Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Lost Shoe Anthologies 006: Tie Dye Croc

“How did Christmas Eve creep up so quickly?” wondered ‘Bastien to himself. He struggled to form complete thoughts through the ganja haze clogging up his cerebellum. Right now, he could pass as a smooth-brained-mouse. Incapable of deep thought and happy to eat cheese under the boardwalk. In fact, that’s what he was doing. ‘Bastien (short for Sebastien, obvi) was crouched beneath a boardwalk (or more of a dilapidated pier) on the coast of St Simons Island, GA. He loved this area, raging racism aside. ‘Bastien was the color that would avoid that sort of murderous rage the locals were born and bred with. Whew. But, he was a homeless, dread-locked pothead. That was not going for him. He saw these things as strong suits but… no one else did. He had saved up enough money panhandling (tourists are kind) to hit the local Croc Outlet a few days ago. He had proudly ditched his 8 year old Vans in the trash can directly outside the store, and slipped the tie dye foam slippers on his trench feet. ‘Bastien had strutted down the sidewalk, as if crossing the stage to accept his high school diploma. Which he had never earned as he dropped out freshman year to follow a band called The String Cheese Incident. He thought selling lighters glued to badge reels would be more lucrative than it turned out to be. He even attempted to sell various foods from an old cooler, but he ended up eating his own stash. Plus, he never learned how to close the lid properly so all the hot dogs spoiled and made him poop his pants three times. After his bout with Giardia, he gave up and headed for the coast. Poor ‘Bastien's parents had disowned him years before. Well, they asked him to move out when he was 33 and he took it as being disowned so he shouted “I’ll be out by the end of the week!”, threw his things into a trash bag and was out by the end of that day. That was eight years ago and he still hadn’t heard from them. They were cruel, so cruel. Granted, he didn’t have a phone to call or an address to write to. But, they still could’ve tried to find him! He was happy to leave their insufferable abuse. Their constant catering to him, trying to feed him meals, house and clothe him and their constant encouragement to earn his GED. How dare they believe in their own son!? And not support his dreams to be an amateur porn star! Sex work is work, too! Even if, no one wanted to have sex with ‘Bastien. His carpets matched his drapes: dreaded. ‘Bastien sat under his wooden shelter, pondering how life could have dealt him such a hand when he realized he'd finished his cheese block at least 25 minutes ago. Or maybe it was the crab sitting next to him, who had sidled up during low tide. It was hard to say. ‘Bastien crawled out from under his shelter and slogged back up the beach, toward the shops and restaurants. He knew he would be able to find something decent in the dumpsters around back. He headed to the Candy Shoppe on the corner. Surely, their expired Toblerone’s would keep him sustained. And Toblerone’s are rather festive, on this, the Eve of Christmas. Jesus would’ve wanted him to celebrate his birth this way. ‘Bastien was careful to pick up his cloppers so as to not scuff his new Crocs. These needed to last at least ten more years. He found himself behind the Candy Shoppe and leapt into the first dumpster he saw. Darn, cardboard recycling. Hey, this may make for a comfy new bed, or breakdancing performance pad to earn more money! Buskers are always more well respected than plain ole mooches. He set a few decent sized squares aside and attempted the next dumpster. Jackpot! Toblerones, gumballs, Nerds Ropes (stale, though) and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. All the food groups accounted for and some necessary protein provided! God is good. He pitched the finds out onto his square of cardboard and sprang out of the dumpster like a human rat. ‘Bastien collected his treasures and headed back to the beach. He held the candy in his shirt, scooping it upward inside like a shirt basket. This exposed his skinny, yet somehow bloated, abdomen. Must be all that sugar. Or liver failure. His happiness swelled, like his burgeoning belly, as he crossed a public parking lot. Locals didn’t pay him any mind but tourists gasped and scurried the other way as he hop-skipped towards his dilapidated structure dwelling. The wind had picked up and by the time ‘Bastien noticed, it was too late. His candy scattered across the four winds as he clutched his cardboard desperately. It formed a sail of sorts as he skidded across the parking lot, almost mimicking windsurfing. Except he wasn’t on the high seas, he was high on asphalt and being dragged mercilessly by mother Nature. He had turned himself backwards somehow and was still sailing along the parking lot when he felt his right Croc start to loosen. ‘Bastien hadn’t lowered the all-terrain back strap Croc engineered for these sorts of situations, so inevitably, the Croc ground loose and remained behind on the asphalt. He was dragged unwillingly out to sea, where he was thrown into the saltwater. The speed with which he hit the water sent him skipping like a malnourished stone far away from shore. He was forced to climb atop his cardboard, a makeshift raft, and begin shouting for help. But, none ever came. He was mistaken for a piece of the North Atlantic Garbage Patch and overlooked. God speed, ‘Bastien and Merry Christmas. 


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