Author – Shoeless guy
It had been a long day in the office in central London when me and two of my work colleagues, Mike and Nick decided to have a few beers before getting the tube home. The bar was quiet at first as we sat
there in our shirt and ties and dark grey suits with black lace up shoes except Mike who was wearing dark tan brogues. One pint lead to another until the cash ran out and we’d tried using contactless but
the barman said the machines where down. At this point it was decided to grab a cab, we all lived in the same block of flats in a town south of London so one cab was easier than the tube in our inebriated state.
We flagged down a black cab and jumped in. Traffic was heavy and after half an hour we hadn’t travelled far, so we decided to get out and use the tube. Mike asked the cab driver to pull over and asked to pay using contact less. “Sorry guys” said the driver “machine is down, cash only I’m afraid”.
“We have no cash” explained Mike “Can you find an ATM machine”. The driver continued passing loads of ATM’s on our original route obviously wanting to take us home. After an hour the traffic got lighter
and the fare got larger as he pulled over to a bank. Mike got out and tried several machines with no luck, he jumped back in and as the door closed the locks where activated. I’ll need collateral against payment before continuing explained the driver. “Like what?” asked Nick. “Jewellery, watches or phone” said the driver. In an arrogant manner Nick told the driver that these items are far too expensive to pay a dismal taxi fare. This enraged the driver into thinking we where arrogant overpaid ‘suits’. “You’re not leaving this cab until I’m paid” said the driver. I asked if we could try a supermarket and buy something to get
‘cashback’ at the checkout, we also needed the toilet too. The driver deliberately took some very long routes and eventually arrived at a supermarket on the outskirts of the city. He again asked for collateral,
Nick refused again, the driver, now annoyed said to Nick “To stop you doing a runner after getting out of my taxi, give me your shoes, it’s the only way your getting out”.
“What the..” said Nick. “SHOES!!! now”
shouted the driver. Nick reluctantly undid his laces and removed his shoes revealing his black socks, he just managed to squeeze his shoes through the money hatch in the cabs partition. The driver looked at
them and threw them in the front passenger footwell. “Not enough” said the driver, he looked at me and said “Take off your shoes too” I looked down at my feet,
“hurry up and give me your shoes posh
boy” he said. I undid my laces and took off my shoes and passed them through the hatch that Nick’s shoes went. The driver stared at my shoes and threw them next to Nick’s. “Hey be careful with my shoes
you pratt” I said. The driver just glared at me as I sat helpless in my socks. Mike shouted at the driver “Can we get out now for crying out loud, I need a piss”
“Not until you give me your shoes too” said the driver. Mike stared at mine and Nick’s shoeless feet and realised he too was going to be in his socks before leaving the taxi. He undid his laces, slipped off his tan brogues and proceeded to place his shoes through the hatch reluctantly handing them to the driver. “Nice expensive shoes” as he threw them next to ours. We sat in our suits and socks awaiting our release.
The doors unlocked and we headed into the supermarket shoeless. Customers stared as we looked for the toilet, who wouldn’t stare at three men in suits padding around the shopfloor in their socks. After the toilet we headed for the drinks section, if we each bought water we could get cash back to pay the taxi fare and get our shoes back. I scanned my water at the self service till to avoid standing with embarrassment In my socks in the normal queue. I could feel the blood drain when my debit card was
not accepted, the shop assistant came over and said ‘Sorry sir, there is a bank failure nationwide and no card transactions are being authorised “. Nick and Mike quickly realised too, we headed back outside hoping the taxi was still there, it was, we said nothing to the driver until we got back in the cab. Nick arrogantly asked for his shoes, “Have you got the taxi fare” asked the driver. “Yes” said Nick.
The driver said he would pull over soon and hand back our shoes. It seemed like the journey took longer than necessary, we where like mobile prisoners locked in the vehicle without shoes to prevent us fleeing if we where to escape our confinement. He eventually pulled over below an overpass where a group of homeless people where sheltering on the opposite side of the road and asked for payment, we looked at
each other, stared at our socked feet and Mike said ‘I am really sorry but we still haven’t got the cash”.
The driver began picking up our shoes from the footwell when Nick’s arrogance resurfaced “Give us our bloody shoes now and release us” “I was going to do just that you arrogant lying piece of shit, when you went into the supermarket I heard on the radio about the bank payment fault and took pity until you lied” said the driver. “Now I want a watch or jewellery to pay this high taxi fare and then I will release you and your shoes”. Mike was wearing an inexpensive watch but still cost more than the fare, he handed it through the same hatch that our shoes disappeared through. “Give us back our shoes and take us home” said Nick. “Your arrogance is unbelievable” said the driver. “First you want releasing then taking home, make up your mind you shit, those people sheltering over there have more respect than you’ll ever have” he said. The driver picked up Nick’s shoes “I’ll keep my promise, I’ll release your shoes then you” The driver opened the front passenger door window looked at Nick’s shoes then threw them out the window landing on the ground beside the cab. Nick demanded to be let out to retrieve his shoes. “All in good time you shit” said the driver he then picked up my black shoes, smiled and threw them out the window. “You bastard” I shouted trapped sitting there in my socks. He finally picked up Mike’s tan brogues “These are lovely expensive shoes, do you think the homeless people will appreciate them more than you” he threw them out the window too. “I promised I’d release your shoes now to release you three from my cab”
He pulled away, with us still in the cab and at the same time sounding his horn to alert the homeless guys of our pile of shoes. One hundred yards up the street he stopped the
taxi and released us from our confinement (as promised) and we legged back down the street in our suits and socks. It was a race against time, the homeless versus the shoeless, who would get to our shoes first?