“The Man With Socks for Hands,” by Kate LaDew

Aug 20th, 2015 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

“You know what would be great?” Spector spread a smile over his face. “If we took this here,” he held up the severed foot. “And put it here,” he pointed at where the man’s hand used to be. “I think that would be great.”

Clark frowned. “You want to put his foot where his hand was?”

Spector rolled his eyes. “I don’t want to just put it there. I want to sew it there. Like, with surgery.”

“You want to put a foot where a hand’s supposed to go?”

“Sew. I want to sew it there.”

“Where a hand’s supposed to go.”

“Yeah. With surgery.”

“So you want to take this severed foot,” Clark took the foot from Spector and held it up, little chunks of ice dripping. “And put it here,” he pointed at where the man’s hand used to be. “Where the man’s hand used to be?”

“That’s exactly what I just said. You literally said the exact same thing I just said, like, five seconds ago.”

“That’s because you literally want to sew a foot where–“

“It would be great! Let’s go get Wilhelmina!”


“Are you drunk?”

“He’s already got no foot. We don’t do this, he got no hand.”

“How did you become a doctor talking that way?”

“Wilhelmina,” Spector said. “This is doctoring not talkering.”

She looked at Clark. “Is he drunk?”

“Maybe so, maybe no.”

“And you’re a doctor too?” Wilhelmina frowned, looking down at the foot. “What even happened here?”

“Lawnmower. Mangled his hand. Cut off his foot.” Spector shrugged. “It happens.”

Wilhelmina nodded. “And you want to do what to this man?”

“Only everything awesome! Come on people,” Spector looked at Clark now. “Don’t you wanna’ be somebodies?”

“I am somebody.”

Wilhelmina’s frown deepened. “So am I.”

“But you will be more than just Clark, Clark.” Spector held up his hands and spread them, tracing a movie marquee.

“People will call you an innovator, a pioneer, a trailblazer. A vanguard, a groundbreaker, a trendsetter. A man who knows a thing or two about somethin’.”

“That’s a lot of words.”

“Yep, and they’ll say every one of ’em!”

Clark blinked once. “If I put a foot where a guy’s hand was, they’ll say every one of ’em?”

“Sure. Because it will all be true! Who would ever think of doing it?”

“Maybe we need to focus a little more on that,” Wilhelmina said.

“Just you Clark. Only you.”

Clark blinked twice. “Only me?”

“You will be an innovator, a pioneer, a trailblazer, a vanguard—”

“That’s enough,” Wilhelmina said.

“A groundbreaker, a trendsetter. A man who knows a thing or two about somethin’!”

Clark looked into the distance at nothing in particular. “They will say ’em, won’t they.”


“No one will say any of those things,” Wilhelmina shook her head. “Not one.”

“An innovator,” Clark repeated.

“A pioneer,” Spector said.

“A trailblazer.”

“A vanguard.”

“A groundbreaker.”

“A trendsetter.”

“A man who knows a thing or two about somethin’!” They yelled in unison.

“Dear Lord,” Wilhelmina breathed in and out. “I do not like where this is going.”

“I love it!” Spector slapped Clark across the face. “Let’s jump in this rocket ship and ride it to the moon!”


Spector slapped Clark across the face with the foot. “Make this foot into a hand!”


Wilhelmina sighed and walked out of the operating room.


“It doesn’t look quite like I was expecting.”

“It looks exactly like I was expecting.”

“Yeah?” Clark looked at Spector.

“Yeah. It looks like you turned a foot upside down and sewed it onto this dude’s wrist.”

“Well. That’s what I did.”

“I know. I was here the whole time.”

“That’s what you told me to do. Turn it upside down so it looks more like a hand.”

“The whole time,” Spector reminded.

“It doesn’t look like a hand.”

“No, it does not.”

“It looks like a foot.”


“It was your idea, Spector.”

“I say all kinds of things all the time, Clark.”

“But you said I was an innovator. A pioneer. A trailblazer.”

