A Short Story Collection:
Meeting Mandela: South Africa vacationers encounter the President. Romance Revisited: A voyage of rediscovery. One More for the Road: A growing family’s trials. Birds of a Feather: A construction worker is attracted to a waitress. Railway to Heaven: Kentucky is Hell; therefore distant California must be Heaven. Blow, Gabriel, Blow: A young man makes music. Diamond Exchange: A courier delivers stolen jewels. Literary Life: A publisher and editor disagree. King of Vulture Valley: An old desert rat reveals a secret. She Serpent: A detective tosses away the book. Milestones and Millstones: A cloudy past comes clear. Bag Man: A stumble onto major money. Muddling Musketeers: Hunting buddies bring home their partner’s body. Close Call: A predictable life almost ends. Next Bus to Jubilee: A con artist preys on women. Pal of Mine: An organization falls apart. Deborah: Co-workers have an affair. Order in the Forum: Political leaders discuss business.
From the story, “Milestones and Millstones:”
“Your father’s name was Yusef, her letter went on, again providing no surname. She had known him only by his first name, if indeed it really was his name. He banished her to the bedroom one evening when he and his cohorts took over the kitchen to discuss their scheme. From behind the closed door, she listened fearfully to their conversation—all in English but a mixture of accents. During the urgent and whispered conference, the German called Obermeyer addressed a query to Viktor. The man she knew as Yusef responded. Later when I asked him who Viktor was, he slapped me and ordered me to not question his affairs.
“You may presume that your father and I were in love but we were not. One night I was walking home from the shirt factory when he offered me a ride on his freight wagon. I didn’t know him but I was tired, so I said yes. On the way, he stopped his team and had his way with me. When you are a man, you’ll know what I mean. When I could no longer hide that I was with child, father disowned me. I had no place to go so I lived with Yusef but I never loved him.
“Like me, the letter continued, “you were born in a time of national turbulence, a time of death. Yusef was shot by the police during the riots at Haymarket Square. He was one of the strikers. They say he was the one who threw the bomb. My baby—you—were born into this troubled world on that troubled day, the day your father died.