E. Horton Kinsman, Shoe Consultant

Share stories of your experiences with E. Horton Kinsman, Shoe Consultant, in the comments. (Via Drew Friedman)


          1. I admit to baiting on that one. But still, wouldn’t it have been awesome if someone said they didn’t get it, and I had to explain it!?!?

            I live for that kind of closure.

  1. Could make for a fun gimmick comment persona, relentlessly steering all topics of discussion into being shoe-related.
    Of course, the mods of almost any site you tried this at would probably kill it out of annoyance at some point, and it would work better if someone had stumbled upon this more privately, rather than it being posted like this for all to see.

    1. Aw, what kind of moderator would be such a heel that he’d kill your comments because you didn’t toe the line?

        1. Not to pointe any fingers, but there are sites where the mods are much more pumped to patten down the hatches against any off-topic business clogging up the conversation.

      1. Well, not necessarily here or you, but I have learned (not concerning things I’ve done but by being an online witness to certain online events) not to overestimate a mod’s tolerance for even seemingly innocuous things; I’ve seen people get comments deleted, and even get banned for things that seemed fairly harmless,* and on sites where I would have expected much more tolerance.

        *And no, it wasn’t those “guy doesn’t see why racist/sexist joke is a big deal because of his own racism/sexism” things you see all too often, believe me; the stuff was pretty much just silliness like the idea I described above.

        1. Don’t worry, the moderation is very polished around here. They aren’t just dumb jackboot robots, BB’s moderators have sole.

      2. This almost sounds like you are trying to shoehorn edkedz into actually stepping up and going through with his idea for the sole purpose of your own amusement.

      1.  Way to give him at tongue lashing! As you know, I appreciate logic and try and stay in step with the latest arguments used in discussions.

          1.  I don’t know, read my story below. I think it has lots of sole. But I suppose if you are jell bent for leather to declare this thread soleless go right ahead, but first walk a mile in my moccasins.

  2. Here is something most people don’t know about “E-Ho,” (that’s what his friends called him.) As a young man he was the original model for Howdy-Doody. The shoe thing came later.

      1. i think i’ll break off with my girlfirend,
        her antics are queer i’ll admit..
        each time i say, “darling, i love you!”
        she tells me that i’m full of

    1. I know a Leroy that’s disguising a Wilbur, and a Stanley that’s disguising a Lester. Maybe Ethelred.

      1. My mind operating as it does, I am reminded of Alonzo Erastus Horton, who more or less founded what is now Downtown San Diego.  The former center of the town became known as Old Town, a name it holds to this day.  In the 1970s, a local rock radio station sponsored a series of LP records containing songs about the San Diego area, composed and performed by local musicians who submitted them to the station in a contest.  On Homegrown III from 1975, there’s a song called “The Alonzo F. Horton Rag.”  When asked about the erroneous middle initial, the songwriter offered some lame excuse about having seen the name on a memorial fountain near what is now Horton Plaza, and apparently water had worn away the bottom of the E.

        I wonder if Kinsman’s first name could have been Erastus.

    2. I see that name and wonder… what does “E” stand for that was more awkward than “Horton”?

      It’s just Edward. Horton likes it awkward.

  3. I never once bought a shoe, or even a pair of shoes, without consulting with E. Horton. His refined taste guided me past the stilettoes and hush puppies right to the saddleshoes and the Chucks. Nobody knew how to dress your dogs like E. Horton. He will be missed.

    1. He’s also the guy who showed me nuances like how the shape of the insole should match the general curve of your foot. I’ll never get Left and Right mixed up again!

    2. Mr. Horton here is actually an immortal who has been systematically working his way through the alphabet since his arrival on Earth.

      I fear for Humanity when he reaches his A. Horton stage.

      But yeah, he knows a thing or two about shoes.

    3. Mr Horton saved me.  I was down to flip flops and on the verge of going barefoot.  Then I saw him preaching the way of shoes in his traveling tent sermons.  I was drawn to his call to step forward and have my feet measured.  I fell into a rapture and when I awoke I had on the most comfortable pair of loafers I’d ever owned.  Since then I’ve followed the ways of Mr Horton and have found the joys of Italian dress shoes, collectable sneakers, and customized insoles.

      Thank you Mr Horton, shoe consultant.

  4. I knew E. Horton Kinsman.
    E. Horton Kinsman was a friend of mine.
    And you, sir, are no E. Horton Kinsman.

  5. True Story.  His signature shoe design, the “Horton,” was the original inspiration for Steve Martin’s monologue on “The Cruel Shoes.”

