A Young Hitler is Seen in Vienna, c. 1909

A Young Hitler is Seen in Vienna, c. 1909 That one without even an overcoat, covered in lice and old laborers’ clothes? That one who’d be dead if not for the doles, that charity tramp living off rat scraps? A homeless louse like that will what, be the murder of me, and millions? And I’ll…

The Parents

The Parents Those shoes were still tangibly his son and that smell was his sweat that lingered there. His father wore them to rallies, or just to the store: his son’s feet grew and then then grew no more, killed in the library with other of his friends, grown until his father could fit into…

Danny Rohrbough 4/20/1999

Writing this, I was reminded of how Seamus Heaney’s career is filled with elegies for those who died in the Troubles; the same might be done for those dead from all violence–in this case, school shootings. Danny Rohrbough 4/20/1999 God is the sidewalk where her son was shot, where he bled out and died and…

The Old Spy Wears His Dead Father’s Suits Now

The Old Spy Wears His Dead Father’s Suits Now The old spy wears his dead father’s suits now, a ghost of dusty clothes in the wardrobe, the simple business and the easy life he could have inherited, but for the war. The old spy sleeps in the closet sometimes, the carpet still new and never…

The One Who Was Never Caught

A short story (actually more of a brief glimpse) this week. It was written a few years before the Golden State Killer was captured, and in part it drew on imagining him, a serial killer in his 60-70s, who was never caught: Paul Ladas, 72. He had started out west, years ago, still young, stalking…

The Business of Hell

The Business of Hell If you were in a room with them, you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell. I guess I will see them there soon. – CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Jesus Angleton Being in the world is the business of hell….

True Crime (The Names)

True Crime (The Names) So easy for it all to become sleaze, a paperback whose pictures we go to first: slick maps, whited-out bodies, but still the blood, and what was once a life now already a somber half-hour screenplay of bad reenactments and commercial breaks, someone’s totality reduced to a name eternally knotted with…