Monday, June 28, 2010

Found: one nasty pair of underwear
(plus a few good stories)

Yesterday afternoon, Pythagoras and I ventured out for an eight-mile hike on one of the trails snaking through the Deschutes National Forest.

The weather was lovely, the dog was wagging her tail, and I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a tail of my own to wag.

We had only gone half a mile when I spotted something tangled in the twigs beside the trail. I stopped in my tracks and stared at it. This is what I saw:

“Hey, Pythagoras,” I called. “Need some new underwear?”

He glanced at the tattered tighty-whities on the side of the trail and kept on hiking. “Thanks, I’m good.”

We continued hiking in silence for a few minutes. Pythagoras was the first to speak. “You’re still thinking about the underwear, aren’t you?”

“Of course. How do you think they got there?”

He shrugged. “Some dude was out mountain biking, had to take a dump, didn’t have anything to wipe with, so he took his underwear and—”

“Gross, never mind.”

“Well where do you think they came from?”

I thought about that for a second. “I think a couple was out hiking and she couldn’t stop staring at his back and at the muscles in his shoulders and thinking how she’d like to dig her nails into them, and he turned around and noticed how beautiful she looked with the sunlight in her hair, so they stumbled off into the bushes tearing each other's clothes off as they went, and in the throes of passion, didn’t notice the bear that ran up and grabbed his underwear.”

Pythagoras nodded and kept hiking. “That seems likely,” he agreed. “And this is why you’re the writer.”

I thought about that as we continued on down the trail. His mind had gone right to the practical – and I’ll admit it, most likely – scenario.

He’s a guy, and a fitness freak at that. If he says men in the wilderness will resort to such measures when faced with a lack of toilet paper, I’m inclined to believe him.

And while my overactive writer’s imagination is certainly part of what prompted my theory, I think you could more accurately say it’s a product of the type of stories I write – namely, romance.

Would a thriller writer have concocted a scenario involving a terrorist plot and an underwear bomb? Would a paranormal author have envisioned something that featured disintegrating werewolves with bad taste in underwear?

I’m curious about this. What was your first thought when you saw that picture? Tell me your theory, and then tell me what genre (if any) you write.

Oh, and if those are your underwear, go get those nasty things. And maybe wash them before you put them back on. I think my dog peed on them.

35 comments :

Izzy G. said...

My first thought: A man was camping, and he brought several pairs of underwear with him. However, he was changing clothes in the privacy of his tent when he heard a shriek. He quickly put on what was important - pants - and ran outside. Unfortunately, he never came back to the tent to retrieve his underwear because whatever killed the person shrieking also killed him, and removed the tent but overlooked (of course) the underwear.

No, seriously, that was my first thought. I write YA science-fiction/urban fantasy.

Danica Avet said...

I immediately thought of a man hiking who suddenly felt the urge to become one with nature with nothing standing between him and the wind (bugs, grass, and peeping toms). He removed his clothes, packing everything away except for his underwear, which he RIPPED off and threw on the ground shouting, "I shall never wear briefs again!"

To be honest, that wasn't my first thought, but my second. My first thought was like "Hm, has my nephew been hiking recently?"

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Teenagers frolicking in the dark. That's what I was thinking. And then afterwards, they couldn't find all their clothes -- and they knew they'd be grounded if they broke their curfew *again.* So they fled, leaving behind a few stray reminders of their passage. Trust me, there are some beer cans and used condoms nearby.

Liz Czukas said...

My very first thought was: call CSI! I'm thinking clues to a missing persons case. I'm thinking, check nearby for remains!

I definitely don't write that stuff, but it's always my go-to when I find mystery objects in the world. Maybe it has something to do with being from Wisconsin--we breed serial killers around here.

What I do write is fluffy, girly romance, so here's my scenario:

Boy and girl go for hike in woods. Inevitable amorous encounter ensues. In the midst, a storm comes to call, whisking said underpants (and the rest of their clothes) out of reach into tall trees. Hilarity ensues as couple attempts to retrieve enough clothing to avoid arrest by helpful park rangers. Couple encounters church camp-out as they try to get back to car. Finally encounter her parents, out for a hike. Humiliation and guffaws galore!

But still...serial killer.

- Liz

Patrick Alan said...

