The Kidnapping

A long, long time ago, before there was carpet in the basement, we used to play "Sock Hockey".

Sock Hockey involved spraying Pledge furniture polish all over the floor to ease one's ability to slide across the floor in stocking feet. The regulation socks were the holey and lone socks that lived in the Odd Socks Drawer in the kitchen.

After 30+ years in the same house, the kitchen drawers all have names. Although it's been ten years since our last cat "Bruce" died, and even longer since he was small enough to fit, everyone still knows which is "the drawer the cats go in".

The Odd Socks Drawer is right next to the Cats' drawer. A family of seven can build up lone socks pretty quickly. The contents were soon relocated to the odd socks box (which, not surprisingly, quickly became a favorite cat nap spot). Eventually, we used the Odd Socks Box to mail a care package to my sister when she was living in France. Once we carpeted the basement, Sock Hockey and our need to maintain an Odd Socks Box, became just a memory.

The teams for Sock Hockey were the Slapshots and the Comets. Family and neighbors made up the former. Family friends from across town, and whoever else they brought or bribed away from our team, were the latter.

I was too young to really understand the details of what was going on. Aaron, a mere 11 months my senior, was allowed to play, in fact, face off. I, as the littlest one in the gang, was always stuck being "the audience".

That actually suited me. I used to line up a good number of my toys to assist me in my serious spectator duties. The major new toys for me at the time were the Weebles, known for wobbling but not falling down. I would carefully line them up, but sometimes the vibrations of the game would shake them off the shelves.

One day, a Weeble fell and I couldn't find it anywhere. I continued to not find it for months.

My sister began receiving ransom notes in school, made from cut out newspaper letters. The Weeble had been kidnapped - by the Comets. This happened shortly after the time of the Patty Hearst scandal. The renegade Weeble was nicknamed appropriately.

The Comets tortured her constantly. They'd offer a quick peek at the Weeble, to know it was still alive. They bound and gagged it and tied it to the railroad tracks, at the end of a dock, whatever else they could devise.

Eventually, they named their ransom as a certain amount of unmarked monopoly money in a plain brown paper bag. Even today, the house monopoly games remain suspiciously short of funds.

Patty returned permanently handicapped, a hole drilled into her head, one side of her filled with lead. Unlike any other weeble, Patty always falls down.

Many years later, when everyone had "grown up" and my sister was getting married, the Comets bought her a separate gift from their parents, a very nice crystal bowl.

And in the bowl was a Weeble.

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Updated: January 1997