A Game With the Doctor

I placed my finger on my king and gently toppled him. Dr. Tartov studied the board. “You revealed yourself in your opening,” he said. “The Latvian Gambit is almost never employed by black because it allows such an early advantage for white. I was surprised to see it because it is always reserved for tournaments, […]

The Beast

As always happens when a dictator falls, there were rumors that he had escaped. Conflicting reports of the exeution, confusing photographs, a lack of a gravesite. He had held us in his wicked grip for twenty-five years. Countless victims arrested and tortured, thousands shot or merely vanished, Romania turned to a nation of informers leaping […]

A Dawn Interview

The dew lay heavy on the grass, the lowering clouds a harbinger of afternoon thunderstorm. As previously arranged, the boatmen and surgeon turned their backs to the principals, for these affairs were now a prosecutable offense. Van Ness produced the walnut case, a fine set of Wogdon & Barton’s finest pistols. Pendleton selected one and […]

Ghos’ Ward

I cruised the Lower Ninth in my rented Ford, first time back since Katrina. Everything was gone. When I found it at last, Jeffus sat high on his porch sipping julep from his big tin cup. House looked much the same, though the boards was new and the paint fresher. “How was your house spared […]

Closing Forever

George greeted me with his usual smile, ushered me up onto the shoe bench as he got out the tin and rag, his long fingers deft and surprisingly unstained. “You still got any shoes with me?” he said, peering up. “I know I had those oxfords.” “No, you finished them last month.” I looked at the […]

The First Morning

She’d been awake for a long time when the knock came. “Come in,” she called. “I’m sorry to wake you, ma’am. We haven’t yet set a schedule––” “Please. Stop. No apologies.” She threw back the covers and stood, surveying the room as the orderly opened the curtains to let the January sunlight spill through the […]

The Mountain of Light

You have of course heard of the Koh-i-Noor, the famous Mountain of Light. It is said this diamond was carried through history on a torrent of men’s blood, and that any male who possesses it will add his own to the river. Legend tells us the stone was mined from Galconda by King Alauddin Khalji. Babur the […]

Grand-père Jacques

“Who is that man in all the pictures, Mama?” “He was your grandfather.” She grips her purse. “My father.” “Your daddy?” “Not exactly. He was with my mother for a while, when she was young.” “Did I ever meet him?” “No. He died before you were born.” “But you knew him.” “A little. He wasn’t […]