Report by Herbert W. Wackerman, Ph.D., as provided by Julie Bloss Kelsey
Art by Dawn Vogel
[The following transcript is an excerpt of an audio recording of Herbert W. Wackerman, Ph.D., recorded on the night of the incident.]
My name is Dr. Herbert Wackerman. My research attempts to demystify the courtship displays and mating rituals of the common household gym sock, Sweatiferous maximus. Casual observations suggest that S. maximus retains monogamous pair bonding, at least while young. However, in 2001, Sockwatcher and Soleman found that S. maximus prefers to form amorous polygamous bonds with lone members of more colorful sock species, particularly the lesser argyle. The suggestion, however, that the coloration of the lesser argyle is an evolutionary courtship strategy used to lure pair bonded gym socks away from their partners is beyond the scope of my research. Of course, you do realize that I am … [unintelligible].
As to the night in question, you must know that anecdotal evidence suggests common gym socks engage in fierce battles known as ravel rousers while hidden deep within their mating grounds. Socks often emerge from these battles for dominance with loose elastic and frayed edges. Some even go missing. There is no existing research to adequately explain what happens when S. maximus engages in courtship displays and mating rituals. Until now.
I agree that it was late when I slipped into the Drip ‘n Dry laundromat on West Main. And I did take great precautions to hide myself from the proprietor, one Mr. Marvin Johnson. Mr. Johnson has, on previous occasions, sabotaged my observations by manually removing bedding materials from preferred gym sock mating sites via the use of traps. Far worse, he has been known to disrupt the wild sock population by physically expelling single members from the breeding grounds and relocating them into waste receptacles. Mr. Johnson is indeed correct that I hold him in disdain.
On this occasion, I jumped into the largest industrial sized drum and waited for the socks to arrive. I concur that this was my boldest and most thorough attempt to gather research to date. I repositioned my cloak of small scented sheets in an attempt to shield myself from the prying eyes of Mr. Johnson. I had hoped that the fresh spring scent would be enough to counteract any nervous perspiration that I might be emitting. Gym socks are notoriously shy. Just one whiff of a human can cause them to disappear, suggesting invisibility as a possible defensive evolutionary strategy. I was excited to finally test my theories. I knew that I was on the cusp of greatness.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.
Dr. Herbert W. “Footie” Wackerman is an esteemed government researcher in the field of laundry migration and dispersal. He currently serves as Chairman of the Council to Preserve Free-Range Hosiery and is a tireless advocate of protecting endangered sock species, such as the lesser argyle. Footie is the author of the forthcoming book, The Secret Life of Sweat Socks. He is opposed to sock monkeys and prefers wearing sandals.
Julie Bloss Kelsey writes speculative fiction and science fiction poetry from her home in suburban Maryland. In 2011, her scifaiku “Comet” won the Dwarf Stars Award given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can catch her on Twitter where she posts @MamaJoules. This is her first speculative fiction publication outside of Twitter.
Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and an editor of both fiction and non-fiction. Although art is not her strongest suit, she’s happy to contribute occasional art to Mad Scientist Journal. By day, she edits reports for and manages an office of historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business and tries to find time for writing. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. For more of Dawn’s work visit http://historythatneverwas.com/Follow us online: