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Articles tagged "Murder"

Paranoid City

“Did you hear that noise?” the woman whispered, leaning on one elbow in bed, and opening her eyes wide. “What noise?” her husband asked sleepily. “It sounds like it’s coming from the yard. There’s someone on the roof, or in the kitchen,” she said fearfully. “Get up. Go check on the kids, while I get my pistol,” he ordered in a hushed voice and woke up entirely. While the woman quickly tiptoed to the children’s room the...

The Beginnings of Ja’far-i-Magholi and Hasan Tofan

I, Hasan Tofan, along with Ja'far-i Magholi grew up in the Party's network. The day Mamosta Shawboyan called us and told us the good news that we had both been assigned to a clandestine cell involved in purges and killing, we were over the moon. If my memory serves me right, Magholi was a hundred times happier than me that day. When we were standing in front of Mamosta's walrus mustache and wild gaze, Magholi—a diminutive, thick-lipped, wide-nosed man—stood still as...

From “A Butterfly in the Hills”

Novelist and playwright Koulsy Lamko came to Rwanda in 1998 as part of a project entitled "Writing by Duty of Memory," which brought a dozen African writers to Rwanda and provided each with a commission to write a text. The authors interviewed survivors, met with perpetrators, and visited many memorial sites. Most of these sites were churches where Tutsi had fled, hoping to find protection and refuge. During the genocide in 1994, however, there were no sacred places. Four years after the...

Poor Grandpa!

I never wanted to remember at all, let alone write about, what transpired when I took a walk with Grandpa to the sprawling Kariobangi slum area, that part of the slum known as Korogocho. I didn’t want to look back again, to reopen an old wound. An open sore for which there is no remedy, one that has refused to improve to a scar. An open sore. A huge open sore. It oozes with pus and discomfort, and constantly fills me with fright. However, my friends have urged me to write in detail...

Confession

I admit it: I once killed a journalist. I’ve tried to forget it, to keep quiet, to pretend, but it doesn’t make sense to continue deceiving myself. No one can escape their memories. The recollection of that unlucky wretch follows me, by day and by night. And when I say that it pursues me, I mean exactly that: when I open my eyes at dawn, frightened by some presence that I don’t recognize as real, I find that fool by my side, watching me with those bulging eyes,...

Beyond this Darkness and this Silence

  The world has become aware of its invisible citizen. But no one knows you are here. —H. G. Wells   I warned her in one of our first conversations, though she didn’t take me seriously: “I’m invisible.” Not that I reproached her for her skepticism. To be honest, I don’t usually talk about it; people aren’t prepared to face the extraordinary. Which, if you are a part of what is considered “extraordinary,” can be...

Diary

At eight in the morning I looked at my watch and it was eight o’clock. At nine-thirty I looked at my watch and it was nine-thirty. At eleven in the morning I looked at my watch and it was ten to eleven. At twelve noon I looked at my watch and it was twenty to twelve. At one in the afternoon I looked at my watch and it was twelve-twenty. At four in the afternoon I looked at my watch and it was twelve-twenty. And at quarter past five when I looked at my watch it was still...

Requiem

That day—I remember it clearly, I had decided while I was waiting for the bus into town: I would steal a book. When it finally came, I sat next to a woman who was coming from the hot springs; so I turned on my Walkman and listened to Charly García for the fifteen minutes it took us to get to the business district, along the Avenida Bolívar. At the bookstore I greeted the owner; as usual, he asked after my dad. “Good, Fernández, we're all...

The Well

When Rafa‘a died, the last human desires in the bosoms of the people of Huzum village were extinguished, most of all in the bosoms of its women.  The burning desire for Rafa'as comeuppance sputtered out, for when a person dies, her memory grows flimsy and her human presence melts away…  She is no longer a threat to us because she is better and more beautiful than we are; instead, she becomes a weak creature because she dies insignificantly like every human...

To Arrive

When you get off the airplane, it will not be like Kabul airport, or like other cities of Afghanistan for that matter, where they drive stairs up and attach them to the door and then take down the passengers one by one. These days, there have been improvements everywhere, old man. But we, we are lagging behind, and war has taken us further and further back. The only thing we think of is devastation, and not creation . . . they will drive the bridge up and attach it to the airplane door,...

Dos Manzanas

You have to see him there on the streets of an old neighborhood in Madrid; you have to look for him, young and tanned, with an open white shirt, specked with some paltry design, a style out of fashion, and with his blue jeans, as he hurries along. You have to see him knowing that his name is Abdul Azad, that he is from Tangiers, and that his name, at this very moment, is rattling around in the head of someone else, who, two blocks from there, has laid a trap for him while Abdul walks...

