When I was a kid, living in Staten Island--NY, I remember that my father's size 12 wide soles always seemed to be the target of a neighbor of ours.
That neighbor, Robert, was a young guy, not really good looking, somewhat muscular, not too tall, skinny, and had a mile-wide mean streak to him. He also happened to be an employee at my uncle Henry's dry cleaning store. My father was the opposite: a big tall guy, on the husky side, very trusting, with a great sense of humor and a quick smile.
I don't know exactly how the practice got started, but Robert started giving my father foot massages. Everyone in the family perceived it as though he was doing something beneficial, since my father was on his feet all day.
Since these happened at home, I was almost always there to see these massages. Even my mother thought that what Robert was doing for my father was great. I actually think she was also secretly grateful to Robert for taking that huge inconvenience of the foot massages off her hands forever.
Then Robert got bolder.
This one particular Sunday, we had a family get together for lunch at my grandmother's house. There were a total of 15 relatives and friends present.
Most everyone was sitting in the dining room or kitchen eating, including Robert. My father had taken his plate of food to the living room instead. He was sitting in an armchair holding his plate and eating quietly. I was sitting across from him also eating. From the living room, we could hear all the chatter and laughing sounds coming from the dining room and kitchen.
From the sounds of it, my father said with a grin, "sounds like they are exchanging some good jokes in there! "
Then, Robert walks into the living room from the kitchen area with a plate of food in his hand. He headed directly for my father. He put his plate down, and asked my father in a very matter-of-fact tone to lift his leg off the floor so he can take a look at his new shoes. As my father lifted his right-leg from the floor to show off his new buy, Robert quickly encircled the raised ankle in a strong vice-like grip. In one quick motion, he swung his leg over, and straddled the raised leg effectively trapping it in what appeared to be a wrestler's hold. My father could only see Robert's back now, his muscular leg captured between that man's thighs.
I remember my father being surprised by having his right-leg grabbed so
suddenly, and having his right-ankle trapped in this thigh-hold, but I could tell that he wasn't angry. Considering that he almost dropped his plate of food, I thought he be fuming mad, instead he just looked slightly annoyed. He shook his head a few times, repositioned himself in the armchair with his plate, and made a few attempts to free his trapped foot. It felt like I was watching a rodeo: no matter which way the man pulled, Robert just rode that leg like a steer. It looked like he was playing "horsey", except he was an adult, and not one of us kids! After a few tries, he appealed to Robert " to stop the foolishness. " Instead, Robert just kept holding tightly to his muscular ankle, adjusting to my father's contortions while that wicked grin on his face intensified.
Finally seeing that his pleading and contortions weren't setting him free, my father just tried to relax, continued eating, ignoring the whole thing.
From my vantage point, I could see Robert pulling up on the muscular ankle, till the top of the foot was snug against his crotch, and then closing his legs tighter. The sole of the right-shoe now faced me, that shoe sole was hardly scuffed due to unuse. Robert licking his lips unlaced the man's shoelaces and slipped off the large shoe. He glanced back at my father, held the shoe in midair for a second so my father could see it before letting it drop with a thud to the floor. The dark, almost see-through silk sock came off in one quick motion and into Robert's pocket. I knew that Robert was wining at this new game. The conqueror had already taken a trophy.
Suddenly, I had a view of my father's large right-sole facing me. I noticed that besides have a large sole, he had no calluses and really soft-looking skin. When he would curl his large thick toes forward, then lots of superficial creases would form on his masculine sole. I remember turning beet red the first time he did that. Robert just looked at me and winked maliciously. He made a remark of " how big guys had to be held tightly before a real good massage." I think he was trying to sell this idea to my father, and to me.
He started stroking my father's meaty sole ever so softly. I could see his fingers tracing circles in the exposed flesh, feeling the plantar creases as they formed, allowing his nails to only dig into the flesh for a split second. Immediately my father would react by complaining, by laughing, by struggling more, by trying to free his trapped leg again. Robert would then return to a soft touch, and this butch guy would quiet down and stop attempting to free himself with so much force. Looking at that wrestler's hold I knew that Robert had the upper hand.
Robert would suddenly change his tactics, and start massaging his captive very slowly, too slowly, too insinuatingly. Then my father actually surprised me by asking his captor to " massage harder, to do it more like a man, not a woman! " He had that scolding tone in his voice, like when he would discipline us kids. Robert would comply momentarily and my father would relax again, and act as though nothing was happening here. I didn't get it! This whole thing just did not look like a massage to me. This tiny fact appeared lost to my father, who for just a split second earlier appeared uncomfortable. All I knew right then and there was that this man's very sensitive sole was being very seductively touched, and played with for a very long time.
Just then everyone started coming out of the dining room into the living room. When my father becomes aware of this, he started trying to free his leg again, telling Robert " to stop the massage immediately. " All of a sudden he had become aware that Robert actually had him in a very awkward, and vulnerable position to say the least. Instead, Robert tightened his grip on the muscular ankle and this time totally ignored his request.
My uncle Henry, who is a natural born prankster himself, was the first to walk in. When he saw my father's predicament, he went over to Robert and slapped him on the back congratulating him " on getting one over on my father! " This was done good naturedly, since Uncle Henry and my father had been the very best of friends for years. However, this was one of those opportunities I guess even best friends cant pass up. Uncle Henry still snickering admonished Robert not to release him yet, and then started calling for everyone else to " come to the living room right away! You have to see this! " Now Robert, and this whole new game had Uncle Henry's seal of approval!
