Monday, 30 March 2009

MULTIPLY United Friends Challenge #131 - The "Lucky" Shoes

Kittigory's Challenge

Choose a favorite popular ballad, and write your own version of the story it tells.
Give your story a title, and, as an added, though no required bonus, post the actual song lyrics.

Jeff will never forget that Monday afternoon, it remains in his memories as a sort of intensive black cloudy Monday. The rain was pouring down as if the heavens had decided to open the sluice gates all at once and he had just one wish, which was to arrive home in the nice warm shelter of his comfortable nest with Shirley, the love of his life. Even this was a mistake, but if we turn the clocks back about an hour he was sitting in the office at work, talking to his boss, Mr. Smith.
“Sit down, Jeff. Would you like a coffee?”
Jeff was somehow feeling uncertain. His boss usually only spoke to him when there was a problem in the factory. Jeff was maintenance man and repaired the machines if they had a fault. This time he was actually sitting in the office opposite Mr. Smith. The last time he was here was when he was engaged for the job, so something must be wrong somewhere. He was even being offered a coffee.
“No thank you Mr. Smith, can I help you in any way” thinking that a new machine was arriving and he would have to help set it up.
“No, not really Jeff. It is just that things will be changing. I mean we are really satisfied with your work, but as the situation is in this day and age, our company has become too small to hold its head up high in the engineering world.”
Basically Jeff understood very little of this conversation, so just nodded in agreement, waiting for the next sentence.
“Where was I” said Mr. Smith
“in the engineering world I think”
“Yes, well you see our machine park has been bought by another company. Actually our company has been bought and although production will continue, all the machines will now be serviced and supplied by our new owners. Unfortunately this means that your job no longer exists. Of course your salary will be paid until the end of the month. This should give you time to find a new job.”
This meant that Jeff was now out of work. Now we find Jeff on the wet streets. Even his feet were wet, his old sneakers were split at the seams and the soles were also wearing thin. “Oh for dry feet and a sympathetic ear from Shirley.” He thought.
When he arrived home in the middle of the afternoon, which was not usual, his feet were still wet and Shirley seemed to be busy. Actually she was in bed, not having an afternoon nap, but was quite active with Charlie, one of Jeff’s friends. Needless to say Jeff was more than disappointed with Shirley’s activities when he was not at home. He did not even bother to tell her he had lost his job. He did not really have time. There was an argument. Charlie was no longer one of Jeff’s friends and Shirley packed her clothes in a case and left with Charlie saying she would let Jeff know where to send the remains of her belongings.
Jeff spent a very unhappy lonely night at home on that Monday. He decided that a drink would help and went to bed in the early hours of the morning after he had emptied the whisky bottle.

Oh Jeff felt bad on Tuesday morning. He was glad that the toilette was so near to the bedroom. He was also glad that he did not have to go to work, he was feeling tired and sick.
“Shirley, Shirley” he called “where are you, I need you, I am ill.” There was no answer and then he realised that there was no Shirley, she was probably lying in Charlie’s arms and had already forgotten the feelings she once had for Jeff.

So Jeff had a shower. It was a shower to beat all showers and he must have stood under the water for at least thirty minutes. He still felt a bit groggy, but decided life must go on and being out of work, he could go into town for a walk. He even had money. The money he received from the company would be enough until the month was over. He got himself dressed, took a pair of clean socks from the drawer and as a last movement put his shoes on. Jeff lived in sneakers. Blue jeans and a t-shirt were his daily wardrobe and what could match better than a pair of sneakers. It was then that he realised that there were no sneakers any more. At least they were there, but very wet and torn. He had no choice but to put them on. Having wet feet was one problem, but the shoes just made a noise when he was walking, the water squelching out at the sides where they were split.

There was only one solution. His first visit must be to the shoe shop. As he left his home the sun started shining and it was warm, the remaining grey layer of damp quickly drying on the paving stones of the street.

