This snap fiction story (what’s that?) was tied together when I spotted a pair of children’s shoes hanging from a lamppost.

A Dangling Pair

George nudged his wife and cocked his head towards the lamppost. When she didn’t see them the first time, he nudged again.

Up there. How many attempts?”

Oh no! Those are boy’s shoes.”

They couldn’t have gotten it on the first go.”

But that means he’d have to have walked home barefoot. Poor child…”

It is quite a feat though, in its own way.”

Now it was her turn to nudge him. Poke him.

Seriously, Geor? How can you have a smile on your face? What if someone did this to one of the grand­children?”

I imagine they’d be mightily pissed off. And possibly their parents would get them a new pair of shoes.”

It’s an act of cruelty. I don’t see how you can’t be upset by this.”

Marlene turned around and sized up the lamppost.

Do you think we can get them down somehow?”

And then give them so some random kid on the street?”

Maybe, yes. Now they’re… not even waste. They’re just—dangling.”

George put his arm around her shoulders and led her away, homeward again.

Listen Mar. You’ve had your share of hardship, so have I. Everyone does, that’s how we grow. Life is suffering, but the real source of the pain is our desire that it not be so.”

I know. But still, that poor child.”

That poor child probably went home, cried a bunch, was comforted by his mom, drank a cup of hot cocoa over Looney Tunes, and picked out a new pair of shoes the following Saturday. Sure, kids are cruel; but they’re also resilient.”

Mar held on to his hand on her shoulder.

I suppose so. But someone should give whoever did that to him a good talking-to.”

Or no TV for a week.”

Or cold supper.”

Or an ice-cube bath, no suds.”

Geor!”

Just kidding. But still…”

Still what?”

A little nudge.

How many attempts, do you think? Before they got it up there?”

• • •

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Father, son, husband, friend and writer by day; asleep by night. Happily pondering the immortality of the crab wherever words are shared.

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