As Golpistas

Cuandon had a good Saturday. He told me he’d run the airport scam twice, each time picking up the tourists by yelling the name of a hotel from the van window, then taking them up to the mountain shack until they paid the ransom which he calls a “travel fee.” I was down in the […]

Father Arnaud

Father Arnaud hung his surplice on the teak peg and turned to face the bright-eyed visitor.  “You were at Mass?” “Yes. I’ve been coming every Sunday for the past four weeks.” “Yet you did not take Communion.” “No. I’m not Catholic.” “Then why do you come to Mass?”  The ancient priest gave his most winning […]

The Better Alternative

She started skipping her meetings, staying home with her face glued to Fox News. Normally she don’t watch the news except Hannity. Mostly it’s reality TV, game shows, and the occasional 90s comedy. I started paying attention, using  my laptop to double-check the sources. As the days ticked by and things started closing down, I […]

Al Kafir

They hang together, these al Kafir, cling to one another as flies do when they discover a carcass,  setting about tasks with tremendous attention and then scattering at the slightest disturbance. Their skin bakes an unwholesome red in the sun, and despite their mastery of machines and firearms they are helpless as children, especially when […]

Good Enough for the Home Guard

Salman bangs on the roof of the truck. “Here she comes.” Chaim watches through the windshield as the woman crosses the street, an imitation SKS slung across her shoulders, her hiking boots shimmering with newness. He considers pretending he only speaks Hebrew but decides against it. Doubtless she’s been hazed enough. Besides, she’s pretty. “Chaim?” […]

Truth in Silence

It was years before I realized my father was a criminal. I am sometimes tempted to argue this point, but everybody already has an opinion. Once the tabloids got hold of a story,  it didn’t matter if what they said was true or not. When a mob smells blood, that’s all the bastards can think […]

An American God

Every fifteen February we come down to Tanna for John Frum’s Day. Chief Isaac, he give us the GIs we all wear, each one with a flag. My woman Wanda at the time, she embroider the flags on here, as you see. These rifle we make ourself from the bamboo, except for Chief Isaac. Chief […]

Not If, When

Clive and me always planned on retiring to Spain or Majorca someday. Someplace warm, anyway. Maybe planned is too strong a word. More like wished, since the pay of a London  cabbie don’t go as far as it once did. All this changed when he come back to the flat after work with  an expression on […]

Captains All

The Host stood at the entrance and surveyed his guests with a mixture of amusement and satisfaction. Aside from their gender, the men seated around the long cherrywood table had certain things in common. Each was one of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the world, and each was an American. They might well […]

Bloody Hell

Corporal Cobbs rode into the camp, his mare lathered by the hard going. Sergeant Collinsworth stood to unlatch the gate. He nodded as Cobbs led in the long column of prisoners, the other men of the platoon riding alongside the ragged group like drovers, calling out to keep them moving. Cobbs dismounted and limped over. […]