These Shoes Do Not Fit
by Dan Coxon

The man wants running shoes for his daughter. I know nothing about shoes, or running. Luckily, neither does he. Does this bat conform to international standards? I have no idea. Do these skates come in pink? I’ll ask.

It’s hard to imagine anyone less suited to a job in a sports store. At the age of 16 I was so uncoordinated I could hardly throw a ball ten yards. My legs looked like a pair of jointed hockey sticks. But somehow I had convinced them to hire me as part-time Saturday staff, and I was determined to see it through. That first day stretched and stretched until my head throbbed, my back ached, my feet felt painfully numb. But I did it. When six o’clock came my mum picked me up, and I collapsed into the back seat of her car. There was a sense of achievement in that.

The following week I had to call in sick. I had a migraine that drove nails through my eyeballs.

The week after that, I showed up for my shift only to find someone else in my place. She looked fitter, more relaxed, more at home in her own skin. Sportier. The manager had assumed that I wasn’t coming back. He paid me in cash for my one day’s work, then he sent me back out into the world.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I don’t have a photo of my first job, as it only lasted the one day. This was taken around that time.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This was my first ever paid job, at least as I remember it. I really did last for one shift before being replaced, and I’ve never quite recovered from the shock. My next job was flipping burgers in a food court. I quit that one before I was pushed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dan Coxon is an editor and author from London, England. His writing has been featured in Salon, The Portland Review, The Lonely Crowd, The Good Men Project, and Spartan, amongst others. He recently edited Being Dad: Short Stories About Fatherhood, which won Best Anthology at the Saboteur Awards 2016. You can find out more at, or on Twitter at @DanCoxonAuthor.