Big Shoes for a Big Girl
by Ron Van Sweringen
They were too small to begin with, and the pointed toes would kill him, but those six-inch heels were to die for. They were also purple, and he loved purple; every drag queen in the world loves purple. It’s a congenital thing.
The saleswoman kept watching him. Her white hair was pulled back in pin curls so tight that her eyes were slanted. At first he thought she was Oriental, but then he realized she wasn’t wearing any jade. Finally she came out from behind the counter, in pedal-pushers and orange flip-flops. What most impressed him were her navel-length boobs in a tank top.
“Is there something you need? she asked, pulling the back of her pedal-pushers out of a snug harbor.
“Are you looking for something for your wife?” she queried again. After all she didn’t get many six foot, two hundred and fifty pound, bald-headed men looking at women’s shoes.
“Actually there is,” he replied, picking up one of the purple shoes. “I’d like to try these on,” he said with a weak smile. When he saw the look on her face, he quickly added, “My wife and I wear the same size.”
“What size do you... er, does your wife wear?” the witch asked with a smirk. She was closer now and he decided she was old enough to be collecting two Social Security checks.
“I’m not sure,” he replied. “I just know we have the same size foot.”
“That must be convenient,” she snipped, pointing to a seating area. Looking at the inside of the shoe, she said, “This is an eleven-M.”
“What does the M stand for?” Rupert asked, sitting down.
“Probably monstrous,” she replied, walking away.
While he removed the sock and loafer from his right foot, she returned with one ankle-length nylon hose. She held it out to him at arm’s length by two fingers, as if it carried the bubonic plague. “You’ll have to wear this,” she said, “since you don’t have one of your own.”
He finally got it on, though his big toenail caused a rip all the way down the front and wound up sticking completely through. To make matters worse, he was still wearing the pink nail polish he had put on for the drag show the night before.
“Oh no,” he whispered under his breath.
The witch handed him the purple shoes, fully aware of the pink nail polish. He began squeezing his foot in, but it took effort.
“Looks a wee bit snug,” she snickered. That’s when he noticed for the first time that she had a missing front tooth.
“Do you have a shoehorn by any chance?” Rupert questioned, still struggling.
“Here you go,” she replied.
With a little more effort his foot slid in, and he smiled as he stood up, banging his head on the ceiling light fixture.
“You’ll have to watch out for low-flying objects,” the witch said, from a crouching position.
He realized she was right: the heels gave him new stature. He stood a full six foot six now, and with his Dolly Parton wig, it would be another twelve inches. Approximately seven feet six inches of female pulchritude.
Rupert had long ago accepted the fact that he was not as gorgeous as some of the other Drag Queens. But for sheer impact, no one could touch him. He had won the title of “Miss Banana Boat” at the Mardi Gras festival. It was unforgettable: he had worn a gown with two hundred and eighty-three plastic bananas sewn on it. One of which was particularly comforting every time he bent over.
He imagined himself coming down the runway in green sequins with purple opera-length gloves and these shoes to match. He might even find something to go in his wig. Maybe an American flag with purple sequins. After all, it was the fourth of July “Miss American Dream Girl” contest. Why not?
“Do you want them?” The witch interrupted his fantasy.
He paid for the shoes with his charge card and signed the receipt, Rupert W. Rathbottom.
“Thank you Mr. Rathbottom,” the witch said, handing him a shoehorn. “You’d better take this along, just in case your wife needs it.” She winked at him.
Maybe the witch wasn’t so bad after all, he thought. Come to think of it, she kind of reminded him of his mother, except for the one missing front tooth. Mom had been missing two.
Copyright © 2009 by Ron Van Sweringen