Rojo and Brown

It was an early evening in the spring of 1950 when I last saw Ronald “Rojo” Jones. As I fumbled the key in the lock and rotated the heavy barrels, I anticipated a number of reactions he might greet me with, ranging from stoic silence to manic optimism.

The response I got, however, took me by surprise. As soon as the door was open, I looked upon his hooked nose, round glasses and slender form, and a broad smile formed on his face. Continue reading

The Corpse Candle

The flame dances in the wind, like a liquid wisp, suspended in blue over the ground, swaying vertiginously, back and forth, beckoning me to follow it. I paw at the window lightly, convinced now that the flame is real, and not some off-shot reflection on the pane.

The light casts meandering shadows among the grass of the garden. Without scorching the blades, the flame hovers in a circular motion, as if it has a will of its own. Stopping in place, doubling in size, then shrinking once more, and shooting off up to the top of the garden and dissipating into the blackness of the night. Continue reading

Perfume the air


Florigera rosis halo

“I perfume the air with my blossoms.”

The smell of citrus on the breeze was the only thing I liked about Attard Psychiatric Hospital. In the summer, the redolence of the flower gardens swept like a river through the cracks in the old Victorian building, flooding the yard with the bittersweet smell of lemon, and the rich flora from the gardens of San Anton Palace. Continue reading

Mutually Assured Destruction

“I wouldn’t ask, but…”

…You will.

I should have known the second I answered the phone. That soft shaky voice that sounds like she’s about to burst into tears. She used to use it to get her way all the time when we were married. How much is it this time, a grand? Two grand? Don’t suppose I could just offer her one of the two-for-one CoffeeGo coupons I was handed today by some guy dressed like a giant mug of coffee. What a mug! Ha, I bet he never gets tired of hearing that. Continue reading