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Thread: "Podiamorphosis"

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    "Podiamorphosis"

    I can't get off this stairway to parodies, and knocked this one off this a.m. when I should have been out enjoying October's "bright blue weather." See if you can guess which classic short story this ditty parodies:


    Podiamorphosis

    For the oldest of the Samson girls, getting ready to go to work was always the same: the squabble among the sisters over whose turn it was to get into the bathroom, the mad scramble in the kitchen, the cold coffee. Just as every morning, there were the precious minutes lost trying to clip the name tag on the uniform shirt; every day it took several tries to get the printed “Gloria” to sit in a perfect horizontal line across the front left pocket. No time for more than a cursory examination of one’s appearance, although when she pulled on her socks, she noticed – or thought she noticed-- something different. The length of each foot in its white cloth tube seemed to have become slightly larger than she had remembered it when she had taken off her socks the night before. Well, maybe her eyes were stubbornly refusing to wake up; or perhaps just an active, albeit paranoid, imagination due to her hectic morning routine.

    As usual, she had to run, not walk to the bus, and though she had as always, caught it in time, she felt – or thought she felt – twin twinges in each of her feet. Then, as she stood on the assembly line, more than once that day, she told herself, “My dogs ache.” But again, this occupational hazard wasn't all that unusual. Certainly the minor discomfort did not distract her
    from her task, as she packed and packed and packed the goods in the brick-sized boxes as they ceaselessly descended down the conveyor belt like logs in a rapidly-flowing stream. Gloria never once complained about the tedium of the mindless job, but she performed her singular task, automatically, almost like a robot. Four rows of six, four rows of six, box after box after box.

    Sometimes, though, in order to maintain her sanity or to break up the monotony she let her mind escape. Instead of brown cardboard boxes she pictured them as velvet jewel cases, and the items she packed were precious gems instead of what they really were, 12-caliber shotgun bullets.

    At noon as she was taking her sandwich out of the brown paper bag a bit of excitement brightened the customarily dismal lunchroom. One of the girls on the line had great news, or at least great for herself. The night before the girl’s boyfriend had proposed marriage. Gleefully and giggling, the lucky fiancee showed off her engagement ring. Gloria’s good wishes were sincere, and she politely praised the beauty of the sparkling jewel on the hand thrust under her face. Gloria told the girl that the diamond was lovely, even though she had no previous experience in judging such things.

    This was not the first such incident, and in response to this and similar incidents, Gloria felt an emotion that wasn't quite envy nor jealousy nor bitterness. There was, however, a bit of wistfulness, wondering whether she had unconsciously bought into the myth of some Prince Charming who would swoop her off on his white steed and carry her away from all this, that someday in the future she might find a ticket out of the factory and her life of drudgery. But in order for a prince or an eligible bachelor in accounting to choose a bride, one had to fulfill some of the Western World’s standard for beauty: youthfulness, a healthy but not too ample figure, symmetrical facial features, as well as a criterion shared by the East: tiny, delicate, fairy feet.

    Gloria made a conscious effort not to think about this, back on the line for the remaining hours of her shift. The boxes and the buckets of bullets kept coming. Meanwhile, her dogs barked.

    At home that evening when she removed her sneakers , she noticed that the big toe on each foot had worn a hole through each respective sock. “Sheesh! These socks were brand new!” she said. “Just took ‘em out of the package!” Last time, she vowed, that she'd ever buy the cheap ones, the “factory seconds” in the plastic bags touting “Six Pairs for a $3.99.” All night long she tried to sleep, but her feet burned and throbbed and all but cried out for mercy.

    Next morning they still hurt. Bad. For a split second Gloria considered calling in sick, but she couldn't afford to lose a day’s pay. Trudge on, trudge on. She was all set to go, except for putting on her sneakers. But she couldn't get them on. They. Would. Not. Go. On. It was not merely the pain; they, like the glass slipper for Cinderella’s homely step-sisters, would not fit. In a pinch she grabbed her father’s work boots. When she put them on, they were just as one would think, too big – - just slightly, though, just enough for her heel to move back and forth, which prompted her to brace herself for the appearance two large blisters at the end of the day. Just what her feet needed: more pain.

    Entering the factory, she saw the office workers passing by on the sidewalks: smartly-dressed working women whose high heels clicked on the concrete as they moved briskly yet gracefully by. Their feet, Gloria could help noticing, were like the hooves of little does, or lambs as they ever-so-lightly prance across some pastoral grass. Then she pictured herself in some foggy future, under a circus tent doing pratfalls. And wearing enormous clown shoes.

    On the line her feet hurt so much, it was hard to remaining standing upright. She had to sacrifice the use of one hand to brace herself against the counter, while she struggled to pack the boxes one-handedly. The pain was intensifying, and looking down she saw that their size was increasing also. From both work boots a shredded sock and part of her bare foot protruded from the heels and all sides, and especially --oh, how especially– from the tops. My feet! What is happening to my feet? Stumbling she limped and hopped over to the supervisor “I. . .I have to go home !” He looked down at her feet and then he looked at her and shrugged. The other girls on the line craned their necks; all them gazed on Gloria’s feet; a few tittered with their hands held up to their mouth in a perfunctory pretense of hiding their derision. As she exited, she thought she heard someone say, "So long!" followed by laughter.

    With difficulty Gloria made it to the bus stop, but boarding was treacherous as she had to ascend the two steps sideways. When she deposited her token the bus driver looked down at her feet, and it took him longer than necessary to pull out back into traffic.

    At home, she broke down weeping from the excruciating pain and more so from the disfigurement. She crawled over to the sink to wash the tears from her face and looked in the mirror. My nose! What the hell is happening to my nose?

    Aunt Shecky
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    Last edited by AuntShecky; 10-02-2007 at 01:51 PM. Reason: paragraphs did not indent for me

  2. #2
    Ruadh gu brath ampoule's Avatar
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    Metamorphosis? Kafka?
    I'm in love with The Vinegar Man and Mr. Tanner, but be careful, it could just as easily be you.

    "If you're going to write you better have somewhere to come from." Flannery O'Connor

  3. #3
    Ruadh gu brath ampoule's Avatar
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    Okay guys, don't leave me here like a complete dummy. What's the answer?
    I'm in love with The Vinegar Man and Mr. Tanner, but be careful, it could just as easily be you.

    "If you're going to write you better have somewhere to come from." Flannery O'Connor

  4. #4
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    "Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka is correct. In a more oblique way,I was also thinking about a movie, "Freaks" by Tod Browning.
    Auntie

  5. #5
    Ruadh gu brath ampoule's Avatar
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    And where are my manners auntie? You did a nice job of it.
    I'm in love with The Vinegar Man and Mr. Tanner, but be careful, it could just as easily be you.

    "If you're going to write you better have somewhere to come from." Flannery O'Connor

  6. #6
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    Thank you very much, Ampoule.
    Auntie

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