I've never been out hiking for 3 days with my high school buddies, having only fiber bars to eat and the inevitable result in the middle of the woods only to discover that fresh leaves are not near as effective as westerns and cartoons would have you believe.

Nor did my (female) friend ever discover that the over-flowing porta-potties at the second Woodstock concert were out of toilet paper.

These are just two random things that never happened. Never.

Linda G. said...

They obviously belonged to some poor, clueless man, and were ripped off him by his fashion-conscious wife while she screamed, "You SAID you try the navy blue boxer briefs if I went camping with you!"

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like your version of what happened. I'm always finding articles of clothing on the street in Chicago, but I haven't picked any of them up. I figure whoever left them there might come back for them.

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Definitely a romantic encounter, and then afterward he realized how dirty and torn they were and refused to put them back on. And sticking them in his front pocket made an awkward to explain bulge, so he just left them there like a terrible litterer, since his girlfriend absolutely refused to carry them in her bag.

Jayne said...

I don't think I'd even recognise that was underwear, so much for my observation skills!

SM Schmidt said...

The unmentionables fell out of someone's backpack. That's the ONLY way things get lost, they fall out on purpose wanting to go on an adventure then can't find their way home.

Because if it wasn't for that idea I'd have to blame myself for misplacing things more often. Go Scifi YA indulging the delusional.

KD Easley said...

A man and his soon to be widow trek off the beaten path for a little afternoon delight. Hubby is understandably distracted by the possibility and lays out a blanket and starts removing clothing as the black widow sneaks into the trees for a tinkle. While she's out of sight, but definitely not out of mind of doomed hubby, the boyfriend sneaks in, drops hubby onto the conveniently spread blanket, twists his neck with a snap and sits back on his heels to await his now free and substantially wealthy young window that he plans to make his wife. They roll hubby into the blanket, wait for nightfall and drag him down to the car for boyfriend to dispose of. Black widow stops at a picnic area at the bottom of the trail and tearfully dials 911 to report the abduction of her beloved husband. With a description of both the car and driver, wishful boyfriend is soon headed to jail and black widow is planning a much needed Caribbean vacation.

That's my first instinct. With a little time, I might be able to make it into a viable short story. :) That was fun. Thanks Tawna

Candyland said...

I like your thought. I'd like to imagine a night time rendezvous between two consenting adults (though sadly, my mind wondered about a rape or something awful because I'm an edgy contemp. writer!!!)

Katt said...

Whoa! my first thought was ...dead body close by... animals taking care of the evidence..
oh dear, it shows, I write suspense.

However, being from a household that had a 'hunter'in our midst, I know that he'd use his big knife to cut the tail off his shirt before he'd unlace his boots, pull off his pants and then his shorts...

It was always a giggle to see a guy with a hunk cut off of his flannel shirt.

Jen J. Danna said...

Hmmm... I need to get my head out of my forensic osteology texts and journal articles apparently because I took one look at that photo and my first thought was 'Where are the human remains that the underwear came from, how long have they been exposed to the elements and will there have been any animal scavenging to get in the way of victim identification'. *eye roll at self*

Genre? Scientifically based forensic crime fiction... but I don't think I actually needed to tell you that!

Sierra Godfrey said...

Sex. Straight sex.

Someone was having a wood tryst and flung the undies off with abandon. As they are men's underwear (they were, right? hard to tell), the guy cared only about the sex and flung them off as fast he could, and then couldn't find them in the dark, so left them. He didn't care, what's a little commando now and then? The girl was appalled, and was glad she had placed her panties in a neat pile next to their bed of dirt, where she retrieved them, shook them out, and put them back on, glad that she had them and no one would make unseemly remarks about missing pairs of undies. Every time she looks at her undies, she will think of the wood tryst, and wonder when he'll propose. He, on the other hand, just made himself a roast beef sandwich.

I write women's fiction/chick lit/humorous romance and it almost always deals with the differences between the sexes and the time they spend figuring the other one out.

Did the undies have suspicious discoloration on them to indicate their stand in as toilet paper? If not, then I think my assumption is correct.

Cynthia Reese said...

Bwhahahaha! This is too funny!

Karla Nellenbach said...

