Gary Traynor and His Feet

I’ll tell you all about the fella who lived around the corner there. Gary Traynor was his name. Gary Traynor lived most of his life in, in terror. Now, it was a sort of irrational terror that was based heavily on disgust. To be particular, it was only the first third of his life, which is the only part of his life that I’ll be tellin’ you about. He was never comfortable until his career peaked when he was twenty seven, but that’s not why he became happy. Also just so you know; his career “peaked” every year. Every year he did better than the year previous.

Gary was the best runner ever. Right? Best ever, in the world. Not only did he break every record, but he shattered them. All of them, in all types of runnin’, long and short distance.

He was very proud of what he’d accomplished, as you would be. He was fully aware that he did good. But, see, he never had the time to enjoy it cos he was too busy bein’ terrified all the time. Gary’s fear was a very special one, right?  He wasn’t afraid of ghosts or ghouls, heights or planes, theives or murderers, darkness, small spaces, spiders or death. He’d a very intense and real fear of his own feet. He couldn’t bear the sight of them, let alone the fact that he was attached to them. He couldn’t understand why he had been punished with such a wretched pair. I’ll tell you no lie now, Gary’s feet were actually no more wretched than the next man’s, I’d say me own hooves are worse, but this was his problem y’see? By some accounts, and I won’t name names now, I’ve heard he actually had quite a nice pair of feet. But he wouldn’t listen. He always thought they looked like deformed incapable hands. And smelly on top he’d say.

He lived alone as soon as he was old enough to. He’d very few friends who understood him and he didn’t socialise with people that much.


He was loaded from winnin’ everythin’ all the time but only spent it on food and bills. People always called him inconsiderate, selfish and ungrateful – how could he hate those feet that made him so fast? they’d say. And he was mad fast. Like a bullet. He once came first and second in a race cos when he won the race he did a victory lap and he passed everyone out again. Legend. Money just didn’t mean anythin’ to him, he didn’t want fancy things, or designer clothes, or parties or nothin’. He just lived his life as if he was a regular joe soap like you and me. It just so happened that he was the most famous and talented sportsman ever to live.

He was most depressed between twenty and twenty one years of age cos he stopped growin’. He loved growin’. He loved growin’ so much that when he heard that veg made you grow he ate more than his own weight in broccoli and carrots. He ate the same amount of veg as everyone his age put together. The way he saw it was: ‘Gary’ was his head right? everythin’ from the neck down was his vehicle; which he started callin’ ‘Fred’, right?. The more Fred grew, the further Gary was from his feet. So as you see, growin’ for Gary was pretty feckin’ important. For all his teenage years he slept eight hours a night, ate healthy everyday with three main meals taking in each part of the so-called food pyramid. He never smoked, drank or took drugs. Never took a drink, like. Never. Some would say he wasted his teenage years but he would never have had any fun if he wasn’t growin’ y’see?

On the racetrack he ran with no shoes or socks. Mad bastard. It was a technique he discovered in the school there, with the help of the school bully. Victor was his name. Victor the bully was one of the people who thought that Gary was wastin’ his teenage years, but Victor was the only one who thought he should do somethin’ about it. And what Victor thought he should do about it was take Gary’s shoes and socks. Now, Victor obviously wasn’t the greatest thinker ever. Few tools short I think.

Gary, was on the ground, right? his bare feet danglin’ close to his face, he couldn’t handle it, he panicked. He decided to leg it home, runnin’ as fast as he could. It was a normal speed for a fella his age. At that stage he only ran the way it was natural to him and he was no superstar. But that all changed, and so did his whole life when he looked down at his bare feet. He nearly puked at the sight of them. Some people say he puked right on top of them. But I don’t think so. After about twelve seconds he realised how long he had been looking at his mingin’ feet. But they weren’t really mingin’, but he thought they were right? He wanted to get away from them. He didn’t think about runnin’ home anymore, all he wanted to do was get away from his feet. But how d’you get away from your own feet like? When he could see his right foot, he pushed it away behind him, but then his left foot suddenly came into view so he pushed that one back. It was natural for his leg to balance him by stridin’ in front when the opposite one was bein’ pushed back so he didn’t fall.

