The Disappearing Problem

At first, shirts and anything with sleeves, began to disappear

around the neighborhood. In houses where they’d disappeared

from dressers, the backs of chairs, floors, there was no sign of

break in. Police were on the lookout for descriptions, checking

people’s garbage, garages, the woods, and some of the thrift

stores where stolen things sometimes showed up, but nothing

had. People started wearing sheets and blankets or just went

without tops. Stores and restaurants changed their policies

to accommodate those without shirts. Things started to get

back to some semblance of normal. Then came the missing pants,

followed by undergarments and accessories. If you made a sheet

fit like a shirt it was taken. If you wore a trash bag around your

waist, it too vanished within the hour. Things started to get

unsafe with a change to colder temperatures. Just going to the

store was an exercise in both survival and nonsense. I was running

naked in the snow holding a gallon of milk down Chestnut Street

opposite the bowling alley, when I slipped and broke my leg.

Thankfully, Rachel Gibbins, the local sheriff, happened to be driving by.

She exited the cruiser, and was quite stunning with no clothes on.

“Doesn’t look so bad,” said Rachel. “No, it’s just a scratch,” I said.

I pointed to the bone sticking out. “What do you want me to do

with it?” she said. “You could call an ambulance,” I said. “I suppose

I could,” she said. “Just make sure it’s something I can afford,”

I said. The blood from my leg was starting to make the ground

look like a cherry slush puppy. “Beers at Mickey’s this Friday night?”

she said. “You call that beer?” I said. She called the ambulance

and they brought me to the hospital. My doctor came in. “Is it

going to hurt when you reset it?” I said. “We’re not going to reset

it, Mr. Mayor” she said. “Why not?” I said. “That would indicate

there was actually something wrong with your leg,” she said.

“There is something wrong with it. It looks like a snapped branch”

I said. “I beg to differ,” she said. “I’ll never walk again, if you leave

it like that,” I said. She gave me a little time by myself, and I said

goodbye to my soon-to-be infected leg. Then I picked up my milk

and started to crawl home on my good three limbs, when two nurses

came running out and helped me back inside. “Try standing, Mr.

Mayor,” the one with green glowing eyes said. A third brought out

a mirror to prove to me there was nothing wrong with my leg. I

looked in it and like they’d said, it appeared there was nothing

wrong with it after all. But you can do all sorts of things with mirrors.