Who do you hate the most?

I hated most this uncertainty, this desire, this absence

13-Apr-2008 (39 comments)
I always knew so well how to hate. I hated being a child and being ignored. I hated being a teen and waiting, wondering, doubting. I hated Shah, I hated Khomeini, I hated Saddam the way their ideological differences changed all of us for the worse. The way the war locked me in my room, listening to the silence, listening to the noise, missing joy or temerity, missing the light seeping through sheer curtains. I hated missing one small volume of space in time when opening my window or listening to loud music, or painting red on my bloodless lips and nails wouldn’t have been called an act of bravery>>>


The Spider Killings (14)

“Ah well” she sighed to herself “Where will all this cloak and dagger stuff lead me in the end?”

When Roxanne finally got back to her hotel room, she realized something was amiss as soon as she entered. To a non-observant eye, the room looked just as she had left it: Her suitcase open in the corner with half the clothes still inside, unpacked; Her laptop open on her desk, with some papers and pens strewn around; and her handy coffee mug and ashtray full of cigarette butts still on the windowsill, her favorite spot in any room to have a quiet smoke. Roxanne looked around and she was sure that someone had been in her room. She could not put her finger on it but she just knew it was a fact. Had someone searched her room in her absence? Searched it looking for… what?>>>


The Spider Killings (13)

Those damn gharb-zadeh, westernized, women. Sharif had never liked them

The phone rang and Peyman gestured to Roxanne to stay while he answered it. After a couple of minutes, with her friend still on the phone, engrossed in what seemed to be an important conversation, Roxanne got up again and waved. She mouthed the words “I’ll be okay!” on her way out, despite Peyman’s frantic hand gestures pleading her to wait for him. It was around ten o’ clock and the streets were deserted. The click-clack of Roxanne’s heels on the pavement sounded aggressively loud in the silence of the night. She had parked her car a couple of blocks away>>>


A Mother’s Story

From a book on the hostage crisis and the October Surprise

09-Apr-2008 (9 comments)
Barbara Timm, or BT as she prefers, shook her head in disgust. “I didn’t like Jimmy Carter from the very beginning,” she said. “I didn’t vote for him. I voted for Ford. Jerry was a Michigan man and I lived then in Milwaukee. It seemed right to vote for a Midwesterner, one of our own.” President Gerald Ford, it should be noted, died on December 26, 2006 at the age of 93. Four months later, I interviewed Barbara Timm, along with her son Kevin Hermening. The interview took place at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona, BT’s city of residence since the late 1980s. Timm, Hermening and I – and some fifty thousand baseball fans – attended Opening Day of the baseball season, the Milwaukee Brewers versus the Arizona Diamondbacks>>>



(Any similarity between characters in this story and any persons past or present is purely coincidental.)

This is a view of our building which is a small part of our social housing block. The apartment where my wife Michelle and I live, is situated on the ground floor in the middle, living on our right is Shaikh Ahmed and his wife Rahima from Somalia, their son Mokri and their daughter Shokri. To our left, until 11 o'clock Friday, was A.Gabrielle, indisputably Italian. On top of him, until last Wednesday, was Tara who is (was) a Finish-Hungarian lady. Next to her, above us, is Gallagher the Scott and next to him, right above Shaikh Ahmed’s family lives Morad, his wife Amina and their children, from the former Yugoslavia. Above Morad lives Jens (chairman of the board) with his twin children and on top of Tara lives 55 years old Mo’tamed and between him and Jens, in no. 8, lives Irene a lonely divorced woman>>>


The Spider Killings (12)

Chop, chop, those beautiful chestnut locks all gone

A while ago, Yassi had been arrested by a group of officers. Before they had taken her to the station house, they had gang raped her. When she came home after weeks of detention peppered with beatings, lashes, and other mistreatment, the young girl was hysterical. For the first day, she couldn’t stop laughing. It wasn’t laughter actually. More like a giggle. Not a light hearted giggle that you would hear at the end of a punchline. Something else. Something wild and ... not... sane. It chilled Azadeh to the bone to hear her friend giggle like that for no reason when she should have been crying or screaming, anything but that. Had she lost her mind for good?>>>


Moon after Moon

I have never been this woman before you, before I found you

05-Apr-2008 (10 comments)
I need you to say you love me. I want your words to touch me again. Look, who knows maybe I will break into a thousand pieces soon. Perhaps morning tempers and letters burn, but I want my body to learn new words, a fistful of words as sweet and sour candy that happens to be in my mouth; words that stem from the heart and soul, making rich feathery sensation on the back of my neck; words that tantalize like the tip of your tongue finding its path to my lips. These are simple adventures that fill, pant, and pour the depth of my body where I let natural forces find fever at every beat, every beat that is as strong as my desires>>>


The Spider Killings (11)

