Serial, Season 2: Brutal and Boots.

"I'm Sarah Koenig, and you're listening to Serial. One story, told week after week."

“I’m Sarah Koenig, and you’re listening to Serial. One story, told week after week.”


“On the night of February 2, 2015. Trevorlibrarian sat down in the staff room and took off his indoor work shoes. He put his Merrell Winter Hikers on and immediately something felt wrong. I’m Sarah Koenig, and this is Serial.”


SK: “Trevor didn’t say anything at first. I mean, they are his boots, right? He bought these boots back in the fall of 2013, anticipating going for winter walks. He wore them almost every day last winter. There have been no problems. He’s been wearing them regularly this winter too. I know: snow, right? I’ve been communicating with Trevor over the phone from his public library, a medium-sized branch in a medium-sized Canadian city. He gets to talk on the phone for one half hour every day before getting interrupted by someone to order in “To Kill a Mockingbird” or maybe “50 Shades of Grey”.

TL: “I didn’t mention anything about the boots until the following night. My wife and I had a friend over for supper and it all came out. These boots felt too small. They were pinching my feet, especially my big toes in a really weird and uncomfortable way. I didn’t know what was happening.”

SK: “I talked to Trevorlibrarian’s wife. She wasn’t willing to come on the podcast, but she had some interesting theories about what happened. She thinks that maybe Trevor has been eating ‘Too much fastfood recently’ (her words), and his feet have swollen up from too much salt. Her other theory was that he let his toenails get too long that they were starting to poke in at the end of the boot, causing discomfort. I asked Trevor about these allegations.”

TL: “Oh sure, I guess I’ve been eating a bit too much fast food recently. I had ‘Five Guys’ Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon I ate some subs and a bunch of fries. I did eat a lot of salt on the weekend, but my feet have never done anything like that before.”

SK: “And the toe nails? Tell me about them.”

TL: “Look, okay. It’s winter. My feet aren’t going to see Birkenstocks for another 3 months at least. They might not be camera ready, but for God’s sake could they get so out of hand that my boots wouldn’t fit?”

SK: “We’ve all been there.”

SK: “Maybe it’s time to dig a little deeper. Next time on Serial, we talk to the “friend” who came for supper who has some theories of her own.”


SK: “On the night of February 2, 2015. Trevorlibrarian sat down in the staff room and took off his indoor work shoes. He put his Merrell Winter Hikers on and immediately something felt wrong. I’m Sarah Koenig, and this is Serial.”

SK: “It was time to dig deeper into this boot fiasco. I just don’t get it. Boots don’t just stop fitting. Especially not high quality name brand boots like Merrell. I feel like Merrell is going to be this season’s ‘Best Buy’. We contacted Merrell for a statement, and we are still waiting to hear back from them. We turned instead to Trevor and Marla’s friend, who asked for her voice to be modified and for us to not use her real name. We’ll call her Linda.”

L: “I asked him if his work shoes were also tight. He told me ‘No’, so that made me think that it wasn’t a swelling foot issue. I asked him if he was absolutely sure they were the right boots. He assured me they were, but I wasn’t convinced.

SK: “What do you mean?”

L: “For one thing, everyone knows Trevor wears size 12’s and these boots were a size 11.”

SK: “Wait, What? I called Trevor to get his take.”

TL: “Uh, yeah. I think I have a minute to talk. People are really interested in that new Harper Lee book. Boot Size? Yeah. It’s true I wear 12’s. How did [Linda] know that? Weird. But here’s the thing: I bought these boots at a specialty boot store where the attendant chooses the sizes for you. He said something about Merrell’s boots made big and you generally want to go a size smaller than your shoe size, like a hockey skate. It’s not like I just went up to a shelf myself and grabbed some 11’s. If this boot guy told me I should wear 11’s, and they felt good to me, and they’ve been feeling good for a year and a half, then why would I question it? That was a year and a half ago, I don’t remember exactly what happened on that day. Gotta go, some kid needs some science fair books.”

SK: “I asked to see the boots myself, and they are definitely size 11’s. Fortunately, Trevor had posted a “foot selfie” of himself standing on some ice a week before on Instagram. Oddly enough, he calls these ‘gam shots’ even though his legs are hardly in them. I know, weird. But the pic was valuable because my producers and I could see the boots  clearly in the pic and yes, they look like the same boots that Trevor now claims as ‘ill fitting’. Linda, remember her? She was the friend that was by for supper the night AFTER the boots stopped fitting, February 3rd. Well, Linda seemed to remember Trevor posting a picture on Twitter of the shoebox the day he bought the boots way back in 2013. I asked her about this.”

L: “Yeah, I don’t know why he posted it, but I think I can find it for you. Maybe it has the size on the box? Let’s see, I’m scrolling back right now. Jeez, this guy posts a lot of nutty stuff. Does he really think we want to see all these leg and feet pics? Don’t ask him about the “Best Legs Grade 9″ competition. He’ll never stop talking about it. Okay, here we go. October 2013. Oh. Wait.”

SK: “What? What do you see?”

L: “Shoot. Yep, he posted a pic of the box but you can’t make out the size on it anywhere.”

SK: “Dead end?”

L: “Yeah, I thought we could have gotten somewhere.”

