“A Mysterious Shoe”
Written by a young BC, from April 2004
Once upon a time there were a few children. There names were Anne, Bill, and Claude. Claude liked books on deserts. Anne liked making new shapes. Billy liked making new chairs. They all shared a room. They would stay up until midnight if they were busy. One day they got a package. Billy opened it. Claude took it out. “Well, it looks like a shoe to me,” said Anne. Claude looked over Anne’s shoulder. The shoe started shining. The lights went out. “Hey Billy, let’s shift spots,” said Anne. Anne and Billy shifted spots. Anne started flickering the light switch. “Quit flickering it you keep making it darker,” said Billy. “Can you even tell,” said Claude. Grrr! Billy chased the sound and tripped. “Ow,” said Billy. “That’s why you got to clean up,” said Anne. Claude stepped on a toy. “Yawo, that hurt,” said Claude. They started walking toward the sound. The lights turned on. Mom was standing in front of them. “Sorry kids I put my hand on the wall and pushed the butten that turn off the power. Oh, do you like the shoe with the desert pictures and shapes I got for your chairs,” asked Mom. “Uh, yay,” said Billy. They all lived happily ever after and never got a shining shoe again.
A Modern-Day Review
This piece is a charming tale about a trio of children who “once upon a time” shuffle around in confusion about a few different things for a few minutes until Mom comes in and abruptly ends their story. They have weird passions, including “making new shapes” and “making new chairs.” Claude likes books on deserts, which is the word that means “a dry, barren area of land” as opposed to “absolute goodness and probably the closest human creation there is to a piece of heaven.” So, Claude is interested in dead land, and not cake, to clarify.
These children–who are apparently known to stay up until midnight “if they were busy” (which begs the question, what highly pressing desert-shaped chair are they involved in designing into the wee hours of the night?), and who are also apparently great team workers, because each one of them has a hand in the tedious process of opening a package that landed at what was probably their bedroom doorstep–these children open up a package that possesses what Anne declares “looks like a shoe” to her. (Do shoes look different to Claude and Billy? Why did I just realize that their initials spell ABC? Do the three of them form a team of secret agents? Agents working for whom? For a chair-obsessed geometric villain from the Sahara? Are these children even siblings, or co-workers?)
However, this alleged shoe (which may not even be a shoe at this point, because neither Billy nor Claude have confirmed or denied their opinions of this object’s “shoe-ness”) then begins shining just as the light goes out! It’s an alien shoe! Run for your life!
Anne then, who is clearly the practical one of the bunch, is clear-minded enough during this crisis to switch spots with Billy and try the light switch. There is some confusion in the story at this point, which accurately conveys the confusion and madness and panic of the characters, as they bicker among themselves about the light situation. Presumably, I believe we are to assume that Anne flicking the light switch has no effect on the illuminated quality of the room.
To add to the hysteria, they then hear a “grrr” noise, and Billy flies into a frenzy, which causes him, in his blind flailing, to trip over something. Clever Claude though is quick to draw a lesson from Billy’s foolishness, which is to pick up one’s toys so that they don’t get tripped upon, after which he painfully stubs his own toe on another toy. The writer does an adequate job of inserting comedic effect and a lesson on tidiness and hypocrisy in this little section.
As soon as this settles down, they head towards the noise to investigate, and suddenly the jig is up as Mom enters the story. We are left to assume that she was the source of the growling (no doubt it was actually her stomach) and she confesses that, silly her, she accidentally (or was it an accident after all???) pushed the little red button that probably said “Do not push” on the wall, which automatically shuts on and off all power in the house, which makes total sense because every house comes stocked with one of those bad boys. Anyway, she also happens to mention that she hopes the kiddos enjoy the shoe, which she describes as a shoe “with desert pictures and shapes” that she “got for your chairs.” This part cracks me up because until then, we didn’t know that this shoe had pictures of the desert and shapes on it–which would seem like something noteworthy when the children first opened the package, considering their interests–and also because Mom claims she got them this shoe for their chairs?
At this point, I realize that this entire time, we have not even been dealing with a pair of shoes but one single shoe, which Mom intends for the children to use for their chairs–plural? Are Anne, Billy, and Claude supposed to take turns setting this random-ass shoe on each of their beautifully hand-crafted chairs (shout out to Billy for his woodworking skills)? But then Billy delivers his famous line, “Uh, yay,” perfectly conveying the hesitant and confused non-excitement the children (and any sane person) would feel after having their mother gift them a shoe for the purpose of pairing with a set of chairs. Thanks Mom? Do we still need the shoe to shine or can I use the batteries from it for the PS4 controller now?
Anyway, the children live happily ever after, never to receive another shining shoe again in their lifetime (bummer, right? Maybe they had a group intervention with Mom about her sub-par present-giving abilities). Hopefully Mom also had a talk with Billy about his crazed need to build chairs, as the house began to fill up so much with chairs that they couldn’t even use the guest room anymore, and maybe Claude went on to explore books about desserts, too. And Anne probably ended up just fine, as some very level-headed architect drawing shapes and making sense and whatnot.
This work was definitely a little denser than some of this author’s other work, but through breaking it down I think the moral of the story is very incredibly clear, so I won’t waste your time by stating the obvious or anything. It definitely has a few of the elements of her other work, including the group of random protagonists and the climactic ending. Always a pleasure to read and review this intelligent writer’s groundbreaking tales.