What makes a madman? And if that madman possesses a gift, is it wrong to take advantage of that?
A Stitch Sense is a story about Garson, a troubled soul with ‘cassette tape hair’ who is seemingly dead weight at his job but actually is the lynchpin that keeps it all together.
It’s a story about Clairvoyance but it also works as a character study, not just of Garson, the typical ‘loser with a gift’ but of those who take advantage of his talent.
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A STITCH SENSE
A Short Story | About Clairvoyance
by John Dann
For the SHIRT STORY Short Story Contest
Button up, button down, a rustic brown zip on a pocket that doesn’t open. Red and blue patchwork joined with… custard yellow thread? No, ivory white, idiot… focus. Channel it through the centre. Hemmed sleeves, logo stitched onto the breast pocket? No, at the back, under the shirt, long sleeved allowing the option of rolling them up in extreme heat and bouts of unjustified confidence. Unjustified Confidence. A new line? U.J For Men. Will it sell? Is that it?
Garson was hideous. An animal, barely passable as a functioning member of society. He was angry, flatfooted and slunk grotesquely about the office. Carrying with him, then depositing, a musk that seemed to linger (even in the factory) for an eternity & 10. His hostility was, at best, utterly over whelming. A 27 year old human-pretzel hybrid, swept into the darkest corner of every room. Sitting, muttering incoherently under his tongue with his arms folded so tight he could feel his cells replenishing and legs wrapped restrictedly around one another in a way that seemed to imply some sort of slow motion vasectomy.
His limp, hunched physique and thin cassette tape hair, supported by the ever quivering of his bottom lip seemed to hiss:
Which in turn, naturally, sent the spotlight forever above his head. The subject of ruthless office gossip, the strange one, bosses pet and friend to No One. Eyes so hollow that you could scream into them and hear the echoes bouncing of the sides. If they were any deeper bats would have a new home.
Garson was, as far as the staff could see, a repulsive dead weight. Anchored to the workforce and determined to drag everyone down to his depths. A dirty feather in the duvet, forever sticking out and nipping you in your sleep.
“God,” thought Toby, shaking his head, as he observed his clothes factory, his world, from his glass fish tank office at the top of his stairs. His wife, Mel, next to him, her earrings, his money, her eyes, looking at him, on her lunch break, a break from whatever it is she does. Hanging on his every word like she has none of her own. He sat beside her.
“If Garson ever learned to use his ability to predict the future, for something more than just keeping one step ahead of the change in shirt fashion…” Toby said, taking her hand and studying diamond ring around her index finger “-T.S Sherper would be ruined.”
At that, they turned silently to peer at Garson, down on the factory floor, hidden away in the corner behind the no.45 sewing machine, ignored and drummed out by the whirring hypnotic predictable hums of machinery. A lullaby for the grown man.
Sitting, straining, nervously gripping himself as the future predictions flooded his brains. Unable to control the never-ending cosmic onslaught of information, Garson sat quivering at the lips, too tense and exhausted to meet the eyes of his co-workers. Toby and his wife stared at Garson for a while, contemplating the thought. Then, like well-trained studio audience, they both simultaneously erupted in laughter. Holding each other, mocking their livelihood sitting in the corner. All the while Toby, hysterical with luck, never taking his hand off her index finger.
Cruel Godparents to say the least.
After Garson’s father took his own life, the next in line were Toby and Mel. They were mostly given the title as a courtesy to Toby, as he always fancied the word ‘God’ to be next to his name somewhere on paper.
After a neglectful eternity of consciously droning out the majority of what Garson was saying, Toby reluctantly started to take notice. Psychiatrics, teachers and various social workers could only determine that Garson was unquestionably deranged. It only took Toby three years of walking down the high street to realise he was much more than that.
There he sat, day after day. Staring at the others in a desperate plea for help, only for it to be taken as cynicism and hate. A scared and confused boy, with a curtain of shirt fashion prophesies clouding his every thought and movement. All the while his Godparents celebrated him silently, basking in the effect of torment and watching their empire grow.
Two sharks, lurking, pounding against the glass and baring their teeth. Knowing full well no one would ever dare put their hand in the tank.
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