‘Magic Underpants’ by Caleb Echterling


Elves sold the magic underpants out of the back of a ‘78 El Camino, next to the dumpster in a Burger King parking lot, which suited Winston fine. He didn’t trust any commercial transaction that didn’t involve the trunk of a car or the inside lining of a trenchcoat.

The magic underpants came with a 30 day money back guarantee. The elves claimed they would solve any loin or bum related problems Winston might be having, up to and including hemorrhoids and crotch rot. Winston didn’t have any of those, but five dollars for three men’s XS magic white briefs seemed too good a deal to pass up.

When he got home, Winston wiggled out of the tightey-whiteys he’d been wearing for three days. The new magic underpants had a snug fit, and felt comfortable on his nether regions. They were perfectly adequate, but Winston expected more from magic britches.

Winston couldn’t tie any definitive changes to his new purchase. The underpants were perhaps a bit more breathe-y, with maybe a small reduction in chaffing. It was his first go-round paying close attention to the performance of his underpants, and he figured he might be reaching for conclusions were none existed.

Being brand new, and thus the least ratty garments he owned, the magic underpants took over the top spots of Winston’s bi-weekly underpants rotation after the next laundry day. He pulled on a pair straight out of the dryer, and within minutes, his junk was sweatier. His butt was itchier. Tapping failed to remove the last drops of pee when he took a leak. Unsightly stains spread over the front of his trousers.

Winston drove back to the Burger King parking lot where the purchase had gone down. The spot next to the dumpster was empty. Winston went inside to ask the folks at the drive-thru where the elves went, but they looked at him like he’d told them all about his crotch rot.

Winston tailed El Caminos all over town, and scoped out fast food parking lots. He had to find those elves before the warranty expired. On the 29th day, he spotted the familiar utility coupe behind a boarded-up convenience store. Tires screeched, and Winston ran at the elves waving underpants over his head.

“These things are bunk. As soon as I ran them through the laundry, they turned into the underpants from hell.”

The elves scowled. “Did you forget to turn off the curse cycle on your washer? Because that voids your warranty.”

I knew this would happen, Winston thought. Elves always get you with the legal mumbo-jumbo.

Caleb Echterling’s short story ‘Haikuzilla’ won first prize in the 2016 Bartleby Snopes Dialogue Contest. He tweets funny fiction using the highly inventive handle @CalebEchterling. You can find more of his work at http://www.calebechterling.com.

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