Boss Up

You men, he said, meaning us.  Bleedin’ pongo  inspecting us like a proper sergeant-major, looking at the shine on our buttons and the laces on our boots. Ain’t been here a week yet and I’d wager this soutpeel paw-paw is sending cables back to England about how he’s solved all the colony’s problems, calling us […]


Mama Cole tell me that to shake the old man’s curse I need some bleeding done, and not no chicken neither. Mama Cole say a living breather, with skin and a face. I know she mean two-foot, but four will have to do. I am no murderer, me. Just a man who want to shake […]

Curtain Call

We had a full house for once, the crowd electric with recent events. I stood by the curtain as I had so many times before, my hand on the ropes. It was the seventeenth of September, 1939, almost three weeks after the Nazis had invaded Poland, and we were in the sixth night of what […]


“You take cream, right?” “Good memory,” said the agent. He accepted the coffee, then took his notebook from his pocket. “So, we’ve monitored his bank accounts and credit cards. No activity at all since the disappearance. There were no unusual withdrawals during the previous year. We’ve circulated his photo but nobody has come forward. Hospitals. […]

USFS 1920

These days when you think fire-spotter, you probably imagine one of those birdcage houses up on stilts with windows on every wall. When I started we had none of that. You watched from a peak, scanning the valleys for smoke and trying to recall where the lightning struck yesterday or the day before, marking the […]


The back door banged. He came in grinning all over his face. He poured himself a cup of coffee from the pot I’d made this morning. This was the first I’d seen him since he’d gone out to his workshop before dawn.  “You look pleased with yourself,” I said. “My best blog post yet. Really let […]

Der Junge Gelehrte

Georg was bursting with his news, but kept the letter from America tucked in his pocket. This must be done properly, he thought, knowing Mother might not be as enthusiastic as she seemed when he’d told her his plans some months before. Father would be indifferent, as he was to everything except Schmutzi, the family […]

The Angel of the Lord

He could be a right bastard if you stood in his way. Taller than most, but it wasn’t his height, nor his gray beard, nor even his stiff and lordly manner. No, it was them eyes. Never was there eyes like that in a mortal man. What color, you ask? Why, perhaps gray or blue. […]

If Thy Right Hand Offend Thee

Ras Alula strode between rows of painted warriors as they cheered and thumped their spears against their shields, many of these  bedecked with grisly trophies of the battle.Hands, mostly, though some of the younger men had adopted the American tradition of cutting scalps from the fallen enemy. Ras Alula did not care what they did […]