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…

Maiden Voyage

Rene gripped the strap of his new sea-bag as he gazed up at the ship. It was bigger than any building he’d seen, a towering wall of riveted steel. Uncle Juní came up behind and put his hand on his shoulder. “You excited?” “Sure.” “Scared?” Rene shook his head. His uncle laughed. “You’re a better…

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.…

A Dream Beneath A Tree

Dubreiel slouched in the shade of a roadside tree, his despair and pain intolerable. The wound in his foot ached horribly, and for a moment he regretted casting his pistol into the pond the previous night. I could have at least shot myself, he thought. But the warm May breezes were heavy with the scent…

Hi-Ho Hoosegow

“You sure he’s in there?” said Jeffus. He squinted at the cabin.  “Don’t see no smoke from the chimbly.” The marshal slid another cartridge into his Henry, then ran his wipe along the brass side.  “Warm night,” he said. “And appearances to the contrary, Happy Jack is nobody’s fool.” “So what you got in mind?”…

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…