Read The First Place Entry of Our Creative Arts Competition

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New Shoes

Daniel Stevens

It was a crisp cold sunny morning; the leaves were all the beautiful palette that is the autumn season. The birds were singing their sweet tunes getting ready to do their avian agenda as all birds do. The retired neighbor man was getting his newspaper in his bathrobe and crocks, as is tradition. The casual businesswoman was leaving her apartment with a coffee in her left hand and a briefcase in the other. It was a perfectly normal start to a perfectly normal morning to a perfectly normal day. All was right in the world.

Miles stood outside on his stoop observing the world around him appreciating the life he earned. Miles was a content man in his late 20s, unmarried and no kids. It occasionally saddens him that he has no one to share his life with, but he makes the best of it. He stands tall about 5’11 the same way most people stand but in his own unique shape. He was thin and lanky with not much fat or muscle. He had dirty blonde hair that is quite clean and some stubble. His eyes are green but if you ask his mother, they are blue. Miles had off of work for his job as a courier on this particular day; a day that would change his life forever.

Miles got dressed into his day clothes, that consisted of a pair of blue jeans that were slightly frayed along the legs. He sported a worn black hoody that featured the “Ramones” logo that seemed to fade a little more with every laundry day. His sneakers were so old and worn that it was a miracle they did not fall apart when he walked. His shoes made a sound when he walked as if they were flip-flops. They were loud and unique with each step, but Miles thought it gave them character. He appreciated the ‘character’ in his possessions. Miles went on and headed down to the deli for breakfast. It was a decent sized store owned by the same family for as long as you or I can care to remember. The owners were a half blind Old German man and his wife. The store’s ceiling lights were installed by the German man himself… after he lost most of his sight. It is astonishing they have not crashed down on anyone yet. The store had a certain ‘character’ to it, Miles thought.

He decided he would walk down to “Scheck Deli and Grocer” since it was such a lovely day. He greeted all the friendly faces he recognized and some of the more unfriendly faces as well. He whistled a tune that he and his brother would sing on the way to the same deli when they were kids. It was a military song their dad taught them about 3 old ladies lying in bed wanting to be Airborne Rangers. He saw the deli on the corner and proceeded to whistle. He walked through the front door of the shop and said, “The Usual please”. The small German man behind the counter yelled back “Coming right up!”  with a big smile. The German man stared admirably at Miles with his thick glasses, that looked like they could double as hurricane proof glass which Miles thought could be useful in the right situation. He stood not so tall at 4’10 the same way most people stand but in his own unique shape. He could be taller if he did not have such a heavily arched back. Miles went into an aisle to get a snack off the shelf.

Miles was pre-occupied looking for the right flavor of M&M’s when he heard the door open. But it did not matter to him and he kept looking for his candy. A goliath of a man stood tall about 6’8 the same way most people stand but in his own unique hulking shape.  He had arms like boulders and was tall as a house and wide as a barn. He could easily be mistaken for a Viking, as he had a long beard that covered most of his face and hair down to his shoulders. He spoke with a thick Scandinavian accent said with a booming voice “The money old man and the lottery tickets”. The old man said there was not much money because of how early it was. The giant brought his fist down and crushed the counter with a single slam. The crash of the counter reverberated throughout the store. The old man was shaking more than a washing machine full of bricks on the highest setting. The old man’s face was red like a sunburnt tomato as he scrambled for the lottery tickets that the behemoth so ‘politely’ asked for. The giant pulled a gun on the cashier and demanded he move faster.

Miles watched on as his heart raced; still hidden from the robber. “What should I do? Should I call the cops?” he thought. “No, they would take too long… Should I be the David to this Goliath?” he thought to himself. What if the old German gets hurt as a result? Miles thought maybe he could talk him down. Miles poked his head up from the snack aisle and he wanted to say, “Hey Sasquatch, this really necessary?” in an authoritative way but what came out of his mouth was the sound of a small dog’s chew toy. Spooked, the robber pointed his gun and fired toward the snack aisle hitting the pre-popped popcorn. The bags exploded and it rained down the fluffy treat in an oddly peaceful way. It would have been beautiful if not so terrifying.

“Who is there?! Show yourself!” demanded the great beast. Miles stayed hidden and tried to move to a different area. The sounds of his worn sneakers flip-flopped in the empty aisle giving off a faint echo. “I hear you,” said the fiend. Miles could not tell what was louder; his heart pounding like a drummer on cocaine or the shoes he now wishes he replaced 3 years ago. He removed his shoes to avoid detection, but he carried his shoes with him as he moved around. In a strange way they provided an odd sense of comfort, holding on to something familiar. The steps of the robber were loud as they were daunting.

The Colossus peeked down the corner that Miles was hiding in and Miles stood up then froze like a deer in headlights. “Got you little man,” spoke the robber. In a panic Miles threw his shoe at the robber’s head and missed. “Who throws a shoe?  Honestly!” huffed the robber. Miles clenched on his last shoe thinking he was about to meet his maker. He looked up and saw the poorly hung lights which gave him an idea. He wound up like a pitcher. “OK little man. Throw it. See what happens!” the robber chuckled. Miles whipped the second shoe whizzing by the robber’s head. “Bad aim,” said the robber humoring him. The shoe hit the light behind the mountain of a man. The wire holding up the light snaps and swings down colliding with the robber’s head like thunder meeting lightning.

As the Gargantuan man fell, it seemed like time slowed. Then with a mighty thud the beast was done. As he clashed with the ground the shelves once full of Deli approved products fell off as if a mini earthquake struck the store. The bare foot hero went to check on the Old man behind the counter that nearly had a run in with death. The old man was fine but rattled. “I hope you pay for that light young man,” the old German said with a smile.

The cops arrived quickly in the aftermath. The news vans showed after several cop cars arrived at the now popular deli. The police arrested the towering foe. Miles and the Deli made it to the evening news. Word got out and the Deli got its much-needed renovations thanks to a fundraiser started by a few good Samaritans. Miles was the center of attention and was recognized everywhere he went. After his 15 minutes, Miles had an extra spring to his step, people argued whether it was his run in with the King-Sized candy bar of a man or that he finally purchased his much-needed new pair of shoes. Once again all was right in the world.

Email Daniel at:

dstevens10@live.esu.edu

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