  6. You think that he’s just a bespectacled nerd with a made-up profession, but that’s only on the surface.  E. Horton Kinsman knows things that would drive you people mad if you even caught a glimpse. E. Horton Kinsman has gazed into the abyss and calmly said, “You’re definitely a 10 1/2 narrow.”

    You think that you know about the cruel shoes, but only E. Horton and his peers (of which there are damn few, mister, and fewer each year) know that all shoes are cruel. Your feet yearn to be free, to run across an endless prairie and grip the smaller branches of a tree, but you imprison them in mean little hard-bottomed foot corsets; you torture them in Procrustean devices, deliver the inquisition in the form of your Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos. E. Horton will sell you those infernal agonizers with a smirk, but only if you put your feet in his hands and trust completely will he put your feet in a confinement which will truly set you free.

    And he knows about foot fetishes, does our serene E. Horton. He’s seen countless sultry dames saunter in with their stockings with the seams up the back, seen how they lift up one leg as he kneels before them and dare him to look with their eyes, not knowing that he’s seen it all and done it twice, three times on Sunday, always with his socks on. Same with the dudes who come in and complain that their cowboy boots aren’t breaking in properly, their upper lips trembling under their Marlboro Man mustaches. He’s broken in more cowboys and cowgirls than he can count, plus bikers in their black leather and cops in their SWAT boots and librarians in their sensible shoes. Dominatrices come in in their thigh-highs expecting to take charge, and come out subdued and thoughtful. Priests and nuns and ministers of every faith end up giving confessions instead of taking them. Dorothy took off her ruby slippers for him, once.

    Ingrown toenails and bunions and plantar warts and fungus of every type and severity, including some possibly not of this world. People with two toes on each foot and people with seven toes and once–just once–a pair of cloven hooves. He shod the Elephant Man out of his in-store stock. He gave Nancy Sinatra the Boots That Were Made For Walkin’. He set up Carl Perkins with blue suede shoes, and Elvis Costello with red.

    The E. stands for Eldritch. You think you know what that means, but you don’t.

  7. I remember the day my dad took me down to Buck’s Shoes on 24th street in the old south part of town. This part of town still smelled of cow manure because it was only 1/2 a mile from the stockyards. “Why do we have to go down there Daddy, it smells!” My father replied, as he always did, “That’s the smell of money!” since that was where his immigrant parents worked after coming over from Ireland. The packing plants and stockyards were one of the few places that would hire the Irish.

    Buck’s Shoes was run and owned by a nice Polish family, the Stanic’s, and they employed several men who took the work very seriously. They always dressed in a suit and tie (bow ties for some) and understood that shoes were an expensive item, especially for new immigrants who often didn’t have a lot of money. They wanted people to understand that if you bought your shoes at Buck’s they were an investment in quality footwear that you would have for years.

    As a kid, I knew nothing of all that, just that my dad felt loyal to this shoe store in the this old neighborhood and to men who worked there.  One of whom was E. Horton Kinsman.

    My dad took me there to get my first pair of “adult” shoes.
    “Let’s go to Buck’s and get you some Florsheim’s” he said and off we went into the direction of cow manure smell.
    When we got into the store the smell instantly changed to leather and shoe polish with just a bit of aftershave.

    E. Horton, or Eddie as my dad called him, came over and greeted my dad. “Time to get my son some serious shoes.”

    “You bet. He looks just like you, except the hairline,” said Eddie, making the first bald joke of the day to my dad. “Let’s get you measured up.” He got out the special measuring stick and I stood in it. “Size 8 and 1/2” he said  “Too bad you weren’t a size 8 like your Uncle, then we could have sold you the floor samples. He’s a perfect size 8 and we always sell him last season’s shoes.”

    I tried on a number of black “Florsheim’s” and I walked around in them.  I wasn’t used to hard leather and they felt very uncomfortable. “Are they supposed to feel like this?”

    “Like what?” Eddie said. “Like hard and pinchy.” I replied.

    “Hmm.” Eddie said, then went in the back and came out with a different kind of shoe. “This shoe is from Europe. They use different foot molds there and these might fit you better.”
    I tried them on and they were great.  Of course they were much more expensive that the usual shoes, but Eddie knew my dad was a regular customer and I think he gave him a deep discount.

     I saw Mr. Kinsman again the next day. I was wearing my new shoes, dress pants and blazer as I stood in the back of the church.

