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 […]

Journal of the Plague Year 2020: Free Baja Arizona

Today I looked at Arizona’s numbers — I’m experimenting with using the Johns Hopkins website, which is updated more frequently than covidtracking.com, but sends my iPhone into a frenzy of error messages and page reloading — and I panicked. Here’s how we look on coronavirus.jhu.edu: Arizona, US Confirmed: 79,215 Deaths: 1,641 Recovered: 0 Active: 77,574 […]

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 […]

8. Policing the Neighborhood

Brutus has been breaking into the same tobacco warehouse for years, now that looters have stripped the pharmacies and convenience stores. It’s perched on a narrow strip of Native American land, along with a defunct casino: a two-story building painted to resemble a barn, but with a drive-through window. The choices have dwindled. Brutus eyes […]