He’d found his first clue and it was a dandy. A footprint from a big old shoe. And a shoe. And a white ankle sock. And a footprint from an actual foot. No foot, though. The wet cement had given him a lot, but it hadn’t given him a foot.
The robber was a big guy or at least he had big feet. Size 13. The shoe was a Black Hightop Converse, you know, Chuckies. It shouldn’t have been a great clue. So many of those shoes around. But most of them don’t lace up with those neon laces that were popular in the nineties, the special ones you don’t have to tie because they are coiled up with elastic or something. Well, this shoe had neon pink and green laces.
For the next few days, he kept watching people’s feet. He usually looked down when he walked, but now he could do it with purpose. No one had springy neon laces anymore, though. They had white, or brown, or sometimes red, but they didn’t have neon, and they definitely didn’t have the springy sort. Nobody really had shoes with pumps or the kind that light up in the heel when you step either.
There was no other method to find the neon lace man. He couldn’t access a database of shoelace sales or a list of dudes with big feet. His dandy clue wasn’t as dandy as he’d first thought.
Then he saw a poster for 90’s night.
He danced and looked at shoes and danced. A lot of Converse on the dance floor. Like, more than a dozen. But none as big as a size thirteen. No size thirteen in any shoe for that matter. He needed a break from dancing and looking at feet, so he played pinball. Twilight Zone pinball that had a few touches from episodes of the show like Rod Serling and the black and white optical illusion spinner and a red gumball machine, which must’ve been from an episode he couldn’t remember. He locked two of the balls in a little trap in the game and it triggered Multi-Ball. It was chaos; he had to focus so much that he didn’t see a mismatched pair of Converse with neon laces walk past him. After the third ball plunged down the center of the game in that cheap way where you can’t do anything about it, he decided he’d had enough of 90’s night and it was a dumb idea anyway. Some people cheered as “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls came on.
He didn’t feel like much of a detective. His tan canvas trenchcoat was starting to feel foolish. He wasn’t even much of a gumshoe. He hucked his magnifying glass at the dumpster and it didn’t break, but he wanted it to, so he picked it up and tried to smash it but it didn’t smash, it only cracked a bit.
This job starts to wear on you, he said to himself. There was steam rising from the sewers and the sound of vintage music echoed down the alley. He questioned if Alanis Morissette made good dance music.