! What’s with you and underwear?”
“Yours are funny looking, by the way.”
Mr. Calypso looked down for a moment at his plain white briefs. “Never mind that!”
“Have you ever touched a pair of women’s panties?”
Mr. Calypso chuckled as he went back to fixing Steeple’s pants. “It’s been a few years.”
“They’re so nice. So soft and lacey and… I just can’t help it. I mean, men’s underwear are like tool bags, whereas women’s underwear are like cradles full of lullabies.”
Mr. Calypso looked at him strangely and shook his head to cast off the words Steeple just uttered. “And so, what happened? You were touching them and then what…?”
“The lady that worked there, she like, yelled at me to stop and I ran out of the store.”
“Well… I don’t think they’ll send you to prison.”
“And then some woman and her kid caught me peeing in the park. That’s when I ran off, fell, and ripped my pants.”
Mr. Calypso laughed out loud. “Oh, my. You have had quite the day. Ooo hoo. Anything else?”
“No. Not yet.”
“Come on,” Mr. Calypso said. “Don’t be so glum. It could be worse. It can always be worse.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“I am right. I’m always right.”
They were silent with each other for a while as the tailor finished his work on the pants and then presented them to him. “Good as new,” he said.
“Thanks,” Steeple said, and he hopped off the stool where he had been sitting and put the pants back on. “What do I owe you, Mr. Calypso?”
“Don’t worry about it… Think of it as the one good thing that happened to you today. Free pants repair. I know it’s been bleak.”
“I appreciate it… I’ll see you around.”
Steeple walked out of the tailor shop and went up two blocks to a coffee house. He ordered a regular coffee and a piece of cherry pie. He sat in a small booth by a window. He sipped at his coffee and poked at his pie with the tips of the fork tines. “Oh, boy, oh boy, oh boy, I’m a damn fool,” he whispered to himself.
A moment later something in the corner of his eye caught his attention. It was a red balloon floating listlessly in the air. He followed the white string down and saw that it was tied around the wrist of a young girl. It was the girl from the park, and her eyes were boring into him like the gigantic drilling machine in the movie At The Earth’s Core.
The girl tugged on her mother’s sleeve and when the woman realized who it was, she thrust out her pointer finger and yelled across the restaurant, “That’s the man who made pee in the park! Security!”
Steeple panicked. He roughly got up from the table and ran out of the coffee house without paying the bill. He ran and ran and kept on running. A police cruiser eventually rushed up beside him; it’s lights suddenly illuminated and there was the blurp blurp sound of warning.
Steeple could run no more, and he hunched over and placed his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath. The new patch felt strange against his palm. He could see the officers approaching. Then once again from the corner of his eye, something caught his attention. There was someone sitting in the back of the patrol car. It was Mr. Calypso the tailor and he was scowling back at him and wagging a finger of shame in Steeple’s direction.
“Oh boy, oh, boy, oh boy,” Steeple mumbled as the officers of the law roughly put him up against the outside wall of a building. “It was all just a trick. Life is nothing but a trick.”