The Broader Context of Her Personal Reality

Jane sits on her blocky pink one-seater sofa.

She looks at her feet.

“I have feet,” she comments, to Martin, who is trying to eat his cereal without having a discussion of feet and has, once again, failed.

“Do you need more?” Martin says.

“It’s just, they could have fallen off. Sometimes that happens. Then if I was a good footist, I could grow more. But if not, I’d have to get prosthetics.”

“We can’t afford prosthetic feet,” Martin says. “We have no obvious means of income.”

“I could make some out of socks,” Jane points out. “They’d be squishy when I walked because of not having feet in them. But if I sat really casually then no one would ever know my feet were gone.”

Martin grimly chews on his Lucky Charms. Crunch. Crunch. That’s a shooting star—the marshmallow kind, not the real one—that he’s chewing now. It burned brightly in his spoon but now it’s just sugar to the stomach. Crunch.

“I’m not,” Martin says, “having my sister go around in empty socks.”

“Then gold?”

“What?”

“We could get gold prosthetics!”

“How would we pay for them?”

“You don’t have to pay for gold,” Jane says, smugly. “It isn’t backing the dollar any more.”

Martin hesitates.

“Jane,” he says, after a moment, “how does this relate to our ongoing effort to resolve the fundamental questions that are crippling my effectiveness?”

Jane hesitates. She looks shifty. “Persephone had feet,” she suggests. “Thus, toes!”

Martin lowers his cynicism goggles for a moment to look down at Jane. It’s somehow even more cynical than when he has his goggles on.

Jane says, in a tight clipped dramatic voice, “It’s directly relevant because I have feet or don’t have them in the broader context of my personal reality and without them my model of the universe would be subtly different in every conceivable respect!”

There is a long pause.

This does not seem to have gotten Jane off the hook.

“Oh, like you never just stop and think about your feet, ” Jane sulks.

“Snot,” giggles Martin.

They laugh.

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