THE SECRET LIVES OF SINISTER SHOES
by Matthew Sanborn Smith
A shoe is a bad thing by itself, without a human master to foot it. Its basic function is to step on things and that’s how it sees the world. “Look at that!” it says. “Oooo, I’ll bet I could step all over that!” It is one of the lowest things to the ground and yet it seeks to climb, always, by stepping on other things. It’ll step on your grandmother, given a third of a chance. When confronted, it denies everything and blames everything on a so-called evil twin, a mirror image of itself.
Shoes, left on their own, burrow beneath the ground during the day and lie in wait. When you hear faraway laughter, you can bet it’s a shoe, somewhere below. A shoe doesn’t need to sleep and so it spends the day thinking about its former master or mistress, thinks about them frantically spouting, “Where’s my shoe? Have you seen my shoe?” And this makes it giggle incessantly. Evil things, shoes.
At night it comes out and joins with other fugitive shoes. They run in packs, but mostly stick to their own breed, as stilettos can’t keep up with tennis shoes and penny-loafers are the natural enemies of flip-flops. If you’re bothered by a screeching cat outside your window at night you can take some comfort in knowing that it’s probably screeching because it’s just been trampled by a pack of wild pumps. There is a tiny bit of good in everything.