It’s the shoes.

No, it’s

it’s not the shoes in and of themselves. In and of themselves, the shoes are fine. They’re black shoes. They shine. They take polish, so they have a nice

they shine.

Maybe if they weren’t

if they didn’t take such a shine, it wouldn’t be

because it’s not just the shoes in and of themselves. It’s everything.

Well, not everything, just

it’s just some things. Some other things. Different things. Related things. If the shoes were

say they were worn by a different person

if the person

say the person who was wearing them, who is wearing them, would wear other things with them, then it wouldn’t be the shoes at all. But it’s

it’s the other things. A few things. Specific things. Worn by the person who wears the shoes. Worn by

the person wearing the shoes and good God, man, why do you dress that way? The way you’re dressed right now, of what in God’s name are you thinking? Fuck the shoes, man. We’re not talking about the shoes. In and of themselves, the shoes are fine. But the rest of this get-up, what’s the idea? I mean, Jesus Christ, you’ve got men whistling at you. Giving you the eye. Young guys laugh at you. Women, too. And girls. Pretty girls laughing at you. Is that what you want? Pretty girls laughing at you? Jesus Christ, man.


Listen, fucking

just shut up and listen. And stop that

stop that

that thing you do. Just stop it.


You could dress differently, you know. It’s not like it’s written in stone someplace that you have to be the worst-dressed man in all of Holy Christendom.

For instance, you could wear clothes that match the shoes. For instance. Or you could buy a new pair to match the clothes. For another instance. You could do that, you’re not

you could. Listen. Fucking listen, man. Do this. Do this. And if you can’t do it for yourself, then fucking do it for me.

Fuck, do it for everyone. Do it for common human esthetic decency.

I mean, Jesus, man.

Then the next time we’re in this place, when that waitress looks at you, she won’t be about to bust her seams trying to keep from laughing.

God, she’s a honey. They all are at that age, it doesn’t matter what they look like as long as they’re shipping the proper freight and fuck-all is she ever. Not some sort of centerfold or anything like that, don’t get me wrong, but I mean

and don’t you want to tell her, God, you make me wish

you make me wish I was properly dressed and I’m going to do what my friend here has been telling me to do and I’m going to go out tomorrow and get me some new pants and a couple new shirts and a new pair of shoes, I swear to God.


Tetman Callis is a litigation paralegal in Chicago. His short fictions have been published in various magazines, including NOON, New York Tyrant, Litro, Gravel, alice blue review, Identity Theory, Wigleaf, Salt Hill, and White Whale Review. He is the author of the memoir, High Street: Lawyers, Guns & Money in a Stoner’s New Mexico (Outpost19, 2012), and the children’s book, Franny & Toby (Silky Oak Press, 2015).

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