The Devil's Shoes by Samantha Memi.
More than anything I wanted a pair of Tania Spinneli shoes. I was standing in the street looking at them in a shop window. Ill do anything for you, I said in a murmur only the shoes could hear. The Devil whispered in my ear, Give me your soul and the shoes are yours. I presumed it was the Devil, who else would want my soul? I mean as a soul its not too bad, but its 35 years old, and I have to admit its not what you might call the best. I suppose if you measured souls, good being 1 and 10 being bad, mine would be 9½, maybe 9¼ if you made allowances for some petty stealing. I turned my head expecting to see the Devil, red face, burning eyes, horns. I was surprised to see the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Why do you want my soul? I asked.
If only you knew the problems we have getting souls, he explained. At one time all it needed was a bit of preaching and we had souls by the dozen. Now you cant get them for love or money.
But I wont feel me if I dont have a soul.
Course you will, my sweetheart. Dont you worry about your soul. Well look after it.
I wasnt sure about him calling me sweetheart, which I thought was a bit too friendly, but for Tania Spinelli shoes I would put up with far worse.
Im not worried about my soul. Im worried about me. Who will I talk to when Im alone if I dont have a soul?
Look. He was getting a bit hard sell. He pulled out a scroll and unscrolled it. It had a seal with the words, Contract for Heaven. What it is is this, we take your soul now, and as long as youre good for the rest of your life youll get your soul back when you die.
I thought for a second. Define good.
Well, good Dont you know what good is?
Yeah, but whats good to me might be dreadful evil to you. I mean, Can I shag men?
Only if youre married to them.
Married! Shit. I dont wanna get married. Im 35. I dont wanna get tied down. Cant we like delay the contract for say 10 years so I get the shoes and then I get married in 10 years time.
I looked at the shoes and thought for a second. They needed me. I was certain of that. Okay, Ill do it. I knew the shoes would realise my sacrifice and be grateful.
Lets get this straight. I cant steal, or lie, or
You cant kill
Dont wanna kill.
You cant steal, slander, covet your neighbours ass
Oh, come on, hes got a gorgeous ass. Its only looking.
It means you shouldnt envy anyone.
I thought of Kate Moss. How I envied her legs. The things you do for a pair of shoes.
Gimme the pen. I signed.
He gave me the money for the shoes. I thought Id feel my soul seeping out of me but I didnt feel anything.
I went into the shop. A woman was talking to an assistant. Id like to see the Tania Spinneli gold lattice shoes you have in the window.
No, this was a joke.
Certainly. He took the shoes from the window.
My heart raced.
These are the last of a limited edition hand-made and signed.
NO! My brain screamed.
Ill take them, she said.
Another assistant came over.
Can I help you? he asked with a plastic smile.
And then I remembered; the Devil has many disguises.
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