Relatives and friends walked in from the kitchen and dining area into this very weird looking situation. I could see it in their faces that some of them were amused, and others thought it was really weird. The reality of the situation was intriguing enough that it aroused the pack instinct I suppose.
Everyone just started making themselves comfortable, either taking a seat in the sofa, or the other armchairs to see what Robert had planned for his captive. The rest of my young cousins just plopped on the floor with their toys.
All of a sudden, Robert and my father had become the focal center of attention and all eyes were on them. Someone made a comment of how " he needed to wear boats for shoes because those feet were so big. " Mind you, the scene was odd looking at first impact: a big strong husky guy at the mercy of a smaller thin guy. Then with a leer in his face, Robert addressed those assembled, and announced " not to turn on the television because he was going to give them a show! " Then he winked, and re-stated that my father " was the main attraction! " I think everyone thought Robert was a little crazy to begin with, and this stunt finally proved them right.
I remember my aunt Agnes just saying, " Robert is so crazy, but so is your father for playing along with his foolishness." What she didn't realize was that his involvement was totally unplanned and involuntary. I think my aunt was concerned more about what would happen to the armchair should these two continue their game. Although his right leg was trapped, and his large masculine sole was facing the gathered audience, my father did not seem overly concerned nor shy about how he looked in that position. He obviously enjoyed his regular foot massages from this guy, and at another level, I wonder if he saw his semi-cooperation as a way to ensure that Robert would not be pissed, and that the massages would continue. In reality, my father's face just reflected genuine amusement, and unconcern as though he too were an observer to this whole thing. There was not a trace of self-consciousness, nor bashfulness on his part.
Then seeing that everyone had found a seat, Robert started truly running his nails up and down that large manly exposed right man-sole, more insistently and my father started laughing uncontrollably, contorting and twitching ever which way in his armchair. From my angle, his entrapped large sole played a hypnotic dance in front of Robert's crotch. The man's large thick toes would flex involuntarily backwards, and brush Robert's crotch softly, then harshly, again and again. The large sole flexed and unflexed, veered right, then left, attempting to escape the rapacious fingers and nails.
My father's booming laughter seem to incite those gathered to riot. Everyone in the room started giggling, and then laughing, taunting him for " being in such a helpless position for such a big guy." His large sole continued to move every which way under Robert's relentless attack. Everyone had a good view of the man digging his nails deep into the helpless flesh, reducing the big guy in the armchair into helpless hysterics. Even some of the family members who were initially confused with the show, started goading Robert to tickle his victim " faster, harder, to use his nails more, to give it all he had! " It seemed as though now it was those assembled that wanted, and demanded more!
I remember feeling flushed for a second, and Robert actually looked flushed, and was perspiring heavily. I never knew my father could laugh out this loud, and so uninhibitedly in front of so many people. The sadistic tickling seem to go on forever. Robert would goad my father by commanding " to take it like a man! " My uncle Henry, and younger cousins joined in the chorus. Even my mother thought it was all really funny. When I asked her later about the incident she told me, " If Robert enjoys doing that to him, let him! He does enough for your father already, and he in turn can put up with some inconvenience now and then! "
All along, everyone was laughing, and prompting Robert to tickle quicker, to be rougher and " really make him laugh louder." Then a few family members and a couple of friends actually got bolder. They would get up from their seat, and dig their nails right into the man's ticklish sole themselves while simultaneously taunting him verbally! Robert would simply then prompt that person to do it again. Even my small cousins got a crack at his large exposed ticklish sole.
I guess not apparent to everyone, but certainly to me, Robert was also getting a crotch massage courtesy of the struggling leg, ankle and toes. I looked at my father's face, his mouth was open with just gales of laughter rushing out. At times he appeared near to tears, then he would catch his breath in spasms, and then would let out another deep-throated, long howl of manly laughter. Robert would continue to hurl his witty remarks, while his nails left long trails on the soft now-pinker sole. He attacked the wide instep, the large heel, the sides of the foot, first with one hand, and then with two. But then again, so did almost everyone else in the room.
The big man struggled so much that one of the armchair's legs finally gave way under my father's weight and movements and broke. The armchair collapsed to the side with a huge thud, sending my father rolling on the floor, and finally breaking Robert's hold on his leg. Robert almost ended up on the floor as well. That brought the whole thing to an end. Needless to say, my aunt Agnes was furious!
My father got up from the floor and asked Robert to return his sock. Robert with a big grin just shook his head in the negative. Not wanting to press the point further, he put his right shoe back on his barefoot, while my aunt Agnes, and mother scolded my father for breaking the armchair. He motioned to Robert with a closed fist, and then instead went over and gave Robert a pat on the back. He told Robert in a good-natured tone, " You really got me good!, That was a real good foot massage! " Robert just snickered and bowed to the man, trophy still in his pocket.
A good foot massage?! My father can be real dense at times, and this was certainly one of those times. I have to admit, I also took a few well-placed swipes at that exposed large sole, but then again, everyone else had!
I certainly learned one thing that day: A big man with large soles can bring endless hours of joy to everyone around him!