Killing the cobbler

“You burn’t it?”

“Yeah. I was trying to dry my trousers with a hair dryer while wearing them”, blue plimsolls said with a dumb snigger.

“Oh god, what a freak!” Red plimsolls sounded confident, ironic and his heavy laughter bounced off the tiles.

“Anything like that ever happened to you?” Blue plimsolls retorted moving out of my line of vision, not washing his hands.

“Well, have you ever been cooking with chilli and then gone to the toilet? Yeah, you know what I mean.” Both plimsolls laughed.  So far scruffy brown brogues hadn’t said anything. He shuffled a little.

“I once put cayenne pepper on the tip of my penis. It was absolute agony. Took about an hour for the pain to die down.” Scuffy brown brogues’ voice was deep like mollasses. The plimsolls went dead silent. Scruffy brown brogues washed his hands. Then they all left. The door banged, put me on edge for a second and then I finally breathed out.

Trying to relax, my eyes scanned the graffiti. “Two’s a shake, three’s a wank”, that’s funny. Impressive grammar too. The cheap laminate door was a perfect medium for marker pens and a lot of people had been creative. Then all of a sudden someone else came in. Another brogues wearer. This time very expensive, pitch black, well kept. I sit still trying not to move too much.

A minute later and black brogues who doesn’t seem to be doing much is joined by orange tennis shoes. They seem to know each other. An unlikely pair.

Black brogues speaks first, slowly and I think to myself ‘inevitably’.

“Are you a fucking pervert?”

I wondered what could have provoked this. Was orange tennis shoes doing something inappropriate, was he looking at Black brogues. Black brogues’ penetrating neutral voice started again, washing any other thoughts out of my head.

“When you do a job like that for us, you do not get creative. Discretion and obedience are the only qualities that will keep you alive. That’s why you shouldn’t dress like such a fucking outsider. What you do can never be discovered and it will never, ever be connected to what I do. Do you understand?”

“Yes”

Orange tennis shoe’s voice sent my heart racing. I blinked to settle myself. I realised I knew orange tennis shoes, but couldn’t at first think of a name.  He was a kind of meek looking person who had pretty much hung around on his own at school. For all I knew before this he was still into marbles and conkers. My mind just couldn’t file this new mental image away with my memories. I tried to picture his acne ridden face concealed behind cheap plastic glasses and fit it in to this bizarre Goodfellas scenario. I’d not seen him for ages though and I had nothing to do with him, why was I so nervous? Black brogues didn’t wash his hands either, he left without saying another word.

Orange tennis shoes let out a nervous little cough. He did a strange skip thing that was suddenly very evocative. Scenes of the playground came to mind. . There were my friends Paul and Stuart, laughing. I was running. Orange tennis shoes, then disguised in black school shoes, was also running. He was chasing me, tears streaking down his face. I held out my hand behind me and stopped suddenly so the literally ran in to my fist. Jesus, I had bullied this guy. I checked that the lock on my cubicle was on, taking my eyes of the damp floor for a moment. When I looked back the tips of a pair of orange tennis shoes were sticking though the gap. Matthew Brown was right on the other side of the door, listening.

(In response to the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge)

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