Aglet by J. Bradley

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I drape the tie around my collar, the wide end on the right, the small end on the left like the internet video says. I play the video at least three or four times to catch everything the instructor is doing.

I’ve never been good at tying things. I wore Velcro shoes until I was about eight. It took my third grade teacher keeping me after school to teach me how the rabbit ran through the woods, beneath the bridge, or something. I would have remembered better if she said it was Optimus Prime running from Megatron as she showed me how to thread the aglet through the knot. When I was in Boy Scouts, it took my stepdad or a scoutmaster or someone in my troop who could tolerate me to help me pitch one of the loaner tents, threading the rope through the spine of the tent, tying it to the stakes they hammered into the ground for me. When I needed to wear a tie, my mom always handed it to my grandfather for him to do it, make me church worthy for one more Sunday.

The wide end goes over the small end to the left, then under the small end and to the right, then across to the front and to the left, then up into the neck loop from underneath, then down through the loop I made from the front, then tighten the knot by pulling down on the wide end. On the fourth try, it looks like the way my grandfather would have tied my tie; it’ll be the first time he won’t see me church worthy.


J. Bradley is the author of the flash fiction collection Neil & Other Stories (Whiskey Tit, 2018). He lives at

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