From their vacation home in the islands, with his holiday money, the son ordered “North Wind,” two-hundred-dollar gold-and-black sneakers with wings attached. This will not do.
“But you said I could get whatever I wanted.” Rather than keeping this purchase confidential, he had made the mistake of posting a picture of them on the Internet after he purchased them; his mother promised that he would not be putting those shoes on his feet.
“Just because they didn’t wear these in the 1700s, you hate them,” he said. This was not the best line of reasoning—to make fun of his mother’s advancing old age. (She was only 45). “I’m putting them on.”
Throughout the day, he showed her pictures of people actually wearing these shoes, including the entire security entourage of Lil’ Wayne; he showed her the Facebook support he was getting over the injustice of not being allowed to wear his North Winds. Thirty-seven likes. Also, there were eighteen re-tweets. This, to the son, seemed like incontrovertible evidence that the North Winds were “on.”
That evening, when a rapper at #NorthWindSon had tweeted about his dilemma, the son entered his mom’s bedroom with this final bit of evidence. She was sitting up in bed, her laptop propped against her knees.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
She turned the screen toward him. Nothing. She pressed a key, and a slideshow presented itself for the son. The son at an amusement park running scared and crying from Pikachu; the son in a pink dress and bearing a wand for a play with the neighborhood girls; the son, just a year or so ago, at a Jonas Brothers concert, complete with concert t-shirt. The pictures continued for another minute or so, and then the last picture, a pair of size 10 gray Retro Air-Jordans, sans wings.
“How would you feel about the retransmission of these pictures to all those places?” she asked. “On or off?”
Upon reaching home, the North Winds were returned from whence they came (California), and the son’s reliance on the virtual world somewhat decreased until Kanye wore the gray Air Jordans at the Grammys. Pictures of the son with these same shoes led to his receiving the most Facebook Likes he ever received, including one from his mother, which he removed immediately, as if it never existed.
Randall Brown teaches at Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. He is the author of the award-winning collection Mad to Live (Flume Press, 2008), his essay on (very) short fiction appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field, and he appears in the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction (W.W. Norton, 2010). He blogs regularly at FlashFiction.Net and is the founder and managing editor of Matter Press and its Journal of Compressed Creative Arts.
Art Credit: Salvador Dali, Hermes, 1981.