# # The Thing In The Overshoe

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

The Thing In The Overshoe

One cold, January day in the early 80’s, with eyes on an expedition into the iced-over irrigation ditch behind our house, I decide a pair of black, rubber overshoes would be my best choice of foot gear. I’ve not worn such a thing in forever, a combination of woolen stockings, waterproofed boots, and diligently avoiding standing water having replaced the cumbersome, black and, truth be told, hated rubber overshoes of my youth.

Sometimes, however, they’re just the thing.

While my parents do their best to run a clean, well ordered home, they are up against it with my older brother and I. The depths of my closet remain the ideal place to stash verboten snacks, secret tools “borrowed” from my father, or dump the items that I am too lazy to put properly away when ordered to clean my room. Down beneath the lightly swaying shirt tails lies a dark realm of large and lifelike dust bunnies, wadded-up shirts that my mother likes on me but which I hate, and things long forgotten, such as a pair of flip flops I’ve not worn since I was three because the feel of the plastic straps between my toes was so unutterably disturbing. Excavating anything from the resulting strata is always a bit of an adventure.

Sitting on my haunches, I begin to dig, pulling out of the haphazard pile by its sad, brown tongue an old boot, its yawing mouth creased and gagging in lazy protest under the closet’s bare-bulb illumination. This somewhat collapses the tangled mass before me and there, at the back, slumped in shadow and wheeling, invisible dust motes, I spy two pairs of overshoes, their rubber skins the color of inner tubes with ridged, metal buckles running up their fronts like unsuccessful staples on a gaping wound.

My mind fills with the memory of my much smaller fingers struggling, benumbed against the difficulty of the ice-coated closures and the plastic bread bags my mother would put over my shoes so that I could more easily slip into what my brother sniggeringly referred to as “rubbers.”

Reaching back into the closet’s gritty murk, I extricate the larger pair, my brother’s; the first time in at least two years that they’ve been exposed to direct light.

I don’t know why they call them overshoes, they’re overboots, anyone can plainly see that.

I upend and waggle each floppy, chattering boot in turn, hoping to shake loose any multilegged beasties who might have made the golden fleeced cavern of the boots their home: nothing.

I pull on long, winter stockings, lace up my old, brown boots, fetch a couple of empty bread bags from the kitchen drawer, and, working these latter over my boots, sit to pull on the overshoes but … what is that?

Down at the bottom of one of the tall, rubber boots, some fleshy thing is peeping, just out of the light; a pale, sickly arc of bare, greasy skin. Startled, I drop the overshoe, kicking it from me with scissoring, spasmodic legs, the bread bags on my feet rustling hot and agitated.

What the hell is that?

Too many years of shows like Star Trek and Alien have my 12 year old mind jumping to wild conclusions. I realize this and calm myself. The boot remains still: inert. Whatever is in there is dead, I console myself, it will not leap out at you. Cannot.

I go to the kitchen junk drawer and fetch the flashlight.

Poking the beam down into the boot does little to allay my queasiness. Whatever it is, it looks not of this earth, as if some horrid Lovecraftian creature chose this dark space to die in. It is stuck to the golden orange fibers of the boot’s lining, having settled down in its decomposition. The flesh of the thing is pale, describing a decidedly vaginal shape, and pocked with shriveled pores. The very center of the thing is dark, like a beak, with no other discernible features, just seemingly random ridges of tissue folding into one another and running rumpled to connect with the outer rim: a mummified, mutant, hairless, alien bat the size of my palm.

Curiosity overcoming revulsion, I fetch a ruler from my desk and, clasping the boot between my knees, begin to work at prying the remains of the creature loose. It is slow, sticky going. Though almost immovable at first, I discover that the flat and perplexing mass is remarkably pliant. As I work at it with the ruler, it responds like taffy with a skin, stretching free from the fibers of its peculiar tomb.

Finally the gluey, scab-like carcass pops loose, disappearing into the deep shadow of the overshoe’s toe.

Moving cautiously, not sure I want to know, I turn the boot over and agitate it until the thing tumbles forth from the goggling, black neck of the overshoe to land face up on my bedroom floor. I poke at it, hesitant and still unsure of what on earth it could be as it settles with a glutinous slowness to the wooden plank upon which it rests. I ease towards it for a closer view, ready in case it makes a last-second, Hollywood jump for my face, but exposure to the full light of day provides an ironic lack of illumination on the subject’s origin and nature. The circle of shriveled, almost translucent, alien meat before me, its wizened, gaping beak of a mouth collapsed back against the flesh of its now silent throat, is only more repulsive, more unspeakable when pulled from shadow.

Using the ruler to scoot it with ginger timidity onto a piece of thick paperboard from my desk, I decide to show it to my father, certain he will be able to unravel this exciting and disturbing mystery I have unearthed.

My father’s aura is one of utility, practicality, and reality – the nearer in proximity I get to him, the weaker the rays of the unbridled and the fantastic become. I look down at the protoplasmic perversion I carry and decide that it can’t be an alien creature but a bug of some kind in a heretofore undocumented larval stage. Perhaps it’s a fetal example of a new species of nocturnal amphibian, or maybe a wayward organ? Of course, there’s always the possibility of radioactive mutation …

My father looks up from his Tandy catalogue for two seconds before pronouncing his sage verdict:

A dried apricot.

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6 Responses to “The Thing In The Overshoe”

  1. KJT says:

    Ha! That made me snort. And it’s nice when the word vaginal can be worked into a story.

  2. redwithenvy says:

    did it go in dried? or did it go in NORMAL and dry up over the years, seed and all? i’m assuming the former, but i must know..

  3. cae says:

    My dad was against snacks for some reason. With him it was eat during your meal and that’s it. Well, we were growing kids and would often attempt to sneak “the good stuff”, from the pantry or whatever, back to our rooms. I was in my closet, eating a few dried apricots I’d managed to snag, when I heard parental footsteps approaching. Fearing discovery, I shoved the remaining dried apricot into the boot, planning to return at a later time. I did – much later. I preferred the day I found almost 100 forgotten dollars under one of my bookends to this event.

  4. tdnarb says:

    Does CAE remember bouncing the mice in the celling as they scuryed across
    at night?

  5. cae says:

    Hey now! No giving up details of future stories! =D

  6. tdnarb says:

    Sorry, I’ll not spoil the future stories, HeHeHe.

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