Doctor Barney’s Shoe Mall

( from Children of Chaos: Chapter 145 )

By Nathan Keeffer, February 1997




    It was a hot August morning in New York City.  Nathan stood on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-First Street, wearing a bright yellow zoot suit and a wide-brimmed black hat, making faces at the traffic.  Five of his young friends stood nearby, decked out in big baggy skater clothes, posturing and pouting like brats, trying to make a spectacle of themselves. They succeeded. A 380 pound Yugoslavian woman came lurching off a nearby bus, waving money in the air and screaming mindlessly. She rushed up to Nathan and screamed “How much for all five!? I must know! Such PUPPIES!”

     “Madame,” Nathan drawled, “What, precisely the hell, are you fucking talking about?”

     “Don’t be coy, dear man! You don’t pieces of work like that on the street corner for no good reason– I’ll pay you 500 bucks for all five for one hour! We can do it on the bus!”

     Nathan began making faces. The woman thought he was a pimp!

     “Look, lady! Dry up and blow away!” he sneered, then crumbled a handful of Ritz crackers into her hair.

     “Fine, BE that way!” she hissed. “I’ll just go down Puppyboy Alley and get myself fucked for FREE! I don’t need your high-priced fancy-pants goon squad!”

     Nathan began laughing.

     His buddy, 14 year old Willy, chuckled at the woman, then said “Nobody’s gonna fuck YOU for free, get real!”

     “High priced fancy-pants goon squad?” 13 year old Barrett wondered aloud, amused.  The fat Yugoslavian woman meanwhile shrieked and went tumbling backwards into the street... Nathan had shoved her off the sidewalk.

     “Listen up, fatso!” he lectured, as she lay in the gutter. “I am not a pimp! And my boys are not for sale! They are MINE! They would kill you if I spoke the word, but you’re about to be run over by a truck anyway.”

     “What? OH MY GOSH!” the woman roared.  Nathan jumped back from the curb as a dump truck ran over the obese madwoman, causing blood and Elmer’s Glue to spout from her mouth and splatter in weird patterns on the sidewalk.

     “Disgusting!” Nathan shouted, then started laughing. Then he peered back down the sidewalk.          “Barrett, go see what’s taking those other guys so long in the damn shoe store!” he said. Barrett dutifully headed for the shoe store...


       You see, 40 feet away, the four other teenage members of Nathan’s gang had gone into Doctor Barney’s Shoe Mall, a weirdly named shoe store.  Boo, a big friendly blond haired skater and the oldest of the boys, ( he was 16 ) was needing new shoes.  With him were Kelly, Brandon and Josh. They were all badass gangsta boys who killed people for fun, but also cute, friendly and innocent– if you can reconcile all that in your mind, oh evil reader of mine, ha ha ha.

     The four boys wandered around through the place, trying to find the skater-shoe section. Josh was marveling at a pair of huge size 18 Nikes when a hideous apparition sprang up in front of him... it was Doctor Barney!!

     It was wearing a big purple “Barney the Dinosaur” mask, a top hat, and a white lab coat over a navy blue jump suit.

     “Huh huh huh! Hi there kids! I’m DOCTOR BARNEY! Wah ha ha ha ha! What can ah DEW fer ya!? Huh huh huh!”

     Josh lurched back from the madman in surprise.

     “Huh huh huh...huh huh huh...” Doctor Barney was chuckling obscenely, rocking back and forth like an idiot.

     “Stop that,” Boo warned. “I want a shoe!”

     “Huh huh huh! A shoe! How about that? Ha ha ha ha!” Barney laughed.

     “Stop bein’ stupid, bitch!” 12 year old Brandon yelled, swinging his foot, kicking Doctor Barney in the back of the knee. The chuckling madman yelled and fell over.

“Owwww! You rotten brat! Imelda, call the cops!”Barney shouted from the green-carpeted floor. Kelly and Brandon looked at each other. Imelda? Who the hell was that.  As if in answer, a woman in a yellow corduroy dress came running down the Reebok aisle, brandishing a cell phone. 

     Thirteen year old Barrett had arrived from outside a few seconds ago, and now he hauled out his 9mm and pointed it at Imelda. “Hold it right there, lady! Drop the fucking phone, NOW!”

     Boo gasped in amazement at Barrett’s outburst. The cute, violet-eyed boy was normally a bit shy.

     “Oh my GOD!” Imelda shrieked. “I’m being robbed— by a 12 year old!”

     “This ain’t no robbery, bitch!” Barrett laughed, having fun being a criminal. “This is MURDER! And I’m not twelve, I’m thirteen you HO!”