     He was one of the many men and women who were attending my grandmother’s funeral at the Catholic Church in the south part of town. He gave me a wink when he saw me, like a lot of friends of my dad did. It was like they were telling me, “You’re one of us kid.” 

    When I moved away I would buy shoes from generic department store because I didn’t understand my father’s loyalty. It seemed expensive to me when I was counting every penny. I finally realized that he wasn’t loyal to a “brand” or a store or even a neighborhood, but to the people whose livelihood depended on each other. You would see the guy who sold you your shoes at church. If you were shopping at some generic discount store to save a few bucks you knew you were hurting real people in your community.

    I’m reminded that the dollars you save wouldn’t make up for the times when a special connection is needed.  What angers me is the worship of the corporate  bottom line, where money is the main deciding factor in most actions, because it doesn’t  account for making sure a boy could have a decent pair of shoes on day he was taking his grandmother to the cemetery. 

    Corporations don’t understand, but people like Eddie Kinsman do.


          1.  I’ve really got to work on straight funny for you, don’t I. Thanks for the challenge. I’m too damn serious these days. Have been since 2003. Stupid human wars, started by stupid humans lead by emotion and not reason. It’s enough to depress this half human half Vulcan for months at a time. I need to write something funny for everyone.

          2. I’m perfectly happy for fiction to reflect reality.

            Saying your writing makes me sad or depressed while it amuses me is no sort of criticism.

  8. A shoe consultant is an out-of-work shoe saleman. Ed Bundy was a shoe salesman as he raised his family, and a darn good one at that.

  9. Whoever said a good man is hard to find

    Positively absolutely sure was blind

    I’ve found the best man there ever was

    Here’s just some of the things that my man does

    Why he shakes my ashes, greases my griddle

    Chimes my butter and he strokes my fiddle

    My man is such a handy man (oh yes he is)

    He threads my needle, creams my wheat

    Heats my heater and he chops my meat

    My man is such a handy man

    Now I don’t care if you believe it or not

    He’s so good to have around

    And when my furnace gets too hot

    He’s right there to turn my damper down

    Why for everything he’s got a scheme

    You oughta see that new stuff he uses on my machine

    That man is such a handy man (he’s God’s gift girls)

    Why he flaps my flapjacks, cleans off my table

    Feeds my horses out in my stable

    That man is such a handy man, mmm yeah

    Sometimes he’s up long before the dawn

    Busy trimmin’ the rough edges off my front lawn

    Yeah that man is such a handy man

    Why you know he never has a single word to say

    No not while he’s working hard

    And I wished that you could see the way

    He handles my front yard

    Yeah you know my ice don’t get a chance to melt away

    Cause he sees that I get that fresh piece every day

    My man, my man is such a handy man

    And I ain’t kiddin’! 

    –Alberta Hunter

  10. The bow tie is the perfect tie for anyone needing to lean over people in their line of work, like a shoe consultant would. You keep your tie off of the person’s feet and don’t need a hand to hold it out of the way. That Kinsman and any shoe consultant worth his salt knows it.

  11. Eddie Kinsman is the best damned shoe man this side of Bartlesville. That man took one look at me walking into his store and the first thing he said to me was, “Friend, how much have you paid your doctor to treat that bad back of yours?” Well I don’t know how he could have known that, but before I could tally-up the numbers in my head, he was holding a pair of oxfords that were going to do me better than a whole hospital of doctors! Eddie Kinsman is a pillar of the community, mister, I can tell you that much.

    I’ll tell you something else, too: old Kinsman really knows a thing or two about the Good Book! I never met a man who could tie all the troubles of the world straight back to the Word. Why, after a few visits to his shop, a bunch of us decided that Eddie ought to be a preacher! Well, he tried to decline, saying how his calling was in shoes rather than preaching. He said, “Besides that, I haven’t got a chapel to preach in.” Old Bobby Ellis – the landlord himself – was the one who said it was fine by him for Eddie to use the basement of the shop as a chapel. No windows, good locks on the doors and nobody would bother us.

    Eddie’s got a lot of good thoughts for us to contemplate, brother, I can tell you that. And the more he talks to us, the more of us shows up to the shop each night to pray with him. I can’t think of nobody closer to the Almighty than Eddie Kinsman, and I can’t imagine a world where folks wouldn’t listen to what he has to say. There was some guff from a few of the local boys – you know the kind; greasy hair, worn dungarees and all that – but we put a stop to that real quick. It was shortly after that when I really noticed just how strong my back had gotten since Eddie first helped me. Some of us had to dig for hours, and those shoes made our work as easy as a song! The man’s a pillar of the community, friend. An absolute pillar of the community.

