She only had three rules for him:
1) Put the toilet seat down.
2) No hockey in the house.
3) Well… it’s in the bedroom.
He was especially opposed to rule #2. (Being opposed to rule #3, he found, did him little good.)
It felt like entrapment to talk him into renting a large, open apartment with hardwood floors, and then to get mad at him if he played a little hockey. He’s Canadian. It is not his fault.
On this day, a day like so many others, she kissed him before leaving to run errands. And, also like on so many other days, she told him to “Be good.” He’s never been quite clear as to whether it was just a habit, or if she really knew him that well. Regardless…
Approximately 14 seconds after the elevator doors closed, he made the command decision that hockey with a pair of rolled up socks isn’t really hockey. So, technically he wasn’t breaking any rules.
He snatched his stick out from the back of the closet. He stared at it.
“Hellllooooo, old friend.”
He rolled up a pair of his socks and began gently stick handling around the place. He smiled. He became bolder. He rolled up five pairs of socks and lined them up twenty feet from the fireplace.
He took an easy wrist shot and sent the first socks directly into the middle of the fireplace.
He raised his stick above his head in celebration and gently hit a light fixture.
“Ooops. Gotta be more careful.”
He wristed pair number two into the top left corner and pair number three into the top right corner. He backhanded pair number four right into the centre of the fireplace.
He was quite pleased with himself.
He knew what he must do with the fifth pair. He wound up and unleashed a wicked slap shot. It curled a bit on him and bounced off of the edge of the fireplace and shot straight up in the air.
It knocked a framed picture of the two of them off the mantel.
The picture fell on to the end table and knocked over a decorative knickknack dealie.
The knickknack dealie rolled to the edge of the table. It seemed to stop.
The dealie rolled the extra half centimeter and fell into a tall standing lamp.
The lamp teetered for a moment and then fell — seemingly in slow motion.
On it’s way to the ground, the lamp bumped a pair of shiny red high heeled shoes off of the window ledge and down to the street below.
“I really should have seen that coming.”
Then he realized what just happened. He ran to the window and looked down.
“No, no. Not her shoes!”
He ran out of the apartment. He repeatedly punched the elevator button. He couldn’t stand waiting and bolted through the door to the stairs. He skipped more than he took, but soon was running out the front door of his building.
He stopped in front of their favourite street musician dude. He saw the red heels sitting in the guitar case, surround by change and a few bills.
“Oh, man. I’m so glad you have them. I accidentally knocked my girlfriend’s shoes out the window. I need them back. She’s only going to be out for a few hours.”
“I thought that they were a donation,” street musician dude said while strumming.
“Nope. Just an accident. But, here, I have some cash.” He pulled a five out of his pocket and tossed it into the guitar case. He started reaching for the shoes.
“Not so fast, my friend.” Street musician continued to strum. “I am thirsty. Run over to Starbucks and get me a decaf triple non-fat espresso machiatto and the shoes are yours.”
He looked at the musician. He looked at Starbucks. He looked at the shoes.
Street musician started playing a surprisingly good version of The Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
He jaywalked over, fishing more cash out of his pocket.
“Decaf triple non-fat espresso machiatto. Decaf triple non-fat espresso machiatto. Nobody orders a regular coffee anymore? Decaf triple non-fat espresso machiatto.”
He walked in through the door and waited in line.
“Everyone hand over your wallets and cell phones!”
He turned and saw two masked men. They each had a hand in their coat pocket, pointing them all gun-like.
“Oh great,” he said.
Then he looked closer at the two masks. Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand.
The robbers walked up and down lines.
Bette Midler stopped in front of him.
“Wallet and cellphone.”
“I don’t have either. I knocked my girlfriends shoes out the window and have to buy a coffee for a blackmailing busker or my girlfriend is going to beat me for playing hockey in the house.”
“What kind of shoes?” Bette-dude asked.
“Uhm… Red. High heels. Shiny.”
“She IS going to beat you.”
Barbra-dude walked up, “Get his money and his cellphone.”
“He doesn’t have either. And don’t tell me what to do!”
Barbra kept walking by. Bette steamed. Well, he assumed Bette was steaming. You know, the mask and all…
“That man is infuriating,” Bette muttered. “I don’t know what I ever saw in him.”
“Oh, you two are a couple?”
“What? You’ve never seen gay criminals before?” Bette asked defiantly.
“Oh. Sorry. Sure. Yeah. I heard that Dillinger loved the cock.”
“I… don’t know. I just need those shoes back.”
“Hurry up!” Barbra yelled.
“Oh that’s it.” Bette had enough. “When I offered to help you get money together for studio time, I didn’t sign up for this. And you should hear what that guy is willing to do for the one he loves –”
Bette and Barbra started arguing more and he moved up to the front of the line. He made signs to a bewildered barista. “Decaf triple non-fat espresso machiatto.”
The barista made the drink.
“And we don’t even have guns!” Bette blurted.
That was all he had to hear. He grabbed the drink from the barista, tossed a ten dollar bill on the counter, and ran outside and across the street, dodging traffic.
