A Small Good

“The ladies papers are in order.”

The well-educated British voice brought me out of my daze. A hand extended from behind me with a fist full of money. Before me a soldier, wearing fatigues too large for him and holding an assault rifle, looked down at the money.

A moment before that soldier had tossed my papers to another man sitting at a table next to him and said in a thickly accented English, “your papers are not in order. Step over there.” He pointed the muzzle of his AK-47 to a small whitish building a few meters away. Three more men in fatigue’s stood or squatted, smoking, with rifles in hand. The three smiled and laughed when they saw their companion point.

“Take my hand.” The British accent came again. The wad of pounds pushed into the soldier’s hand. Not waiting for a reply he began to walk.

So I walked hand-in-hand across the border with the British man. Fleeing the days old bloody civil war.

I looked back to see the five soldier’s standing together yelling. The long line of refugees waiting to cross the border looking on. “Don’t look back,” my savior said squeezing my hand. I looked forward again, across the few meters of dead zone to another border check point. The guards there looked on. What a strange pair we must have made, a young blond American woman in cut-offs and a tee-shirt carrying an old duffel bag, and a British business man in a black suit with his briefcase, holding hands.

“Are you going to the airport,” he asked, nodding to this new country’s soldier’s as we passed through the checkpoint.

“Yes, uh…” was all I could manage

Never releasing my hand, my British savior guided me among the rows of buses and cars waiting to pick up refugees and ex-patriots fleeing the violence. “My company sent a driver,” he explained.

A few moments later we stood next to a green Land Rover. The driver tossed his cigarette into the dust and squeezed his eyebrows together as he opened the back door. The driver looked questioningly from me to the businessman as my savior took my duffel bag and handed it to him. “We’re going to the airport first,” the businessman said climbing into the back seat next to me, “then to the offices.”


In the Polly Magoo

What color is your insanity?

Mine is blue. The blue of Alice’s eyes. Somewhere between the deep crisp blue of the clearest day, and the cold blue of midwinter ice.

I fell in love with those eyes one evening in a small bar called the Polly Magoo on Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris.

At the time I lived in London, studying near the City. I was in Paris to visit my best friend, Scott, who studying at the Sorbonne. We sat in the smoky, poorly lit bar drinking a beer. Talking about nothing in particular, waiting for Alice. Scott thought we would get along so he wanted us to met. Alice was another overseas student at the Sorbonne.

We had been in the Polly Magoo about a half hour when she arrived. Scott sat with his back to the door so I caught sight of Alice first. She walked in and I knew who she must be immediately. Dressed in blue jeans and tee shirt with a University of Virginia emblem ironed on. As she crossed the room, all I could see was those blue eyes.

“Bonjour,” Alice smiled as she walked up to Scott and I.


A Good Moment

The flash of the strobe lights burn an almost colorless image on Jeff’s retinas. Still life sceens revealing the mass of sweaty body’s crowding the dance floor.



The intervals between the flashed shortes as the beat quickens.

Flash, flash!

The individual images begin to form a stop-motion movie. The dancers jerking like puppets in time with the music. Writhing in the aural ecstasy, many in chemical ecstasy.


The music stop and the room is plunged in darkness. The only sounds the heavy breathing of the dancers.

Flash! Flash!

Jeff can feel the sound as much as he can hear it when it returns. He can feel Alice begin to move again. His hands on her hips, her back against his chest. Over the smell of sweat Jeff can make out Alice’s perfume—Chanel #5, his gift from Paris, to remind her of the city they met in. Jeff closes his eyes and dances.

‘This is a good moment,’ Jeff thought losing himself in the beat.