He walked along the road and then he saw them in the window of the shoe shop, blue and white sneakers. He fell in love with them at once. They resembled so much the first sneakers he had bought with his first wages. The background was completely in white, but they had the unforgettable three blue leather stripes on each side. Jeff entered the shop where he spoke to the assistant. She seemed very familiar to him, but he just could not place her.
“I think we know each other” she said “You’re Jeff”
Jeff was surprised.
“That’s me sure, you seem familiar as well.”
“I’m Susan, I used to work at the factory in the canteen. A coffee with three sugars and no milk was always your order for the break in the morning.”
“That’s right. Of course, you are the lady that would bring the coffee to the table. You have a new job?”
“I realised that the company would be closing and I started looking around for something different, and am now selling shoes. Can I help you.”
“Well yes, I would like to try the blue and white sneakers that you have in the window.”
“Size? We only have the one pair, they are a remainder from an old order, but they are still in good condition. Some say they were the best sneakers ever made.”
“I have size 42, do you think they will fit?” and Jeff was now getting worried that they might not be his size.
Susan went to the window and took the shoes and looked at them.
“Looks like you are in luck, size 42 would you like to try them?”
“Yes, very much.” Jeff felt a bit ashamed with his wet socks, but it was the chance of a lifetime.
“Jeff, if you don’t mind me noticing, you socks seem to be wet from the old sneakers. I have a pair of white cotton socks here that you can have. They are a remainder from the sales and no-one buys white socks any more, although I think they would really suit the sneakers.”
So Jeff put the dry socks on and tried the sneakers and they fitted perfectly. He felt so happy, and could see that there was a little bit of light on the horizon.

The shoes were a special price, as they were a remaining pair. When he left the shop he had a good feeling. Things were picking up. He walked down the street, but felt like he was floating with his new shoes. Everyone seemed to be looking at him and smiling. He just felt so happy. He was perhaps more than happy as he had Susan’s telephone number that she wrote on the receipt for the shoes.

Jeff phoned Susan and they arranged to go out on Thursday evening. He woke up late on Thursday morning, but he did not care. He decided to have a look in the newspaper, perhaps he might find a work. It suddenly hit him “Maintenance man needed urgently for machine repairs.” Jeff lost no time and called. It seemed to be so urgent that he had an appointment for an interview in the afternoon. He decided to put on his best blue jeans, the ones with the washed out look, a white t-shirt with the words “Be happy” across the front and of course his new beloved sneakers. He was the ideal man for the job. Jeff had a feeling that one of the reasons that he was employed was the new shoes. He noticed the manager of the company was looking at his shoes most of the time. After the papers were signed, his new boss just could not resist asking where he got the shoes. Jeff told him they were the only pair in the shop.
“I remember when I was a teenager, full of hopes for the future, I always bought those sneakers. I grew up with them” said the manager and Jeff was sure he saw a slight sign of water in the manager’s eyes.

He was glad that the last two days were over and it was now time to start a new life. “Forget Shirley, who was Shirley” he was now ready for his date with Susan. He put on his new sneakers, evening came, he left his home, walked down the street and there was Susan standing at the street corner waiting for him. Under the light of the street lamp she looked like an angel. They walked together to the local bar. They had a wonderful evening together and it was the first of many.

Yes, it is amazing what a pair of new shoes can do for you.


New Shoes by Paolo Nutini

Woke up cold one tuesday,
I'm looking tired and feeling quite sick,
I felt like there was something missing in my day to day life
so I quickly opened the wardrobe,
pulled out some jeans and a T-shirt that seemed clean,
topped it off with a pair of old shoes,
that were ripped around the seams,
and I thought these shoes just don't suit me

Hey, I put some new shoes on,
and suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everbody's smiling,
it so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
but long on time,
slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
and I'm running late,
and I don't need an excuse,
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes.

Woke up late one thursday,
and I'm seeing stars as I'm rubbing my eyes,
and I felt like there were two days missing,
as I focused on the time,
and I made my way to the kitchen,
but I had to stop from the shock of what I found,
a room full of all my friends dancing round and round
and I thought hello new shoes,
byebye them blues


Take me wondering through these streets,
where bright lights and angels meet,
stone to stone they take me on,
I'm walking to the break of dawn. (x2)


Take me wondering through these streets.

United Friends Challenge #131 - The "Lucky" Shoes

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