Volume 32, Number 1

Skeleton Hospital

She lost a shoe as they dragged her from the Hotel Eden to the waiting car. Lieutenant Vogel, commander of the unit, shouted insults (“Whore!”) and spat at her. She was bleeding from a blow to the head with a rifle butt, but could still see with the eye that didn't have blood in it. As they were putting her into the car, she saw the dark breath of the future – corpses in the street, Berlin burning, rubble everywhere. Then she passed out. They would take her to the hospital only when they were sure she was already dead.


The decrepit cadaver of a man, seated in a ground-floor window of a sort of medical penitentiary, glared at you from the black pits of his empty eyeholes. Go away, he mouthed through the glass. You responded by brandishing the hammer you had taken to carrying everywhere for protection. It was only a little past noon, but the sun was already just a faint ember in an ashen sky.


As a youngster, I juggled my own head on street corners for nickels and dimes. Some who stopped to watch said the little smile on my face made the performance strangely worse. If I knew how things were going to turn out, I suppose I wouldn’t have bothered smiling.

—Howie Good