A Deal for Half Her Heart

“That was very generous of you. Glad to hear they’ve graduated,” I said. “When they find work, they can pay you back.”

Angie shook her head and smiled, although the corners of her mouth did not lift much. She said, “That’s not how it goes. Since I earn in dollars here, I’m looked upon as some kind of financial well my family can tap into.”

Blood in the Soil

I arrived with a pair of rubber boots, a notebook, and a willingness to listen. Not many knew of the lands of the dead, and fewer still made the journey. That great, open steppe, where nothing grew. I arrived at dawn when the death singers which polluted these grounds wouldn’t notice me, or so I hoped.

Serendipity Lounge

The quilted red pleather door held a diamond shaped window dead center, and hinged onto a smoky room, dim with neon beer signs and hanging pool table lamps.  Johnny Paycheck crackled on the jukebox and every barstool, save two, stood empty.  Three men in faded Levis, pearl button shirts, and mesh-backed baseball caps threw darts. The ancient woman behind the bar looked quizzically at a man bringing a young boy into a bar at 10:30 pm on a Saturday night in the middle of the winter, then gave us a welcoming smile.