So is it true, the girl with electric blue hair began in mock contemplation, that toilets flush the other way in New Zealand? She set a half empty bottle of Carlsberg on the bar and looked at Connor, her face all anticipation. Connor was absorbed in pulling the perfect pint of Guinness. Not the first time he’d been asked this. The brew settled, he removed the excess foam with the deft swipe of a plastic spatula and placed the beer on a coaster in front of the girl’s aloof boyfriend. He could smell the leather of their jackets. Toilets, sinks, showers, Connor answered, nodding for emphasis. He knew it was a myth. Satisfied, the girl slapped her boyfriend lightly on the arm as if she’d just won a bet.Continue reading “Volunteer by David Patten”
Howard Adams turned off the engine and gazed at the anthracite column of the high-rise. He counted the floors up to the ninth. The lamp by Sonia’s futon shone through the gauze curtains, a penumbra of warm yellow. Adams checked his watch. The haris, a young guy with a scruffy beard, might still be sitting behind the lobby desk. He would lift his head with a studiously blank expression when Adams walked past. The haris’s eyes would then follow the unbeliever to the elevator, well aware of the sins being committed in his building. The prayer bump on the haris’s forehead always caused a cramp in Adams’s solar plexus. Did the guy worry her at all? Sonia had flattened her mouth in that amused way of hers, half-closed her eyes, shaken her head—“I tip him well.”Continue reading “An Evening at Sonia’s by Martin Rosenstock”
Aleppo, Syria (AP) — Prior to joining the Tawheed Brigade in opposition to the Syrian government, Anwar Addat was a computer technician who never gave much thought to politics or religion. That was before a barrel bomb delivered by a government helicopter ignited a fire that killed his wife and two children. These days he goes nowhere without his AK-47 and body armor, and looks every bit the insurgent warrior he has reluctantly become.