Wednesday, 2 January 2019

A Pedestrian Exchange

   Keats and Chapman were taking a stroll through Stephen's Green when Chapman noticed that Keats had developed a faulty gait.

   'Why the gimp, Keats?'

   'It's these brogues, they never did fit.'

   'But you have countless shoes at home, why wear this pair?'

   Keats stopped and drew up one leg as would a stork. Addressing the brogue brought within reach, he slowly ran his finger along the stitching that secured the sole to the upper, 'Because the others lack such stimulating welts.' There was a slight tremor in his voice.

   'Mmm, I sometimes think your liking for shoes borders on the unhealthy.'

   'Well,' said Keats catching up with his friend, 'the jury certainly felt so when I was tried for 'Public Fondling of Footwear'. The alienist I was obliged to see said I was suffering from 'retifism', a condition named after Nicolas-Edme Rétif, author of Le Pied de Fanchette.'

   'I remember now. Didn't your predilection lead you to be arrested on several further occasions?'

   'It did, one judge called me a multi-retificist, he seemed to find my compulsion amusing.'

   They arrived at the duck pond and sat down on their favourite bench. As the pigeons gathered so did Chapman's brows, 'You've got to admit, Keats, your case is unusual'. He lifted his right foot off the ground and pointed at it, 'You mean to say that this scuffed boot could drive you to distraction?'

   'Not anymore thanks be to God, but there was a time when it would have induced a certain longing.'

   'I see,' said Chapman lowering his foot. He extracted his handkerchief and stooped to polish the spurned boot.

   Keats was staring blankly at the Mallard-strewn waters, 'During one particularly maniacal episode I even became convinced I was metamorphosing into an item of footware, specifically a Louis XV court shoe.'

   'Interesting', replied Chapman who was now admiring the results of his handiwork and appreciating for the first time the sensual interplay of lacing and leather, 'but how could you be chaussure?'