Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jim Comes Out

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

There came a time when Jim's pants felt too tight even for him. He'd loved his pants; they were made of some sort of NASA material and they were the last thing his astronaut father had given him before the accident took him away. They were the only pair he'd ever worn, since he was four years old. But now, twenty-seven years later, crippled and bed-ridden, he was beginning to rethink some of his choices.

He took tiny steps; after a month of discussion with his mother he finally decided to unbutton. It took some pricey hypno-therapy to unzip but half a year later that's exactly what he did. His doctors were astounded with this rapid progress after decades of inertia and updated their papers accordingly. The breakthrough would come any year now!

The next advance came not from up but from down when he turned his pants into cutoffs. The whole process took about eight months, not due to his reluctance but rather his choice of tools. He'd sliced through two legs of space-age corduroy with nothing more than the pointy end of a vinyl coated paperclip.

Eventually, the whole thing came off in shreds. Along with some flesh. He'd expected that part, he'd read about the same thing happening to Michelangelo when he was working on the Sistine Chapel and Jim felt partly as great as the Master for having this in common.

He was quite useless from the waist down and the realization was heartbreaking. All of these years he just figured it was the pants. He was sure that he'd spring from his bed fully formed once the pants came off. Those damned doctors were all, "We told you so!" but to hell with them. He'd show them all.

Jim threw himself into his own therapeutic regimen. He drank from the wealth of positive thinking books that the bookmobile offered.

"Did you see?" he shouted at the nurse one Saturday morning. "Something moved! I'm practically walking!"

"That's because I turned on the fan, Mr. Hallis."

"Up yours! Get out!" he said, and he threw his shoe at her. But it was such a tiny shoe it didn't really hurt.

He'd show her too. He spent the rest of the day concentrating on wiggling his -- well, whatever the hell that thing was down there. This would make one hell of a Lifetime movie someday.

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