Ernst Junger

A flash piece by Mike Lee

We share a table in the outdoor patio at the office tower where we work, quietly eating our respective lunches. She keeps hers simple: a banana with a cheese sandwich. She bought them, along with a crème soda, from the deli across the street, on the corner.

I first saw her last week at the bookstore, in the fiction section. She held a copy of On the Marble Cliffs, by Ernst Junger. She was a medium height, mid-thirties, with long, wavy brown hair, and glasses that were large for her face. I fell in love.

I let her wordlessly pass. I am shy.

Today, she wears the white silk blouse she did at the bookstore. Her hair is pulled back. She’s wearing a pencil skirt, and high heels. I’ve worked in this building for eleven years, and never knew she existed before last week.

I plan to ask her what she thinks of Junger. I read his books. I intend to bring up that Roberto Bolano mentions him in two of his most important novels. She will speak, and I will respond. We may agree to meet for lunch tomorrow.

She finishes her sandwich and eats half of the banana, before placing the remains and wrapper in a paper bag. I finish my salad and lay it aside while she pulls out her iPhone to check messages, sipping her crème soda. Her lips are voluptuous.

I sit with folded hands as she rises and returns to the building.

Loose ends are never tied together to one’s satisfaction. Instead, events usually unfold so as to contradict the hoped-for conclusion. Nothing ever happens the way one expects. Therefore, the individual is left holding the frayed end of a rusting cable, with the plastic-coated, colored wires hanging askew like a dog-chewed bouquet of flowers.

Later, at work, I write this down.

Mike Lee is a writer, labor journalist, photographer, and a managing editor at a trade union newspaper. Some of his fiction pieces, as well as other types of work, have appeared in The Ampersand Review, Paraphilia, Sensitive Skin, Visions Libres, Glossolalia, Dime Show Review, Peacock Journal, Third Street Writers, Corvus Review, Violet Windows, and The Potomac. His stories are also featured in several anthologies, including Forbidden Acts (Avon Books) and Pawn of Chaos (White Wolf Publishing). Lee’s story collection, titled All Your Ambition, is available from Blurb, and published in Germany by VL Editions.

Lee’s photography has been included in several group shows, including those at the Museo della Grafica in Pisa, Italy, with his photographs featured in the Museo’s collection. His photography is currently being exhibited at Art Thou Gallery in Berkeley, California.

Lee lives in New York City.


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