  12. There was a salesman working for Nordstrom (Tacoma store) that was so good at selling women shoes, that I could walk in to buy socks (only Nordstrom carried socks long enough then) and walk out with three pairs of shoes I didn’t need, no socks, and no buyer’s remorse.

    He worked strictly on commision and was the most successful shoe salesman in the company.

  13. Dear E.,

    May I first express my sincere gratitude for the exceptional service you provided to my uncle B. last weekend.  He is pleased to report that he has never walked with a more upright and confident gait, and that the eighteen inch heel on the right shoe is so cleverly disguised that he has difficulty recognizing the difference between right and left himself.

    I look forward to the completion of the custom alterations to my favorite size 8 oxblood loafers this coming Wednesday.  Your sympathy to my requirements is deeply appreciated, as is your insight regarding the blade actuation and retraction mechanism.  

    With warmest regards, I remain, yours,


  14. Mr. Kinsman:

    Can one man really love two pairs of shoes at the same time ?

    Asking for a friend,

    1. Mr. Kinsman,

      A few weeks ago I noticed that my insole had formed a ridge near the toe, as though someone had been strongly curling their toes. The thing is, the ridge is not in the location where my toes curl when I wear my shoes. Since then, my laces have been unnaturally loose, requiring frequent tightening and retying for any kind of pedal satisfaction. This morning, I noticed that my shoes had developed an odor not unlike a fine, fully ripened Époisses de Bourgogne.

      Don’t get me wrong, I trust my shoes, but the thing is, I bought them from a resale shop.

      Do you think my shoes are seeing other feet?

      M. Valdemar, Harlem.

    1. Daddy!

      Says the boy in Wichita, whenever Mr Kinsman drops by from Tulsa, “on business”.

      Each trip to Wichita on his black Buick Special, which was about once a month, Eddie was mindful to stay at the Broadview Hotel, then back home he would casually leave the receipt on the parlor table, on top of the other travel bills, so as to not raise suspicions with the good lady wife.

      Last visit was very special, as ol’ Eddie had quite a thrill for the kid, a baseball autographed by none other than Stan “The Man” Musial himself! Then as they did once a month, Eddie and the kid sat on the porch swing, watching the fireflies while listening to The Kate Smith Hour, they sure got a kick out of Abbot & Costello doing their thing on the radio.

  15. Unfortunately, as I am not a shoe, I can not offer any direct experiences with Mr. Kinsman, however I have an old pair of loafers who did indeed consult with him on how they could go about creating a tax haven in the Pacific island nation of Tonga, I will see if they have any comment.

  16. The first thing you should know about E. Horton Kinsman is that the “E” stood for ‘Evinrude’. He was the last son born to a pair of Louisiana sharecroppers and he came into this world on the front of a jetboat that run outta gas on the way to the hospital. After his Daddy fed the afterbirth to the gators and rowed that jetboat 10 miles into town he declared that his boy was gonna be named Evinrude cuz he never wanted to forget the name of the engine that stranded them out in the bayou.

    Evinrude grew up poor but as a young adult was determined to make something of himself. He moved to New Orleans on his 17th birthday and took to shining the loafers of whorehouse johns. The streets were pretty muddy back in them days.

    He got into a couple rackets but dropped it all when the big one started back in ’41. He spent four long years gunning down Nazi’s from the turret of a Sherman tank. He made some friends in Italy and when he got back he started supplying high end leathers to American car makers. Remember “Corinthinan Leather?” Well, he was the one importing all of it.

    The pic with the misprinted caption above appeared in the August, 1957 issue of “Leatherman’s Quarterly” (back when it was still a trade journal). He withdrew from the trade association shortly thereafter.

    He was last seen on a train chugging out of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires in the early 60’s in search of cheap South American leathers.

  17. Just got finished watching an episode of Breaking Bad, and it made me sad. Reading this thread made me happy again. Thanks all.

  18. So, Mark Frauenfelder.  Weren’t you the guy who started that thread “Untitled 1” a couple years ago?  Now you’re going to drag poor old E. Horton down the same vortex? 
    Are you ready Antinous?

  19. I never knew E. Horton, but I knew his two “half” brothers, F. Horton and G. Horton.

    (Conceptual apologies to Mark Mothersbaugh)

  20. Rod Laver played with metal spiked golf shoes before consulting Mr. Kinsman. The lack of sufficient traction was keeping Rod from getting past the quarter finals. E. Horton’s recommendation to switch to rubber soled sneakers changed tennis history. 

