Friday, November 5, 2010

No Shoe Zone

Chatham trudged in the Logan security line. His new shoes nudged the shined shoes of the balding man with a blackberry pasted to his ear. The man shot him an evil glance. Chatham swallowed and stepped backwards tripping over the toe of his other shoe and falling against the woman behind him. He muttered apologies and thought that at least there was one benefit to the long lines.

Glancing at his watch, Chatham was glad his father's girlfriend had dropped him at the airport well before his plane's departure. He shook his head. They hadn't clicked. She'd only done it as a favor to Chatham's father and because she worked downtown and traveled through the underground warren on her way to work.

The line moved faster once the TSA agent had checked Chatham's license and he waddled forward to avoid tripping over his shoes. Chatham dropped his backpack on the conveyor belt.

Another agent, a full head taller than Chatham and built like a comic book hero, grabbed one of the backpack's straps. "You got a computer?"

Chatham shook his head.


Chatham shook his head again and stepped towards the x-ray scanner. The toe of his foot bounced off the side of his other shoe.

The TSA agent grabbed Chatham's arm. "Where you going?"

Chatham's chin jiggled as he swallowed and pointed at the x-ray machine.

"You're standing in a no shoe zone. All shoes must go through the scanner."

Chatham's hand jerked at his side. "Can't take shoes off."

"Your mom still dress you?" Someone in the security line laughed at the TSA agent's slur.

"It's for our good. I must not remove my shoes." The boy stared at the speckled floor.

"I decide what is good and secure. That's my job. Not yours." The agent's arm shook as he pushed Chatham against the belt that led to the scanners.

The crowd of people waiting to go through security pressed forward to compress into a single blurring blob. Someone yelled, "What's the holdup? I'm going to miss my flight."

The agent turned to Chatham and tapped a finger against his own chest. "You listen to me. I'm in charge here and good is no one getting through security without my guaranteeing their safety." The agent pointed at Chatham's shoes. "All shoes are removed, not just yours. Those size seventeen --"


"Don't interrupt me, boy. Those shoes are too large for you and look suspicious. I'm in charge here. You better listen to me."

"I can't take off my shoes."

The agent's lips quivered. He pointed at the gates and shouted, "You see that? If you don't take off your shoes, you ain't flying."

Chatham's head drooped and he began to turn. He needed his mother for the banishment and knew she would be disappointed when he didn't return home, but he couldn't take off his shoes.

"No, you can't just leave." The TSA agent grabbed Chatham's arm and waved to one of his coworkers. "We'll need to ask you some questions." The agent unlocked a doorway to the side of the security checkpoint and left Chatham sitting on a chair. The door clicked shut behind the TSA agent.

Chatham wiggled in the chair, his feet feeling uncomfortable. His shoes writhed and for a moment the tongue pressed upwards from the shoe and exposed a red-skinned demon tied with iron chains to Chatham's foot. Not a great binding and one that the demon could escape if he removed his shoes. He needed his mother who could banish the beast.


  1. The airport agents I've talked to weren't even this reasonable or self-explanatory. Maybe he should fly his mother in to town before he leaves, to circumvent the shoe-removal issue?

  2. @John, Clever, I'm heartened to know that if the demons latch on to your toes, we're safe. Not that I'd wish them on anyone ;)

  3. An unusual one this Aidan, I don't think I've ever read about a demon trapped inside a shoe before. :D

  4. I don't know which is worse, airport security or having a demon chained to your foot. Pretty equal, all in all. :)

    Good story!

  5. @Steve, Have you been carefully watching people's shoes? Those demons are sneaky.

    @Gracie, Thanks, yes and poor Chatham has to deal with both.

  6. Poor Chatham! I really felt for him here. Just what did he do to get a red demon chained to his foot though? I hope he makes it home or his Mum comes to rid him of the demon and take him home. Unusual and intriguing story - hope to hear more from Chatham.

  7. I think he'd be well within his rights to set the demon shoes on the horrid agent!

  8. I kept expecting the punchline to have something to do with Clown Shoes!...

  9. Wow. That was a wonderfully innovative ending. I seriously thought that Chatham was autistic, which would explain not wanting or being able to take his shoes off.

    A well paced story, which kept the reader hooked to the end.

  10. @Kath, I'm glad it got you thinking about what he did. He was trying to rescue people from the demon.

    @Icy, that would serve the agent right.

    @Stephen, yeah, I was worrying that I was hiding it a little from the reader; however, I was trying to make it obvious that there was something strange about the shoes.

    @Allie, Thanks. I think of Chatham as young and inexperienced and sometimes that makes it difficult to communicate and I see Chatham as slightly socially awkward. Of course, I think most people would be when dealing with demons.

  11. Very creative story. I realy got a sense of the clumsiness and chubbiness of the character. I think you could have made the TSA agent a little more agressive and short sentenced to make it more authentic feeling. I would hate to be in that room when his shoes come off. Would love to find out how they got there.

  12. @Lara, I like the idea of using short sentences to make it more aggressive sounding and will definitely try out those ideas. Thanks for the comments!