Litro: 150 Britishness: Shoes

Litro: 150 Britishness: Shoes


It starts as you are walking home. You see a bird cart-wheeling above the rooftops. It has nothing to do with anything. You used to think everything was connected, that it all meant something, but you have come to realise that things will only join when you are dead.

You take your time. London doesn’t care. You don’t want to get back to your place too quickly. The heating does not work that well. It has been cold this winter. Cold for months. There is a gap in your shoe. You think of a line from a Victor Hugo novel. ‘Oh, my pardon. My pardon. Maybe they will pardon me. The King has nothing against me.’ The Last Day of a Condemned Man? Or was that a Bob Dylan song?

You are the only one without a shtreimel on these streets. Dylan left his clan, Dylan left Milkwood for the bars of Soho. You don’t belong to any group. You could not join now. It is too late to sign up. Too late to save your eternal soul. You will have to wait. You will only join with everything else once you’re dead. At least you have that. At least you have that comfort.

It is dry today. The gap in your shoe is nothing more than a thought. The gap between the sole and the welt does not leak dirty water onto your socks today. They will knock this all down and try again. Rebuild this entire street a hundred times. Bring better bus routes. Energy efficiency. Free WiFi. The people who live here will all be forgotten. And their shtreimels. Things will improve. In the future shoes will not leak.


Lochlan Bloom is a British novelist, screenwriter and short story writer. The BBC Writersroom describes his writing as ‘unsettling and compelling… vivid, taut and grimly effective work’. He is the author of the novel The Wave as well as the short fiction pieces – Trade and The Open Cage. He has written for IronBox Films, BBC Radio, Slant Magazine, Litro Magazine, Porcelain Film, EIU, H+ Magazine and Calliope, the official publication of the Writers’ Special Interest Group (SIG) of American Mensa, amongst others

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