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Paperback writer

by PS Gifford

The Great Shoe Caper

This is an absolutely true account, none of the names or facts have been changed to protect the innocent, because there were no actual innocents involved.

It was an incredible ten years ago it all happened, almost exactly to today’s date. It was my only day off from my work managing a restaurant, a Tuesday, and I decided to do whatever manly man wants to do on his one and only day off -spring clean the bedroom. Hey, what can I tell you, I am a bit of a neat freak.

In particular I decided that our modest sliding closet was in dire needs of reorganizing, as every square inch had been jam packed with my wife’s stuff. Where’s my stuff you ask? A good question, just as I know many married men reading this can relate to, it all had long since been relegated to the third bedroom’s even more modest wardrobe.

As I dutifully slid the doors open, about fifty pairs of various shoes decided to fall out in a pile. (What exactly is it with woman and shoes?)

With my dog looking on evidently confused, I poured myself a rather large black coffee. Armed with my morning caffeine, I set about the daunting task of sorting them out all into the appropriate pairs, and in hindsight taking my life into my own hands deciding which ones needed to go into a cardboard box with the possibility of being thrown away. (Naturally, only with my wife’s full approval, as even I am not that foolhardy!)

Three hours later, my mission was nearing completion. Several of her dress shoes I had lovingly cleaned up and polished, new laces had been placed into now washed tennis shoes, and everything had been neatly arranged back into the closet. I could not wait for my wife’s reaction. Boy was she going to be pleased with me.

At 6:15 my wife arrived home, dinner was cooking in the oven, and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon was breathing on our kitchen table.

“Hello honey bunny,” I cried flinging open the front door.

“Hi boo,” she responded with a healthy note of caution embedded in her tone.

“How was your day?” I chirped cheerfully.

“Bloody awful,” she replied (although not English herself being married to one for so long has had its impact.)

“Well, how about I run you a nice bubble bath, and bring you in a glass of wine whilst you soak away the day’s troubles and relax,” I countered still feeling cheerful at my day’s cleaning.

“Erm, okay…I suppose that would be rather nice.” Being a male I was not able to ascertain the increasing suspicions growing in my wife’s now squinting eyes.

“Right then, dinner is in twenty five minutes!”

With that she proceeded to take her bath, and quickly consumed that first glass of wine. I replenished it promptly; it evidently was indeed a bad day at work for her.

Dinner was just set, everything looked and smelled perfect. Sarah was drying herself off and she was putting on her pajamas when the scream echoed ominously from the bedroom.

“Gifford, get in here now!” I always knew great trouble was in store when she called me Gifford.

She had apparently just opened the closet and was staring in at her shoes; this wasn’t the reaction I had hoped for.

“Whose shoes are these?” She cried pointing to a freshly washed pair of sneakers sporting new laces. “For they sure the heck aren’t mine!”

“But, but, but,” I feebly countered. “Sure they are!”

“No there not!” she proclaimed confidently and I swear steam was starting to come from her ears.

“Whose shoes are they?” She demanded and gave me that look that all married men know so well. Whatever I said I was now doomed. She, for the time being at least, was not going to be reasoned with.

“But they are yours!” I was desperate now. “Besides do you think that if anyone else was over they would leave barefooted, and put there shoes in your closet?”

“Maybe,” she yelled, “I have met some of your ex-girlfriends remember and some of them weren’t that bright.”

Dinner that night was eaten without a further word being spoken. Occasionally I opened my mouth in preparation to say something, but her fierce gaze shut me up again. Whatever I said at this point was only going to add to my doomed fate. Why oh why had I done it? Kept echoing over and over through my mind. I watched on nervously as she angrily chomped down her steak, baked potato and broccoli and finished the bottle of wine and opened a second.

It was after dinner, as she silently made her back into the bedroom and re-examined the shoes. I got up and cautiously watched her sitting on the foot of the bed. Recognition seemed to be finally washing over her face.

“Wait a minute,” she suddenly said her tone suddenly less fierce. “You know, thinking about it I do remember these shoesI haven’t seen them in years.”

I have to admit that whilst making up that night was particularly fun. I have never since reorganized my wife’s closet.

The end.

(Written about five years ago.)

P.S. Gifford

P.S. Gifford is a published horror author of great talent. He started submitting stories around 2005. His short stories are by far some of the best and most entertaining that I have read. Around that time he was invited to write columns which are titled "Paperback Writer."

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