17. Isolation Suits Me

Inglorion watches as Tereus mixes the second batch of sangria with the deft touch and manifest enjoyment of a musician improvising. He whisks in the honey, tastes it, cocking his head thoughtfully, then gives a brisk nod. He pours in the final half-bottle of seltzer water. Just as he’s about to refill their glasses, he […]

16. A Bit Well to Live

They both take a sip. Inglorion doesn’t know what to expect, so he’s surprised at the subtle layering of flavor: Salted lemon, tart mango, the wild honey and its comb, piercingly sweet. Then there’s the wine itself, which is dark, smoky, redolent of licorice and cherries. “That’s very good,” he says cautiously. They sit there […]

15. To The First Storm of Summer

Over the spring and early summer, the pullets grow into young hens, Inglorion finishes the Thousand Nights and One Night, and both households’ crops mature. Brutus gives Inglorion a tobacco plant and teaches him how to cultivate it. Summer settles in, and it’s as bad as everyone says. Worse, since predictions and warnings are abstract, […]

14. Delighted with His Useless Gift

Lucius trots off, probably figuring its not the stupidest thing he’s been asked to do that evening. Inglorion perches on a nearby retaining wall. It’s a pleasant evening, and in a very few minutes he hears Lucius’s happy chatter, and Brutus’s soft replies. They come into view. Brutus is pulling a small, hand-drawn wagon. Inglorion […]

13. Who’s a Motherfucking Rock Star?

“Hey, buddy,” Inglorion mutters to the bird. It’s dusty up there, but not filthy — the pigeons must think it’s a real owl. After a moment, he examines statue’s base, and sees that it’s held in place by four bolts and nuts. They’re coated with rust, of course. He has a saw and chisel, but […]

12. Thirty Feet of Drop

Inglorion frowns, peers around the side of the building at his projected route. Now that he’s looking at the particulars, he realizes it won’t be a walk in the park. The fall from the first-floor ledge, which he’ll free-climb, is 10 feet. If he should happen to slip while rigging the drainpipe, he could fall […]

11. Inglorion’s Hare-Brained Scheme

As soon as he gets home, Inglorion calls out to his son, “Lucius, I need your help with something.” “Oui, mon pére?” Lucius looks up. He’s fiddling with a handful of feathers, fashioning them into some kind of head ornament. “I’m going to steal the iron owl off the façade of the Owl’s Club building. […]

10. The Iron Owl

By mutual, tacit consent, Brutus and Inglorion settle into a casual master/apprentice arrangement. Inglorion knows little about farming and water harvesting in this climate; Brutus knows a lot. Though the older man rarely provides step-by-step lessons, or even explicit advice, he’s willing to let Inglorion shadow him as he tinkers with his cisterns and basins, […]

9. Another Chapter in Rake’s Progress

Brutus seems unmoved by the adventure. As they reach his front gate, Brutus eyes Inglorion and says, “You’re still full of frisk, aren’t you?” “Yeah. The walk home will do me good. I doubt I’ll eat or sleep tonight.” “Come in for awhile. I’ll tend to that cut.” Inglorion opens his mouth to argue, and […]