“I will refer you to my previous statement.”

“A vanguard. A groundbreaker. A trendsetter.” He grabbed Spector by the collar. “A man who knows a thing or two about somethin’!”

“All kinds of things all the time.”

Clark shook Spector back and forth. “I got on your rocket ship.”

“And rode it to the moon,” Spector looked down at the hand/foot. “Or at least in the general vicinity.”

“This is all your doing!”

“Be a lot more comfortable if you’d stop shaking me, Clark. And the yelling. Be a lot more comfortable if you’d stop yelling at me, Clark.”

“What have we done?! What in God’s name have we done?!”

“Be a lot more comfortable if you’d stop using the collective we.”

“Not only does this man have no foot, he’s got no hand!”

Spector pointed. “Does so.”

“One. He has one hand!”

“One and a half, I’d say. This hybrid hand/foot mutant monstrosity of an appendage you sewed on him counts as at least half a hand. If not half a foot.”

“You are a horrible person!”

“I am only a man.”

“Not even half of one!”

Spector gasped. “You go too far.”

“What’s everyone yelling about?”

Clark stopped mid-shake. Spector looked towards the recovery room bed. They both looked at the patient looking back at them.

Spector said, after a pause, “Hey, buddy.”

“Hey,” the patient’s eyes opened and closed woozily. “Why are you yelling?”

“I’m not yelling. Nobody’s yelling.” Spector removed his collar from Clark’s hands. “Not a single person is yelling here, bud. Everybody’s happy in this room. We’re all doin’ just fine.”

“I thought I heard yelling.”

“Just talkin’ ’bout you and how great you are. Just talkin’ ’bout that.”

“Am I great?”

“Just great.”

“Don’t look at your hand,” Clark said.

“Hey,” Spector smacked Clark on the arm.

“Don’t look at my hand?” The patient repeated.

“I wouldn’t,” Clark said.

“What’s wrong with my hand?”

“Not a thing, not a thing, Mr.—” Spector looked at the clipboard on the bed. “Charlemagne. Not a thing, Mr. Charlemagne. Your hand is a hand and is exactly where a hand should be.”

“Don’t look at your foot either.”

“Clark, I swear to God.”

“Don’t look at my foot either?”

“I wouldn’t.”

“Because there’s nothing to see, Charlemagne,” Spector said. “There’s nothing to see there, buddy.”

“You got that right.”

“Clark, I mean it—”

“What are you—” Charlemagne’s eyes squinted down at the empty space of sheet below his ankle. “Where’s my foot?”

“Where your hand’s supposed to be.”

“Clark, as God is my witness—”

“What are you talking about?”

Clark looked at Spector. Spector looked at Clark. Spector shook his head. Clark bit his lip. Spector shook his head again. Clark looked at Charlemagne. “We sewed your severed foot where your hand’s supposed to be! You cut it off with a lawnmower and then we sewed it where your hand used to be before you cut it off with a lawnmower! Your foot is now your hand!”

“My foot is now—”

“Your hand! We flipped your foot upside down and sewed it where your hand was! Now you have to use your foot as your hand! And it looks nothing like a hand! It looks like a foot!” Clark’s breath came in bursts, hands clenched at his sides. Spector rubbed his temples and looked at the ceiling.

Charlemagne was still. He blinked his eyes once, twice. Thrice. He wobbled his leg back and forth. He looked at his bandaged hand. He looked at Spector. He looked at Clark. “Why didn’t you wake me up?”


“Didn’t think it was necessary.”

“You looked pretty tired,” Spector added.

“You didn’t think it was necessary to wake me up and ask me if I wanted you to glue my severed foot where my severed hand used to be?”

“We didn’t glue it.”

“You didn’t think it was necessary?”

“It didn’t seem so.”

“It didn’t seem so?”

Spector shrugged. “At the time.”