Him runnin’ home from school that day, I reckon, was the fastest anyone’d ever run in the world up until then. Obviously now, it wasn’t recorded, so you can’t tell me if I’m right or wrong. But Gary knew he was goin’ fast. He tried to keep up with cars and he did so for a good amount of time, he outran buses and trucks. I’ve a friend Johnny, drives a bus, he said some young fella legged it passed him one day, that’d be Gary Traynor I said. Gary found out he was payin’ too much attention to the cars n’all when he came to a sudden stop with the help of the oak tree that he ran into. Someone told me that part once, it’s just a joke I think, to make the story more amusin’ you know? For the kids. But nah, he was a clever chap, I wouldn’t say he ran into a tree.

So he started workin’ on it and he entered a race down there at Old Connell. Community Games I think it was. He won the race and never after that, his first race now, never after that did he ever not win a race again. That’s how it all began. Mad when you think about it. For the next decade all he did was run races, loads, hundreds, I dunno, maybe thousands of the things, right and in all the ones he ran in he never ever came anywhere between last and second. Ah, well, not before winnin’ the race anyway.

Still though, even with all that, his fear of feet meant he was always slightly less than happy. He could never relax, he knew they were always there. Even if he couldn’t see them, he knew. They were his feet like. He’d nightmares that his hands’d turn into feet and he wouldn’t be able to eat, or do anythin’. He’d have to walk around all day with his arms stretched out wide. Sure that’d be useless.

A year after winnin’ all the Gold medals for male runnin’, long and short distance now, at the Olympics for the third time in a row he was sittin’ in his trophy room. Y’understand the eh, eh, the gravity of that don’t you? All the medals at the Olympics? Sure that’s feckin’, d’you know what that is? Before Gary Traynor came along, you woulda said it was impossible. They say there was a tiny bit of light comin’ in from behind the curtains, right? the room was dark but, like the lights n’all were off, but there were so much gold in the room that it was actually bright y’see? He was readin’ an article about how he ruined runnin’ cos nobody tried to compete anymore and how no one can ever top his records. Which is true I’d say. It said young lads won’t wanna be runners cos they won’t have that prize or ambition to aim for, to be the best, not in realistic terms anyway. They wouldn’t have a hope like.

His last remainin’ relative had died earlier in the year. It was the most down he’d ever been. It was like when he was twenty again, three times over. He was depressed is what he was. He dropped the paper and started ballin’ right?. He got up out of his chair and flung it at one of the trophy cabinets, then pulled down another one and tore the whole room apart. He blamed the whole mess on his dreaded feet, he thought to himself ‘none of this would have happened if I didn’t have feet’. Right? Then he stopped. He rushed down to the garage. He got his big saw. He steralised it and heated it with a blowtorch, this all came out after, and he quickly without second thought started slicin’ through his skin, flesh and bone. The blade went all red with blood, Gary too and the floor. After a minute or so of work a lumberjack woulda been proud of, right? his left foot dropped into a bucket. Thud. There was blood streamin’ out of the open leg. Most people woulda collapsed about now, but Gary Traynor with all his determination, and hatred just started to slice into the other leg. Again, the blade sliced through wet flesh and then grinded against hard bone. I’d say it woulda smelled metallic like, of iron, and that hot smell like when you saw into stone. He got about half way through and fainted backwards onto shelves full of paint tins, empty cans, tools, spare lightbulbs and boxes of old magazines and newspaper clippin’s. The crash was mad loud, made his neighbours suspicious.

He was out for a few days, but eventually he woke up in the hospital. The nurse came into the room and told him he was lucky to be alive. He felt different. The nurse pulled up his blanket to show him his two stumps and she told him the story of the heroic neighbours who found him lyin’ unconscious in his garage. One foot in a bucket and the other hangin’ off the end of his leg. He didn’t seem unhappy, actually he seemed to be happier than he had been for a long time.

A doctor with little faith in the intelligence of others went in  and said ‘I’m afraid you’ll never run again.’

Obviously like. Feckin’ eejit.

Gary smiled, paused and said ‘there’s always the paralympics!’

Hah! How about that?

Some man.


Ah you see him around sometimes, he’s the crazy auld lad you see in the wheelchair, he’s feckin’ ancient now. He never talks about his runnin’. No one does really. They changed all the lengths of the races now cos no one could beat his records. The hundred and ten metre sprint, it even sounds shit. But sure that’s the Olympics yis young lads know these days. Anyway, sure you probably didn’t even know about it, they never feckin’ mention it, but it’s all cos of Gary Traynor from the house around the corner there.