No doubt whole dissertations will be written about this passage, the careers of spam scholars forged on the anvil of its impenetrability. It is the new art, in that it is the old art made new, the scene expanding and contracting like a funhouse mirror, and then shattering and putting itself back together like a video of the shattering of a funhouse mirror played forward and backward:
“I got some cleats,” she said. “Yes!” Fred reached into the coffer and pulled out a team up free of underhanded size 21 Adidas cleats, ending the kind’s crave and frustrating moreover to find a two of a description of Chrsitian Louboutin shoes that could robust the women oversized feet.
From the triumphant first line to Fred’s pulling from the shoe coffer these devious Bob-Lanier-sized shoes, we are thrown right into the action. (Or has Fred pulled not shoes, but a whole soccer team, none of whom wears the sinister cleats? Is Fred a god? The Chrsitian God? For sanity’s sake, let’s assume he pulls out the shoes.) The wealthy, generous Fred gives these shoes to “the kind.” But what sort of creature is “the kind”? Are “she” and the “the kind” the same entity? The best, largest-footed soccer player ever to come out of Humboldt County? It seems so. (Unless the shoes are “the kind,” and they are animated shoes capable of “craving.” But no, I don’t think so.)
We have no time to dwell on these questions, because in the same breath “the kind” is both sated and foiled in a word maze in which one suspects a pair or two pairs of shoes (or descriptions of shoes) either do or do not work.
Or both. Or all! As with Duchamp’s descending Nude, Pynchon’s Lot 49, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, quantum theory, and Hermaphroditism, in this spam there is yes and there is also no. These two-of-a-description shoes both fit and don’t fit.
Then, of course, the “already women oversized feet” could get robusted. (Robust: to enhance a body part’s size, as in “Oh, she definitely robusted those bazombas…. Definitely.”)
“Oh, this is vitriolic,” Fred said as sje held the shoes in façade of him.
In addition to playing with parallel universes of yes and no, the author plays with time. Only after we get Fred’s reaction do we find out what he’s reacting to. What he finds vitriolic is the sudden presence of his rival sje, the Norwegian architect/e.e. cummings disciple. sje immediately shows “the kind” what she can do with those shoes. Façade, anyone?
“I like this. I can’t meanwhile to nag them.”
She appears to be pleased with sje. Being a truly negative “kind” though, she can’t think to say anything nicer than that she can’t “nag” them. (What? Are the shoes in fact animated? And if she didn’t like them, would it really be their fault? I mean, would they deserve to be nagged?) But she covers up her negativity for the cameras:
She smiled again as she tried on the shoes and as members of the coaching combine took photos.
And doesn’t that just encapsulate our entire age right there? Rich Fred, who put all his self-worth into his shoe coffer, is left empty-handed, a soul pauper. Even sje, the “artist,” is abandoned, left holding the enormous shoes in front of him like the house painter’s ladder-holder he used to be. Meanwhile, a whole combine of coaches fresh from talent-threshing has expanded their exploitation of athletes to include the photographing of them, thus stealing work from the struggling paparazzi, who may be forced to go back to their fast-food service jobs.
What of “the kind”? She hardens her heart and swallows her unhappiness so she can present a grinning face to the masses and keep her sponsors.
It’s a sad old story, but one has to admire the way it’s told.