A wish for rugged boots

The sweat beaded down their brows as their bare feet scraped against the pavement, their bindles over their shoulders and a glazed look in their eyes.
“If it isn’t Drew & Drake!” A guy named Billy beamed with a grin, “Fancy seein’, you two here!” Billy looked them up and down and noted their bare dirty feet, “Living on hard times are we?”
Drew wiped at his brow with the back of his hand, “Nah!” Drew scratched his belly under his vest, “We done a good deed, ain’t we, Drake?” he said, nudging his pal.
“We got clothes on our backs,” Drake started, “So we thought we’d give up some of our less necessary items.” Drake grinned, a few teeth missing in his mouth.
Billy laughed, “And shoes ain’t necessary, are they?”
“Look at them apes, them er, chimps. They don’t wear shoes!” Drew said with a smug smile.
“Thee don’t wear pants or vest neither.”
Drew’s brows drew together, his eyes glazed over more so than earlier, “Oh yea!” He exclaimed, “Thanks, man!” Drew slapped Billy on the back in that brotherly fashion men do.
“The point is,” Drake began, “We did a good deed which brings us good karma in the future, you know what I mean?”
Billy shook his head with a chuckle, “You two do make me laugh!”
“It’s good to make people laugh,” Drew nodded his head.
Drake rolled his eyes, “Drew, he aint laughing with us, he’s laughing at us like they always do!”
Drew’s face reddened and screwed into anger, “You what? You laughin’ at us? What you laugin’ at us fer! Yer quite laughable yerself! Dick’ead!”
“I’m not the one walking along the street in the 21st century with bindles strewn across me shoulder, in bare feet cuz I donated the only shoes I had to bloody charity shop! Ha!” “Hey, mate, what good you ever done in your life? Eh? You can laugh, but we’re the guys who have little yet still try to ‘elp where we can. We ‘ave bare feet, and so what about it? It feels quite good actually! Really grounds ya!” Drake said, doing a little tap dance and then lunging forward to show how free his movement was without shoes on, “We got the right t’ bare feet jus’ like them, Americans got their rights to bare arms!” Drake said, humour deep in his a little less glazed over eyes than Drew’s, “And look at you, bet you got them human feet instead of these beasty boys!” Drake karate kicked the air.
“Drake, you’ve got human feet too. He can see you know!”
Drake stopped in his tracks and slapped his pal across the head, “It’s a fucking play on words, dumbo! I got bear feet, ya get it?”
“We both have bare feet!”
“Yes we do, Drew! We have BEAR feet. And we could kick Mr Billy boy here into yesterday with ’em.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t need to kick, the smell’ll do it!” Billy said sarcastically.
“I think wearing shoes makes our feet smell bad, it’s all that sweating around in closed spaces. Bet my feet smell less than…”
“Drake,” Drew pawed at his friend’s elbow trying to pull him to the side.
“WHAT?” Drake roared, “What now.”
“Ah…Ah…I think I left mah soul in mah shoes.”
Billy’s head rolled along with his eyes, “Ya what? Ha! Aren’t shoes meant to have soles!”
“No, ya idiot!” Drake flicked Billy on his forehead, “He’s left his soul in his shoes!” Drake turned to Drew, “What ya leave ya soul there fer! Ya bleeding nutjob!”
“Aye, aye!” A voice hollered from across the road, “What you three lads up to? Hope you’re not causing trouble,” he beamed as he crossed the road.
“Alex,” Drew said dully.
“Alright, Drew! So what you all up to?”
“We’re off to get Drews Soul back from the charity shop. Ha!” Billy told him.
“Oh no,” Alex shook his head, “You’ve not sold your soul to charity ‘ave ya?”
“I didn’t mean to! But I left it in mah shoes!” Drew whined.
“What shoe did ya leave it in?” Alex asked jutting his chin.
“Me right shoe.”
Alex scratched at his stubble, “Ah. Can’t ‘ave been yours then!”
“What can’t ‘ave been?” Drake asked curiosity piqued.
“I just saw a shoe walking down that ginnel near the chippy, ya know where ah mean?”
“Oh aye,” Drake stroked his beard.
“What colour was it?” Drew asked.
“Brown. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t be your shoe mate. It was one of them oxford shoes. Ya know, all rich and posh like. Wingtips an’ all.”
“I seen a homeless man wearing wingtip oxfords. At least ah think he were homeless. He had odd socks on!” Billy added.
“Nah. He ain’t homeless! I know who ya mean, but he ain’t homeless. But he ain’t rich neither.” Turning to Drew, “What colour were ya shoes?”
“Black.”
Alex’s jaw dropped, “Oh no! See if I were to leave my soul in a shoe, I’d make sure it was brown or a trainer or somethin’ ya know? But never a black one! I’d never leave my soul in a black shoe!”
“What does the…” Billy shook his head not believing he was about to entertain the question, “What does the colour of the shoe have to do with leaving ya fuckin’ soul in it?”
“Billy,” Alex held up the palms of his hands as if in surrender, “Billy, mate. Calm down! I’m just sayin’ if I left me soul in a shoe I’d want to leave it in a brown one. Hell, I wouldn’t mind leaving it in a wing tipped oxford shoe, as long as it’s brown.”
“You lot are out of your minds!”
“I do like brown shoes,” Drew said aloud absentmindedly.
“I saw a pair of boots walking down the cobbled street at the back of the bakers, the owner must’ve had a split soul or somethin’ to have two souls in both boots.”
“I wish I’d left my soul in a pair of rugged boots.” Drew intoned sadly, “But instead I left my soul in me right shoe and it was black an all!”
“I’d get to that charity shop quick sharpish,” Alex clapped his hands together to emphasise his point. Turning to Billy with a grin, “What kinda shoe would you leave your soul in?”
“Souls don’t exist chickenshit.”
“Course they do! How else did those shoes I’ve seen walking about come to life?”
“Cause you’re fucking high or mental or both!” Billy scoffed.
“Maybe they’re just trying to find their socks,” Drew thought aloud.
Drake and Alex looked at Drew as if he’s just said the most genius thing they’d ever heard, “Ya might be onto something!”
“Ya know what,” Alex started excitedly, “Ya might have left ya soul in your sock but thought ya left it in ya shoe.”
“Well why don’t you go back up t’ the charity shop and follow the shoe to the sock! Ha!” Billy roared with laughter.
“That’s a good idea!” Drake replied.
“So those walking shoes didn’t have souls in them? They were just animated to look for socks?” Alex said with disappointment. “I was hoping that I could leave me soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“If ya can leave your soul in a sock, ya can surely leave ya soul in a shoe too?” Drake patted Alex on the back, “Come on mate! Cheer up! Ya can still leave ya soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“Ya know I think I might have left me soul in that black sock I lost!”
“Will ya stop leaving ya soul in black!” Drake muttered.

That night as Drew and Drake muttered their nonsense inside of sleep, and Alex lay on the floor snoring a black sock snaked across the road and a black shoe went chasing after it, and that black shoe gobbled up the sock ferociously, and the only witness to the shoes savage ways was Billy.

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