Greg Sanders ~ Le Flâneur

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.