Fixing Slippers

Bert returned from his shopping trip clutching a shopping bag and grinning madly. Who knew that department stores could be so inspirational? He was going to recommend a visit to all his other mad scientist friends.

“John,” he said. “I know what we’re going to do today.”

John the intern came running in. “Are we finally going to take over the world?”

Bert rolled his eyes. “What have I told you about trying to take over the world?”

John’s shoulders slumped. “You don’t want to.”

“Of course not. Real mad scientists would always choose science over politics. That’s why you’re still an intern.” Bert set his shopping bags down. “Would you like to see what we’ll be doing instead?”

John leaned forward. “Mind control? Cloning? A zombie army?”

Bert pulled a pair of slippers out of his bag. “Nope. We’ll be fixing this faulty sports equipment.”

“That’s not sports equipment,” John said.

“Well, not when it doesn’t work right,” Bert said. “But I’ll fix that.”

“But there’s nothing wrong with them,” John said. “Slippers are supposed to be like that.”

Bert took his shoes off and tossed them over his shoulder. The shoe rack by the front door caught them and arranged them neatly side by side. Bert put the slippers on and shuffled across the floor. “Look,” he said. “They don’t slip at all.”

John laughed. “I think they’re called slippers because you slip them on.”

Bert shook his head. “John, John, John. You slip on many different kinds of shoes. Shoes are named for function. You loaf around in loafers and ice skate in ice skates and flip in flippers.”

“That’s not what flippers are for,” John said. “And loafers are for dressing up.”

“Now I understand why you are still so loud when you’re wearing sneakers,” Bert said. “But that’s all right, you’re an intern. You’re supposed to still be learning.”

“I’m not loud.”

“John said loudly,” Bert said.

John frowned. “But what sport would need slippery shoes?”

“Who knows what new sport the kids have thought up,” Bert said. “I saw kids throwing around plastic plates and calling it Frisbee.”

“That’s not new,” John said.

“You’re so contrary,” Bert said. He picked up his shopping bags. “Just for that, you get to fill out the paperwork today.” He marched off in his slippers.

John groaned. “That’s not fair. You always make me do the paperwork.”

He filled out paperwork all afternoon. Just before it was time to go home, Bert returned, carrying his new slippers in one hand and a stack of papers in the other.   He dumped the stack of papers into the inbox. John sighed.

“Here’s some more paperwork for you to fill out tomorrow,” Bert said. He held up the slippers. “Now guaranteed to slip,” he said.

“It worked?” John asked. “Wow. Maybe you could adapt the technology into some kind of ray that you could shoot at the ground. Your enemies would fall at your feet, literally.” John cackled evilly.

Bert shook his head. “I’m starting to worry about you,” he said.

“I’m just getting into the spirit of being a good mad scientist,” John said.

“Science first, John,” Bert said.

“Right, right. I keep forgetting that,” John said. “So if you made a slipper ray, could I borrow it?”

“I don’t think so,” Bert said.