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Arsalan had no more shoes for his playtimes. In fact he used his black shoes in drilling or playing. One morning, Arsalan felt that he was the only person in the whole world who had only one pair of shoes. In the playground there were Weinbrenner, Adidas, North Star and other brands of shoes. Arsalan’s own shoes had no band printed on them. He wore pair of old black lace-ups with thin soles, worn-down heels and splitting sides. Arsalan lurked in a corner of the play ground so that nobody would see them. But Ahsan came by. “Tee hee hee! Look at Arsalan!” he said. “What stupid shoes! Like a pair of rotten boats!” Ahsan had a new pair of Adidas. He was a boastful boy. The shoes were quite expensive. Fahad came over.
“Don’t take notice of him,” he said. At that moment the whistle went. It was time to go in. Fahad had a plan in his mind. “Let’s go home past the new sportswear shop,” he said after the school. At the shoe shop, Arsalan saw a nice pair of black shoes.
"These shoes look very smart," said Arsalan. But they were too costly to buy for Arsalan. Before Arsalan could reach home, it began to rain. It came in through the splits in the bottom of the black lace-ups. First it made Arsalan’s socks wet, then his feet. But times were tough for Arsalan and his dad. “Sorry, son,” said his father. “We can’t stretch to sports shoes this week. Another time, may be.”
Arsalan used his shoes both in playground and going to school, that’s why on Thursday, the sole came off Arsalan’s other shoe. At last his father took him to a footwear shop.
“Aha!” said the shopkeeper, as though he’d been waiting for them to turn up.
“Here we are then,” he climbed slowly up his stepladder and then took down a shoe box from the top of the pile. He handed it to Arsalan’s father.
“That’ll be 300 rupees please, sir,” said the shopkeeper.
“300 rupees?’ said Arsalan’s father. “That’s very reasonable.”
“And if the young man decides he doesn’t like them. Bring them back in their original box, within two weeks, and I will refund your money,” the shopkeeper said.
While on their way back home, Arsalan took the shoes out of their box. They were weird. Not at all like those he see in the playground.
“You wanted us to be smart like Ahsan’s new Adidas, didn’t you?” a voice echoed.
“Well we’re not. We are far smarter,” it continued.
Arsalan looked down at his feet. The shoes were speaking to him!
“I never knew shoes talking like that,” said Arsalan with his eyes wide open.
“But if you treat us nicely, we’d like to help you with your play,” the shoes said.
“We are not a well-known brand,” said the left shoe, “but we have all the high quality features. We have air-cushioned soles, fat chunky laces and not a bad colour anymore.”
Arsalan was very happy and had not words to explain his feelings. He thought himself the luckiest boy in the world who owns a pair of speaking shoes.