His socks had a hole which could have been put there by specification, designed to be part of the sock and inserted on the production line, because they were so regular, but it was the product of his left foot’s great toe. Although the toe and nail resembled common toes (and nails), the toe continually used its nail to cut its way out.

Although it’d been happening with his socks for years, it wasn’t until he saw it on his shoes that awareness took on significance. He liked to walk and purchased many shoes for that purpose. The latest generation of Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Under Armour, and Saucony activity shoes that he wore were made of a mesh material. He’d read the material was made of recycled plastic. (He’d never looked it up on the net because he didn’t trust the information on the net, and vetting it as truth required hours of work. He also privately admitted (that is, to himself) that he hoped it was true that the shoes were made of recycled plastic.) The thing is, his big toe was cutting up through his activity shoes’ mesh. There wasn’t anything on his right foot. It was only the left.

Because he had an active imagination, he began to watch the toe more often, specifically trimming its nail back in an effort to slow down its escape efforts. Imaging his toe crying, “Freedom,” as Mel Gibson had when he portrayed William Wallace in a movie, he nicknamed his toe Bravetoe. It was partly whimsy, but also acknowledgement that the toe had a personality and seemed to have a goal.

And a toe like that, who knows what it would do if it ever escaped its prison? He suspected it would probably inspire the rest of the toes to try to do the same, a possibility that he did not want to contemplate.

Although he did.


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