    Mohammed Ali, or Casius Clay as he was known then, began his boxing career wearing flip-flops. His opponents found it easy to distract him by stepping on his feet. If not for Mr. Kinsman’s recommendation to try wrestling boots (then boxing shoes months later), Mohammed would certainly not be the greatest.

    E. Horton’s accomplishments are not limited to the world of sports. Senator John F. Kennedy was convinced that wearing a pair of stiletto high heels in his debate with Richard Nixon would increase his appeal to female voters. If his campaign manager had not brought Mr. Kinsman in the night before to convince JFK to wear normal men’s dress shoes, the United States would have had the worst president in history eight years earlier. If not for E. Horton, man would never have walked on the moon.

    Some people say that a Shoe Consultant is nothing more the a fancy name for a Shoe Salesman, with only the finest shoe retailers offering footwear consultation services. However if it were not for the many famous, and anonymous, contributions of E. Horton Kinsman, our nation  would not be the greatest country on Earth.

    1. If not for E. Horton, man would never have walked on the moon.

      Considering Kennedy’s influence on the Apollo program, Armstrong and Aldrin would have sashayed instead.

  21. E. Horton Kinsman called frequently at our abode under the pretense of shoe consulting. My husband, a courier, did indeed require such services. One eve, as we prepared to retire after supper, Mr. Kinsman called again. 

    On that day, as my husband sat for his fitting, Mr. Kinsman confided in us that he held a terrible secret. He had found an ancient text in the attic of his boarding home and desired to share its contents with us post haste. Most unnerved at his demeanor and constant moistening of his lips, I politely declined interest and excused myself.

    When, after some hours, I woke and found my husband absent, I ventured to the study. The sight which lay before me cannot and should not be repeated. But since I know you need my statement, officer, I shall endeavor to call up the gruesome memory.

    Seated where he had been when I retired to bed was my husband’s lower extremities. However, as to his torso’s fate, I remain ignorant. The only thing I can say with some certainty, sir, is that the skin and clothing found on the floor before you cannot be explained within the normal realms of sanity.

    Now, if you’ll turn your attention to this book I’ve brought, I’ll show you that secret I mentioned earlier.

  22. I only met Mr. Kinsman once.  I had just been chased down and mauled by a bear, and lay broken and bloody in a pile of wet leaves.  After some time a hiker came by.  It was E. Horton Kinsman, testing a new pair of boots.  When he noticed my body, he came closer, examined my footwear,and with utmost disdain, commented, “Should have come to me first.  Anyone who wears oxfords in the forest deserves what he gets.”  Then he continued on his journey.  He was kind of a dick, IMHO.

  23. The following is a fictional account of my experience with the legendary E. H. Kinsman.

    Back in ’68, I landed a gig as a journalist in Arkansas. Now, I know you are thinking “Arkansas journalist” is an oxymoron, but bear with me. Being a Yankee headed for the Confederacy, I wanted to make sure I didn’t stand out too badly. I mean, I didn’t know Grits from Shinola in those days, so of course, my first stop was to the office of E. Horton Kinsman, Shoe Consultant. His office was on the third floor of a shabby pre-war brick faced, building that was, shall we say, experienced. I looked up and saw the drapes flapping out an open window. Kinsman didn’t believe in that new air conditioning, which didn’t matter because neither did the landlord. I went in and found the elevator out of order. I worked up a sweat climbing the stairs. The hall hadn’t been swept in weeks. I passed the frosted glass windows with the names of the other tenants. I knew a few. Erwin Schwartzkopf, Black Hat Sizer, Reginald Tallberg, the noted inseam man and  Pierre LaGrab, a lingerie designer who was trying to battle back after getting that felony beef reduced to a misdemeanor. 
    The door squeaked, begging for a shot of oil on its rusted hinges and I saw Kinsman’s curvy secretary, Ethel who was shining a pair of black pumps behind a beat-up grey metal desk. I told her she looked good. She believed me. I asked if the man was in and she glanced at desk calendar  without stopping the shine job on the shoe and said, “He’s almost done with his appointment with some guy named Choo,” He can see you shortly. Choo, I thought. Sounded mysterious. I sat down on a torn naugahyde couch and picked up a dog-eared copy of American Shoe Consultant Magazine from 1947. E.H. must have let his subscription lapse, which I found strange give the number of times he had graced the publication’s covers. I heard a side door slam and Ethel told me I could go in. I figured Choo must have exited out the side door as Kinsman never let two clients see each other. He was known for his fetish for confidentiality and some speculated, well we don’t even need to go there. 

