By the Side of the Road

“Is she still there?”

“I think so. Turn on the news.”

“Oh, no, she moved, it looks like.”

“She’s not by the cathedral anymore?”

“No, I think she moved a little north where the freeway lets in.”

“Huh. Wonder what she thinks’ll happen there.”

“She was out there for a while, though, wasn’t she?”

“Like two days, just standing there with her sign. Does she still have her sign?”

“Lemme check. Yeah, she’s still got it.”

“I wonder where she found that much cardboard.”

“And a Sharpie.”

“Is it written in Sharpie? I assumed it was mud or maybe a truck tire.”

“Rolling the tire around in the mud?”

“No, like, scraping it off for the rubber. Big black streaks. Like skids.”

“Oh, yeah, that’d work too.”

“Well, she’s not gonna see a lot of people until they get off from work. I guess traffic’ll get locked up, she can bother them then.”

“Glad I don’t live north of here.”

“Glad I take the bus. Though that first day, when she first showed up, that was alarming. The bus was running along the shoulder, passing all the traffic, and her foot was right there.”

“Oh yeah? She step on you?”

“No, I didn’t die, obviously. We pulled up to her big toe and tried to creep around the bridge of her foot, but traffic wouldn’t let us in. So we’re stuck there, half the bus windows pressed up against her skin.”

“Was it scary?”

“Her foot? It was cute from a distance, like when we came around the corner, but something that huge? Yeah, that’s kinda scary. You could see the sun shining on her skin and her muscles working beneath it. All the little hairs and the pores. I dunno… I’ve been thinking about that ever since. I kinda would’ve liked to just, like, lie on her foot and study her skin. Just poke at it, tug at it. See what it does. Feel the bones underneath. I dunno, play with her vein a little. You know? Is that weird?”

“I guess not…”

“Aw, fuck you. Whatever. Anyway, yeah, so we were stuck there ‘cos of the stupid bus driver, I don’t know what he was thinking, but all of a sudden she noticed us and moved her foot and we scooted around her heel and that was that.”

“Did you, uh…”


“Could you see, like, up her leg?”

“You know what? I don’t feel like talking about that with you. You gone out and seen her yet?”

“No, just on the news. I keep wanting to go but my wife won’t let me.”

“What? You wanna go, you just go. You don’t need anyone’s permission.”

“Not to hear her tell it. They edit it on the news and all, but if I went out there to look at a huge naked woman, I’d catch hell at home. I’m all, ‘But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’ and she’s all, ‘You don’t need to go checking out other women,’ and I’m all, ‘But look at the size of her, this just doesn’t happen in real life,’ and she’s all, ‘Weren’t you just pissing and moaning about me buying new clothes for spring because I put on a little weight over the winter,’ back and forth.”

“You ever try to do that with her?”

“What, with my wife?”

“Yeah, like, have her stand over you on the bed or something.”

“With the sign?”

“No, not with the sign, idiot. Just like, fists on her hips, and then she steps on your chest or something. Or your face. I don’t know.”

“Well… yeah, we tried that on the second day. She wanted to know why all the guys were rushing out to look at her.”

“So how was that? Was it interesting?”

“Not really. She started talking in this German accent, like hah-loo litt-tell mahn, and it got weird. I’m like, where’d the accent come from? She kicked me in the head and my nose bled all over the pillow, we don’t do that anymore.”

“Eh. Weird. Well, if it makes you feel better, that one day on the bus was the closest I got to her.”

“Why don’t you drive out and look at her?”

“Meh. There’s all sorts of pictures online already, what’m I gonna do out there I can’t do at home?”

“I guess. At least she’s not attacking.”

“Yeah, cops’re starting to let up. Now’s a good time to get in there, if you lived north of the city, I mean.”

“It’s actually kinda sad, though.”


“Don’t you think it’s kinda sad?”

“What’s sad?”

“That sign.”

“What’s sad about it?”

“Well, she’s kinda stuck there, isn’t she?”

“I don’t think so. She could come in any time she wants.”

“But she doesn’t. Why does she just hang outside there? What’s holding her back?”

“I don’t think anything’s holding her back, she’s just not coming into the city.”

“What if she has to be invited?”

“She’s not a fucking vampire, she’s a giant. She’s not allergic to silver or sunlight or whatever.”

“But why doesn’t she just, like, come on in? Who could stop her?”

