The elevator doors closed.
“All right, Liz. Check this out.”
Liz had been having a hard time lately, and as her friend, I saw it as my duty to lift her spirits. Fortunately, I remembered her relating a random fancy of hers while we were gallivanting around town. Liz’s enthusiasm was—and is—infectious; her big brown eyes lit up as she spoke.
“Wouldn’t it be great if someone took off their shorts to reveal even shorter shorts beneath them? Like, they have on regular-sized shorts, and you think that’s it; but then they take them off and WHAM! Tiny shorts. I think that’d be thrilling.”
“Yeah, that’s an interesting idea,” I replied coolly, the tiny stenographer in my head typing away at hyperspeed.
I’ve been known to pull stunts in order to bring friends a glimmer of joy: dancing in a front lawn to H.E.R. in an inflatable T. rex costume, moussing my hair into horns and reciting from memory Jim Carrey’s Count Olaf monolog from A Series of Unfortunate Events, letting a friend draw on me in red-and-green marker a mustang with the words “FREE PONY RIDE” as a temporary tramp stamp. I’m not afraid to make myself into a spectacle for the purpose of entertainment. Some might even say I relish it.
In this case, I made sure to wait a few weeks for the short-term memory of Liz’s safe-for-work fantasy to clear. That morning, I put on my tiniest Daisy Dukes underneath a pair of nondescript mom jorts, chuckling to myself at my cleverness. There’s a secret surprise for my friend in my pants, I thought. Also maybe don’t put it that way.
As early evening rolled around, Liz passed by my desk.
“Okay, Thisi, I’m taking off.”
“Wait, let’s leave together! I’ll finish this up real quick.”
“Oh, uh….Yeah, okay.”
I had to be quick. I sent out an invoice with an unusually haphazard explanation of company policy, clocked out, and hurried off to meet her at the vast double doors out to the elevator lobby.
We complained about the usual frustrations with our clientele; the “per my last email” types of groans. The elevator announced its arrival to the twelfth floor with a ding. Liz and I stepped inside.
I grabbed my waistband and yanked it to my feet, a clownish grin shoving its way into my cheeks. I looked at Liz, who looked at my hips.
“Okay. That’s...your underwear.”
I looked down; the Daisy Dukes had hitched a ride with the mom shorts, gathering about my sneakers. I stood in my gray boxer briefs, mortified.
I couldn’t stop yelling “NO” as my hands rushed down to my ankles, grabbing desperately at the shorts; but they’d somehow become caught on my shoes, a phenomenon I can only explain as both pairs of shorts conspiring with my shoes to mock me. If denim could laugh, they’d have been in stitches. I pulled. The shorts stayed put.
The elevator dinged a second time as it opened its doors on the eighth floor, at which point my soul fully left my body. For a split-second, I met eyes with a human—let’s call them Kelly—sporting a sensible dress, shoulder-length hair, and a look of shock bordering on horror; I then went back to my forward fold, continuing to struggle with my shorts and scream. Liz spoke for the both of us.
“He’s having trouble with his shorts….You should just take the next elevator.”
Kelly may or may not have nodded; I was too busy fighting against gravity and prankster shorts to take note.
Somewhere between eighth floor and first, purgatory and hell, I managed to free both pairs of shorts from my shoes, stop screaming, and button back up the outermost shorts. I cleared my throat as we stepped out onto the main floor.
“I should probably explain what just happened.”
“Yeah, that’d be nice.”
These days, Liz and I look back on the incident and laugh; but I still can’t forget poor Kelly. From an outside perspective, and in spite of my flagrant gaiety, it probably seemed like we were about to engage in some sort of debauchery. Kelly, if you’re out there, and if you should ever happen to read this, please believe me: it was a botched attempt to surprise a friend. You did not almost see us boink.
Also I’m VERY sorry.
About the Creator
I'm your typical Portlander in a lot of ways. Queer, cheerfully nihilistic, trying to make a quiet name for myself in a big small town. My writing tends to be creepy and—let's hope—compelling. Beware; and welcome.