Ida Bellows was a shoe addict. She loved them. Small shoes, big shoes, from flip flops to boots she wore them all. She had sixteen pairs of converse, twenty-four pairs of leather boots, eight pairs of platform shoes from the 80s, and a single left shoe that had apparently been worn by Paul McCartney for a day which she had bought off ebay. So it will come as no surprise to you when I tell you that it was her who robbed the Dudley Shoe Museum one Thursday evening in June.
She had executed the robbery with her husband, Rory Bellows, who was himself a sock enthusiast with a particular interest in striped socks. One night whilst sitting on their foot shaped sofa, Ida and Rory were watching a documentary on wellington boots when suddenly an advert appeared on the screen like a message from an angel or similarly fictitious being. “Do you love shoes?” the man on the television asked. Ida did. Rory did too. “Then why not visit the new Dudley Shoe Museum in Dudley. We have over 351 shoes on display, including shoes from hundreds of years ago and a pair of blue suede shoes that may or may not have been worn by Elvis Presley.”
Ida quickly made a note of the address on the screen on a scrap of material she had just torn off the front of Rory’s shirt. After the advert had finished, she turned to her well endowed husband and said “I’d like to go there.”
“Y’know what,” he replied, “Let’s rob it.”
“What?!” she asked.
“We can rob it. I sure do like those Elvis shoes, and they’ll go great with my Elvis socks.”
Ida thought for a moment and then smiled. “Okay then.” she said.
“Great,” said Rory, “We’ll be like Sonny and Clyde.”
“Don’t you mean Bonny and Clyde?” Ida asked.
“Probably.” he responded.
They quickly finished their dinner of tuna casserole with beans and went upstairs to put on their shoe-robbing gear. The outfit consisted of a black suit – which they had once worn to a fancy dress party as the Blues Brothers – and a balaclava. They waited a few hours until it was dark enough to make their move. As they left, they crept down the stairs as a rehearsal for the robbery. However in all the excitement, Ida could not help jumping off the second-to-last step.
“Don’t do that at the museum you pancake.” Rory told her firmly.
They slowly made their way down the road to the bus stop. “We’d better hurry,” Ida said, “Or we’ll miss the bus.”
They sped up just a little bit and got to the bus stop just in time to catch the number 7 bus.
“Table for two please.” Rory joked, but the driver was in an unpleasant mood. Rory put the money into a little machine and a pair of tickets buzzed their way out of another.
The bus journey seemed longer than usual, perhaps because of the anticipation for what they were about to do. An old lady behind them complimented their attire, to which Rory said “Thank you very much you wrinkly little thing.”
20 minutes later they got off the bus, thanking the irritable driver as they left. The bus stop was right outside the museum, and the pair stood in awe for a moment, looking on at the wondrous building that stood before them. In the window they saw a little stand which had an array of clogs neatly arranged. Though neither of them really adored clogs, they were nonetheless impressed by the display.
“It seems a shame to rob such a place.” Rory said finally, but as he turned around he saw Ida throwing a dustbin at one of the windows of the museum.
“Ah well.” he said, before joining his wife in the criminal act. They climbed through the window into a dark room that was not lit and was very dark. The two could just make out the shapes of various shoes, and thankfully their extensive knowledge enabled them to pick out the more lucrative footwear.
“A nice pair of Louis Vuitton sandals.” Ida whispered as she shoved them into a black bin liner.
“Hey look,” Rory called quietly, “They have a pair of trainers worn by Linford Christie.”
“Who’s Linford Christie?” Ida asked.
“I don’t know,” Rory replied, “But I bet we’d get a few quid for them on ebay.”
“Don’t be a tin opener Rory, we’re not selling these shoes, we’re adding them to the collection.” Ida hissed.
“What?! If I’d have known that I wouldn’t have come. Why don’t we ever rob sock museums?” he asked.
“Because there are no sock museums in Dudley.” she replied, “But the day they open one we’ll rob it, I promise.”
“Okay then.” said Rory, and they carried on pinching plimsolls, burgling boots and stealing stilettos.
When the four bags were full they made their way out of the still-broken window, only to be greeted by a police officer.
“What’s this?” he said.
“Just taking out the rubbish,” Rory said cleverly,
“By smashing and climbing out of a window?” the policeman questioned.
“Well…” said Ida, “Makes a change from using the door.”
Ida and Rory waited hesitantly for the policeman’s response. And when it came they were pleasantly surprised.
“True.” the policeman said, before wishing them a nice night and walking down the road whistling the theme to Coronation Street.
“Blimey!” said Rory, “I thought we were gonners then.”
“Me too.” said Ida, “Let’s get out of here before anyone else sees us.”
So they caught the next bus home and quickly ran inside.
They both sat breathless on the floor for a few minutes, until Ida smiled a wicked smile and shouted “Shoes!”
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