“Worse Than Zombie Warts” by T’Mara Goodsell
This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Woman.”
It was supposed to be my little secret. I was going to slip into a pair when I got out of the shower. I’d hang around the house in them when I wasn’t expecting company. I’d wear them outside, but only to run to my mailbox. Or I’d wear them on a really cold day under a coat. No one would have to know.
I’m not a robe- or sweatpants-kind of person. Robes are too bulky and sweatpants are too much of a lie. They wouldn’t fool anyone. The only sweating that would take place in them would be when I had to lean way over to scrape smashed brownie crumbs off the sofa with my nail—spatula-style—while watching television.
I had planned on ordering them online, but . . . shhhh . . . I didn’t want my computer to know. The reason is because when my middle-schooler got that ugly wart partially under his toenail, I Googled “warts” and for months afterwards, my computer unexpectedly punished me with pop-up photos of warts. Big warts. Little warts. Warts in varying degrees of wartiness. It was like reading one of those forwarded online jokes where you’re supposed to see if you can spot the little dot in the picture and then a really ugly zombie suddenly jumps out to scare you.
I did do a noncommittal Google search, but I cleverly sandwiched it between legitimate research on whether Bill Nighy, the British actor, is the same person as Bill Nye the Science Guy (not) and whether Beethoven really was as cute as he looks in his statue (possibly). You know—to throw the computer off track. The search did show I could buy what I wanted at a nearby store without my computer finding out and shaming me.
So I went to the store late on a Saturday night, when no one else shops except a few other crowd-hating women like me. Problem was, this was a bath store, and I had no idea where they would stock my item. I tried to look unapproachable, but I have this horrible affliction where I am the most approachable person in the world. Plus, the employees were evidently looking for an excuse to get out of stocking duties. One came to help me, an adorable young man of about 20.
Right away I had to decide: 1) Did I want to admit what I wanted to him? Or 2) Wander by aimlessly and pretend I didn’t need his help? Since I am not the quickest of thinkers, I decided on a compromise: 3) Mumble.
“Can you tell me where I can find pphhmmmaa jhhmmmms?”
“Excuse me?” he politely responded.
“You know—pphhmmmaa jhhmmmms.”
He looked at me, thoroughly perplexed. I knew I could only let him say “excuse me” so many times. Thus, I finally took a deep breath and admitted what I so longed to have caress my body. That was when the walkie-talkie appeared in his hands. It was too late. Of course, the walkie-talkie was connected to the store’s P.A. system. It moved to his mouth as if in slow motion, then he uttered to the entire store, “Jay, where do we have the PAJAMA JEANS?”
So there it was, literally broadcast in public, that I wanted sweats that impersonated jeans. Jeans that flunked out of Jeans School for complete failure to work. Clothing lower on the clothing chain than jeans. Defective-gened non-jeans. An article of clothing born from jeans’ less classy side of the family.
Jay was up on a ladder, which made him both loud and visible. “PAJAMA JEANS!?!” he shouted. Then he had to think out loud a bit, and into the speaker: “PAJAMA JEANS . . . PAJAMA JEANS . . . hmmm . . . wait! There’s a whole display of PAJAMA JEANS in the middle of the aisle.”
With that, my young clerk paraded me up and down the aisles, and I drifted after him like the Lazy Ass Jeans float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But he couldn’t find the display. We passed pretty much every customer in the store, and it turned out due to the sale there were quite a few more than usual. Another all-store broadcast ensued, drawing yet more clerks and even helpful customers. Now everyone in the store knew I was buying jean imposters. A crowd began to gather around the pajama jean display—seemingly every one of those dear, helpful people wanted to make sure my derriere was covered in ample amounts of pretend denim. Sweatless sweatpants—riveted with pocket studs—for the serious lounger.
“They’re not for me,” I said lamely when we finally approached the crowd. “They’re for . . . .” Only I couldn’t think of who they’d be for. Not only am I the world’s worst liar, embarrassment made any blood left in my brain rush straight to my face. I gave it up and hung my head. “OK, but I probably won’t wear them in public. Much.”
One woman, bless her heart, decided to step up and rescue me from the humiliation. “I have them, too,” she whispered. Hooray for human kindness. And hooray for these fleecy mullets of jeandom. I am a hardcore lounger with a soft -core rear end to prove it. Just call before you come over so I can change.
T’Mara Goodsell is a multi-genre writer, teacher and single mother who lives near St. Louis, Missouri. She has written for Chicken Soup for the Soul as well as other anthologies, newspapers and publications.
Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Woman.” The book features 62 stories only women can truly appreciate! Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1o9yZtl) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1Ctd6eK).
To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.