Ethel Rohan


His new shoes hurt, pinching his toes and raising a blister on his left heel. A half size too small, he’d bought the shoes on sale. They felt fine in the store. The smarmy sales guy with too small lips had said the leather would stretch.

That morning, the shoes started to bother him right off, beginning with his walk from the house to the bus stop. By the time he got to the office his feet were smarting.

The receptionist, Leyla, looked twice at his limp.

“My shoes,” he said, pointing down. “Killing me.”

She stroked her headset. “Shoes can be bitches.”

In his office, he told his assistant, Jamie.

“Open the window if you’re going to take them off,” she said.

During the afternoon conference call with headquarters in New York, the burn from his left heel watered his eyes.

Giles, the managing director, asked him about the annual earnings.

He only half-heard. “What’s that?”

The folds on Giles’s face bunched. “Are you with us, man?”

“It’s my shoes, Sir. They’re ripping into my feet.”

Giles looked around the table at the rest of management, his eyes rolling in his large head. “He’s talking about his shoes.”

The group laughed, nervous at first, but once Giles joined in they elevated to guffawing.

Members of the New York office cackled through the speakers.


That evening, he splurged on a taxi home, and kicked off his shoes as soon as he was inside his house.

“I’m down here,” his wife called.

He followed the sound of her voice to the basement, discovered her sitting on top of their washing machine.

“Whatever are you doing?” he asked.

“We need a new machine. This thing’s bucking like crazy.”

He stretched out on his back on the concrete, feeling the cold through his suit, and placed his arms by his sides.


“Sit on my chest, can you?”

Grinning, she hopped off the washing machine, and lowered herself onto what used to be his pecs.

She giggled, “I can feel your heartbeat through my ass.”

He mustered a smile.

“Bad day?” she asked.

“The worst.”

“Should I even ask?”

“Those new shoes are too small.”

She shook her head. “I told you.”


“I know what fits.” She slid her hand down his body, and opened his zipper. He stiffened. She remained sitting, moving to straddle his hips. He slipped inside her, her back to him, and held onto her sides, lifting her up and pulling her down, faster and faster, thinking that she’s gorgeous, edible. As he ejaculated, the washing machine erupted into its final spin cycle, the machine tottering, sounding like a giant motorcycle. His heart swelled to meet the machine’s noise and might, and hands held onto his damp, shining wife, and he wished those morons from the office could see him now.


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