12:05 AM, The Horn

Italian loafers, the kind with the flat square toe. Sneakers mostly during the lunch hour, a few dress shoes and office heels. On the weekends he spied sandals and was tempted to reach out, brush an ankle or a heel, but so far he had managed to resist. And in winter he didn’t come out every day— it was all leather and fur, thick soles and nothing that roused his interest. There was no point.

One night a few months ago he came out at night, the missus had thrown him out, snarling. He’d watched the cold slab of street with a sense of calm and refreshment. Then he heard the slow pat pat pat and his tongue swelled. It was all expectation now. Closer it came, ringing out against the empty city. His eyes went fast. pat pat shhrr It was ages since he first heard those feet. Bare feet.

The poor guy stank. He dropped a can in front of the grate. Lips were licked.

They found the empty cart the next day. Two gentlemen in shiny field boots found it. Their horses walked by first, but he wasn’t much interested.

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