Careful

An excerpt from Greg Gerke’s Especially the Bad Things

This story is excerpted from
Greg Gerke’s Especially the Bad Things,
available now from Splice.

She told him to stop being so vociferous and this really upset him because he liked the word vociferous, liked to use it in his fiction and liked to read it aloud from his fiction, but he never used it in conversation and he would be goddamned if he let her get away with directing such a pox on him, so he flew to Europe without her and she was so pleased he had, she said in a text message he opened in Paris, and he threw the phone in the air and it landed on the roof of an apartment building. He climbed the stairs and tried to get to the roof, but an old woman appeared at the top and she started hitting him with a cane. She must have had major lean muscle mass because the blows hurt, and while he explained what he was doing in her building, she kept whacking like a crazed machine, and when he realized he was explaining in Spanish he switched to French, but ill pronunciation caused the blows to increase. Being so close to the roof door, he could hear his phone ringing — probably a call from the young, petite translator who wanted to meet with him, he’d been counting on that meeting for days, but he had to retreat because the old woman would not stop and he wondered if he had to start carrying mace and what that might mean in terms of the women’s movement and the men’s movement, and ultimately his sales, and he really needed a French-English dictionary because he wanted to call the old woman vociferousin French, he wanted revenge, but now he was on the street, the old woman guarding the front door, his phone registering missed call after missed call, and he looked at his small hands and said, Fuck me.

About Greg Gerke

Greg Gerke is an essayist and writer of short fiction, based in New York. His work has appeared in 3AM Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. His collection of stories, Especially the Bad Things, and a collection of essays, See What I See, are both available from Splice.