[Is it the shoes?, 823 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
His old shoes were a wreck, Edward had worn them through and through. After a year and a half of his job. Which was to walk around and deliver council notices in local letterboxes throughout the community, his shoes were falling to pieces. It was time for a new pair, he considered. And with that consideration he accounted for his funds. The job didn’t pay much. But it was his livelihood. The one that had been supporting him past the bare necessities of bread and butter. That which made his life temporarily bearable. So, in an effort to account for his funds, knowing that this had been his livelihood, he was ready to spend what he could muster upon a decent pair of shoes.
Edward went to one of those places. Those great megaliths of the materialist world. The houses and churches of the consumerist culture that had penetrated and infiltrated every part of the world. A shopping mall. A god damn shopping mall! The megalith of greed and consumerism that had filtered and corrupted the minds of men ever since the idea of ‘the mall’ was conceived.
He entered the store. A skate store, seeking a fashionable pair of skate shoes that would stand well to wear over the period of time in which he chose to wear them. He was a man and men after all, do not take their time with frivolous window shopping. He knew what he wanted and it was the only reason to stand why he would enter such a place. He could feel it, the sickness as it slid down along his spine. The greed of Western culture, the materialist de-evaluation of the human spirit, all of it, filtering into his mind. The grand choice between roboticism and the world of spirit had been chosen. And the people of this place had chosen roboticism. They had chosen to structure their spirits as bricks. Solid on the surface, smooth and flat, in order to build a structure of some repute. However, like building a tower to the sky. Those bricks would be laid flat by the truth of the human spirit and what the human spirit contained. And the human spirit was wild… The human spirit was kind and cruel. Cruel to the point that it enforced these structures and ethics of a grand and great machine that produced nothing, that created nothing except poison. The kindness and gentile nature of the human spirit existed. Edward knew that much, but it would not exist in a place like this.
However, he needed shoes and shoes is what he required. Born to laze in the sun all day, but forced to build this tower of human production, which was the daydream of some megalomaniac or another. So he browsed, he browsed the shoes and eventually found what he was looking for. A pair that caught his eyes that would stand well to wear, and were of a particular style that suited him.
“I’ll take this pair.” Edward told the attendant of the store.
The attendant eyed him over. It was not that he was particularly well dressed. His clothes were styled to that of a derelict. She must have accounted him for having wealth. For the next thing she said was, “Yes, that pair, she’s wearing.” She pointed to another one of the store’s attendants. A beautiful woman who would attract any man that she desired. “What size were you after?”
“Thirteen.” Edward replied, he was quite tall after all.
She disappeared for a while and when she returned, she returned with a size twelve, “I’m sorry, this is the largest size we have.”
Edward tried the pair of shoes on. He felt them on his feet. They pinched his toes at the ends. Not exactly the most comfortable pair of shoes, but he would wear them in, he thought. He took the shoes off and told the attendant he would think about it.
So Edward sat there and thought about it. ‘To hell with it,’ he thought, ‘I’ll wear them in.’ So he bought the shoes, pricy as they were.
Two weeks had passed. He had worked for a total of four days. Walking around, eight hours a day. He felt that his toes were going to break. His feet compressed inside the shoes as it were.
He went to see his brother who explained it to him, “That’s how they do it.”
“How they do what?”
“Get good shoes in the opportunity shops. They sell shoes that don’t fit and the shoes end up in opportunity shops. People end up just giving the shoes away. They select a stylish pair of shoes. Get some beautiful woman to parade them around in the shoe store and sell them to some rich fool. Then the rich fool gives the pair of shoes away for half the price.”
“I did not know that.” Edward stated.
“Not many people do…”