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Shoes (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
'Ricki. C'mere.'

'Yes, Don Vincente?'

'What's those things on your feet?'

'My shoes?'

'You call those things shoes?'

'They're Keds. I forgot to change.'

'You forgot to change. Listen to me Ricki. Those things ruin your feet. You need good leather shoes made to fit the shape of your foot. Nobody sits at my table with canvas and rubber shoes on his feet. A capire?'

'Capisco, Don Vincente. I'm sorry.'

'You like my house, Ricki?'

'Oh yes, Don Vincente. Your house is beautiful, and I love your gardens.'

'You know how I have such a beautiful house?'

'I guess because you have a lot of money.'

'And do you know why I have a lot of money?'

'No, Don Vincente.'

'Shoes, Ricki. When I was your age already I learned to make shoes. I worked hard and learned to make the best shoes.'

'You were a shoemaker.'

'When I came to this country I make shoes, sure, but then I see how the shoemakers would fight one another to get customers, and they would make bad shoes they could sell cheap. They sold a lot of shoes but they stayed poor. Me, I want to make good shoes. Best leather. Made careful to fit the customer's foot. People were willing to pay more money to get a good shoe.'

'So that's how you made your money?'

''That's the way it started, but I wanted to be more than a simple shoemaker. Don't get me wrong. Shoemaking is an honourable craft, but I had a wife and babies. I needed more. The best leather was hard to get. I started learning the leather business so I could buy what I wanted. Ten years later, nobody bought or sold leather here without I made a dollar or two.'

'And that's why you want me to wear good shoes.'

'I want you to wear good shoes for the sake of your feet. And your big sister's gonna marry my son. That makes you part of my family. Nobody in my family wears rubber and canvas shoes.'

'What can I do for shoes today so I can sit at the table?'

'Tell Salvatore to take you upstairs and find an old pair of his shoes to fit you. Then give those things on your feet to one of the gardeners and tell him I said burn them.

'I play in these.'

'I'll get you two pairs of good shoes so you can have a pair to play in and a pair to keep nice for church. Lunch isn't ready yet. Tell the gardener I said take you to Antonio. He'll measure your feet. You can get your new shoes when you and your sister come for lunch next Sunday. In the meantime wear the pair Sal finds for you. They won't be a perfect fit, but better than rubber and canvas.

'Don Vincente, a question.'

'Yes, Ricki?'

'Why do the gardeners carry shotguns?'


WF Veterans
a nice informal,breezy piece, with if you wanted it to have a moral to it but i like it for it's sentiment.


WF Veterans
I liked your story, garza. It carried a sense of power and a no-nonsense attitude. I think you did a great job of letting me know who Don Vincente was. He demanded respect, and class in his presence. Now, as I'm writing this, I was thinking that I didn't care for the last line because it was well implied as to what he was all about. But... I can see that the boy didn't know and was confused. It would be a perfectly normal question. So never mind.:) Good dialogue exchange. It worked well and conveyed the story perfectly.


Senior Member
escorial and apple - Thank you both for your comments about the story. This was originally intended to be my entry in this month's LM fiction competition, then I had another idea for the LM and decided to put this one here. And apple, truth to tell that last question was never asked, but at 12 years old the real-life boy could fire ten rounds in one minute with a single-shot eight gauge shotgun.


Senior Member
Having worked for an Italian as a kid growing up, your story hits home on a lot of levels.

I won't say what they did was illegal, I won't even try and define what they did, it was always a gray area, filling needs, taking care of people.

I learned some valuable lessons that I still carry with me today. Honesty among family and partners is expected, loyalty is at the top of the list when judging a man’s worth.

Always feed the help, it has been many years since I shared a table with Reno, but I still make a point of feeding those that work for me, there really is something sacred about breaking bread together.

Thanks for the memories ..Bob


Senior Member
One of the most effective and realistic scenes in The Godfather is Sonny telling Pauli to go find himself something to eat, that he dosen't look well. Those who don't know Italians, especially Sicilians, might see this as hyprocrisy. It's not. Sonny was sincere. As soon as Pauli leaves the room Sonny turns to Clemenza and orders the kid's execution. So long as Pauli lived, he was the responsibility of the family. That was true right up to the shot in the back of the neck that ended Pauli's life.

I, also, continue to carry some of those same lessons learned in late pre-teen and early teen years.

Thank you for your comments on my story. They are much appreciated.


WF Veterans
Did you play on my naïveté to surprise me that all is not necessarily what it seems. After an Oh moment at the end you left me chastened that I didn't pick up on the seeming clues along the way, you devil ;-) Unfortunately, I've never payed much attention to this old world family culture, but I'm sure it's as real as two ranchers settling a water rights dispute on the spot.