He handed the drink to the street musician.
“You wouldn’t believe what just — Hey. Where are the shoes?”
They were no longer in the guitar case.
“Funny story. I WAS going to hold them for you. But this woman came along and –”
“Don’t tell me.”
“– she offered to show me her boobs.”
“I’m sorry,” the musician said.
“Did you see where she went?”
“She’s getting on that bus,” the musician pointed. “White dress.”
He started off in pursuit. But then he stopped and ran back to the musician. “Were they nice?”
“The boobs? Amazing.” The musician smiled.
He gave the musician a “You had no choice” nod and he was off again. By the time he got to the bus, it was pulling away. He ran alongside the door for half a block, but the driver just smiled at him and accelerated.
He spotted a cab.
He climbed in. “Follow that bus.”
The driver shrugged and pulled out in pursuit.
This went on for blocks. At every stop, he watched for the girl in the white dress to get out.
Another cab pulled up beside them. The driver pulled down his sunglasses and revved his engine.
His cabbie turned to look. “Son of a bitch.”
“A friend of yours?” He asked.
Both cabbies jumped out and began swearing at each other in the middle of the street.
He watched the bus pull away and jumped out of the back of the cab. He started running.
The bus stopped a half a block up from him. He saw a young woman in a white dress get out and disappear into a building.
He dodged pedestrians as he ran towards the building.
As he ran in through the front door, he watched the elevator doors close with her inside. He saw that the elevator stopped on the third floor. He headed for the stairs. Again he skipped more than he used. He came bursting out onto the third floor and spotted her.
She was standing in front of a door, trying every key to get in.
“Hi!” he yelled. It came out a little louder than he planned.
She was startled.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you. But those shoes you got from that dude on the street… They belong to my girlfriend.”
He told her the story. She laughed.
“Tell you what,” she said. “Help me get into my brother’s apartment and I’ll give you the shoes. I’m supposed to be house-sitting, but I think he gave me an old key.”
“Sounds fair,” he smiled.
He held out his hand and she gave him the key ring.
He tried each one. Twice.
“I think you’re right. I think he gave you the wrong keys.”
“Crap. And he is out of town for a month. He has plants. And fish!”
“What about talking to the super?”
“Out of town until Monday.”
“Well, I do know one trick… Do you have a credit card?”
She reached into her purse and pulled one out. She handed it over.
“This doesn’t always work,” he said, sliding it down between the door and the casing. “But this is an old building…”
He opened the door and let it swing open.
“My hero!” she said.
“I try, I try.”
She walked into the apartment.
She went over to the closet and started pulling out suits and putting them in a pile on the floor.
“Uhm… could I maybe get those shoes?”
“One second, they are in my bag.”
She next put some shoes and sweaters on the pile.
He watched, but really didn’t want to know.
She grabbed her bag and fished out the shoes. She handed them to him.
“Thanks for your help.”
He watched as she pulled out a container of lighter fluid and squirted all over the clothes. He backed up towards the door as she lit a match and tossed it in the pile.
“This is not your brother’s apartment is it?”
The clothing pile erupted into a blaze.
He turned to make a quick escape when he ran face to face into two uniformed police officers.
He didn’t much like jail.
“What are you in for?” The biker dude next to him asked.
“I broke into an apartment to get back a pair of red high heels.”
“You are going to be very popular in jail.”
A police offer arrived at the cell door. “You. Come with me.”
He followed the officer. He was led to a room and handed his belongings.
“She confessed the whole thing,” the officer said. “Explained how you were just a patsy. Some dope she met–”
“I don’t know about ‘dope’, really.”
“You are free to go.”
“Dope it is!”
He realized the shoes weren’t there.
“I had some shoes with me when I was arrested.”
“Oh those… Maybe they got lost in the back?”
“I really need them.”
“Perhaps if you bought some raffle tickets for the police athletic league that would help us find them?”
“How many tickets would I need to buy?”
“I noticed a fifty dollar bill in your belongings…”
He passed it over to the officer. “But how am I going to get home?”
His first bit in the clink had lasted three hours.
The police car pulled up in front of his building. The officer opened the back door. He jumped out, with the red shoes in his hand.
The musician dude just stared at him.
He ran in to the building. He took the elevator. He ran down the hall.
He slowly let himself in.
She wasn’t there.
He quickly replaced the shoes on the window ledge. He smiled.
He walked over to the couch and plopped down.
Within minutes he heard her opening the lock.
“Hi, sweetie!” she sang.
She looked around.
“I’ve been gone for four hours and you didn’t think to wash the dishes? What am I going to do with you?”
She kissed him and went into the bedroom.
He turned on the TV. Sports highlights.
“Sweetie?” she yelled from the other room. “Did you see a pair of red high heels?”
“They are out here on the window.”
“Excellent,” she said, walking into the room.
“Are they your favourites?” he asked.
“Not really,” she replied. “They are cheap and cause blisters. I’m giving them to Goodwill.”