The Williams

The longhouse was warm and smoky and the blizzard howled outside. A spitted loin of venison dripped grease into the hissing fire as Massasoit squatted and smoked his new pipe, a gift from the Williams who now sat across from him, draped in a bearskin and shivering uncontrollably. The Williams was one of the few…

Island Fever

I walked out of the Sheraton Waikiki half-drunk, the warm air heavy with the smell of sea and flowers and grilled food. Kalakaua Avenue was jammed with thousands of Japanese tourists, most of them a full head shorter than I. I drifted against the crowd as the sky above us turned a sudden purple, vivid…

The Minister Reports

Xiang kept his eyes on the armored carrier, not wanting to crash into it. It did not have taillights and the oversized tires threw immense amounts of dust into the air. A collision would be more than disastrous. He risked a glance in the rear-view to check on the minister and the general. Both were…

A Wrong Un

The dump entrance was chained shut. Cringle swore and smacked the steering wheel. “I am so sick of this pandemic shit.” “So now what?” “This is what. ” He popped the truck into reverse, spattering dirt and gravel against the city’s CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE sign.  He slammed the shifter to drive and fishtailed up…

Last Respects

Gino walks through the dining room, smoothing tablecloths, straightening chairs, lining up silverware. He picks up a wineglass and holds it to the light. Spotless. In fact, the entire place is spotless, the staff having stayed late to make sure their restaurant will be at its best for this, its last day. Gino walks to…

At Altitude

My boots feel like they weigh ten pounds. I’m breathing hard, but it still feels like I’m suffocating. Numb fatigue soaks through me as though I am a teabag, limp and dripping. I look up and watch the column snake their way up and up. Always up. The peak is sometimes visible through the mists.…

Guys Like Him

“I wasn’t sure you’d come.” “You kidding? My curiosity is killing me.” “I just thought that after what he did. To you, I mean.” “And a whole lot of other women. Yeah, well. I’m over it. Getting over it, anyway. Maybe this will help.” “The detective told me that nobody’s been in here since he…