The Missing Shoe

This is the first writing prompt at the Writer’s Digest website on to which I actually posted. I have no idea where it would go. All I do know is that it included an obscure Doctor Who reference.

Walking home, you find a shoe on the side of the road. What kind of shoe is it? Who is its owner? What happened? Why is the shoe there? Where is the other shoe now? You can use all of these questions or just one to explore what happened.

My sister would constantly cajole me to exercise. Due to genetic laziness, this amounted to walking around the neighborhood at a leisurely pace and never getting my heart up much beyond a normal resting rate. It was on such a walk that I found the boot. It was lying on its side in the storm culvert next to the county road that led to the subdivision where my house was located. It was not usual to see all manner of debris in the culvert. Old shoes were one of more common types. What had drawn my attention on this occasion was the unfathomable fact that it was an astronaut’s boot.

I have seen enough movies and TV shows to be able to distinguish between an astronaut boot and an expensive ski boot. I immediately began to create some possible scenarios that could explain its presence in a culvert next to an only moderately travelled road. A pickup full of spacesuit replicas hit a bump and the boot popped out of the truck bed. Jim Lovell is traveling to a convention with his spacesuit when, in a fit of pique, he grabs one of his boots and throws it out the window. A certain Melody Pond, after her fateful encounter with the Doctor, time travels to this location and tries to hitch a ride by showing a little leg. None of these make any sense. Spacesuit replicas are expensive. Having a truck bed full of them seems self-indulgence. There isn’t a convention center anywhere near here for Jim Lovell to attend. The whole Melody Pond thing is just wrong. After her final space-suited encounter with the Doctor, she would definitely not be in the frame of mind to show a little leg.

As I stood there contemplating the possibility of time-traveling astronauts, my next door neighbor pulled up in his RAV4.

“What’s the problem? Lose your dog?” he asked.

I pointed to the boot and said, “We have a barefoot astronaut on the loose.”

He looked at me. Looked at the boot. Then he drove off. I do believe that my neighbor does not have a high opinion of me. After watching him make the turn into our subdivision, I returned my attention to the boot. I thought about picking it up and taking it home. Without knowing how long it had lain there, I had no idea what form of scaly or spindly critter would creep its way out of the boot and start crawling up my arm. I shivered with the thought.

It was a single horrify thought that kept me from picking it up and taking it to place next to an Apollo 11 mission patch my sister got me as a gift. The troubling possibility that the boot belonged to the ghost of an astronaut. I was not willing to harbor the spirit of an astronaut with unfinished business and one bare foot. I had to walk home and give this some thought.

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