Hart’s Cove

The drone of the airplane seeped into my dream. I bolted awake and smacked my head on the branches of my makeshift lean-to. The pain in my leg roared through me, a blinding streak of red that fogged my vision for a second. But the plane was real. I gritted my teeth and started to […]

Mule

The mule, he takes it, the stick -to him is but part of the hand he will not fight it, nor understand His panniers sag from many stops -a cruel master puts in river rocks what use, a man might ask but not the mule. the reasons are sound, plain for all to see why […]

Shangri-La

“You’ve had an accident.” The voice was soft, with an accent Lloyds couln’t place.  He tried to open his eyes and saw nothing. “We bandaged your head,” the voice said. “I’m afraid it leaves your eyes covered. It’s temporary.” Lloyds opened his mouth to speak, but this too proved impossible. “Oh, so sorry,” said the […]

Euston Station, September 1940

“It will only be for a few weeks,” she told them, raising her voice over the wails of the other children. “Be brave for Mummy.” “And Daddy too,” said Christiana. Maude looked at her daughter as though for the first time, the blue coat buttoned up as though it was already winter, the way she […]

Lifeblood

When my family came to the river country there were almost no whites, and damned few Abbos. First it was the smallpox, killing eight out of ten, then the long dry which turned the Murray into a road of of puddles with grain skiffs sunk to the scuppers in the deep red mud. My great-granddad […]

The New King Shango

Ndugu studies his watch, the first he has ever owned. Real gold, the man told him, holding up a magnifier so Ndugu could verify the truth of his statement. A Rolex, no less, and only thirty dollars. A day’s wages, but Ndugu’s room and meals were provided by his cousin, so he reached into his […]

Normal for Norfolk

Trosher was rat-arsed, all right. Four pints in five minutes, as the saying goes. He reeled out of the pub looking right queer, his face all bishy. “Oi!” he yelled, walloping me on the back. “Hold yer hard, bor!” “Gettin’ on me wick, Trosh,” I said, moving away. He stopped and held up a finger, […]

Today It Ends

I smoke a cigarette as I walk along the Quai Saint-André, cupping it in my hand. I have always smoked this way.  Done everything this way, really. Concealment. I watch a grain barge chugging up the St. Lawrence churning brown froth as it passes. I flick the butt into the river and turn back toward […]

Kiss Me, Hardy

Two seamen carried Lord Nelson down through the smoke to the cockpit with infinite care, Captain Hardy following close behind. The buckle of Hardy’s shoe clattered against the deck as he walked, severed by a splinter blasted from the taffrail by the Redoutable’s broadside. In the muffled din of the cockpit, Nelson offered a thin smile. […]

Donutland

Dominick pushed himself back from the table, sighing like a leaky tire. Eating was no longer the comfort it once was, the solace gone. He’d grown up lean and hungry, fifth of seven children, hand-me-downs and half-empty bowls. He had gone to war and shot at the enemy and maybe even killed them, seen friends […]