SK: “I asked Trevor if he remembered anything else about the boots that might be helpful. He paused for a long time, and then told me that he THOUGHT that maybe one end of one of the bootlaces on the right boot was starting to fray a little, but the laces on both of these boots were totally fine, almost new. Could he be remembering another pair of boots? I couldn’t resist asking him about ‘Best Legs Grade 9’. This is what he had to say.”

TL: Long Pause. *Sighs* “Okay, that was a long time ago, and I never said I was a good person. I don’t know what this has to do about my boots not fitting right. I’d rather not talk about it if it’s okay with you.”

SK: “I don’t want you to have to talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable, but I think it might help us get a better idea of who you are, and maybe why your boots stopped fitting all of a sudden.”

TL: “I gotta go. Someone needs help with the photocopier.”

SK: “Next Week on Serial: The suspects are examined, and we learn about The Karen Email. Join us next week for the surprisingly final episode in Season 2 of Serial. I’m Sarah Koenig.”


SK: “On the night of February 2, 2015. Trevorlibrarian sat down in the staff room and took off his indoor work shoes. He put his Merrell Winter Hikers on and immediately something felt wrong. I’m Sarah Koenig, and this is Serial.”

TL: “If someone took my boots, it had to be someone working that night, right? Who? A guy, surely. Who else would have size 12’s?”

SK: “Size 11’s, you mean.”

TL: “Yeah, I guess. Look. I was working with two guys that night. Steve and Jeff. I suppose I could ask them, but I’d feel really weird about it.”

SK: “Do you want me to talk to them?”

TL: “A strange woman with a microphone from NPR showing up and asking questions about their boss’s feet? No, that’s not weird at all. I’ll talk to them, IF I think it might clear something up. I’ve watched their footwear patterns. Steve doesn’t change into work shoes, he’s been wearing dress shoes from home all week. Jeff, on the other hand. Jeff has biggish feet, and he wears runners at work, but he has a different kind of boot.”

SK: “My producers did some digging on Jeff. He wears size 12’s or 11’s depending on the style and cut of the footwear. He is quiet and unassuming. He likes to go to the gym between split shifts. And most telling: he shares a birthday with Trevor. Could he be sharing anything else? Interestingly, Jeff approached us.”

J: “Yeah, I’ve been listening to the podcast and I feel like I need to come forward and clear my name. It’s true that Trevor and I share a birthday, and that we are both comic book fans, and yes I sometimes go into his office and ask him if he’s watched the new Avengers trailer yet. He hasn’t, by the way. I don’t know what’s stopping him. He also hasn’t seen much of Agent Carter, either. He’s been blaming it on a faulty PVR but I don’t know. On the evening of February 2, we were in the library together all night. We even left at the same time, but I can tell you and your whole viewing audience that I’ve never owned a pair of Merrell boots OR shoes in my life. I’m a Columbia man, myself. Trevor keeps talking about getting a pair of Bean Boots, or something, but I don’t know what he’s talking about. He’s gotta get those feet under control. It’s really starting to get to him.”

SK: “I couldn’t tell if Jeff was telling the truth or not. He wasn’t wearing Merrells when he spoke with us, but they would be easy to hide. I wasn’t about to ask to see into his clothes closet at home. Someone as smooth and smart as Jeff would have taken precautions. The facts just keep going around and around in my head and I can’t figure it out. Salt. Size 11’s. Is Jeff telling the truth? And what about the Instagram pic? Does that prove anything? Sometimes stories don’t have happy, clean endings. Life is filled with ambiguity. I was just about to throw in the towel on another Serial season when I got a phone call from Trevor. He sounded out of breath. He was calling me from his office so we wouldn’t be disturbed. And this is where we learn about the ‘Karen email’ as we’ve come to think of it here in the Serial offices.”

TL: “Sarah! You won’t BELIEVE this put I got this incredible email today from a Karen. She works at another library in the city but she was working at my branch on the night of the 2nd, and listen to what she writes! I’ll read it out to you word for word.”

SK: “I can hear Trevor clicking around on his computer and I don’t have any idea what he is about to tell me.”

TL: “Okay, you ready? You recording this? This is what Karen has to say. The subject line simply says ‘Apologies’. Here goes:

Hey Trevor,


I have an apology to make.

Apparently last Monday while I was at your branch, I accidentally took what I believe to be your winter hikers by mistake.

The only reason I know this is that they are one size too large (which I mistook to be mine because I had taken the insoles out previously), yet they look identical to mine.

I apologize for this. I only just realized the mistake when I was going out on the weekend and noticed the size difference.

I’ll be by sometime this week to exchange them (I hope mine are still there at the coat rack).


Again, I am really sorry about the mix up.

See you later.


Can you believe it? I never even considered Karen. One, because she isn’t a regular here, but also because I didn’t think women could have such big feet. I guess I underestimated Karen in that regard. Also, I’ve been wearing lady boots all week!”

SK: “I could hear the relief in Trevor’s voice and by the end of our phone call I could sense that he was about to cry. He wasn’t going crazy after all, his feet didn’t worryingly swell up, and his boots didn’t mysterious shrink. All in all, this has been a great week for Serial. Adnan from Season 1 is getting his appeal and we’ve solved the mystery of the swelling/shrinking feet/boots. Support for this program has been provided by Square Space and Mail Chimp. I’m Sarah Koenig”




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2 responses to “Serial, Season 2: Brutal and Boots.

  1. I KNEW IT! I can finally stop thinking about this!

  2. And don’t think I didn’t spy the Korman ref.

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