Well, it's obvious (at least to me) that a few teens were out exploring the woods, looking for the place of power that according to ancient prophecy is located somewhere along that trail...when suddenly, a huge beast closely resembling a chimera reared up from out of nowhere. Now, being the ever-resourceful bunch that these kids are, they KNEW that the only way to thwart the mighty beast was to pelt rocks at him using slingshots made from wayward branches and underwear. tightie-whites hold up the best, but as you can see, they are not invincible. After the demon was vanquished, they continued on their journey, leaving behind the pretty mush useless undies.

as I'm sure you can probably guess, I write YA paranormal/fantasy...but really, it could happen. :)

Damien Walters Grintalis said...

I envisioned a man lost in the woods for days alone. No water. No food. No hope.

I write dark fiction/horror so the underwearless guy did not meet a nice happy ending in my mind, and the scraps of underwear are the only thing left to show he'd ever been there at all...

Sean Ferrell said...

Please return those to me. Immediately.

Laina said...

Two teens, lives in danger of course, running through the woods. The boy falls into a river that's more mud than water. While the girl makes fun of him, he wrings out his pants but the underwear is just nasty so he ditches them, tearing them up a bit and grinding them into the dirt so they don't give the people following a clue to their location.

YA paranormal romance :P

Morgan Ives said...

Well, you know how socks always disappear in the dryer? It happens to tighty-whiteys, too, but you never notice because they don't leave a mismatched companion behind. They slip through an interdimensional portal and end up in the woods.

Honest.

Are my specfic roots showing? ;)

KD Easley said...

Sierra,
You made me laugh out loud.

Anne R. Allen said...

These all had me laughing. Especially the tighty whiteys that escape from the dryer like wayward socks.

My first thought was the same as Linda G's. But I've also always wondered what those werewolves did with their clothes when they morphed. So what's really surprising is that all wooded areas (at least in paranormal novels) aren't buried in discarded wereperson garments.

Delia said...

I was among those try to see if there were bones or decaying fingers mixed with the sticks and weeds.

It's either that or a naked man has just landed in another time because "nothing dead will go."

BJ said...

A woman had hung up her laundry to dry in the spring air...

Wow. Could go a lot of places with that one.

Maybe someone came along, naked because he's a werewolf returned to man-form/alien who has shapeshifted into human form/lost his clothes in an illicit forest tryst, and stole the underwear along with other clothes. The underwear was discarded because he changed back to his previous form/got a wedgie and decided to remove the discomfort/was actually a woman and was disgusted at the tattered state of the BVDs.

Or, a bird/raccoon/alien stole them to add some comfort to its nest/den/evil lair. Along came a bigger bird/badger/good alien who tore the creature to shreds, along with its home and the stolen undies.

Or the wind came along, blew them off the line, and carried them along until they got trapped in the brambles along the path.

Or, forgetting the laundry line, some poor guy was just wandering down the trail when an alien stepped out and vaporized him in his tracks, leaving only the tattered remains of the underwear, because we all know that tightie whities are built to last...

I write science fiction, but I just have a strange imagination. Sorry to give you all this frightening glimpse at its terrible meanderings.

KAK said...

You ever notice how some dogs (usually female) snack on dirty undies?

Further down your path, you likely discovered a small oval of a seemingly cotton fabric. Perhaps you thought it a tampon, possibly used.

Hanes = Benefiber for Beasts

shadowflame1974 said...

Well my first thoughts were about dead bodies, werewolves, and the full moon, but that makes sense since I write Fantasy. :)

Margaret said...

I've been watching a little too much Criminal Minds of late apparently. Has nothing to do with what I write, cause I don't write those types of stories, but then my contemporaries have never ventured in the woods so that might have something to do with it ;).

writermomof5 said...

Well, you know, shifters need to keep clothes stashed in various places for those sometimes inconvient switch from fur to flesh--naked flesh. I suppose a shifter, probably a new one, who hasn't yet had the centuries to accumulate his riches, thought to save money by buying his stash of underwear at a discount store. Distracted by a she wolf, he didn't hide his stash very well.

What you didn't know, and would have found had you searched, was bits and pieces of the cheap pair of sweatpants and tee-shirt that had been bundled with the underwear, the rest of which now decorate the den of some werebear.

LOL And yes, I write fantasy, but also romance.

