His Favorite Boots
by Jace Daniel (b. 1969)
There once was a young man browsing through items at a garage sale. This garage was packed with used things from the past, from old clothing and dusty books to corroded fishing poles and greasy tools to broken luggage and obsolete electronics. All spilling out onto the driveway, being poked and prodded by other strangers.
Waiting in the back corner of the garage was a crusty old pair of worn leather boots, and they caught the young man’s eye. Love at first sight.
“Check these out,” the young man said to himself as he picked up the boots in his hands. “These things must be sixty or seventy years old. I’ve never seen boots like these before.”
The young man dropped the boots to the floor and kicked off his shoes, stepping into the old boots one foot at a time.
“What luck!” the young man said to himself. “I’ve never felt a pair of boots fit so perfectly. It’s as if they were custom-made for my feet.”
The young man crouched down to inspect the unlabeled boots closely.
“All these things need is a good cleaning and an oil down. I can just put new soles on them, and they’ll be as good as new. There’s at least one more lifetime left in these boots.”
The young man stood and paced the crowded garage.
“I need these boots. I wonder how much they are.”
Walking out of the garage and onto the driveway, the young man saw an old man on the porch. Sitting in a wheelchair.
“Excuse me, sir,” the young man said. “Do you live here?”
The old man smiled.
“I see you’ve found my favorite boots. They fit?”
“Perfectly,” the young man said, pacing the driveway. “How old are they? Where’d you get them?”
“Those are some special boots,” the old man said. “There’s a damn good story that comes with those. A long time ago, when I was about your age, they saved my life.”
“Really?” the young man asked. “How?”
“I’ll tell you how. But you’ll have to buy the boots first.”
“Fair enough,” the young man said. “How much do you want for them?”
“That depends. How much are they worth to you?”
“I don’t know,” the young man said, wiggling his toes. “Say, ten bucks?”
“Fuck you. Twenty.”
The young man took out his wallet and counted his cash.
“How about fifteen?”
The old man smiled.
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