Aphelion Issue 287, Volume 27
September 2023
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If Pants Had Brains

By David Flynn

  If I had a brain I would enjoy hanging here in the closet.  Draped feels good.  Actually, a lot depends on the type of hanger.  The wooden ones are deluxe but the man has just a couple.  I hung from one once, the wooden dowel snuggly holding me as it fitted into the metal hook.   Plastic is good.  The cardboard over wire and, especially, the wire only hangers are the worse.  We pants, the ones with brains anyway, are very sensitive, and a low-class hanger means we are looked down upon for awhile, with no eyes of course.

            When the man takes me off the hanger and out of the closet, the general feeling, if I had feelings, is a kind of woosh.  Slide off, through the air, opened up, and he fits himself inside me.  This is what I was made for.  Gradually, stitch by stich, I became aware at the factory until the machine stopped and I was complete.  Now, the man and I together means I am complete in a second way.

            The store was the worst.  Strangers poking me, wrinkling me, trying me on then sticking me back on that hanger.  I need, if pants have needs, certainty as much as the next object.

            The man and I go many places.   He takes me.   He has worn me to a restaurant, for example, and the smells, if I could smell, and the sights, if I had those eyes, are exotic and like an adventure.  I see, without irises, other people, men and women, who wear other pants, and know I am part of a bigger world.  I am not dress pants, like those hanging on the rod above me, but I am of the khaki chino tribe, he says, and have gone to his office.  He has worn a tie in the shirt tucked inside my waistband.  The shirts hang on the other side of the closet, and I hardly know them, if I know anything at all.  I do have a memory, as do all material things, the wrinkles and fading for example.

            Once he spilled hot brown liquid from his cup on me, but the stain, he called it, came out in the wash, which I am getting to next.   If I could feel, I would have felt afraid.

            So after he wears me, I am thrown into a hamper—I hear him use these words if I had ears—and days later he throws me and other cloth items, like underwear, into a machine.  I love this part.  This is the highlight of my life, depending on the definition of life.  Water floods the cylinder and I get wet, a new sensation, although a few drops have fallen on me from the sky.  I am soaked through and through.  Suds attach themselves to me and the cylinder does a kind of dance.  I am wiggled.   Now, my very favorite part, and the greatest moment, the cylinder begins to spin rapidly.  Round and round I go, flattened against the metal, and it’s like I am speeding through space.  I saw space once on TV if I had eyes.

            The dryer is O.K., but a little hard.  Sometimes I get really hot and not just warm.  I do tumble around and around with the other clothes, but it’s not as pleasant as the washer.  Being warm is O.K.  He lifts me and smooths my legs, then piles me with others, also warm.  Last, I am placed on the hanger again.  This is the circle.

            He is thinking and writing this for me, because I don’t have fingers for the keyboard, eyes for the monitor, a brain for the thoughts, nor language for the connection with you.    I do have a life, whatever that is.

            Now I am hanging in the closet again.   I notice, if I could notice, a bit of fraying on my cuff, if I knew what that was.  People and things like we pants all get old.  I think, or rather he thinks, I will be worn again.  That is all that matters, if I cared.

                                                                                                          THE  END

2015 David Flynn

Bio: David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN.  His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher.  He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist currently on the roster.  His literary publications total more than one hundred and sixty.  Among the eight writing residencies he has been awarded are five at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM, and stays in Ireland and Israel.  He spent a year in Japan as a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching program, and recently won the Kintetsu Essay Award.  He lives in Nashville, TN, and for three years was president of the Music City Blues Society.   He is married and has one daughter.   David Flynn’s writing blog, where he posts a new story and poem every month, is at http://writing-flynn.blogspot.com/

E-mail: David Flynn


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