A Stitch in Time

The mossos came this morning. I’d been expecting them for days. When I opened the door, they were still out of breath. That’s not unusual. Visitors get to my seventh-floor attic apartment on their last legs, as there’s no elevator. The stairs have high steps and are an effort to climb, and rather than taking them calmly, like Carmeta and me, they must have rushed at them hellbent for leather, like a couple of lunatics. I expect their uniforms set the neighbors’...

from “Broken Glass Park”

I hate men. Anna says good men do exist. Nice, friendly men who cook and help clean up and who earn money. Men who want to have children and give gifts and book vacations. Who wear clean clothes, don’t drink, and even look halfway decent. Where on earth are they, I ask. She says they’re out there—if not in our town then in Frankfurt. But she doesn’t know any personally, unless you count people she’s seen on TV. That’s why I always repeat the words...

from “the workers’ apocalypse”

               God is our cleaning woman                                         Adília Lopes                  for nélio paulo at...

from “Proud Beggars”

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Albert Cossery and Golo slouch through a seedy Cairo

Albert Cossery's 1955 masterpiece, Proud Beggars, takes place in the squalid slums of Cairo. While some residents struggle with oppression, poverty, and corruption, others renounce the hypocrisy of society and embrace their freedom from the material world. Characters include the former university professor Gohar, who has thrown over his previous life to work as a bookkeeper at the brothel; his drug dealer and fellow "proud beggar," Yeghen; the melodramatic revolutionary El Kordi; his...

Head Weight

In all honesty, Ruben was at a loss to explain what was happening to him. He told his friends and family a story about feeling tired and drained, while he in himself saw a different sort of picture: somebody, who knows who, some huge and powerful being was squeezing him the way the last squirts of toothpaste are squeezed from a toothpaste tube. The crush of those huge fingers, the blunt thumb and the slightly angular index finger, produced so much pain at times in Ruben that, lying in...

From “You Do Understand?”

A Day I Loved You I lay there with my eyes closed, waiting for my husband to vacate his half of the bed. To go to work, of course. He’ll get a sandwich on the corner. He’ll have a coffee during his first meeting. Then he’ll call home. To make sure that I’m still here, and haven’t run away. I’m not going to. I’m going to open that box of old snapshots again. There were no hard drives back in those days. I’ll go through it all photo by...

Professional

Normal people fantasize a lot about our work, which is really pretty routine and not at all like what you see in the movies. Our first jobs are perhaps the most memorable. Contrary to popular belief, those of us who are experienced refuse jobs that are uncomfortable, difficult, or unpleasant. These fall, naturally, to the beginners. You can always find a needy kid who’s willing to strangle an old man for a hundred dollars. I was just a beginner when I sat down...

Reflections

Penetrate it and you'll better understand: life is revealed to us in a painted reflection.   Last night I killed my son Mauro. OK, it wasn't exactly me who did it. All I did was give the VIP executive the order to finish him off, once and for all. And of course, it wasn't my son, either. He'd lived in our house for a few years and I guess that was enough to make me feel bonded to him. Truth is, it's not really all that clear. I should have finished with him...

from “Corridor of Dreams”

For the past two months, I've been dreaming the same dream over and over. It only dawned on me recently. We forget most dreams, so why should I dream this again and again? It begins in the Osaka alley where I lived as a child. The military had destroyed houses along a four-kilometer stretch to create a fifty-meter-wide emergency road. This served both as an evacuation route and as a defense against the U.S. firebombings. A small alley off the evacuation road ended at an old fence of...

From “Suit in the Soil”

The cab driver was in the mood for conversation, but his passenger wasn't. So the tape deck came on and Angela Dimitriou started work at seven-thirty in the morning. Side by side in a silver twin frame on the dashboard, the singer and the Virgin Mary kept the driver company. He was a thirtyish, scrawny man with a huge mustache and big brown eyes, a frappé in a special holder, and a well-cared-for car with good tires that was now leaving the olive groves behind, climbing the...

Maybe Not Yem

"Can you believe it? One of my friends threw her boss's baby into a washing machine, just before going back to her village," the woman beside me said in a flat voice. I turned my gaze to the darkness outside the car window. The woman was terrorizing me. Damn it all! A chill ran through me as I thought of what she had just told me. The air was stuffy. Our small van crawled along the road. The heat from the van's engine was enough to make frozen blood boil. As we traveled along...

Da Ma’s Way of Talking

In the summer of 1989, I was assigned to work in an electrical engineering company in Nanjing. My train pulled in at one in the afternoon, and as I walked out of the station—two big bags slung over my shoulder—I was ambushed by a mob of peasant girls delegated by hotels to pester for business. The sweat was pouring off me, and I was not in the mood. Get lost, I told them, I live here, I don't need a hotel. The clueless cousin of mine who'd said he'd come and meet...

A Tongue of Lead

There are nights when dreams run stories one into another, preventing the sleeper from making a clean break between scenes that strange actors link together in his head, and so it seems that the night has been no more than the prolongation of a day that gradually has made the light disappear to make room for this palpable life shadow of that which is real. Nightmares to make your legs shudder and to talk about when awake, bare hints of laughter on the threshold of wakefulness, feeling the...

The Soul Mate

My only son has a soul mate I'm not fond of. But what can I do? They bonded in the army, and although they've been out for a while now, the ties have only grown stronger. Is such a friendship like a camel in the desert, drawing nourishment from its own hump? Does it persist only by force of their shared army experience, or does it draw sustenance from any new sources? What is it about this friendship that threatens me? My son's soul mate is a civilized creature, gentle and...

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