    “What!? Eeeee--”

     Barrett shot her twice and she twisted madly, crashing against the wall.  Her dead body fell gracelessly, and was buried under an avalanche of falling Reeboks from the shelves she’d crashed into.

      “Way to go, man!” Kelly yelled, clapping Barrett on the back in congratulations. Barney abruptly whipped out a switchblade and tried to stick it in Brandon’s leg, but the golden haired brat saw the attack coming and jumped out of the way.

     “Kill him!” Boo shouted.

     “Can we help?” a pair of ten year old boys asked from the next aisle.  Apparently, they didn’t like Barney either.

     “Sure dudes. Let’s get him. Let’s stomp his purple ass to death.” Boo smiled.

     Barney shouted “No! Get back! I’m DOCTOR BARNEEEEEEEEEEE!!”

     And then there were seven boys kicking him from seven different sides. The switchblade flew from his quivering white-gloved hand and stuck in the ceiling. Kelly’s green and white Nike basketball shoe plunged into the soft latex Barney mask, and the maniac screamed as his nose broke. The ten year olds were laughing wildly, jumping on the Barney mask.  Under the powerful impacts of jumping brats, his left eye burst, his teeth fell out, his jaw broke.  Boo was a big boy. He was six feet tall and 175 pounds, and he had strong legs, like a kangaroo... or like a skater. And he had big feet too. He stomped down hard on the idiot’s belly with his sock-covered boy foot,  mashing his wide, firm heel down deep, causing Barney’s liver to burst.

     “Aaaaaarggh!” Barney screamed.

     Nathan appeared from behind a life-size cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan, regarding the spectacle before him with an indescribable expression.  He’d heard the gunfire and had come running, only to find—

      “Barney?” he said to himself. Then he screamed it. “Barney!? What the hell? What the HELL!? BOO, what the Hell is this idiocy!?”

     Boo said “Just a second, man. Let me mash him a couple more times.” and he used his foot like a pile driver on Barney’s belly. Nathan grimaced in disbelief as he saw a spreading bloodstain on barney’s crotch. Barney wasn’t moving much anymore.  A tooth fell out of one of the nostril-holes in the mask. Nathan heard one of the little kid’s high-tops squeak against the rubberized mask as he stomped on it.   Kelly was kicking Barney in the side.

    “Boo-RANDEN!!” Nathan shouted, scolding him like a disobedient child, using Boo’s full name

 ( actually his full name was Brandon, but he was often known as Booranden, or simply Boo. )

     Boo turned around. “Yes daddy?” he asked facetiously.

    “Look, you.” Nathan said, stepping up to the big teenager and grabbing him by the arms. “I know it’s hard to be 16, you want to be responsible and bratty at the same time.  I don’t mind. I like you fine, me boyo. But would you please tell me what the hell that guy was doing dressed like that, and why he is being trampled to death, and who shot that lady?”

     Boo grinned down at his older but shorter pal, knowing that Nathan hated to not know what was going on. “Barney was the owner of this place.” he explained. “He couldn’t stop being stupid, so we beat him down and stomped him out, Boo-Ya!! And then Barrett shot his assistant– you shoulda heard him, man!”

     “Yeah, he was like Dirty Harry!” Josh exclaimed. “He was like ‘Drop that fuckin’ phone, do it NOW ya bitch!!’ or something. Man, it was hilarious.”

     In the background, the pair of ten year old boys pulled off the Barney mask, revealing the bloody mashed face underneath. 

     “Oh, GROSS!” one of them shouted, then snatched a shoe off a nearby shelf and threw it at the face. Splat. The boys laughed and went running away.

    “Well.” Nathan said. “I guess you don’t have to BUY shoes now! Ha ha ha.”


     Two minutes later, Boo had selected a brand new pair of dark green Vans, slipping them comfortably  onto his big feet.  Nathan sat next to him on the bench. “Let me see.” he said. Boo swung his long legs up across Nathan’s lap.  Nathan examined the shoes, feeling the soft suede uppers, poking at the gum-rubber soles. They were clean, flexible, moderately soft.

     “Nice shoes.” he said, then examined Boo’s ankles. “Nice ankles, too.” he said. Booranden was smiling with pleasure.  He put a big hand on Nathan’s shoulder and said “I like you too, man.” and then he giggled in a skater-like manner.

     At that moment, Shawn-Bo and Willy came running in, yelling.

     “Now what!?” Nathan blurted, fearing some mishap.

     “They towed away our car!” Willy yelled. “We were gonna stop ‘em, but there were cops around!!  Man, what do we do now?!”

     Nathan grimaced, then said “We steal another car!! Follow me.”

     He jumped up and went marching away.  The boys jumped up and went marching away after him.  Their adventures continued…. But that is a tale for another day.



                                   --- The End ---