What Pegman Saw

Privilege

I walked past the War Cemetery every day on my way to work, but it was years before I noticed him. A tiny old man dressed in khaki, kneeling on hands and knees. Always khaki, always kneeling, every day. Some days I didn’t see him at first, but he was there, kneeling among the gravestones, perhaps hidden

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Lottery

Our moms had been best friends since kindergarten. They got married on the same day, a double wedding. Both got pregnant on their wedding night. Ralph’s  birthday was August fifth, mine August eleventh. Next door neighbors, closer than any brothers. As kids, we loved the war movies, especially the John Wayne ones. The Flying Tigers. They Were Expendable, Sands

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Two Worlds

“You entirely create your reality. It is only by complicit agreement that the world  as you understand it exists, your shared human beliefs giving it shape and substance. It is not that the tree falling in the forest makes no noise if nobody is there to hear it; it is that without a hearer, the tree itself cannot be.”

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Hael Waters

Algar worked his shoulder. The wound was painful, but the bleeding had slowed.  With some difficulty  he shucked off his woolen jerkin. He took a deep breath, uttered a prayer and waded into the haelwaters. The cold was stunning, but he braced himself and went to the center of the pool.  The boil of the falls fell fierce

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Dispatch From Ypres, 1914

McCormick tilted the paper to catch the cold November light, pencil clenched in his teeth. He glanced around at the ruined cathedral, its single undamaged arch, the opening choked with rubble. He folded the dispatch into an envelope and tied it shut, then picked his way through the debris to where Corporal Collins was waiting astride his motor-bike. “Here you go,” said McCormick,

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Kuentai

I met Mom and her new husband at the Top of the Mark. We looked out on the city and drank fifteen dollar cocktails while she went over her plan. She had brought maps, guidebooks, old photographs. The husband said nothing, but I could tell from his Rolex that he was the one paying for it. “Why?”

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Waitangi at the Craic

The bar at the Craic is busy most Friday evenings, but when  Waitangi Day falls on the weekend it borders on insane, twenty-four hours of partying. We haul cases of the extra glassware out from the cellar and triple the liquor order. I’d been working straight up since seven AM and was desperate to have a piss.

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The Necessary Permits

The waiting room was much more grand than it had been five years ago. The mayor seemed to take decorating tips from our show. We’d been waiting forty-five minutes before the secretary reappeared. “I am so sorry,” she said, her smile thin below eyes that did not smile at all. “His excellency has had an

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Two Weeks’ Vacation

“Something wrong with the proto-cakes, Michael?” asked June. “You’ve barely touched them.” “I guess I’m too excited, Mommy.” “Well,” she said, smiling. “Even Uninauts need to eat.” She pressed the button for housekeeping. An electric door snicked open and a slim silver android glided out. “See that Michael finishes his breakfast,” she told the robot. “Compliance,” it

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Some Vacation

I lay on face down the cracked tile, near the toilet. Its base was ringed with grime, and I could see what looked like a tuft of pubic hair wadded in the corner. My right eye was swollen shut, but the left one seemed unharmed. I wondered how long before someone found me. The hotel had seemed

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