Jepp was finishing his second cup of coffee when the two slaves arrived at the shop. Both were dressed so well Jepp guessed they had raided their masters’ closets for the occasion.

“You are sadly late,” said Jepp as they sat.

“Unavoidable,” said the man Jepp knew as Omar.

“What is the password?” demanded the other man, a greasy character with an outlandish crimson beard.

“Your friend is overcautious,” Jepp said to Omar. “Tell me your news.”

“The guard refused to help us. I only hinted, of course. It would have been foolish to ask him directly.”

The proprietor glided over with his coffee pot, but Omar waved him away.

“It would be wise to get coffee, at least,” said Jepp. “For appearances.”

“Fuck your appearances,” said crimson beard. “When this revolt succeeds we’ll be their masters.”

The proprietor wiped the nearby table with a cloth, all ears.


What Pegman Saw: Malta


Historical note: The Conspiracy of the Slaves was a failed plot by Muslim slaves in Malta to assassinate Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca and take over the island. D-Day was June 29th 1749. Three slaves met in a coffee shop in Valletta to discuss the plot and began to quarrel. The shop owner, Giuseppe Cohen, overheard them and told the Grand Master. The men were arrested and, under torture, revealed all the details of the plot. The organizers were soon rounded up and executed.