Under more typical circumstances I’d show up at your place wearing my stirrups, carrying a bottle of chardonnay.
But not today. Don’t ask me to come around.
I would love to “drop in,” as I used to do, sporting a fez and dragging behind me my giant Maine coon on a homemade hempen rope.
But not today, my special surgeon.
We’ve certainly done that before, haven’t we? Me pounding on your door with a horseshoe till the cherrywood is ruined, at my side a bag of organic oranges. But then again when was the last time that happened? You remember.
Not unlike that time I showed up slinkily in the backyard while you were making oxtail stew over the firepit, your kiddos running through the sprinkler buck naked even though it was just over fifty degrees F, you irresponsible twit. What was I doing? Yes yes, pushing ahead of me the old hand-me-down lawnmower, fetishized 2‑stroke engine, chrome-encased, blades caked with midcentury sod. That won’t happen again, thanks for calling the cops.
I could have easily done my default approach—walk in a straight line, busting through the hedge, treading over the desert “lawn,” and banging face-first into the porch fascia. I’d roll my eyes up, collapse right there on the willowy cosmos until a neighbor comes by to pour cold water on me (“it’s him again”).
You shot me with rock salt when I showed up at your front door wearing my kippah pulling along a spotted gilt on a leash. You shot me with rock salt the next day when I showed up bare-headed dragging along a slab of kosher ribs.
When will it end?
Likely when I amble past, head bowed, inverted bouquet of lilies spilling pollen on the sidewalk in front of your abode. That’s when you’ll come running out in your work boots, tears gathering. I’ll ignore the shouts, admonitions, pleadings and keep on going toward the stop sign at the end of the block. Beneath STOP I’ll scrawl “sleeping” to make my sentiments clear. And I know exactly what you’ll do: cross out “sleeping” and scrawl “drinking” with some kind of inscrutable grimace. Then you’ll watch me recede down the hill toward town, its pub.
A few weeks will pass. Silence, then gravel trucks, rebar, form work, transit mix, bunker wall, surveillance cameras, armed security, fearsome dogs, loitering balloon overhead. I’ll come in through the front gate, guard doffing her cap, dogs on their backs, tongues lolling. “Knock-knock,” I’ll say at the steel door. You’ll unlatch it and lean back hard to open the damn thing.
Greg Sanders is the author of the short story collections The Suffering of Lesser Mammals and Motel Girl. He also pens an occasional essay or book review. Greg lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the writer Margot Lurie, their son, and a cat named Moon.