A friend once told me about the Toe Sucker who supposedly lives on my street. I asked him to retell the story and the following conversation ensued between residents of the street implicated in his story and the storyteller.
So this girl [name omitted] from [house name omitted] told me that one time after a party everyone was hanging out on the porch, and this random Asian dude came up. He was kinda older and he just hung out. Then I guess after everyone went away he came up to [name omitted] and offered her $300 to suck her toes. She says she didn’t take it but he’s like offering it to anyone who’ll let him suck their toes. And he lives here somewhere on the north end of Menlo.”
Menlo Resident 1: What the fuck. Where does he live?
Teller: I don’t know! Man, I’m not sure that’s just what [name omitted] said. But she does know someone who did it and got paid.
Menlo Resident 2: I don’t think he’s gonna pay you $300 just to suck your fucking toes. I bet he gets a little more, ya know?
Non-Menlo Resident: Oh yeah…I heard that too. But doesn’t he do it by the window? So he like pays you but makes you do it by the window? Actually, maybe I heard this story from you [to Teller]. Or no I heard it from [fellow co-worker]. He heard it from [people who live at the omitted house] too.
Although this story is very close to home [literally] it can be neither confirmed nor denied by anyone I have spoken to. Some claim to have had personal contact with the elusive Toe Sucker, but their personal stories have come down through friends or other sources as a retelling. The actual people implicated are either always unavailable or it is too awkward to ask them about having their toes sucked for money.
Since the first time I heard this story I have done my part to spread it far and wide. During my last retelling of this story to a resident of Menlo they countered with saying that I was confusing him with the HedgeFund Keg Guy. This is apparently another elusive character who story has it offered to pay for 100 kegs for the Menlo Block Party. He is extremely wealthy either from managing a hedge fund [what I’ve heard most often but unlikely] or as a beneficiary. Early on the actual day of the Block Party someone confirmed he had bought 20 kegs for the event. The person who confirmed this was soon after unavailable for comment, and in fact remembers nothing from that entire day.
This story was told until very recently as an absolute truth. Before my last collection of this story my primary informant was adamant that it had really happened. As he put it, “Why would someone make that up?” I have often wondered this as well. It is especially odd to me that a legend would originate for and from a region as specific as a street. The entire legend seems to count on the audience’s familiarity with the block of Menlo Ave located between Adams Blvd and 29th Street. This is a neighborhood with both temporary student residents and families who have been here for generations . As the neighborhood shifts to a larger student population and the current student population develops more of its own community identity than most in mixed neighborhoods it seems there is some anxiety about the populace.
One of the fears addressed in this narrative is that of intrusive presence. Clearly there is some danger in a complete stranger being able to infiltrate your gathering, home or even social circle. For people who live on this street this is a reality, since it is perfectly common to allow strangers into your homes or gatherings. Some people take issue with this for safety reasons (particularly after violent events around the University this year), while others feel it is an essential part of the developing culture of the street-community.
There is also a preoccupation with sexual deviance, reflecting a college-aged anxiety and exploration of sexuality. Although the toe-sucking fetish seems to be the initial impetus for telling this story, it is more so a sensational twist for the sake of making the narrative entertaining, and possibly more apt for future retellings.
The existence of not just one, but two elaborate stories relevant only to one street is a microcosm of urban legends specific to a University context and this community that seeks its own identity within it. As the Toe Sucker narrative has increased in retellings and acquired more exaggerations my original informant has moved away from claiming its truthfulness and now instead treats it like a legend.