The man followed her from the restaurant, drawing closer in the darkness. He grinned as she quickened her step, following the pavement lighting to the door of the underground carpark, and chased her down the smelly stairwell into the basement.
Turning round at the sound of squealing tyres, he had just enough time to make out a veiled figure behind the wheel before the car hit him and sent him flying through the air.
As he landed in a heap, his eyes alighted on the headline of the “Al Riyadh” newspaper lying on the floor: “Women Granted Right to Drive”.
“Mom, tell a fairytale! Can you do it in six words?”
“Alice in Wonderland?”
“Well, it’s 2017 … The Mad Hatter gets himself elected.”
“You made it political!”
“I teach politics.”
“Aesop’s fable about hard work?”
“Grasshopper ran. Ant voted for him.”
“Come on. Try The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
“‘Failing’ boy spreads fake news. Sad.”
“Boy Who Cried Wolf: nobody tells that story anymore.”
“Jack and the Beanstalk: Beanstalk? We’ve giants to kill–here.”
“I can’t even–”
“One more, sweet daughter: Kissed frogs. Lived joyfully. Beautiful tadpoles.”
“What do you call it?”
“Happily ever after.”
No, nothing would ever change in this country, so thought John!
It is that sacred Second Amendment: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
So what if only 59 citizens died while another 500 were clinging to their lives in a recent carnage? This country already had witnessed murder of innocent little children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and fun-loving youths of Orlando.
But pro-life patriots, the modern militia, have a sacred duty of honoring the Constitution. Guns are here to stay.
As a boy, he used to venture out with his friends on Saturday mornings, escaping the safe and neat confines of their subdivision to explore the still, wild woods nearby.
One Saturday morning, deep in the woods, they discovered a dilapidated log cabin. The only sign of life were vines snaking through holes in the chinking of the walls.
Large stones formed a step at the base of the door. Dared by his friends, the boy stepped up and yanked the door open.
That was the last Saturday the boys would leave the safe and neat confines of their subdivision.
Gilbert James fully committed himself to life as a train robber. Given that he’d bought a house next to those iron tracks, what else could he do?
Of course, the fact it was a minor spur only servicing those grain elevators didn’t turn out to be the best news. Worse, that grain company had moved on years before, the ties long overgrown. In fact, he might never have robbed one at all if it hadn’t been for getting stuck in traffic by a random coal line that spilled everywhere.
Still, that was a robbery and Gilbert was fully committed. Fully.
He was a strikingly handsome man.
He made a practice of having his picture taken wherever he went. Being a senior executive, when he traveled on business, there was always someone more junior who was quite happy to perform the task. And when he traveled with friends, they would hand waiters, waitresses and even passersby their cameras and iPhones so they could get in the shot.
Over the years, he collected thousands of pictures of himself. He kept them in albums.
Sometimes when he would look at them at home, alone, he wished he had someone to share them with.
Ten hollow-eyed men, ill-fed, tortured, sentenced to hard labor and death, were marched into the courtyard.
Ten soldiers, faces flushed in the glaring sunlight, formed a line, then executed the order to “Fire!”
Ten men lay dead or dying in the hot and blowing sand. Church bells rang out the noon hour. Somewhere a donkey brayed a nervous laugh.
The dictator took several sips of cool water, rose languidly from his chair, raised his hand and issued the command:
“Bring in the next ten men!”