The Perfect Purchase

The pair of red patent leather heels with rhinestone bedecked silk flowers on the toes was gorgeous and irresistible. Jane Peddecker shot her most dazzling smile at the clerk who placed the last pair into her trembling hands. The box met her fingertips, and she hardly contained her squeal of delight. Her heart palpitated wildly in exhilaration. In her shoe-induced euphoria, Jane only obliquely registered the clerk’s words as the woman politely informed her of the unfortunate lack of a larger size. She disregarded the woman’s candid apology with a brief wave of dismissal, her jaw aching from the massive grin stretching her facial muscles. Perceiving Jane’s elation, the clerk returned her smile indulgently and then left Jane to celebrate in solitude. Entirely preoccupied with her prize, Jane failed to notice.

With a preparatory intake of breath, Jane Peddecker jammed her toes firmly into the size six shoe. She determinedly attempted to fit the gorgeous accessory onto her size seven foot, refusing to yield in defeat and leave the boutique lacking both shoes and dignity.

Accomplishing the impossible with a solid shove, and no doubt the aid of the slick sweat accumulating on her foot due to the immense exertion required of the beleaguered appendage, Jane beamed brilliantly. She shrieked in animated triumph.

The shoe fit!

Susan Vielkaufer turned around, eight pairs of earrings clutched in a possessive grip. She gasped, her delight mirroring Jane’s pleasure. “Those are divine!” Susan exclaimed, lifting her eyes from her hoard.

“I know!” Jane expressed passionately. She wiggled her toes in jubilation; she attempted, anyhow, to wiggle her toes. She was not certain of the effectiveness, however, for she could hardly feel the small digits. Her feet tingled in a drowsy state of partial wakefulness, but her toes were entirely comatose. Jane rose in order to return circulation to her lower extremities and promptly toppled towards the ground. With a squeak of surprise, she plummeted.

Susan tentatively stepped forward to help her friend and then realized she still held her wealth of fabulous earrings. She took a decided step back.

Jane gazed up at Susan from her location on the floor, as of yet unprepared to brave a vertical position. Feet shooting with needles of pain, Jane inquired, “You have a pair of earrings identical to those, do you not?”

“These?” replied Susan, taking a large pair of delicately wrought gold nightingales from the bunch. “Quite the contrary. I own nothing so immaculate as nightingales; I have silver doves. Moreover, gold matches green much more nicely than silver. Blue, which is positively marvelous with silver, just does not do my skin justice. It washes me out, and I look pale like a vampire. Or perhaps a zombie? Well, some such horrifying creature,” she mused, remembering her days dressed in cobalt and sapphire.

Jane accepted her friend’s response in silence, far too involved in worming herself into the proper position to admire her vermilion shoes in the mirror without the need to stand.

Susan gave Jane a saccharine smile as she swept a blouse from a nearby rack. “Anyhow, I don’t know why I keep half of the clothes in my closet. Last year’s finest: this year’s rubbish.”

Jane Peddecker nodded in affirmation while pushing herself onto her knees. She let out a small giggle when she managed to stand without falling. She examined her feet carefully. The skin was pale and slightly red around the rough edges of the shoes. The irritation was of little concern; the slight swelling ceased once she thoroughly broke in a pair of heels. Jane romped around the small venue as if in testimony to her confidence.

Susan claimed an olive and gold skirt, adding the garment to her already extensive set of hangers. “I’m glad I discovered the beauty of the color green. It gives me a new motivation to shop,” she announced happily. Jane Peddecker nodded, her eyes riveted on her own feet. Susan paid little mind to her friend’s infatuation and immediately dove more thoroughly into the investigation for additional clothes of the proper color.

Jane strutted a circle around her friend, her feet experiencing a pang with every clack of her pointy heels.

Susan Vielkaufer smoothly stepped from Jane’s path to snatch a final sweater from the neatly folded pile before making her way to the register. Satisfied, her desire for clothing satiated, she dumped her gargantuan pile of verdant clothes on the counter next to the clerk. The resulting mound was her own version of Mount Everest, complete with the occasional rockslide as jewelry lost its tenuous grip on the precipitous edge and slid down the mountain’s face to ring metallically on the tiled floor. Susan handed her credit card to the cashier, her chin jutting out at such an angle as to give the woman tacit instructions to ring up the bill and ignore the exorbitant cost.

“Will this be all for today?” the clerk asked cheerily.

Susan’s brow furrowed in concentration. She hated missing the opportunity for an excellent purchase and tapped one lacquered nail on her plump glossed lip in deep thought. Before she replied, Jane’s voice brought Susan’s musings to an abrupt halt.

“I cannot wait to make these shoes the newest addition to my collection,” Jane Peddecker announced as she tottered to the register. She let out a small whoosh of air as the right heel slipped, wrenching her ankle. She tittered, in no manner deterred from her goal. “The only problem seems to be that I cannot quite remove these marvelous creations. I simply must insist upon wearing them out!”

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