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The Foot Woman
by Kit Chapman


It all started with an in growing toe nail, and a very painful one at that. At least that's what my dear wife, Laura, told me and she should know as it was her nail that was doing all the in-growing. The doctor had done his bit, the out-patients department at the local hospital had done theirs, and I had done all the house work while Madam had barked out orders from a reclining chair.

'Don't forget,' she declared one morning, just after breakfast, 'I've got an appointment with the chiropodist later.'

'Yes dear,' I replied fighting a losing battle with a pile of dust on the mantelpiece. 'Half ten'. I said and hoped she would be done before the Test match coverage started on television at eleven.

'You won't miss the football,' she said. She called any game with a ball in it 'football', and even some that didn't come to think of it.

'No dear', I sighed and blew the offending dust onto the top of a bookcase.

We pulled up outside the clinic,' I'll wait in the car,' I said, tuning the radio into the pre cricket commentary.

Laura gave me one of her looks, not exactly one of loving helplessness, more sort of, 'You better be here when I've finished with the bloodshed mate!' Not wishing to appear in a hurry, I got out and opened the back passenger door, removed her crutches and manhandled her out of the car, through the front doors of the clinic and into the waiting room.
It was when I wandered over to the magazine rack that I first saw him.

Why I hadn't noticed him before, and he was breathtakingly noticeable, was entirely due, looking back on it, to my thoughts on whether I could safely nip down the road to the White lion, embrace a swift half of bitter and watch the first few overs of the test match on their television while the memsahib was under the knife, therefore in no fit state to debate.

It might have been the best example of an imploding face, that I have ever seen which caught my attention. The single brown, stump of a tooth, like a solitary decrepit turret in the middle of two bright red gums, sat comfortably below a purple cratered
overhanging buttress, which once passed as a nose. The eyes; I couldn't see the eyes, they were there I'm pretty sure, but the eyebrows that covered them would have won first prize at Crufts, if they were attached to an Old English Sheep dog. But they weren't, they were attached to a shock of bright red hair that spouted out of a skull in all directions, as though he had plugged himself into the nearest wall socket and had two hundred and twenty volts of electricity coursing through every strand. Then again it might have been the trousers. They looked like old maize sacks, roughly stitched together, with scant regard to the art of fine needlework and fell to ground level completely covering any foot wear. But the gusset, for that is where the eyes were inextricably drawn, was made from, wait for it... a strip from an old rubber tyre with holes burnt in it to accommodate the twine that attached them to the aforementioned maize sacks.

Now I didn't actually make a close inspection of this fabrication, but as I
said to Laura afterwards this fashion, if that is what, it was may be alright in the wilds of West Cornwall, but I couldn't see it becoming snazzy enough for a Buckingham House garden party!

Anyway, I was still pondering upon the haute couture aspect when the Chiropodist wafted in holding a cup of coffee, bade 'a cherry good morning to all and bade my better half to join her in the torture chamber. This was accomplished in record time, aided by a method of ejecting Laura from her seat that I had perfected during the course of her incapacitation. It involved me hooking my foot under her knee and hoicking her to her feet. Not pretty, I grant you, but effective!

'Only be ten minutes,' said the pretty chiropodist, as she led the way down a
corridor. I felt quite sorry for my beloved as she hobbled after her and decided there and then that love and duty must overcome any selfish thoughts of beer and wickets.

Have you ever tried to avoid eye contact with someone when the need to scrutinize them becomes an overwhelming desire? Well I tried and failed miserably on this occasion. Our fellow patient, for that is whom I presumed him to be, after all I surmised he couldn't be the husband, or any relation come to that of the delectable young thing that at this very moment was digging away at Laura's big toe…or could he? I wouldn't be surprised at anything in this 'neck of the woods'.


 

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