Day after day Namily felt Andreapolis was pushing her to surgically remove her feet. There were constant innovations that favored the foot revolution, those navel-flybus-walkers, and discriminated against the feet stickers. The dirty waters running through the hanging gardens alleys were not the only thing she had to look for when walking out of her apartment. Now Namily had to watch for the advertisement boards that were fitted to the ground. The building facades were not enough for the advertising firms, they had to corrupt the soil too.
One day that Namily was wearing her last pair of heel boots, she hit the pavement a little too hard and made a dent on the advertisement screen that had been fitted overnight. The Andreapolis autopolice was quick to fall on her case and issue her with a fine and a possible court order from Dentmoss, the company who paid for the pavement advertisement.
Namily paid the fine reluctantly, and though she kept her mouth shut, inside she boiled and called the autopolice flyball agent by all the unfashionable mechanical names she could think of. Now it was official, the city wanted her out. It made no doubt in her mind.
During his lunch breaks, Boyal hid to browse through the surgical cosmetic advertisements. Companies were slashing prices on the procedure, surely because they were now running out of customers. They were offering discounts up to seventy-five percent on the procedure, some were even offering two years of knee skin maintenance. One advertisement came with free tickets to Jamland and a year subscription to Top Moss. It was the one ad that attracted Boyal and he felt silly for having his attention diverted to moss when the most important decision of his life was at hand. Still, the idea of a nice cup of magna moss was alluring. And before his lunch break was over, Boyal had convinced himself to walk to the nearest Moss Toss cafe on his way back from work.
At this point, Boyal had given up on the idea of hitching a flybus to get anywhere in Andreapolis. In the most technologically advanced city in the world, Boyal was condemned to use his foot as a sole means of transport. The idea was preposterous, yet he shook his head when looking down at his feet and blamed them for the uneasy feeling of being out of breath and sweaty half of the day.
It took him longer than usual to get to Top Moss, even by foot standards, and, in fact, Boyal almost never made it. Some city designer had the nonsensical idea to dump a heat generator right in the middle of a crossway, blocking each entry towards Heck St. Boyal had no choice but to climb on top of it to get through, it was how big his craving for moss was. He slipped on the ledge and almost fell on his face. Instead, he grazed his knee on the generator’s hard outer skull and hurt his right ankle in his unsteady landing. He limped the rest of the way to the moss cafe.
Behind the cover of her moss cup, Namily scrutinized the inside of the cafe and counted the number of feet around the place. The place was packed, it was eight a.m., rush hour between the people who finished the night shift and those who had just woken up and were about to start their day. Yet, inside Top Moss, there were only four feet to kick dirt on its black and white checkers tile floor. Two of those feet were familiar, very familiar. They were her own proud and rebellious feet. The other two belonged to a lady sitting at the table behind Namily. They were dragging-feet, drained of all life and hope. Their owners spent her entire moss cup discussing her upcoming below-knee operation to someone who could have been her wife.
As that lady and her partner left the store, suddenly in a hurry to get those feet moving, Namily felt alone, very alone. Until the corner of her eye caught that lanky man limping across the street. He walked to the glass door and pushed it open. And there they were, two magnificent yet damaged feet. They were covered in used yet stylish white trainers with red laces.
“I like that,” Namily murmured as she watched the man making his way through the moss pots laden floor of the cafe. A table one up and right from Namily was free and clean and, secretly, she begged the lanky man with the loose collar shirt to pick it and sit opposite her.