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by Jubbly 

Posted: 13 May 2010
Word Count: 386
Summary: For challenge 305. A re working of an oldie.

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Gilbert Donaldson had been plagued by his toes all his life. Not the toes themselves as such, but the pain they were capable of receiving.

It dated back to an incident in his childhood when hed stubbed his big toe on the dining table. His flesh turned white with pain, he felt himself float above the room as the agony spread through his foot and flooded his very being. The phobia wasnt helped when he read about a dreadful incident in the country involving a farmer and a lawnmower and a great deal of blood. He took to wearing three pairs of socks, hand knitted slippers and leather boots on top of it all. Needless to say walking about was very awkward and even he had to admit, that the pressure this extra protection placed on his toes caused them some discomfort as well. Once whilst undressing for the bath he dropped a bottle of bubble bath directly onto his foot he yowled with pain and almost exploded with rage when he dipped his damaged toe into the water for relief only to scold it in the process. He could guarantee that it would be his toes stepped on accidentally in the crowded bus, his toes suffering from chilblains in the winter and ingrown nails all year round, his toes that would seek out and find the lost drawing pin only for it to pierce his yellowed skin and stick fast in the flesh. His toes that would become infected by the unseen yet often felt splinter wedged between the nail and the baby soft flesh underneath. He could no longer put up with this terrible way of life he had to do something about it.

When they found him, he was unconscious on the reclining leather chair, his feet nestling in a warm bowl of water, the water the colour of mulberry wine and bobbing about on the surface, like tiny apples at a Halloween party, were ten little toes. Hed chopped them all off one by one with a Swiss army knife in the sheer hope that his primitive actions would bring him the peace hed always been denied. But sadly cutting off his toes to spite his fear was not the answer or indeed the best idea Gilbert Donaldson had ever had.

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Comments by other Members

tusker at 15:08 on 13 May 2010  Report this post
I enjoyed this, Julie and I guessed what was coming in the end.

The image of his toes floating in the water made me wince and oddly that old song came into my head, 'Twenty tiny fingers. Twenty tiny toes.'

Hope he doesn't start on his fingers next.


Prospero at 15:22 on 13 May 2010  Report this post
Very entertaining and unusual, Julie. A great little vignette.

I think you meant scald rather than scold when he dipped his toe in the bath.



Crimsondelilah at 08:34 on 14 May 2010  Report this post
I like this Julie - weird and wonderful little story. I like the way the descriptions of his feet change over time. The fact that with so much protective covering the flesh has become yellow with ingrown toe-nails is too vivid a picture. Love the image of apples i mulberry wine. I'm not sure about the last line - maybe some dialogue by those who find him to that effect might work better.

crowspark at 09:44 on 15 May 2010  Report this post
Ouch! Having had a number of foot injuries in the last year I felt for poor Gilbert. V. funny in the elaborate extent that he tries to protect his feet and wonderful image of those toes floating in their own mulbery bath!
Maybe you could crank up the agony a bit to "justify" each amputation as acceptable levels of pain? You gotta love swiss army knives. Got a tool for everything ;

Thanks for a most enjoyable read, Julie.


Dreamer at 12:07 on 15 May 2010  Report this post
Enjoyed this very much.
Guessed what was coming but only figured he would cut off his big toes.
The fact that he cut off all his toe one by one is a little unbelievable. The pain would be excruciating. I would think that by the first or second he would rethink his plan. An axe all at once would work better. You have to admire his persistance if nothing else.
My toes are squirming.

Thanks for the entertaining read.


Jumbo at 14:45 on 15 May 2010  Report this post

This is a wonderful piece of writing. And I must admit I squirmed at that final image (and I didn't see it coming!!).

Trust Brian to come up with some practical advice...
An axe all at once would work better.

Thanks for the read, I'm off to clip my toe-nails,


Bunbry at 10:31 on 16 May 2010  Report this post
Hi Julie, for this to work for me you would have to address the pain he'd need to overcome to chop his toes off - perhaps medication. Or send him totally mental!


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