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, […]

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. […]

6. What You Fear Is True

“How long have you been in this land?” Brutus asks casually, as if he’s making conversation. He’s studying Inglorion’s face intently. “Not long. A few weeks.” “How did you come here?” Inglorion’s gaze flickers over to the older man’s face. It’s impassive. Now that the dark is falling, Inglorion’s eyes are shifting to dark vision, […]

5. “To the Pure, All Things Are Pure”

The following morning, a package appears on the front porch. It’s wrapped in brown paper, secured with twine, and addressed to Inglorion in a bold, slanted hand. He opens it with trembling hands to find the first volume of Sir Richard Burton’s Thousand Nights and One Night. The paper and binding are stiff and fragile with age. […]

4. The Thousand Nights and One Night

Now that there are two mouths to feed, Lucius sends Inglorion to buy a half-dozen pullets, saying, “Lots of people sell them around here, but I’d recommend this fellow Brutus. He sells a few from his flock every now and then, and I think you’ll find him interesting.” And so Inglorion walks a few miles […]