“It didn’t seem so. It didn’t seem necessary. You know what? You know what?” Charlemagne hit the bed with his remaining hand. “It wasn’t necessary! It wasn’t necessary at all! What kind of a crazy person would say ‘yes’? If you woke up any sane individual in this whole entire world and asked them ‘Hey, you want we should glue your foot where your hand’s supposed to be, you know what they’d say?”

Clark looked down. Spector shrugged.
“No! They would say no! They would say ‘Of course not now leave me alone and let me go back to sleep and not another inane question out of you! Not one! That’s what they would say.”

“We didn’t glue it.”

“What did you say to me?”

“Spector,” Clark whispered.

“We didn’t glue it.”

Charlemagne narrowed his eyes. “Oh, no?”

“We did doctor things. We did doctor things and now you have a perfectly okay foo—hand. Hand.”

“Did you just say foot?”

Spector paused. “No.”

“You did! You said foot!”




“Spector, just stop,” Clark said.

“But he has a hand now. Two. In a way. And that’s something.”

“That’s something?” Charlemagne said.

“It’s not nothin’.”

Charlemagne grimaced as he picked up his bandage. “What am I supposed to do with this?”

“Wear socks.”

Charlemagne grimaced again. “Is that supposed to be a joke?”

“Wear two. Wear two to match.” Spector nodded. “If you wear two socks no one will much wonder.”

“No one will much wonder why I’m wearing socks on my hands? Is this what you are trying to convince me of?”

“If you saw a guy wearing one sock wouldn’t you wonder where the other sock was?”

“If the sock was on his foot, maybe.”

“One sock is a mistake, two looks like a statement.”

“I’m fairly sure your reasoning is unsound.”

“No one likes asking crazy people things. You walk around with socks on your hands, everybody looks away on general principle.”

“Because they think I’m crazy.”

“I would think you were crazy,” Clark said. “But I would rather you be a crazy man with socks on his hands than a sane man with that foot where your hand’s supposed to be.”

You put this foot where my hand’s supposed to be!”

“View remains the same.”

“What on earth has happened here?” Dr. Jefferson suddenly walked in, Wilhelmina trailing behind. “Let me see that!” He grabbed at Charlemagne’s bandage, unwrapping it. “Good God in heaven above! Why is this on this man’s hand?”

“This is this man’s hand,” Clark said.


Spector shrugged. “It was his foot. Now it’s his hand.”


“We just thought,” Spector said. “Since he didn’t have a foot it would be too bad if he didn’t have a hand either. Since we still had the foot, I mean…” Spector cocked his head.

“I mean what?”

“Lemonade out of lemons.”

“Lemonade out of lemons?”

“And, for the record,” Spector looked pointedly at Charlemagne. “I would like to say that we did not glue this man’s foot to his wrist. We sewed it. Like a doctor.”

“I think they were drunk,” Wilhelmina whispered.

“I hope they were!” Charlemagne yelled. “How else do you explain it?”

“Genius. Absolute genius.”

Everyone stopped and stared at Dr. Jefferson.

“Genius?” Wilhelmina said.

“Genius?” Clark said.

“Genius?!” Charlemagne yelled.

Spector shrugged.

Dr. Jefferson turned the un-bandaged hand over, bending it at the wrist. “So you just flipped it upside down?”

“Sure thing my man,” Spector smiled. “Flipped it like a pancake.”

“And this was your idea?”

Spector looked at Clark. “Yep. My idea.”

“Genius. I never would have thought of it!”

Charlemagne sighed, leaning back in his bed. “You’re telling’ me.”

“You know what this is,” Dr. Jefferson narrowed his eyes at Spector. “I’m sorry, what’s you—?”


“You know what this is, Spector?”


“Innovating, pioneering, trailblazing.” Dr. Jefferson clapped him on the back. “You are a vanguard, a groundbreaker, a trendsetter, Spector. A man who knows a thing or two about somethin’!”

“I’ve always thought so,” Spector said, and shrugged.


Defenestration-Generic Female 01Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. So, she starves.

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