    I walked into the sweltering office. I was dripping like a half hour old ice cream cone, but the big man looked crisp in a starched shirt and bow tie. “So, what’s the story with this Choo,” I asked. The big man glanced at the door in the direction of his big mouthed secretary and shook his head. He told me Herb Choo had some wild ideas for a new line of men’s tennis shoes. He said he had told him he ought to listen to his younger son Jimmy who had a better business plan and let it go at that. 

    I told him about Arkansas and the new job and how I was thinking of a solid pair of cordovan wingtips by Florsheim. He went to a green file cabinet that still had the military surplus number stenciled on the side and pulled out a file folder. “No Florsheim’s,” he said, “you’ll stick out like U.S. Grant.” He flipped a brochure on a pair brown brogans by Church’s on the stained blotter on his desk. Get these and you will probably win the Pulitzer Prize. I knew he was right. I thanked him went out the side door. I hailed a cab that was driven by one of those new hippies who didn’t give a second thought to what kind of sandals they wore. The guy, or maybe it was a girl, I couldn’t tell with all that long hair, was playing one of those new FM radio stations and a song came on. I asked the name of the band. “Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention,” he said, it was a guy after all. The song was, “Brown Shoes Don’t Make it.” But, who was I supposed to believe, some jerk named Zappa or the legendary E.H. Kinsman? I went with Kinsman and got the brogans. I didn’t win the Pulitzer, but I did meet the daughter of a wealthy cotton plantation baron. But, that’s another story. 

  24. As we dueled with electric shoe horns, E. Horton revealed to me that he was my father and that he wanted me to join him so that we could rule the shoe consultant business as father and son. I told him I’d never join him and then jumped off of the monkey bars, twisting my ankle when I landed in the sand.  Fortunately, I was dragged into a van by Billy Dee Williams.and Carrie Fisher.

  25. I didn’t know his name at the time, but I will never forget his face. I was, briefly, a waiter/attendant at a sort of speakeasy for the business elite of Monroe, Minnesota. It operated as a social club, sort of like a Moose Lodge, but with a huge premium placed on discretion. Normally, the notion of discretion was more a fillip to the vanity of the bankers, dentists, and insurance brokers of the town – they never really got up to much mischief, other than a bit of tipsy slap and tickle with the local ladies of easy leisure. 

    But, from time to time, the mischief would raise itself to something more sinister that would demand discretion if the assembled crew would ever hope to show their faces again in church or the country club. 

    In the case of Mr. Kinsman, his crime against propriety was so bizarre that he was removed from the rolls of the establishment and was told in no uncertain terms that he needn’t show his face ever again. 

    Mr. Kinsman beat a drunk hog to death in the parlor of the club using a nothing but a trenching tool he’d brought back from Europe after his stint in the Great War. 

    His expression was locked in a rictus of eerie calm, very much like the face we can see above, the only difference being that on that night, that coolly unlined face was splattered by jagged streaks of fresh porcine blood. The expression never changed, even amid the screams of the assembled burghers and ghastly ripping squeals of his victim. 

    When the hog was clearly and unmistakably dead, Mr. Kinsman shrugged at the horrified assembly, smiled briefly, and spoke in his sturdy salesman cadence: “That’s how we did it on the Marne.” 

    Mr. Kinsman lived alone, and his house burnt down not a week after the incident. He was seen leaving town in his roadster, even as the flames from his house still painted the side wall on the outside of Olaf Sarsberg’s grocery store autumn orange. 

    I never knew his name until today. But that face stayed with me all these years. 

  26. Talked me out of a pair of calf-skin moccasins and into a slightly used set of orthopedic Doc Martins. The left heel was 6 inches longer than the right. Best $400 I ever spent. Never said a word.

  27. That’s the last of them, he said, dropping the saw into the fire bucket.

    Sure took long enough, she said.  

    Can’t rush art, he said.  Besides, ain’t those as pretty a set of shoes as you’ve ever seen.

    They look, well, they look just magical, she said.

    Aww, you’re nice to say that, he said.  Now how about you put them in this here bag, and I’ll get Mister Bancroft back into his coffin and into the elevator, the viewing’s starting in a half an hour.

    See you regular time, Horton, she said.

    Regular time, he said.  He brushed the hair from her eyes and patted her dry cheek, and as their eyes met, she raised her trembling hands and straightened his bow tie.

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