As you guys should know by now I am not very good at writing fiction so whenever I put up a new post you no doubt know it’s new bit of my ramblings about some topic, well today you’re in for a treat! A good friend of mine, Matt Miller, who I had the delight of working the Scrappers games all summer long with is an aspiring writer and a good one at that. He asked if he could debut a piece of my blog and thought sure why not my readers could use something a little more entertaining than my random thoughts. So here is a short story compliments of Matt Miller and if you like what you read you can follow him on twitter @mrm1390!
by: Matt Miller
I passed him on my way to work most days, or at least the days that I was early enough to take a leisurely stroll down Quarterfine Avenue. It was always faster just to cut through the alley behind the building and use the office’s back entrance, but I enjoyed the serenity of a morning walk when I could find it.
It was right in front of Mickey’s Corner Pharmacy that he sat, otherwise blending in with the rest of the miscreants that called the concrete porch under the overhang their home. Old Mickey’d tried to chase the beggars away, but after many a fruitless effort he relented, settling instead for letting them stay so long as they didn’t block his window display. He was especially particular this time of year, and if one of them haplessly drifted over to block his big Christmas tree, he’d run straight out with his shovel, fill it’s mouth with a heaping scoop of snow, and threaten the poor soul with a face full of powder.
When walking by, it was usually best to ignore the crowd, or at least feign poverty. But after awhile I couldn’t ignore him any longer. Disregarding my better-thinking self and instead acting to satiate my curiosity, I fished a crumpled up five dollar bill out of my pocket and dropped it in the hat he kept in his lap.
“Thank ya sir, god bless ya’ sir,” he muttered, looking and talking to no one in particular.
“Yeah, no problem,,” I replied, leaning in close in an effort to get his attention. “But hey, I’ve been walking by here everyday for a few months now, and I can’t help but notice you have a brand new pair of shoes almost weekly. Don’t you, ya know, want to buy food or something?”
“Sir, that ain’t none’ya business.” He snapped back, this time turning his head and removing his tinted glasses to reveal a glass eye. “But since ya’ bein’ so damn up in my life and what, let me tell ‘ya how it be. I ain’t wantsta be sitting out here in the cold with no holes in ma’ shoes. An’ you know? Shoes is the first thing people look at when they pass. You oughta clean the salt offa yours. You lookin like a fool.”
I glanced down, and sure enough a big, white streak painting the toe of my once shiny wingtip revealed itself. I looked back at the surly fellow, who had now shifted back into his original position with his sunglasses again covering his eyes.
“Ha, yeah,” I started to retort in a haughty tone. But he wasn’t paying attention anymore, and to regain it would surely be a task. I settled for shouting “Well, at least I have a job, loser.”
And with that, I strode off, content to reach the office early.
It seems now to be rather petty, but for the next few days I made a point to shine and wear the nicest shoes I could muster just for when I would walk by the old coot. I dawdled as slow as I could manage when I passed, making a concerted effort to take exaggerated strides, flaying the shimmering shoes about, strutting like a peacock. He didn’t notice. And I couldn’t help myself starting to resent him
I stopped my daily stroll down Quarterfine Avenue for a few weeks. I didn’t need the hassle. But I never did quit thinking about that man and his shoes. In fact, I continued my efforts to keep my shoes looking fine just to spite him, making sure to apply a fresh coat of wax each morning before sliding them onto my feet. ‘Huh,’ I thought to myself. ‘Homeless old coot thinks I wear dirty shoes. HAH! At least I have a job! And just look at the way he dresses otherwise! Bah! Delinquents, all of ‘em.’
After awhile, I felt the need to rekindle my old tradition. It was December 23rd, my last day of work before leaving to travel back west. It was a delight to walk downtown and see people bursting out of the shops in preparation for Christmas, the kids out of school ragtagging in the snow. I had a few extra dollars, so I figured I could to treat the beggars to a little holiday booze money.
Wearing my finest leather boots, I meandered down the walk towards Mickey’s. Of course he’d see me now, handing out money to all of his cohorts. But of course I wouldn’t leave him anything. After all, who was he but a liar and a cheat? Of course he was a liar and a cheat and a thief, no doubt.
As I reached the corner, I quickly scanned the storefront but noticed something amiss. The old man wasn’t there. Instead in his place sat a new, shiny pair of shoes and a note. I instinctively felt that that note was for my eyes. I picked it up and glanced over the old man’s scribbles.
I sat right down where the old man used to rest, took off my own shoes and replaced them with the one’s he’d left. They were a perfect fit. And boy did they look good.