A summer story by Stephen Dixon:

For several years my wife and I jogged past a home in a nearby neighborhood called Walden. The neighborhood is built around a series of small lake or ponds which have cypress trees growing here and there both within the water and on its edges. One home which we have passed frequently has two sphinxes in front of it on each side of the driveway.

We passed this home for several years noting various things about the sphinxes. One sphinx had a nose which was partially broken off. Several times my wife and I discussed the subject of when we first could recall that the nose was broken, and we speculated as to how and why it happened. Was it an accident or was it done on purpose to give the sphinx a worn look? For one several week stretch, we were in the habit of lightly tapping the head of one of the sphinxes as a ritual. Was it for good luck? No. It was something more immediate than that.

Just recently and much to our surprise, the neighboring home, which is really not that far apart from the original sphinx home, has just installed two sphinxes in the front yard. Once again, the statues on at the street on either side of the drive-way. The only difference being that the new arrivals are bigger. Distinctly so. I think it is distinctive. I can only imagine what the original sphinx owners think.

What now? I thought the original owners might just give in and remove their sphinxes. Instead, they upped the ante. The new sphinxes are made of real stone it seems. Perhaps sandstone. The original sphinxes were made of cement made to look like stone.

I have scene what appears to be two even newer granite (?) sphinxes (even bigger than the newcomers) in what looked to be large crates in the four-car garage of the original sphinx people. They may put an end to the whole situation if I am right about that. Or will it? That would seem to invite retaliation from the new sphinx owners.

I do note one thing. I am certain about this. The new sphinx owners have a child. I saw the mother of this child teaching the child, while both sat on the driveway, how to model with clay. The figure being modeled seemed to be a small sphinx.

I have quit jogging.