I found these shoes twenty seconds apart under the railroad trestle at 33rd Street in the Strip District on June 14, a Tuesday afternoon in the mid-60s. The first is a black croc beside a water bottle and the second is a canvas sneaker next to a Galliker’s milk bottle.
It’s not surprising to imagine an abandoned shoe and an empty bottle, but the bottle in that flight of fancy is usually full of something strong enough to inspire shoe-removal, not tame liquids such as water and milk. So perhaps the water is not water, but vodka, and perhaps the milk is not milk, but a White Russian, and perhaps these abandoned shoes are not separate incidents but details from the same story. Maybe a man drinking vodka from a water bottle encounters a man sipping on milk and soon the two men shared cocktails from post-consumer recyclable material. Or, in a tamer version, maybe the man drinking water encountered the man drinking milk and poured the remainder of his drink in his shoe to make room in his bottle for a few swigs of something more nourishing.