The Golden Sandals


SKU e-book Category

146 in stock


By Greg Bauder

ISBN: 978-1-84991-567-0
Published: 2008
Pages: 68
Key Themes: fiction, author with schizophrenia, fantasy, humour, avant-garde



This selection of novellas and short stories is a hodge-podge of tales depicting the trials and triumphs of the human spirit. From fantasy to humour to the avant-garde, Bauder serves the reader with thought provoking stories.

About the Author

Greg Bauder has had schizophrenia for 30 years. His poems, stories, plays, reviews and articles have been published in many magazines, and he has written three novels about schizophrenia. He lives in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Book Extract

Zen, who was only nine, sat in the desert resting his blistering feet under the two suns’ heat. He had become lost from his nomad tribe after a sandstorm for some time now – and without his sandals. Night was falling on the desert and he was scared, so he prayed to OULI, his tribe’s God to save him. He waited as the five moons rose in the sky, casting shadows. He was trying not to cry, as he closed his eyes and rested on a warm sand dune. He fell asleep, dreaming of his father.

Zen found his father in the desert but he felt strange because his dad seemed different. They were walking the stony, cracked desert to the market. They saw an eagle rise into the sky with two fish in its beak. Their eyes sparkled with wonder, like sunshine on waves where they themselves had just caught two silver fish. The eagle would be thankful, just as Zen was to be back with his father. They had taken two salmon out of the mighty west coast river, The Fraser.

Zen and his father approached the bread man at the market, and saw this dough-white grocer wave on the west street-side at them. Feeding people through trade was the way the desert people survived.

“We need to stop at the bread-grocer to get some bread,” Zen’s father said. It was strange how his father’s dark skin had a gold-like shine to it.

“Hello, Joe,” the grocer smiled, “I see you’ve brought along little B.J.
Hello B.J.”

“Hello,” answered B.J. smiling. His teeth were as white as camel bones; his hair was ebony. Zen wondered how the grocer knew his nickname, B.J. He thought only his parents called him that.

Zen’s father bought five loaves of bread, and the grocer piled them into the basket while joking that the whole Unknown Desert could be fed with that much bread. The two of them began the walk home. Zen’s father said they would take a different path up the sand hill to their tribe.

“On the way, I’ll show you a wishing well.”

Zen was very curious, “What’s that, Dad?”

“You’ll see.” He patted his son’s head. Then, they saw a ragged man tipping over a garbage bin in an alley behind the market, looking for food. Zen and his dad walked in slow silence for half an hour.

Suddenly, from a thorny bush crowned with blood-red roses, a magnificent white dove rose through the sky with an olive branch. It flew, and Zen’s eyes got sore watching its heavenly landing in its nest in a towering maple tree.

“Aren’t doves beautiful birds?” Zen’s father asked. “Oh! Here it is – the
wishing well! ”

The boy peered into the wishing well; it was spotted with gleaming coins. The coins’ designs were hidden by the rotting fig leaves on top.

“Would you like to throw in a coin?” He asked his son.

“Yeah!” Zen responded, his eyes bouncing bright, like tiny emerald crystal balls.

“First you make a wish, though,” he explained, giving the boy a golden coin.

“Okay, I wish for -”

“No, no. You don’t tell me. It’s supposed to be a secret, like when you blow out candles on a birthday cake.”

“Oh,” the boy said, pausing. Suddenly, he threw the gold coin into the pool, where it reminded him of a tiny, shiny and round noon sun. It was baptised, he thought, like the holy man had done to his tribe last year.

“Do wishes always come true here, Dad?” the boy asked, with a serious gaze.

“I would imagine so.”

“What do they do with the money when they take it out of the well, Dad?”

“Well, they probably give it to charity.”

“What’s charity?” his son asked.

“Charity is when you help someone who is in need, like the poor or sick.”

“Yeah?” the boy said his face purposeful with deep thought.

“What are you thinking about, B.J.?” his father asked him.

“About that man in the alley.” The child hesitated. “Dad, can I have my allowance a day early?”

“Certainly, my son.” His father unpocketed some coins and gave some to Zen. “Are you going to buy something?”

“Sort of!” And then he threw his entire allowance into the well.

His father smiled and said, “You’re a good boy, Billy-John! And you’re destined for great things.”

Zen awoke in wonder. He was just dreaming. And the cool night was now turning into a warm morning.



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