He said he could only draw feet.
No, at first I thought he meant he could only draw with his feet, because he didn’t have arms. But no, he said again, “I can’t draw anything else, only feet.”
I told him drawing hands was basically the same thing, just make the “toes” longer, but he literally couldn’t get it right. He held the pen with his toes and drew on a napkin I put on the barstool between us, and the person he drew was like a lump with the head and arms and legs all on top, like a fucking foot.
I was like, “You did that on purpose.”
And he goes, “No, I swear, this is all I can draw.”
Of course I did. I got another napkin and said, “Draw a bird.”
So he drew the round body part, but the legs were little stick things up on top, next to the head. So it was like a foot with three weird-ass toes. I just put my head down on the bar, and when I looked again it had wings—yeah, shaped like little feet!
And the bartender went, “See?” like that proved something.
And the guy was like, “Come home with me. I give the best foot massages.”
Of course I laughed. It was funny, he meant it that way. No, I didn’t want to be rude. He was kinda weird, but he had no arms, and it was clear this was like, his thing, so I went, “Okay, draw a tree.”
So he flipped the napkin over with his other foot and did two lines to the top—okay, so it’s like the tree’s growing past offscreen or whatever, fine. Then he puts the roots at the bottom, little stubby things in the ground. So it’s kind of like a leg, but with no ankle or knee. Just a foot!
No, I know, but I’m making it sound like a thing because it became a thing.
I go, “Draw a school bus.”
He draws a giant foot. With wheels.
Weirdest fucking scissors I’ve ever seen.
Yeah, I actually felt bad for mentioning the scissors, but he didn’t seem fazed. I wanted to ask him if he used special scissors, but I figured that was rude. He probably would’ve lied anyway, since he was already on a fuckin’ roll.
Of course he was lying! Nobody can “only draw feet,” that’s ridiculous. I kept going ’cause I thought I’d come up with one to stump him. But saying all these objects and only seeing feet made me feel claustrophobic. You know, like the old Tootsie Roll commercial where everything turns into Tootsie Rolls?
Yes, I know “tootsie” also means foot, thanks. As if this isn’t traumatic enough. You’ve seen that commercial? YouTube it, it’s exactly the issue I was having. I wasn’t hallucinating, but I looked around the bar and saw how everything’s like a step or two away from being a foot. All the bottles, the bartender’s face, the football players on the TV—they looked like little feet running around. Yes, football players, you see what I mean? Everything felt different.
No, I know my drink wasn’t drugged; the bartender sort of knows me, and my drink never left my hand. But even my hand looked like a weird monkey foot with toe rings!
I actually started having trouble breathing and I had to get outta there.
No, I tried to finish my drink, and the ice cubes were like gross cold dead toes touching my lips, I almost threw the glass, I swear. And I closed my tab while the guy got another napkin and started drawing something else I refused to look at. He was like, “No, stay, I wanna show you this,” and he tried to like grab my arm with his other foot, and I was like, “If you touch me, I will kick your ass so hard.”
I know I shouldn’t have said it, but I did.
And I went outside and got in my car. It was like sitting inside a big foot—it’s a real problem I have now, I’m fucking serious. And the people walking around on the sidewalk had creepy toenail faces, and I kept thinking, “This little piggy, this little piggy…”
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Congratulations Zac. This is another well written and disturbing story. The gradual yet rapid unmooring from reality seemed quite realistic. Next time you and Louise visit the states, you might enjoy a short trip north to visit the bar in Dawson City that serves the “sour toe cocktail”…….
Thank you, Jim!
I looked up the sour toe cocktail, and apparently some jerk swallowed one of the toes in 2013. Then I found out other people have donated more toes over the years, since the toes used can eventually “degrade,” and some donations come after loss from frostbite, but others have come from gout, diabetes, and lawnmower or chainsaw accidents. The creator of the drink also willed his toes to the bar when he died in 2019, to help keep the tradition alive. This is another story waiting to happen.