The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…
In His Shoes
Looking out through the office window, Elle pictured herself in Tom’s shoes then told herself off when she saw the image of her size fives comically floating around in his elevens. She didn’t know he was elevens, of course, being a colleague, but he was tall, and tall men usually had big feet. She smuggled a laugh remembering what big feet implied, but harking back to previous boyfriends she figured it was a lie made up by a man who should have had very small feet.
Not the time to joke, she told herself as she watched Tom wobble. Now was the time to have small feet, hers balancing on the ledge instead of his. She wanted to get nearer, to speak to him, but the MD, Steve, had told them to keep back.
She wondered who had made Tom go out there. It was always a ‘who’, rarely a ‘what’. A spurned love, crippling debt caused by a spurned love. She didn’t know Tom that well so couldn’t recall any mention of a love, spurned or otherwise.
Someone next to her was crying. Turning round she spotted Hayley, the Accounts Assistant sobbing into a wad of tissues, mascara running down her face. She couldn’t imagine her and Tom being an item and knew how easily Hayley burst into tears; a missing cat, broken arm, missed appointment, none of them hers. Steve was consoling her, or trying to, her wailing getting louder, and looking at Tom, Elle saw this was making him more nervous.
With Steve distracted, Elle knew this was her chance, so she casually walked towards the open window and leaned out, just a little. “Hi, Tom.”
Tom screamed and clung on to the metal window edging. Behind her, Hayley screamed.
“Sorry,” Elle whispered.
Tom said nothing.
“Hi, Tom,” Elle repeated, this time quieter.
“Can I ask a silly question?”
“Please go back inside.”
“I prefer it out here.”
“So do I.”
“This silly question…”
“I know what you’re going to ask. What am I doing out here.”
“No, that wasn’t it. I can see what you’re doing.”
“OK, why then.”
“And your answer is…”
“Because I’ve had enough.”
“Elle, please go back inside. This was supposed to be quick and before anyone got to work but…”
“You can’t do it.”
“I will. I’ll jump.”
“But you haven’t yet.”
“You’re not helping.”
“OK. I’ll go back in…”
“The police will be shortly.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to come inside before they do? Say it’s all been a big mistake.”
“They’d arrest me.”
“The two other options open to you would be worse.”
“Still being out here when they do arrive, or being a splat when they do.”
“Don’t say that.”
“You’re on a fifth storey ledge with nothing but concrete to break your fall. How did you think you’d end up?”
“I didn’t think…”
“It just seemed like…”
“The right thing to do?”
Tom nodded again.
Tom shrugged then screamed as his right foot slipped sideways, his shoe falling to the ground with a sickening thud.
“See, that could have been you,” Elle said, then wondered whether it was the right thing to say. Seeing Tom was now struggling to balance in his socked right foot said, “Take your sock off, there’s no grip.”
“You’ll fall if you don’t.”
“I can’t bend down.”
“I’ll go and get your shoe then.”
“No! Don’t leave me.”
“I’ll send someone else.”
Tom shook his head, gently, both hands gripping to the window edges. “I’ll just stay still.”
“You can’t do that forever.”
“Then we’ll have to come up with a plan B. What size shoes do you take?”
“OK. Back in a tick.”
But Elle had disappeared.
“Steve. What size shoes do you take?”
“That’ll have to do. I need your right one.”
“OK,” Steve said and handed Elle his right shoe.
“Tom. Put this on, it’s going to be a bit big but wiggle your foot to the front for grip.”
“I can’t move.”
“It’s fine. Your right foot’s on the ledge. Just hold on tighter and lift your foot up a little. I’ll lean out, position it and you put your foot in it.”
“This is crazy.”
“Yes, it is, but not as crazy as you coming out here in the first place.”
“I never knew you were such a bossy boots.”
“When the situation demands it, now lift.”
Tom lifted his foot, Elle hovered the shoe underneath it and Tom wedged his foot to the front of the shoe. Keeping hold of the window frame, he shuffled along the ledge until he reached the window. He slowly bent down so Elle could grab his jacket and pull him into the office where their colleagues crowded round them, all talking, one crying, at once. Steve then took charge and led Tom and Elle to his office.
After prolonged questioning by Steve and the police, a check-up at hospital and counselling sessions booked, Tom was released into Elle’s care and it wasn’t long before she found out that the size debate really wasn’t true.