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A Short Shoe Story

My whole life began when Billy Norman picked my sister, Lefty, and me out from the shoe store. "These are the shoes I want, Mom," he said. "They're way cool."

"Are you sure, Billy?" Mrs. Norman asked. "You know you'll have to wear them until they're as old as the ones you've got on now."

It was then when I noticed the shabby, dirty sneakers that Billy had on. Their soles were worn to the fabric and the fashion was incredibly two years ago.

"Yes Mom," Billy said. "All the guys at school have them. They're way cool. Look, they even light up when you run." As Billy picked me up to demonstrate, I could feel the red lights molded into my sides glow with happiness. Finally, after three weeks of sitting uncomfortably on a slanted shelf in a flimsy cardboard box, Lefty and I were getting a home!

Mrs. Norman looked in her pocketbook, checked our price and sighed. "Oh, all right," she said, following my predictions. "Bring them up to the cashier, Billy."


After spending a long night in the backseat of a car, Billy put us straight to work. By the time he took us off after school, we were exhausted. As we rubbed the dirt off our fabric, Billy's old shoes came up to us. "A little tired after your first day of work, eh?" the right one sneered. "Well get used to it. It's gonna take a lot of work for you cheapos to match up to us.

The ends of Lefty's shoelaces curled up with fury. My sister is very sensitive. And this was her first time getting insulted. Sensing our anger, the left one said, "Don't mind him. He's just a little cranky." I stared at her for a long time. Despite her shabbiness and dirtiness, she was very pretty. "I'm Lefto," she went on to say, "And this is my brother, Righto."

"I'm Righty," I squeaked. "And that's my sister Lefty." Without waiting for her to reply, I launched into a recollection of the day's activities.

"Oh wow," she giggled when I was through. "You make what Righto and I have done thousands of times sound like a whole new exciting adventire."

"That's because it was for me," I said, and she smiled.

Righto caught me later that night, trying to get a wad of gum off my sole. "Yo, Righty," he said. "I know you think you're hot stuff but you aint. So stay away from my sister." Righto walked away, muttering, "He thinks he's so cool."

In the following weeks, it was Lefto who snuck away from her brother to visit me. When this happened, Lefty knew it was best for her to take a walk and leave us alone. When my sister was gone, I'd rub off crumbs that got stuck to me during lunch and share them with Lefto.

One day in early May, just as Billy took Lefty and me off and left the room, Lefto rushed over to us. "Oh, you'll never guess what happened!" she cried. "Billy's nanny declared it spring cleaning day today, time to throw out all of Billy's unneeded and unused things! And while Righto and I were running away, Nanny caught him! She nearly spent fifteen minutes looking for me, but gave up. Oh, but now Righto's in the city dump yard!" She began to sob.

"It's all right, Lefto," I tenderly rubbed her heel with my shoelace. "Every shoe has to go sometime."

"I think I'll leave now," Lefty said softly.

Lefto moved a little closer to me. "When I go, I hope I go with you," she whispered.

"Me too," I said truthfully. Then we snuggled up against each other and shared a few lunch crumbs.

It took months for Lefto to accept that Righto was gone. I paid her frequent visits and Lefty scrounged up some lunch crumbs for her.

By this time, Lefty and I were getting old too. It was Lefty who noticed our lights didn't work anymore and I noticed our cracks, scuffs, and scars.

That Christmas, Billy's uncle gave him the gift we hoped would never come. A pair of basketball shoes.

"Finally, a replacement for those cheap shoes," I heard Mrs. Norman say.

"I'll throw them out for you, ma'am." Said Nanny. "I might even find the match for that one I threw out last May."

I quickly ran to Lefto and Lefty and told them the news. "Oh great!" Lefty began to sob. "What do we do now?"

"Set off on our own." Lefto said quietly.

"What? What for?" Lefty gasped.

"To find my brother."

So we were off, tying our shoelaces together and facing the unknown. Would we find Righto? Would we survive? The only way to know was to venture forth and try.

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