A White Rose to Tend

Rosita picked up the smooth stick from outside the door and carefully pared the black mud from her feet before she stepped inside, the mended nets drying on the scaffold Ronaldo made for them before the sickness had left him an invalid. She set the bucket of cleaned shrimps on the stone hearth, then poked […]

Just Like In The Movies

Stella considered herself an incurable romantic, albeit a secret one. Her wide circle of acquaintances and few close friends were equally ignorant of her inner yearnings and wild flights of fancy. This was deliberate. “Webster’s second definition of romantic,” Stella would often say, “is imaginary.” Yet every time she boarded an airplane, her eye would rove […]

Él Regresa

Gibbs stepped out of the Zenith onto the cracked cement of El Ronco airfield. A slender man in black BDUs and sunglasses climbed out of the Humvee idling a hundred feet away, his sidearm bumping as he walked over with arms outstretched. “El Bergón!” he cried and he threw his arms around Gibbs. “Mi compañero. […]

Las Vegas Airport 3AM

New York is the “city that never sleeps,” but for genuine insomnia you can’t top Las Vegas. I stroll though the airport at 3AM after eighteen hours of hell in O’Hare. The place is sprawling, with garish islands of slot machines strategically placed to shake out the nickels of passersby. It’s there I see her, […]

Fort Canby Days

Fort Canby was constructed during the Civil War. God knows why. By 1863, all the hostile Indians had been deported to Shitsville, Oklahoma and the looming threat of the Confederate Navy was confined to Mobile Bay and its environs. I was stationed there in 1941, a regular Army sergeant on my third and (I thought) […]

Kitchen Vignette

Dick and Mike sit at the kitchen table playing two-handed rummy. Dick is drinking whiskey. Mike is drinking beer. He grunts every so often when he lays down his cards, but other than that they aren’t talking. The phone rings, making all of us jump. Margaret goes to the wall and picks up the receiver. […]

The Knowledge

It was Royger’s fourth attempt at The Knowledge. He knew he might come a cropper when he saw that his examiner was Stoneface Cavendish, the dean of London cabbies. “Streatham A-2 to Stour Road, if you please,” said Cavendish. Royger took a deep breath and fixed his eyes to a spot on the table. “I […]

The Neighbor

“Any word on the fate of 2-C?” Scroggs sipped his coffee,  shrugged. “I imagine they’ll keep it sealed.” “Bloody hard time renting it after all that. Did you see the photos in the Sun?” “Oh yeah. Shocking. Papers will run anything now, long as it’s horrible.” “That it was.” She peered at the blue door […]


There is a stone on Air Manis Beach in Sumatra, not far from where I was born. My mother made a practice of showing me this stone (which has more than a passing resemblance to a prostrate man) because it is attached to a legend of an ungrateful son who forgets his mother. “Malin Kundang […]