Superb storytelling, as I've come to expect. Now I have to watch for you misleading me :)

Write on, please,


Senior Member
Thank you LeeC. Again reference The Godfather. When Sonny is talking with Michael about people going to fight in the war, he simplifies and paraphrases in English the expression Il mondo non e la famiglia. Solo la tua famiglia e la famiglia. 'The world is not your family. Only your family is your family.' Of course the term 'family' means an extended family that includes all who trace their dependence to il capofamiglia or il patrono della famiglia, the head of or protector of the family. In 'Shoes' Don Vincente is the head, the protector, of his family and as such is to be respected and his wishes are to be obeyed.


WF Veterans
escorial and apple - Thank you both for your comments about the story. This was originally intended to be my entry in this month's LM fiction competition, then I had another idea for the LM and decided to put this one here. And apple, truth to tell that last question was never asked, but at 12 years old the real-life boy could fire ten rounds in one minute with a single-shot eight gauge shotgun.

Forgive me for my ignorance, but I'm curious. If it's a single shot, I thought it meant it had to be reloaded after each shot. Is this some kind of modification? I couldn't find it on google.
As for your story, I liked it. The world likes to use family as an excuse for evil.


Senior Member
I really like the mood the piece sets.

I'm not very fond of how it ends, it feels a little off to me, and somewhat abrupt. I mean, I get it and it's fine, but for some reason it jarred me a bit to read the final sentence. I can't really say why.


Senior Member
I liked it, wonderful example of how a picture of a character can be painted using only dialogue! The last line wasn't necessary to me, as I'd already figured out the picture you were trying to paint, but after reading the response of LeeC it reminds me that sometimes we have to spell things out for those that don't read with our own perspective on the world. What may be obvious to me may not be apparent to another, and it's important to include everyone in our writing.


Senior Member
midnightpoet - Yes, a single shot gun must be reloaded after each shot. With practice this takes only a few seconds. Immediately after the trigger is pulled the breech tang is tripped which breaks the gun open. Enough gas will remain in the barrel to eject the spent shell. A fresh round is shoved in, the right wrist and left elbow work together to close the breech, the right thumb is used to cock the gun if it is not self-cocking, and within five or six seconds the gun is ready to fire again.

Many people regard any sort of self-loading weapon as unreliable, likely to jam at a bad time. Plus consider that self-loading, bolt-action, or slide-action shotguns can hold at most five rounds before they must be reloaded, and the reloading of such guns takes far longer than the time needed to break the breech, put in a fresh round, and close the breech of a single-shot gun. A person with a single-shot gun can have as many rounds on hand as he wants in cartridge belts and bandoliers.

The big initial problems to overcome, especially for a young shooter, are the noise and the recoil. The noise of an open-choke eight-gauge with a heavy load of powder and shot is quite impressive. It's meant to be. That's a big part of its power, but it's also a major distraction which the shooter must learn to ignore, or, in my case, feel a kind of 'whoopee' sensation. The recoil must be managed properly to avoid actual injury to the shooter. Every shooter has his own way of holding and firing the gun while keeping the recoil from knocking him flat on his backside. After much trial and error I found my own way of shooting from the hip in a half crouch.

Do understand, please, that for me this was hobby shooting much the same as target practice with my .22 - only a lot noisier and apt to leave a bruise if I wasn't careful. I've never fired a gun at another person. A few squirrels and rabbits met their end at my hands, but that's all.

deBroglie - The end was a last-minute add-on because I could not think of any other way of wrapping it up quickly. In retrospect that last line was a mistake.

Thank you both for taking the time to read my piece and thank you for your comments.


Senior Member
Please forgive the double post, but I somehow overlooked two responses to the story and for that I also ask forgiveness.

Misty Mirrors - Thank you for reflecting so favourably on the story. It was fun to write, and I do have fond memories from those days, including what came to be known as 'the Sunday of the Keds'.

dmr400 - Your comment makes be believe that snap ending wasn't such a bad idea after all. Thank you.


WF Veterans
Thanks for the information on shotguns. I'm probably one of the few native Texans who does not own a gun and has never owned one. I didn't grow up around them, and thus your description of ten rounds on one minute didn't seem credible to me. Hah, shades of the old west gunslingers. :icon_cheesygrin:


Senior Member
midnightpoet - I've always wondered whether big bore shotguns - eight, ten, and twelve gauge - might have been more popular in the Old West than we imagine. A big bore short-barreled gun loaded with 0000 shot is a potent weapon in close quarters, and from what I've read most of the gunplay in the old days was exactly that.

One thing about rapid firing a big bore gun, you don't want to keep it up for very long. There would have been little need to, of course, since five or six rounds let off in about 30 seconds would be likely to discourage other folks from debating the issue. A timed minute was only to establish a person's potential use as a gardener.

My favourite handgun is the 32-20, a wicked little devil that's not given much air time in the movies and TV.

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