Funny stories in under 500 words.

Podophobia



I knew I was in for a different experience when she greeted me—her sturdy arm and woodsman-like hand extended out, and down, to meet my meager wet-noodle handshake. My poor mitt was no match for her robust clutch. But, all wincing aside, I could picture what those meaty paws would bring to the table.

She placed hot towels on various body parts—several on my back, neck, and feet. She applied an icy-hot product to persuade my knotted body to relax. I smelled an infusion of lavender and menthol. Hmmm wait, what’s the other smell? Stinky feet? I inhaled deeply for some reason. I guess the scientist in me craves confirmation. Yep, no doubt about it, feet. I was troubled.

With vigor, she massaged my back. I tried to remain calm, but the putrid gym sock smell grew stronger. I usually keep my eyes closed during a massage session. You know, for relaxation, but also in case the therapist is admiring my body or doing something I don’t want to see, like picking their nose. What? It’s a dark room, where certainly some secrets reside.

Nonetheless, I had to open my peepers. Need data. Need confirmation. The smell was mushrooming, and the room was small. I opened my eyes, and through the head cradle, I saw two enormous bare feet. Stench explained. Now, what do I do? I felt dizzy and anxious. Please, I don’t want to vomit. Did I mention I have a healthy fear of feet?

I fibbed to my massage therapist: “I think I’m ready to flip over to my back. My sinuses have been bothering me lately.”

“Sure, honey. Give me just another minute on this knot.” She dug in, using her elbow. I flinched. She roared. Literally. Loud guttural noises permeated the room, akin to the odor from her feet. She struck a rhythm with intense breathing, followed by a groan, culminating into a rich howl—the crème de la crème. Am I in the presence of Bigfoot?

“How’s that? Ready to flip?” she woofed.

“Yes. Thank you.”

She lifted the blanket, so I could turn over. As you may or may not know, most clients, myself included, are naked on the table. At this point, I was rattled. My nostrils were overcome with horrendous foot odor; I couldn’t shake the image of her gargantuan bare feet; and now the howling. What’s next? I breathed deeply, trying to overcome.

“You can turn over,” she yipped.

“Oh, yes. Sor . . .” Thud. Just like that, I was on the floor, naked as a jaybird.

She bent over to help me up, but her bare feet stared me down. We were on the same level now, and I was petrified. I locked in on her big toes, assessing they were the size of eggplants. I reached up to the table and grabbed the blanket. And, no, I didn’t use it to cover my naked toosh. I whipped that blanket over those monstrous dogs.

Phew.

Relief.

The barking had stopped.

This story was written by Tiffany Parson, environmental scientist and author. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and fourteen-year-old border collie. She's currently working on a novel and several short stories. Her fledgling website is tiffwriter.com.




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