It was 3:00 PM.
I had just gotten off work and smelled of French Fries, rubber soled shoes and pantyhose.
My friend and I were in the break room of the soda fountain shop, stripping out of our rayon dresses, the brown ones with the white stripes and the zippers down the front and sliding into our blue-jeans, with barely enough room for all four of our elbows.
We were racking up the pool balls by 3:15.
Cindy was good at billiard games.
I was not.
I didn't know her very well at the time and now I don't know her at all. We had one of those summer friendships because we were waiting on tables for a living and we both had a couple of hours to kill, so we'd walked on over to a place down the way and met up with my younger sister, Louisa.
I was lining up the cue stick with the cue ball and I was aiming at a nervous red and white striped victim that I was supposedly going to knock into the corner pocket.
That is when I saw something strange over in the corner.

"What is that over there?" I said.
"What?" says Louisa, turning her golden wavy hair and freckled nose in its direction.
"I don't know," says Cindy and she and walks over to the dark and shiny creature on the floor, adjusting her brown square-framed glasses on the way.
She leans over the thing.
"I can't tell what it is," she says.
Louisa walks over there.
I straighten up, the pool cue still in my hand and the red and white striped ball breathes a sigh of relief.
"Oh, my God," they say. "It's somebody's underwear!"
I put the cue stick down and join them.
"How does this shit happen? I mean, who leaves their underwear in a bar?"
"Must have been some hanky-panky going on here late last night," says Cindy.
I look back at the pool table and can now see nothing but stains all over it.
I lean over the smooth edge of the pool table and take a shot, missing the cue ball entirely.
Cindy proceeded to kick my butt making shot after shot and then she and Louisa had a match that resembled a game of pool, all the while our discussion kept circling back around to those underwear, because, that is what happens when a pair of unexplained, discarded panties are sitting there on the floor, not very far away from you, in a bar.
The beer enhanced our stories.
"Here is what went down. One bartender had all the stools turned over and lined up on the bar and she was mopping the floor when the other bartender came back here and said, "Hey, nice touche. Wanna get it on?"
"Wait. I got it. Maybe, there were just two people back here, like we are right now, going practically unnoticed and maybe the front bar was packed full of people. And maybe they just did it in the corner and someone forgot to pick up their underwear."
"No. No. No. I got it."
"Maybe, there was a rocking band playing back here and the lead singer was wearing fishnets and stilettos and she was wiping her sweaty brow and cleavage with a bunch of her underpants and throwing them out to the crowd the way Tom Jones always used to."
"Tom Jones still does that."
"That's gross.
"Maybe they have strip poker tournaments in this room on Thursdays and the loser stomped off without her underwear."
Cindy walked over to the abandoned black satin undies with the cue stick in her hand and she hooked them and raised them in the air.
"Holy shit!" I said.
"Those are mine."
And then the three of us were on the floor in hysterics.

It was 10:00 AM.
The month was May.
My mother and my sister Louisa and I stepped out of the car onto cold, wet, grass and we hurried to the open garage door.
I was searching for boys clothing, ages two and four and quickly realizing that little boys were rough on their clothes.
And same as every year, the weather was shitty for the city wide garage sales.
But we were parked in a good spot on the road to be able to hit several houses on this side and three across the way.
With frozen fingers I held up a pair of size two boys pants with holes in the knees.
Off we went to the next garage.
There I found a couple of t-shirts and a pair of jeans that I could wear to work in the factory.
"Are you done looking at this shit yet?" says Louisa.
"We just got here."
"Well, I'm freezing."
My mom was pretending to look at some books and staying out of it.
"Just one more," I said.
Louisa stared at me.
"I am starving," she says.
"But I still haven't found any clothes for Marques and Rene. All the decent ones are for girls."
"Fine," she says. "We'll go to that one across the street. But that is the last one, right?"
We scurried in that direction and when we were about fifteen feet from our car Louisa stopped in her tracks.
"Look at that!" she says pointing at the lawn.
"What is it?" says my mom.
"Millie," says Louisa, "Are those by any chance your underwear?"
"Very funny," I answer.
But after further examination I say, "Holy shit. Those are mine!"
The three of us jumped into the car and drove to the restaurant in hysterics, skipping that last garage sale.
Sitting by a window with a view of white caps on the lake, is where I explained to them how this particular phenomenon takes place, over an order of hashed brown potatoes, a cup off black coffee and a Bloody Mary.
"You see, I grabbed my jeans off the floor next to the bed where I dropped them last night and pulled them on, apparently with yesterday's underwear still inside. The underwear must have worked their way down a pant-leg while I was walking around. Who knows how many pairs I've left in my tracks over the years?"
"Who knows how many people have seen you dragging your undies along?"
"That explains why I only have three pairs left."
"It's too bad," said Louisa.
"It's just kind of boring."
"Millie, maybe you should explain to Mom how that one pair of your underwear ended up on top of that flagpole."

"Waiter! Check please."



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