“That’s what the sign’s all about. WILL RAMPAGE FOR FOOD.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t she just come in and start, like, kicking over buildings and get her own food? No one could stop her. What’s she even eat?”

“I dunno. People? Buildings?”

“Who eats buildings?”

“Who’s 100′ tall? I don’t fucking know. Everything we know’s just gone out the damn window.”

“But then it’s even sadder. She’s all starving and everything, and here’s this city full of food, and she could tear it apart and eat her fill, right?”

“I guess.”

“But she doesn’t. She’s asking permission, she’s trying to arrange a deal or something.”

“Right, but who wants to be rampaged? That’s stupid. Do you want to be rampaged?”

“I guess I’m not sure what that is.”

“It’d be like a lot of stomping and crushing and tearing things up.”

“Huh. Who’d want that?”

“That’s what I’m saying! That’s a terrible bargain: here, we’ll give you a bunch of food but only on the condition that completely destroy our infrastructure and decimate our population.”

“You know that one means one-tenth−”

“Fuck off, conventional usage means that it destroys everything. Look it up in any reputable dictionary. That Roman army crap is an urban legend.”

“How do you know?”

“It’s a terrible bargain. No one’s going to take her up on that.”

“Look there on the news: it says someone started a Kickstarter to raise money to feed her and start her rampaging.”

“Of course someone did. This city’s lousy with hipsters, someone’s doing it ironically.”

“It says they’ve already got 2,000 signatures and they only need 10,000.”

“That doesn’t seem right. Why is the city allowing only 10,000 people to decide the rest of us should be killed off?”

“Maybe some hipster in the early 1900s wrote it in as a statute and the state let it pass because they were sure it could never happen.”

“Still, that seems irresponsible. What kind of people are signing this, anyway? They can’t all be hipsters.”

“A local radio station said it’s a bunch of foot fetishists.”

“Aw, fuck. Those assholes always turn out in record numbers. You can’t have any poll where one of the options is ‘feet’ because everything else will always lose!”

“Really? There are that many of them?”

“They live in the walls! I don’t know! I’m gonna… we gotta get outta here now. Can you drive me home? My bus doesn’t come in another two hours.”

“Why? We still have to finish out the work day.”

“Dude, we only have two more hours to pack up food, hit an ATM, and hustle on out of the city.”

“You really think this is going to happen? I thought you said she was just going to hassle northbound traffic out of the city.”

“I didn’t know there was a Kickstarter!”

“Damn. I never got to see the giant lady.”

Photo by rambler99.

2 thoughts on “By the Side of the Road

  1. Wasn’t this written as a response/retaliation because of some Twitter incident? That’s what I vaguely recollect, anyway. Maybe it just feels like a substory, a commentary on human folly as regards to responses to a giant presence, but it doesn’t quite strike the tone of a satire.

    Of all the jobs a giant person can hold, the one of rampage technician or officer makes the least sense unless the majority happens to have the we-don’t-negotiate-with-terrorists mindset that would preclude them from gathering mass quantities of food to deliver to the giantess so that she won’t rampage.

    Why do foot fetishists get such a raw deal? I see it all the time in various media when other kinds of fetishists behave far more insidiously. No man has ever grabbed my foot when I’m out and about, minding my own maybe-today-I-won’t-get-sexually-harassed business.

    I like the snappy dialogue, and the going back and forth about previous events as both characters lurch into a future that seems rampage imminent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t remember precisely what sparked this one. I think it was just a couple people talking shit and one of them said something like “will rampage for food.” Or maybe that was my extension of what they were saying.

      Yes, I know that foot fetishism is so common, it shouldn’t be considered a fetish or a kink. Yes, I know there are apocrine (sweat) glands in the breast, genitalia, and feet. It’s just that few contingents are as relentlessly thirsty about their kink. No matter how much foot material you create, they beg for more like it’s a completely unexplored topic. It’s been an issue with polls I’ve seen in Size Twitter and elsewhere. I’m frankly stunned it hasn’t been a Size Riot topic yet: I must not attract that audience.

      I had a guy take pictures (in what he thought was a sneaky manner) of my shoes on mass transit. In the goth club, there was one guy who’d turn out in bondage gear week after week, carrying a sign asking women to let him lick their boots. Everyone emphasized how polite he was, no one gave a thought that maybe a woman would like to go out one night without a mostly naked middle-aged man begging to slobber on her shoes.

      Liked by 1 person

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