I’ve decided to share my latest book (The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man) with my followers here, free of charge, one chapter at a time. So… Where were we on this read-along… Oh, yes…
Chapter 16: The Missing Shoes
And now, a short and pointless little story from a different time in my life, with an even more pointless moral attached to it. The year: 2015.
“Oh my God. My shoes. I think I left my shoes at the hotel!”
I was suddenly panicked, where moments before I was content as a stinkbug on an overcooked hamburger patty to be headed back to the airport and back to real life. It had been a long, much-needed escape full of booze, best friends, cruise ship shenanigans, and over-eager Mexican street hustlers. We had done the trip right, from beginning to end, and now we were headed to LAX, sharing a common desire to get back to our kids, routines, healthy living, and at least six booze-free hangover-free years to follow.
Usually a pair of shoes wouldn’t be enough to make me, and an entire car full of burnt-out people, drive an hour out of our way to retrieve them. But these weren’t just any shoes. They had been given to me as a gift, and were nicer than just about anything in my wardrobe by a couple hundred bucks at least.
“Can you pull over really quick?” I wasn’t really asking. “I need to check my suitcase. I don’t think they’re in there, but they could be,” I said, praying with all my agnostic little heart that I was simply forgetting altogether having packed them. I knew I hadn’t grabbed them, though. I had just barely packed my luggage in the final moments before we left, and I recalled very specifically putting each and every item inside because it took more concentration than a high-speed game of Tetris to make it all fit, and quickly.
My friend pulled the car over onto a side street lined with hoary, yet pleasant little bungalows. Maybe my shoes somehow got kicked under the bed… I didn’t know. My mind was a blur with thought of where I might have left them. Maybe they were shoved behind the curtains. But I had done a careful sweep of the hotel room for anything left behind. I would have seen them, surely.
I could sense the tension and apprehension in the faces of my travel companions. Losing an hour when they had to get me to the airport, and when they wanted to get started on their own road trip home, was less than an ideal thought. Yet, they were good friends and neither griped nor protested.
“Pop the trunk!” I yelled, as I exited. The rear of the car soon gaped open, allowing me to dig in and explore my way to the bad news I knew was certain.
Come on, come on, just be in there.
I yanked my oversized suitcase from the car, and set it on the pavement.
I unzipped it.
And with far less care than I should have given for how meticulously it was originally packed, I opened it up and began rummaging.
I searched it again, leaving no further order to what was left inside.
The shoes weren’t there.
I sat back on the strength of my own burning quadriceps, trying to decide if I should wave the white flag and just leave them behind, or if I should inconvenience everyone, and possibly even miss my flight home to go back for them. No shoes left behind, and all that jazz.
It really was a question of time.
I looked down at my watch, ready to do some heavy calculation and quick decision-making.
And right then, I saw them.
My missing shoes.
The shoes over which my heart had nearly just exploded.
On my… feet.
I was wearing the damn things the entire time.
Well, this is a little embarrassing.
I crammed my suitcase shut, threw it in the trunk, hopped in the car again, and slammed the door behind me.
“Did you find them?” my friends both said in unison.
Relief flooded both their faces.
“Oh, good!” came the reply. “Where were they?!”
I dramatically looked down at my shoes. I looked up at my friends again and smirked. “Just drive,” I said. “Just drive.”
Pointless moral of the story: Sometimes the first place you should go looking for something is the last and most obvious place it probably is.
And with that, we’ll get back to it…
Dan Pearce, from my book: The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man
Last Chapter: Tenniele
Next up: The Glorious Spot in My Jeans
If you would like to start from the beginning, or catch up on a missed chapter, you’ll find all the chapters I’ve published so far by clicking here.
Of course, this book is for sale on paperback, hard cover, or as an e-book. If you find yourself unable to live without a copy, I would *so* very much appreciate you ordering one. You can find it on Amazon here (paperback and Kindle). Or hardcover here. Or Nook here. Or iBooks here.