I found the receipt when I cleaned out my purse. I have no idea where it came from, but I am pretty sure WHEN it came from. I partied pretty hard Friday night and I don’t remember much about what happened, so…

The receipt was on that old-fashioned yellowy paper that makes carbon copies. I think my dry cleaner still uses them. But I haven’t been to the dry cleaners in ages, having gotten rid of most of the outfits that require dry cleaning. I am a wash and wear woman these days. My mother would be appalled.

Anyway, this receipt was not for a silk blouse. It was for an arm.

An arm.

It said “payable upon delivery.” It did NOT say delivery of what. It DID have my signature at the bottom.

Max, probably. It seemed like something Max would do. So I called him.

“Ha, ha, Max, very funny. One arm as payment for what?”


“The receipt, very funny,”

“What receipt?”

Well, you get the idea. Max denied all knowledge, and he was NOT the sort to let a good laugh go by through implausible deniability.

Max said, “I wasn’t even with you most of the night, Eula May.”

“What? We were at the Green Man together.”

“Yeah, and then you met this guy and went off with him. Dark hair, bright blue eyes, thin, laughed a lot. Remember?”

I didn’t want to admit I didn’t. “Yeah, oh yeah. That’s right. Thanks, Max. Bye.”

I swept the receipt into a box and went on with my Sunday morning spit and polish cleaning. Another thing that would appall my mom if she were around to see it. My mom, now 73, still SCRUBBED when she cleaned. She did not sweep excess clutter into a box and stash it in a corner of the bedroom.

One corner of the bedroom had a few boxes of clutter. The other three corners, and the closet, had shoe boxes. Lots and lots of shoe boxes.

Shoe are my passion. I work at a shoe store and I spend most of my money there. That’s why I gave up on nice clothes or nice furniture or — well, just about everything else. I adore shoes. All kinds.

That receipt bugged me, but I tried not to think about it and eventually I succeeded.

Until the next evening, when I found a box in front of my door when I got home. Seated on the floor next to the box was a thin man with dark hair and the sparklingest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. He laughed up at me, “There you are! I thought you’d never get here!” He scooped up the box and leapt to his feet.

I said, “Hey, I’m sorry, I hate to admit this, but I don’t –”

“I’m Rob. Here’s that thing you ordered.” He lifted the box.

“I did?”

“Yeah. Friday night.”

Slowly I unlocked my door. Maybe it was stupid, but Max had described him, and I did have a receipt, and he was awfully cute and those eyes!

Also, the box he was carrying was a shoe box. A large one. Like for boots.

He followed me in and put the box on the coffee table. “Want to see them?”

I nodded. He took the lid off the box and pulled back the tissue. There lay the most magnificent pirate boots I had ever seen. Smooth black leather, real leather, over the knee cuffs, mid-range heels, three octopus buckles and red ribbon lacing at the back. I sat down and pulled them on immediately. They were perfect. They slouched just enough to look truly piratey. I was in love.

“So,” said Rob. “Ready to pay now?” I was marching back and forth in my tiny living room, admiring the boots in the full length mirrors I had leaning against the base of each wall for just that purpose.

Rob stepped in front of me. “I said, ready for the chop chop now?”

I sat down on the couch. “Chop?”

“Your arm, remember?”


“I told you I had some terrific pirate boots, you wanted to see them. You demanded to see them. We went to my place. I showed you my boots. You insisted I call my guy and order you some. You signed the receipt.” He held up the carbon of the receipt I had stashed in my bedroom. “You were thrilled when I said you could have them half-price. They wouldn’t do you much good, really, if I charged full price.” He laughed.

“Oh,” I put my head down, feeling faint.

When my head cleared, I opened my eyes and looked down at the boots. They were magnificent. What did I need with two hands, anyway?

As long I had both feet.download