What Pegman Saw

My Dinner With Andrei

I know you cannot speak. Trust me. This is for the best. Perhaps you have heard the stories. That I cut their tongues out and ate them, slit them like grain sacks and swallowed their innards like borscht. Or that I was in KGB and went about on the Moscow trains with the organs of

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El Murió En La Perla

Ramón held his glass aloft. “A toast,” he shouted over the din of the crowd. “To San Sebastián!” “And his perforated testicles!’ roared Philippe. They clicked glasses and drained the fiery rum in one swallow. “Another!” Ramón yelled to the barman. All around them the crowd surged shoulder to shoulder, filling the bar and spilling

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Jesuit Relations

 Anue stands as he speaks. The leader of the Cord People, he is a lean man with both sides of his skull shaved clean, his face painted ochre and crimson. He holds aloft a bundle wrapped in deerskin. “I tell you this. Our enemies the Hadenosaunee have already made an alliance. Not with the French,

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Why We Fight

I wanted to be a Marine since I saw that Iwo Jima picture. I joined on my eighteenth birthday, June 14th 1949. President Truman had integrated the armed forces the year before. During boot camp they treated us Negroes the same as the white boys, which is to say like shit. I was part of

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Crowd Control

The Breslau Centennial Hall had been designed to hold twelve thousand people, but three weeks of relentless campaigning by the Brownshirts had swelled the throng to twice that number. Hundreds of  swastika flags hung in rows from the ceiling, and Goebbels had strategically placed dozens of agitators throughout the crowd. They knew their instructions to

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Conversing with a Penitent

Père Sebastién was grave as he listened to the young novitiate unburden himself. The boy seemed on the verge of tears, but it was all Sebastién could do to repress a smile. Such old stuff. Still, it was his duty to hear him out. When at last the boy’s torrent of guilt and remonstrance seemed

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For Their Own Good, Of Course

The Maps Room was unrecognizable. Desks and tables had been pushed aside for a large Oriental carpet encircled with richly brocaded cushions. Smoke rose from the hookah bowl and mingled with the fog of tobacco hanging from the ceiling.  I made out Sykes sitting on a cushion. He saw me and extended a hand. “Be

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Hard Livings

I was born here and never left here until Bishop Aldean set up the student exchange program where a couple of us kids got to go to the States for a year. That was alright. I pitied the poor bastards who come to Manenberg while I go to Kansas City, but I learned later the

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The Fetching Party

Braniff mopped his face and wished for the thousandth time he had not come on the fetching party. Digger Blake had tried to discourage him. “Not necessary, Colonel. Me and my boongs will find ’em for you. See Charlie there?” He had pointed to the black-skinned aboriginal squatting on the dirt, a tin cup of

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A Superstitious Lot

Scott looked up from the heap of papers as Lieutenant Shackleton came into the cabin. “Well?” he asked, his voice brittle. “The dry dock did some good, Captain, but she’s still taking on water.” Scott passed a hand over his tired face, glanced at the barometer. “How’s the tide?” “We’ve about a half hour until

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