Chapter 24 of Sleepers is live!

Head over to to check it out.  Here’s the first scene…

Rutger stood at the curb, watching the cab drive away.  It was an odd place for a meeting, but odd usually worked for such clandestine activities.  The Golden Arches loomed over him, the glow illuminating his section of the street like yellow daylight.  Across the road was a battered and bruised Motel 6 that he assumed constituted the bulk of customers for this establishment.  It hunched over the little road that fed it customers, while turning its back to the main road and the world beyond.

Cars passed him, drivers not giving him a first glance—much less a second—each wrapped in their cocoon of metal and frustration.  He would feel sorry for these people, but Americans were exceedingly good at making themselves miserable.  And yet, they also know how to laugh—especially at themselves.  It was a trick his own people had not mastered.  We are too serious by half, he thought.

A pale Ford SUV pulled over and stopped in front of him, and the heavily tinted passenger window rolled down.

“Are you Rutger?” the bearded man at the wheel asked, leaning over to look through the open window.  His accent was unmistakable, and Rutger leaned down, placing his hands on the door.

“And you are?” he said, one eyebrow cocked.

“Get in,” the man said, waving his hand.  “We have a lot of catching up to do; both figuratively and literally.”

“I am not sure—”

“Oh, you are past that,” the Iraqi said with a chuckle. “Why else stand here waiting for me?”  He leaned down and opened the door, pushing it out for Rutger before sitting up in his seat, both hands on the wheel.

Rutger leaned down to get in and saw Amber laying asleep on the back seat.

The man nodded.  “Don’t worry about her.  She’s been through a lot, and isn’t likely to disturb us while we talk.”  He smiled, ruddy cheeks nearly squeezing his eyes shut.  “Come… I won’t bite.”

Rutger looked around, wondering if someone were secretly filming all this for some kind of reality show, then frowned and shrugged, and slid into the seat.  He had just finished closing the door when the car pulled out into traffic, the driver behind him laying on their horn.  Rutger’s new companion turned to him and grinned.

“I drive a cab back home,” he said with a shrug.

Wonderful, Rutger thought.  Another American cab driver out to kill me.



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