Tawna Fenske said...

OMG, you guys are amazing! I can't believe how @#$% creative you all are!

Izzy G, now I want to go back and look for the tent. Maybe it's better than mine. Maybe I want it.

Danica, believe it or not, I once went hiking w/ a group of friends wearing nothing but hiking boots. We were 18, what can I say?

Dianne, your theory scares me a little! There really are bears up there, that'd be the last place I'd want to make out as a lusty teen.

Liz, maybe your serial killer doubles as a stand-up comic?

Patrick, you & my husband may be onto something. There are only pine trees in that area, nothing with leaves. Pretty sure pine needles don't make very good TP.

Linda G, spoken like a woman who's been in that position! (Gotta admit, I once stole all of husband's ugly tighty-whities & replaced them with sexier undergarments).

Neurotic Workaholic, do you ever see shoes hanging over telephone lines? That one always confuses me. How did they get there?

Elizabeth, indeed, those awkward bulges can be difficult to explain!

Jayne, if you look closely, you'll see "Hanes" printed on the waistband :)

SM Schmidt, your theory may be closest to reality! Of course it's generally just a day-hike up there, so I'm not sure why someone would need a change of underwear.

KD Easley, do you have a prison record? You don't live anywhere near me, do you? Kinda scared of you.

Candyland, if it makes you feel better, it's an EXTREMELY well-trafficked trail. Not a very good place for a rape to occur.

Katt, good point about cutting off the shirt instead of ditching the underwear, though I would guess mountain bikers (the most common specimens on that trail) would be more apt to cut up a pair of $2 Hanes tighty-whities over a $100 cycling jersey.

Jen, sometime in the future, I'll blog about the time the dog brought home a human scapula. No joke.

Sierra, come to think of it, I didn't closely inspect the underwear for stains. Should I go back?

Cynthia, where's your theory about the underwear?!?

Karla, underwear slingshot? I'm totally going to try that sometime.

Damien, you've made me very sad now. I kinda feel for the guy.

Sean, I hope you've got a lot of bleach, and maybe some thread & a needle.

Laina, so did the teens make it out safely!?!?!?

Morgan, so THAT'S what happens to all my favorite panties. I always wondered.

Anne, I must find a way to include the phrase "discarded wereperson garments" in my current manuscript!

Delia, now you've got me thinking about that naked man out there in the woods. Maybe I should go look for him, see if he needs any, uh...help. Yeah, help.

BJ, what have you been drinking? More importantly, where can I get some?

KAK, I count my blessings daily that none of our beasts seems to have a steady appetite for underwear!

shadowflame1974, so you're saying you have constant thoughts of dead bodies, werewolves, and the full moon?

Margaret, so your thoughts are running to the sinister side of things? Are you an ax murderer, by chance?

writermomof5, werebear! Ha! So you're saying it's a bare werebear?

Thanks for reading (and contributing!) guys!

Tawna

KD Easley said...

Hi Tawna,
No prison record, LOL Bet you can't tell mystery is my bag. Oh, and the tennis shoes over the power lines denotes a corner owned by a drug dealer. I've never asked how they get them up there, but when I was in San Diego last month, I almost drove through a drug deal in progress. Realized it in time to reverse direction and the next morning noticed the shoes hanging over the power lines at the entrance to the alley.

Margaret said...

Like I would admit to something like that ;).

Jen J. Danna said...

Your dog brought home a human scapula??? Okay, now you've got to spill the deets... there's a story in there!

BJ said...

Coffee, I'm afraid. Cappuccino, actually. Nothing interesting, unfortunately -- just ultra-caffeinated. That's what happens when you rev my imagination up when it's already fully charged on caffeine...

I always thought the shoes over the power lines were from bullies throwing their victim's school shoes up there... though some of those lines *are* awfully high.

And dogs who like underwear? That's probably the most likely answer. And there is some poor embarrassed shmoe out there looking for them, hoping to find them before someone else does and learns his secr... Oh. I'm starting again, aren't I?

Sydnee said...

Was there a lake nearby? My first thought was he went skinny dipping and forgot to put his bloomers back on.

The next thought was someone threw them there just so you could spend way too much time wondering about them...basically, just to f$%^ with you. Because people totally do that.