“Midas Clutch,” by Maura Yzmore

Aug 20th, 2021 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

“I bet it’s not real,” I said. “It looks like one of those little rugs you can buy, with a black hole on it.”

My boss Joey caught my bluff. “Oh, yeah, Ollie? If it’s not real, why don’t you step on it?”

I wasn’t going to, and neither was he. Nor were any of the dozen or so customers who happened to be inside Joey’s Creamery on that nondescript July afternoon, seeking some respite from the sweltering heat, when a hole, perfectly round and blacker than any black I’d ever seen, opened in the floor.

I felt a jolt of anger—or maybe courage?—at Joey’s mocking, so I took off one of my ratty Converse sneakers and threw it into the hole.

It vanished.

No one moved as moments passed.

But nothing happened.

“Well, looks like I’m out of a shoe,” I said, feeling deflated and more than a little stupid.

“At least we know the hole is real,” said a pretty girl with pink hair. She smiled at me and I smiled back, feeling the tiniest bit less stupid.

“It’s not trying to pull us in or anything,” said one of our regulars, Mary, a small woman with a round face and tight gray curls. “Maybe you can put a lid on it, or a Wet Floor sign?”

“You know, Mary, that’s not a bad idea,” said Joey. “It’s not like we can stay here, staring at this thing forever.” He leaned over and glanced into the void, then turned around, presumably to go to the back of the store and fetch the sign…

…when a gold-studded women’s sneaker rocketed out of the hole and hit him upside the head.

People rushed to make sure he was OK. Maybe I should’ve, too, but I knew Joey had a thick skull, so I wasn’t worried.

Mary and I went closer to the opening. The pink-haired girl emerged from the crowd surrounding fallen Joey, grinning and holding the golden sneaker in her hands.

“Throw in your other shoe!” she commanded. There was something unsettling in her eyes.

“You really want me to walk home barefoot tonight,” I muttered, but complied. I always did what pretty girls said, like the schmuck that I was.

My shoe went into the pit, and shortly thereafter another gold-studded sneaker came out.

“It’s a pair!” exclaimed the girl, raising both to her face. “I’ve got a pair!”

“Well, good for you,” said Mary, “but our boy Ollie here is now without shoes.”

“I think we should call the police,” someone yelled from the back.

“And say what? That there’s a big hole in the creamery and a sneaker flew out?” someone else responded.

“Joey’s out cold. That must be assault or something,” a third customer chimed in.

“You don’t understand,” the girl raised her voice. “These are a pair. And not just any pair. They are original Kimmy K’s. They’re not even out in stores yet.”

“What are you talking about?” Mary spoke for all of us.

The girl rolled her eyes, put the shoes down on a nearby table, then emptied her purse and dropped it into the void.

A few moments later, a small golden handbag shot straight up from the hole, like a projectile. The girl snatched it from the air and almost fell into the abyss.

“OMG, I knew it! It’s a Midas Clutch!” The girl beamed as she pressed the bag onto her chest, her shirt and hands getting coated with gold dust.

“What is going on?” I demanded. “Joey’s still unconscious, and you’re collecting goodies from the void?”

The girl smiled. “It’s not a void.”

She pulled out her phone and briefly tapped on it, then held it out for all of us to see.

It was Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page.

The sneakers and the clutch were there; above them, the following notice:

Exclusive pre-release! A hundred lucky small-business proprietors will be hooked up with samples from Kim’s newest shoe-and-purse collection in a way that will bend minds, time, and space! Only 24 hours! All proceeds go toward further exploration of wormhole travel for commerce and tourism.

I sighed and turned around, toward the back of the store.

“Where are you going?” asked Mary.

“To get that Wet Floor sign,” I said.

“Don’t you get what’s going on?” asked the girl.

“Just trust me.”

I came back carrying the Wet Floor sign and threw it into the hole.

Out came a large sidewalk board, featuring a gold-studded announcement of the Kardashian sale.

“Kim’s a shrewd businesswoman,” I said. “I knew she’d have thought of advertising.”

I put the sign outside the store. I hoped Joey would appreciate my initiative.


Maura Yzmore writes short fiction, long equations, and goofy poetry. Some of her more ridiculous fare can be found in Bending GenresGhost ParachuteRat’s Ass Review, and the one and only Defenestration. Find out more at https://maurayzmore.com or on Twitter @MauraYzmore.

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