A Missed Opportunity?

By Audrey W.



Roy glanced as his partner John Gage’s reflection appeared in the mirror in front of him. He paused in shaving when he saw a familiar expression on the younger man’s face.


“I know that look. . .”


“If you mean the look of someone who’s about to become a rich man, you’re exactly right.”


Roy rolled his eyes. How many times had he heard that in the few short years he’d known John? Enough.


“What’s the idea this time?” he asked as he went back to shaving his face.


“The idea, as you call it, happens to be an incredible invention. An’ the best thing is, I stumbled onto by accident. Almost literally,” he finished with a giggle.


Roy stopped shaving again and turned slightly toward the other.


“Maybe when you get rich you can afford a new pair of jeans.”


John looked down at the hole in the knee of his denim pants that Roy was referring to. He pointed toward it.


This is the reason I’ll be a rich man!”


Again facing the mirror, Roy commented, “I know I’m going to regret this, but what are you talking about?”


“Well, yesterday a few of us guys were kinda practicin’ for the base ball game. You know, the one for the LA County Fire Department’s charity drive.”


Roy nodded slightly, the razor held out from his chin.


 “We were just hangin’ out at the ball field, pitching and hittin’. I knocked one nearly outta the park and decided ta make a run for it just for fun. When I kinda slid into home plate on one knee, I tore my jeans.”


He saw that he still had his partner’s attention, so he continued.


“At first I was like, ‘oh man, I ruined my pants’.”


“Your pants? What about your knee?”


“Ah, it’ll heal,” he dismissed, flexing his it slightly as if to prove it still was functional. Then with enthusiasm back in his voice, he went on with, “But about the jeans. . .I got ta thinkin’. What if they were already torn? It wouldn’t matter if I tore ‘em again. Right?”


“I’m not so sure about that.”


“C’mon, Roy. Think about it. Just imagine if someone made jeans so that they were pre-torn. You know, designed that way. Everyone could be even more relaxed in their denims than they are now, ‘cause they wouldn’t hafta worry about ruining ‘em. I’m not just talkin’ about men, either. Girls, boys, women. . .”


Roy shook his head. “It won’t work.”


John frowned, his brows furrowed. “Why not?”


“Because as much as you think you know women, there’s a few things you don’t know.”


“Like what?”


“Well, for one, that a woman can’t stand a hole in the knee of pants, or anywhere else for that matter. Be it a husband’s or kid’s--”


“But that’s the best part about it, Roy,” John interrupted with a grin, his right index finger raised. “She won’t hafta worry about it anymore, ‘cause it’ll be how it’s s’posed to be. Ripped.”


“Don’t forget I’m a married man and a dad. I’ve got kids who go through the knees and bottoms of their pants quite a bit. Joanne fusses, then is right__there with a needle and thread or an iron-on patch to fix ‘um, almost before the pants are off!” He exaggerated to make his point. “Trust me on this one. A woman will close up any tear in clothing she sees, whether it’s supposed to be there or not. And it’ll drive her nuts until she does.”




Roy gave a firm nod. “I have no doubt.”


Gage frowned again as the other went back to shaving.


“Man, it seemed like such a good invention. Like it was gonna be ‘the one’, ya know?”


The disappointed dark-haired paramedic made his way to his locker to change into uniform, taking one last glance at the hole in his pant leg before taking them off.




Thirty-five years later. . .


John Gage sat back on the couch in his home, an expression of discouragement on his face brought on by the commercial he’d just seen. Young people with denim jeans outdoors, in classrooms, out to eat, all with holes in the knees of their clothing and some even in the middle of their thighs. Some even had multiple tears across different places all the way up the pant legs. It was a reminder that the pre-torn jeans were all the rage now, both for kids and young adults. Even his own son and daughter each had a few pairs.


Man, I coulda’ been *years* ahead with this. *Years*!


But then again, the 1970s were a whole different world than what the USA was like in the 2000s. It was possible he would’ve been too far ahead for the times.


Gage sighed. There was no sense dwelling on something he’d never know the answer to. But it wouldn’t hurt to call his still-best-friend Roy DeSoto and playfully remind him__again__ of that day they had the conversation in the locker room at Station 51 and what might’ve been. That was an opportunity John couldn’t pass up.




This was inspired while I was taking my daughter’s jeans out of the dryer the other day. I found myself thinking, ‘hmmmm’ . . .





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