Legend of the Red Sneaks

Everybody knows that red shoes are magical. That’s why that girl from Kansas wore them then wrote those diaries about it. But do you wanna hear about what were probably the coolest red shoes ever? Well, okay then, grab some snacks and soda and stuff and I’ll tell you about the

Bomb-Ass Red Sneakers from Heck

Okay, so the first thing you need to know is that Heck is a super fun place located Over Yonder from Hell*. People go there all the time to hang out and party. It’s actually become pretty touristy which annoys the Heck-demons who live there, although they don’t complain about the money it brings in. It’s actually pretty complicated, and we don’t have time to get into it right now. Really, the only thing you need to know for this story is that you can buy stuff there you can’t find in any of the other closest nine dimensions (other than Nozama, but that place treats its workers super shitty, so most wizards try to avoid shopping there).

*Metaphysical places like Heaven and Hell use units of measurement like “Over Yonder” and “A Fair Piece” and “Ya’ll Could Walk It If Ya Got The Time”.

Heck is famous for having an incredible variety of products, which gave rise to the saying, “If you can’t find it in Heck, look up your mother’s ass, you picky cunt.”  Although, if I had to say there was one thing they were most famous for it would probably be shoes. If Heck were Chinatown, shoes would be their waving cat statues. Walk into any store in Heck, and there will be magical shoes of all sorts lining the walls: shoes that silence your footsteps when you walk, shoes made of living snakes that eat the toes of your friends’ shoes if you get too close, shoes that look like sexy boots but feel like fuzzy slippers, shoes with wings that let you fly (although they’re super hard to balance on and newbies always end up falling and flying upside down like dorks), and even shoes that will breed and make new baby shoes for you if you take care of them (also shoe sex is super hilarious and you should watch it at least once if you can).

There was this one demon-wizard (yes you can be both) named Zyrlock who was especially good at making magical shoes. He only ever made one pair of each kind though, so you just had to hope you could find a cool pair in your size. The one exception to this rule was the Bomb-Ass Red Sneaks, not because he made more than one pair, but because they would adapt to fit any foot perfectly. They also made it so you could pull off any outfit you were wearing. Like even if you wore one of those tuxedo t-shirts and no pants, you could walk into a room and people would be like “Daaaaaamn Rosey! You look fabulous guuuuuuuuurl!” and it wouldn’t even matter if you had a weird butt or whatever.  

As you might imagine, anyone who tried them on instantly wanted to buy them, but oddly enough no matter what he was offered, Zyrlock refused to sell them. One Earth-wizard even offered to trade him a potion that made it so you could make anything you look at come alive and talk for as long as you stared at it, but Zyrlock still wouldn’t budge.** Nobody could understand why Zyrlock made the shoes in the first place since he wouldn’t sell them and never wore them himself  

** This was for the best as all the that would happen if you drank the potion was you’d look at, say, like, a glass of juice and it would be all like, “What’s happening? Who am I? Why am I all wet inside? I’m scared!” Honestly, it was super disconcerting.

After a few years, people just quit trying. Although occasionally, someone would stop by the store just to try them on if they were having a particularly rough day and needed to feel better about themselves.

One day, this wizard named Fashiona came by looking fly as hell like she always did. She spent some time browsing through the various babbles and bobbles and even picked up a few dobbles, which were a thing she’d recently been dabbling in.

When she got to the front to check out, Zyrlock totally expected her to ask about the Bomb-Ass Red Sneaks (most fashionable people did), but she only said, “These are some lovely dobbles you have here, and at such an excellent price!”

“Er, yes,” said Zyrlock. “Is there anything else then?”

“Nope!” said Fashiona. “Just these, oh and some magic dust if you have any of the purple kind left.”

“Oh yeah, I think we do. If not I can mix up some red and blue for you. Are you sure that’s all you wanted?” asked Zyrlock.

“Yup, that’s it!” said Fashiona

“Well then,” said Zyrlock, “I’ll just pop in the back and grab that dust, shall I? We don’t keep it on the shelves anymore because kids tend to shoplift it.”

Fashiona just smiled and waited.

When Zyrlock returned, he had two pouches of magic dust and was also holding the Bomb-Ass Red Sneaks. He cleared his throat and said, “Excuse me, I know this is a strange request, and please by no means feel obligated, but would you mind trying on these shoes for just a minute. I want to see something.”

“Sure, no problem,” said Fashiona. Wizards are used to all kinds of strange requests, so it didn’t really faze her. She slipped off her flip-flops and placed the shoes on her feet while Zyrlock waited with bated breath.

The second she finished lacing them up, the strangest thing happened. Nothing.

She was dressed simply in khaki shorts and a black tank top. Even her wizard hat was a mere plain blue with no ornamentation (which was a bit of an anomaly). Although the sneakers didn’t match the rest of her color scheme, they looked perfect with her outfit… but then again, so did the flip-flops. She looked great, but nothing changed because she had looked great before.  

“What do you think?” she asked Zyrlock, sitting down on a stool and holding up the shoes for his inspection.  

“They… look perfect on you,” answered Zyrlock, who was not exactly sure how to react. “Do you… are you interested in buying them?”

“Oh, no thanks,” said Fashiona, taking off the sneakers and slipping back into her flip-flops. “Just the dobbles and dust today.”

He rang her up and handed her her bag without saying another word.

“Thanks again,” she said, opening the door. “Have a great day!”

“Wait!” said Zyrlock, as she turned to leave. “I hope this isn’t rude to ask, but I just have to know. What’s the secret to your fashion? How do you look so perfect in everything?”

Fashiona thought about that for a few second. She knew she was far from perfect. Her eyes were still a bit puffy from overdoing it at the tavern the night before, and she hadn’t been to the gym for several weeks because she’d been busy working on a spell to make fleas march off a dog single file while humming The Battle Hymn of the Republic. (She had always been fond of spells that were entertaining while still solving a practical problem. Thus far, she was pleased with the results, but still had yet to determine where exactly the fleas should end up. She was still hoping to find a place where they might be of some use.) She often procrastinated and panicked last minute, finishing things in too much of a hurry, which is how her bedroom ended up being half in a different dimension (it’s a long story). She was somewhat messy and had a hard time keeping track of dates and times but did her best to make sure people weren’t kept waiting because of her. Yes she certainly wasn’t perfect, but still, she knew she was kind and generous, and had recently come to the point where she could say that about herself without feeling guilty. She knew that while she might be a bit scattered brained, she was smart and had figured out magical problems that left many a wizard scratching their beards. She was a hard worker and enjoyed being helpful but was well past the point in her life where she would allow herself to be taken advantage of. She was generally happy and knew that when she wasn’t it was usually her own fault, and she would have to be the one to fix things.

“I suppose I just like myself,” she said, turning back to Zyrlock. And with that, she walked out of the shop, pulling the door closed softly behind her.

Zyrlock stood by the register for a long time not moving. It was a Horfleday***, so he knew he wouldn’t have many people stopping in. He walked over and locked the door and pulled the blinds down.

*** 9th day of the 12 day Heck week.
He picked up the Bomb-Ass Red Sneaks up from the floor where Fashiona had left them, and for the first time ever slipped them onto his feet. Instantly they conformed to his cloven hooves, and he walked over to look at himself in the shop’s large mirror. He turned side to side and struck various poses.

“Lookin’ good Z,” he mumbled quietly under his breath. “Lookin’ damn good.”

red_shoes_wizard
Art by Miranda Britton
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