Around the corner, a group of women were standing and laughing loudly

Azadeh took her time approaching the passenger side. She looked in as the driver reached over and rolled the window down.
-- “Hey haven’t seen you in a while.” The man said smilingly.
-- “That can be changed,” Azadeh replied, “if you have five thousand tomans.”
-- “Panj-hezaar-taa meegiri! Five thousand!” The man scoffed, “Who do you think I am, a millionaire mullah?”-- “Listen buddy, you wanna haggle, go to the Baazaar,” Azadeh fired back, unfazed, “I’m not selling chaghale-badoom, spring almonds, here.” >>>


Concierto de Aranjuez

It almost seemed like you couldn't go wrong

What I can tell you about Miles Davis is that when I listened to his music, I could see her. I could see her and she was even more than I thought she was and I was even more than I thought I was too. I couldn't see her face or anything like that, but I could see the world where she existed. It was the same one where I existed. As long as there was a music like that, the worlds where we existed were the same. She didn't even have to like the music necessarily, because it liked her. It had been made with her in mind, and it had been made with my hope in her in mind. The way that it had us in mind was unconditional. Look, it was saying, I am trying to be beautiful, so I have to believe in you whether you believe in me or not. Of course if you do believe in me, then where we'll get to together will really be somewhere>>>


The Spider Killings (10)

Ramin had enjoyed the interview with Roxanne more than he should have

21-Mar-2008 (one comment)
Roxanne had been grilling Ramin for a half hour now, about the state of crime, in particular prostitution, in Mashad, his crime statistics, his office hierarchy, the qualifications of his staff etc. It had all boiled down in the end to the recent murder of the woman found on a busy city street a couple of weeks ago. The woman Roxanne believed was maybe the third or fourth victim of a serial killer, nicknamed the Spider Killer behind closed doors. Her friend Peyman’s informant would not elaborate on a precise number of victims, just that there had been more than two>>>


The Spider Killings (9)

They just were not men enough to do anything about prostitution, not like Sharif

A crowd of civilians had gathered around the crime scene, vociferating their complaints to the police officers. Ramin could hear various angry and bitter voices. He did not have the strength to turn around to look at them for now. Leaning against the side of his Jeep, it was taking every ounce of his will not to double over and vomit. His officers thought he had just become queasy at the sight of the dead woman. Little did they know Ramin was still going through the symptoms of opium withdrawal. Even in the awful state he was, Ramin could not help but pay attention to the voices of the men. He was outraged at their cavalier attitude>>>


How the sun came to be

[The writer is 10-years old]

16-Mar-2008 (14 comments)
Long, long ago, before time began, before you or I were in the world yet, before your parent’s, parent’s parents were born, in the deep forest Foofoo, in the heart of New Zealand, there was quarrel between the lion, the zebra, the kangaroo, the elephant, and all the other animals in the deep forest Foofoo. It was all about the sun, they didn’t have on. Mind you, they didn’t even know what it was, until the lion declared: “Why can’t I see my beautiful feathers, it’s no good having no light.”>>>


Chapter 1: Childhood in Ahvaz

13-Mar-2008 (3 comments)
No one has ever been sentenced to a sever punishment called education as young as I was. “I don’t know how to punish him anymore, I ran out of ideas, I’ve tried everything.” I heard my mother saying this with tears in her eyes to my father the night before my sentence was carried out. I was three years old then. The next morning I was trailing my father with a gloomy face to the Mactab (Those days in our town, house-wives who had some education thought neighboring children under school age for a small fee in their homes. The curriculum was learning alphabets and listening to the teacher reciting Koran)>>>


My hero in the dark

My father took me every Thursday night to the only movie theater of the town

11-Mar-2008 (13 comments)
We lived in a small town in Mazandaran and my father was respected and well known. He was a busy man and I, as a little girl, craved to spend more time with him. My father took me every Thursday night to the only movie theater of the town. Our family had its own special reserved seats. Row nine, seats 10 to 14. Every time we drove down the main street, I looked for that place. The brown brick building with an orange fluorescent sign at its side. I would stare at the letters forming the word “Cinema.” I could find it from afar, could recognize its shape, and I envied anyone standing in the black line waiting to buy a ticket. I would gaze at the colorful posters of actors and picture their adventures in my daydreams>>>


The Spider Killings (7)
It was now dusk but still no sign of Hossein. It was completely unlike him to be so late, knowing Mahin would be stranded in the now deserted streets, her hands full of shopping bags from the Bazaar-e-Reza, the market where she had gotten all her spices and nuts, honey and saffron, enough to last for the month. Mahin started walking a bit down the street, hoping she could meet her husband’s oncoming car. Though she walked with her head held high, striding fast and determinedly despite the heavy bags wearing her down, she felt vulnerable. A woman alone at night, walking around as if… as if…>>>