Deconstructing the Flaneur des Deux Reves

The chance meeting of the sewing machine and the turboduct on the operating table

Bustling city, city full of dreams, where the ghost reaches out in broad daylight to seize the sleeve of the passer-by!

Or so they said. Bunny Yetholm, who was not yet dead despite living for years on a prayer like a Bon Jovi song, walked the length of the pavement on Darrieux Street. This being an unspecified place pavement meant what in the United States is called a sidewalk. Just to make that clear, that he was not walking in the route of the new hypertrams that bustled through the clear spring air, destination the downslope towns where in former years heavy industry had belched poison running through your veins.

Bunny was Black, let us begin there; but this was less of a problem here than in other cities. Here, although some people were unpleasant, as elsewhere, it was rarely based on anyone's skin colour. Bunny was also gay and despite the, shall we say, traditional nature of the post-industrial culture this was rarely a problem in recent years. Bunny's age, somewhat over fifty but none knew entirely, did on occasion count against him. Apparently being Old was immoral these days. Bunny couldn't quite work out why. He would have suggested to the poet Labi Siffre - an old mate from the West London days - that Labi revamp his celebrated book 'N***er' with a new version called, maybe 'Poofter' with the revised lines 'Who needs Poofters / now that we have codgers?'

Bunny was an adept of taking his time - retired, walking these streets as he had done when younger, now taking his time more smartly than before, up early before the rush hour started, out at nine a.m. when the rush and the school run had finished and most of the shoppers weren't out yet, out late evening when everyone was having their tea, out late at night despite the obvious chill in the dark that could bring a knife and sudden death ... too many of his friends had gone to bone that way, or fallen to the big disease with the little name, way back when. Of course it was still around, but it could be mitigated these days and he was sometimes surprised that it was not more discussed. Some of his surviving friends - and maybe Bunny himself - had made no provision for their later lives, assuming they would live fast, die young and leave a corpse riddled with Karposi's Sarcoma, the Lesion of the Lost as Paul Gallaher once called it. Paul didn't live to see the 21st century and sometimes Bunny thought he hadn't missed much.

The End

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