Rodney Atterthwaite wore golden trainers.
Not that Rodney ever did any training. He hadn’t worn trainers for that since such items were known as plimsolls and were dirt cheap. Even then he’d only worn them until age let him flee the attentions of PE teachers, many of whom he had since butchered in the privacy of his own head.
No, as for the majority of people, and in defiance of fanciful marketing campaigns, trainers were less about physical fitness and more of a fashion choice — though in Rodney’s case, the word ‘fashion’ would not have been the first that sprang to mind. Lack of exercise had done his physique no favours, and lack of interest reflected similarly in his general dress. All this made the golden trainers seem even more incongruous.
The unkind might have said that he was right to pay most attention to his shoes, as he spent most of his time in public staring at them.
He liked to go to night clubs in them. He was never allowed in, of course, that wasn’t the point. The point was that his trainers were noticed by people paid to look out for them.
“Sorry, cock, ye can’t come in ‘ere wi’ them on.”
“Real gold”, he’d sometimes mutter
“Real gold … gold threads.”
“I’d keep that to yourself if I were you, friend,” the more helpful bouncers would say. “Folks round here have been known to do fitter men than you serious damage for a pair of plain Nikes. Anyhow, I don’t care if they’re made by Fabergé and studded wi’ diamonds, I can’t let you in ‘ere in trainers.”
“Aw, well: that’s ok; thanks for the tip,” Rodney would say, as he wandered off home or to the next club, with a satisfied smile on his lips.
He’d soon learned not to try this on quiet nights, when he’d sometimes been waved into a venue desperate for midweek punters. Suspicious looks from security did little to dampen his urge to get out as soon as possible, after a token drink as far from the dancefloor as possible. Attention was his aim, not dancing, and certainly not socialising.
Sometimes, the attention he got was more physical. The warnings of bouncers were perfectly justified. People who might have attacked an obvious wimp like Rodney just for the exercise, found his novel and valuable footwear provided any extrra motivation they might need.
“I’ve done ’em up pretty tight: I’d take two hands to t’job, if I were you.”
“I fuckin’ well will, you little smartarse,” the thug would say, sometimes adminstering an extra kick. Then he’d grasp one of the golden trainers with both hands, completing a circuit that had his heart at its far point, and dropping him stone dead.
Gold is a very good conductor of electricity. And, like all good nerds, Rodney Atterthwaite remembered Michael Faraday’s ice pail experiment from his schooldays, and knew that there could be no charge inside a hollow conductor. At great length he would tell anyone daft enough to listen, how they would be perfectly safe inside a car or plane if it was struck by lightning, thanks to this very principal. He wouldn’t usually go on to describe the insulating material of his socks or the system of wires and batteries that led the power to his shoes.
And there was little point explaining it now, to the smoking corpse of his assailant. So Rodney Atterthwaite would just get up, dust himself down, and, with perhaps the slightest of limps, make his way home wearing an even more satisfied smile.