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?” […]

Ironic, or Apt

Fifty-seven years of stagecraft. Miller, Albee, Mamet, Moliere. And Shakespeare. Troilus, Henry IV, Oberon,  Macbeth. Stunned at his pale face hanging in the mirror as he wiped the Ben Nye from his eyes with cold cream. This he could still do without thought. Ironic, or maybe apt. He closed his eyes again, tried to summon […]

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 […]

Mister Nervous

Ellie’s voice in the darkness. “Mommy.” “What is it, honey? You have another bad dream.” In answer she crawls into the warm bed, face wet and hot. I hold her slim back as she sobs. I stroke her hair. “You want to tell me about it?” “It’s Mister Nervous,” she says. “He comes in because […]

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 […]

Terrors Shall Drive Him

Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.  -Job 18:11 When it gets dark I begin to worry in earnest. A quick trip to the shopping center usually takes all of two hours, but it’s now closer to six. For the tenth time I check to see my […]

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 […]

Led to the Noose in Diapers

I was in town and arranged to meet him for tea. He looked older. We all did. He rose to shake my hand. “Haven’t seen you since Toyko,” he said with a trace of a smile. I’d been one of those tasked with the delivery system. His job was the chemistry, Others in the group […]

The Middle Kingdom

Old Liao spent most of his hours watching the trains through the window. He ignored his grandchildren’s noisy inattention as they ran around the apartment with their phones and music. He remembered how he had respected his own grandmother, a raisin-faced woman whom none in his village could remember ever being young. Liao watched a […]

The Winter Father

Her mittened hand felt small and cold in his.  Even though the wool hat hid her face he knew she was crying. “Two more times around, honey,” he said, voice almost obscenely cheerful. “Then we can go get some cocoa.” Twice more they made their laborious way around, her ankles splaying birdlike despite the heavy […]