The odd shoe

Am I ?

Oh no, it is that odd shoe again!
The one by the fireplace!
Will it ever mind its own business
and let me alone?

Yes, I am! Or am I not?
Maybe I am only when you look at me.
Or when somebody looks at me.
Or when somebody wears me.
Otherwise, I am not.

These days I often feel like
one of the bumble bees
my son is fond of shooting
with his water gun.

Only it's not my kid,
it's the shoe going after me.
It is silly and it shoots
silly questions through my head.

Why do you think I am silly?
How can you be sure that I always am?
It's you who is silly, I can tell you!!

When I stare at it,
it pretends to be lifeless.
I try and look elsewhere,
then snap back sharply.
It is still there,
it did not move!

Why in heaven do you think
     I did not move?
When you don't look,
     I move as much as I please!
You will never catch me.
I am faster than you.
And smarter, too!

It is as playful as a kid.
Yesterday it was a character
in a foreign student's textbook:

Lesson 7:
Look, Bob, isn't that a shoe?
     Yes, Cindy, it is a shoe.
Is the shoe brown, Bob?
     No, Cindy, the shoe is not brown,
     it is blue.

Isn't that cute!
It's actually gray and white.
So much for shoes having no fantasy!

Lesson 36 (advanced):
Look, Bob, isn't that a shoe?
     Do you mean the one by the fireplace,
Darling!? Of course!!
It is the only shoe in the room, isn't it.
It is so pretty!
And it feels lonely, too.
     Now, honey, don't be silly.
     Why should a shoe feel lonely?
     A shoe is a shoe.
     It just happens to be there.
You are an insensitive man!
Why can't you ever try
and see things the way I do?
I should have listened to my mother
before I married you!

I should do something.
Like get some help.
Call the police, perhaps.

Why don't you do so?
Maybe I am a hologram and
     they will switch off the light.
Or I am an intelligent holo
     and I will switch off myself.
Yes, that's what I will do!
Then you will look silly,
     which is what you are anyway.
And you will have nobody to talk too!

But I never talk to it!
It does the talking all by itself.
What if it is not a shoe at all?
For all I know, it could be an ET.
A Star Trek polymorph,
for example.

You are real good at guessing,
you know!? In fact,
     I used to be an unhappy polymorph
     craving to become an Earthly shoe.
I have had an operation
     and here I am: A happy shoe,
     enjoying an evening by a fireplace!

Now, this is too much!
I can't get on with my work.
I think I will burn the shoe in the fire.

You brute!!!

After all, shoes don't feel pain.

Here we come again!
How do you know?
You have never been a shoe!
Nor a polymorph, for that matter.
Maybe you never were!
Maybe you were projected
     into this room just a moment ago,
     complete with your memories
     and your super-ego and all.
Or maybe you are not unless
    I put silly thoughts
    into your silly head!

On the other hand, if I burn it,
I will go on forever asking myself:
     'Was it?'
     'Or was it only when I looked at it?'
     'Or when somebody looked at it or wore it?'
     'Or was it always?'
     'Until I burnt it !!!'

Wouldn't that be a hell?
Better let it be and ignore it.

What if I am just because I think that I am.

It's just an odd, silly shoe.
If you know what I mean.
Stan Sýkora, Arese 1995
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Copyright ©2004 Stanislav Sykora    DOI: 10.3247/elcl09.013 Designed by Stan Sýkora