Sneakers

I had a pair of sneakers like these once. Well, okay, maybe they weren’t Converse – dunno if they were in business back then – but they were bright red and high. I was just a kid.

Had this bicycle, too. A righteous chopper, it was. Cobbled together out of a couple of junk frames and whatever other parts could be scrounged. Amazing what you can do with no cash, some imagination, and dad’s welder (when no one was lookin’). No brakes on that SOB. Stopping was an exercise in contorting one’s body enough to jam the bottom of a sneaker-clad foot against the front wheel.

I think you see where this is going. The sneakers didn’t last too long at all. The left one quickly got a groove worn clean through as I tried to check my speed going down the hill where Adam’s Lane crossed the Northeast Corridor. Delivered a nasty burn that, if memory serves, took an awful long time to heal.

Mom was pissed. So was Dad, when he got home from work. New sneakers, ruined. Bein’ where I ought not be. The illicit welding of bicycle parts of questionable origin. A burnt foot bottom that made me walk funny. It was that last that was the tip-off. Life wasn’t good.

I wore those sneakers, hole and all, for a long time. Must’ve been a lesson in there somewhere ‘cuz I still remember it pretty well.

Go ahead and say it.