By Harvey Burgess
I watch my best friend, Annie, as she stands naked at the window. Her tousled, mouse-colored hair is gathered over her right shoulder. A narrow strip of moonlight runs down the left side of her back. She has grey-green eyes, cupid’s-bow lips and a beauty spot on her right cheek. She’s slender and her smooth skin is pearly white. She hasn’t worked out for ages but her calf muscles are still pronounced, a legacy of her prowess as a middle-distance runner at high school. She has a small yin and yang tattoo just above her left ankle. All in all, Annie is a well preserved thirty-eight year old. I, on the other hand, am a not so well preserved thirty-four year old. The archetypal ugly duckling, I am short and plump. My skin is coarse, my hair is clumpy, my thighs are fat and my ankles are thick. The only saving grace is my large breasts. I often say to myself, ‘well done girl, you have gotten this far by living on your wits and your cleavage.’ I have to boost myself because people like me can count the compliments we receive on the fingers on one hand. And nearly all of those compliments come from guys who have encountered my breasts at close quarters. I join Annie at the window and embrace her. We look out at the random configuration of sky-scrapers, mosques, nondescript, whitewashed apartment blocks and low-slung brick-built structures. Down below, on a large patch of cratered concrete, a beaten-up red Volkswagen beetle is parked under a tree, whose supple branches stretch over the vehicle like spiders’ legs. A white minibus, partially covered by a tarpaulin, sits in front of a shuttered car wash.
I love Annie and giving her support in this dark period has felt like a calling. I’ve come into my own; her pain has coincided with my flourishing. I still envy her, after all, jealousy is my meat and drink. Iago’s words, amongst the best ever written in the English language, are on my fridge at home: “O beware, My Lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on.” I’ll never lose my cunning but I’ve finally learned that giving out a little bit of love, allowing some emotion to creep in, does have its’ merits. For example, Annie’s husband, Scott, impressed by the love and tenderness I showed Annie during her most recent emotional crisis back home, flew me out to be with her. The timing was perfect for me as I’d just been laid off by that jerk of a lawyer. I’d been with him for two years and he had the temerity to accuse me of stealing money from his safe. How dare he. I more or less ran that office single-handedly. The one time I did help myself to something, a pair of his shoes that I gave to a guy I was seeing, he accused an intern of stealing them. Some folks just don’t have any intuition. Scott’s back in town, and I’m in my own room now. Scott and I go way back. I knew him before Annie did. We met at the local gym in San Fran and I liked how polite he always was. I could see he was one of those meek types, not that I ever tried to use it to my advantage. I caught him looking at my cleavage more than once and that felt good.
“Come to bed honey. It’s quiet out there now,” Scott says
“Can’t sleep. Keep seeing that gas canister shattering the guy’s eye,” Annie replies. “Fucking fascists.”
“I know, I know. But as I’ve said to you a million times, we can’t let it destroy us”.
“Well it is destroying me. And us. That’s it. Fact.”
“Jesus Christ Annie. You can’t let it invade you like this. We just need to ride it out for another couple of years. I’ve got twenty-six months of this contract to run down. Then we’re out of here. Can you do that for me honey? For us?” Scott lifts his arms up in supplication.
“Twenty-six fucking months Scott. Living under these criminals. From where I’m standing that’s a bridge too far. It really is.”
“Listen to me. It’ll blow over, these things always do. You just need something to take your mind off things. How about some private English teaching? You’ve done it before and you’re good at it?”
Annie does not reply but goes back to bed and curls herself up into a ball, with her back to him. She can feel him tentatively reaching out to her but she shuts him out and begins to gently rock herself to sleep. I’m not being fair to him, but I just can’t help myself, she thinks. Scott saved her life nine years ago after she had OD’d on whiskey and a bunch of sleeping tablets and that fact, as she perceives it, changed the dynamic between them. She would be forever indebted to him, bound to him yet inferior to him, a perpetual burden. Years of therapy have only partially repaired her self-esteem. She does not love herself so how can she love him? She’s not the same person anymore and just can’t give him what he needs and deserves. He pulls her gently towards him and she feels his manhood. She is about to pull away but, despite herself, she relents. After all, it has been eleven weeks since he last touched her. She lets him enter her. He moves slowly and rhythmically but she remains still. Back home, she would only do it with him when she was high. But weed is a million miles away from this context.
Midday. I hold Annie as she lies on the sofa sobbing. The daily drilling from the adjacent apartment has started up again and outside, there is the constant reminder of the running battle in the streets. The rat-a-tat-tat of riot police firing off rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets and the incessant ambulance and police sirens. Shouts and cries of anguish can occasionally be carried on the wind. I suggest that she tries putting her head-phones on and listening to music on her iPod. She gives up after thirty seconds; there is no shutting out the din. Even the normally vibrant birdsong is drowned out. “I think I may run away. I’m not strong enough to cope with any arguments,” she says. She is at such a low ebb that decisive action of any kind appears beyond her. “Come on girl, I’m here for you, lean on me, I’ll make sure you come through all this. I know it’s an ordeal but we can do stuff together. How about we go to that art shop and buy some materials? You know how painting has always been therapy for you.” I start to comb her hair. “Umm, what do you think?” She squeezes my hand and says, “I dunno, maybe. Just struggling to work up enthusiasm for anything. Got no energy.” She drifts off to sleep. Poor girl, she finds life such a struggle. All the talent in the world but thoroughly undone by mental illness. She had been the bright young star in the family, the one out of all five siblings of whom most was expected. Cups for running, a drama award for her rendition of Cordelia in King Lear, her abstract expressionist inspired artwork forming the centerpiece of a group art exhibition. There was an effortlessness in the way she went about things, a lightness of touch that made her the envy of her family and her peers too. Her older sister, Brigitte, Miss ordinary, whose principal achievement had been to bake a cheese cake that won her the Pastry Chef of the Year award, is now earning six figures as CEO of a solar panel company. Her younger sister, Bonny, whom she mercilessly beat at tennis, swimming, chess, gin rummy and pool, is now a high-powered nurse practitioner who has four daughters. And both her brothers are family men, well-established pillars of the community, one a lawyer, the other a civil servant. “Ah well, the front runners don’t always make it through,” her Uncle Phil had ruefully remarked at Thanksgiving one year.
Eleven pm. Scott comes back. A working dinner with the quantity surveyors apparently. He is designing a shiny new shopping center, the centerpiece of which is a biomorphic, whale-fin shaped, glass atrium – nothing short of revolutionary he repeatedly says. He chats away, impervious to, or willfully blocking out, Annie’s ambivalence. Perkins, the Canadian, has inherited thirty grand from his granny and is toying with the idea of buying a plot of land in Spain. Stefan, the German, is planning a surprise trip to Disney Land in Paris for his wife, to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. Oh, by the way, the pomegranate and bris salad at tonight’s restaurant was heavenly, we simply have to try it, he will take us there. In his enthusiasm not to miss telling us any of his news, he loses concentration and backhands his whisky glass on to the floor, where it shatters into pieces. Even Annie laughs at that. She then goes to bed and Scott and I have a nightcap together. He’s a youthful looking thirty-nine. He has a square, largely wrinkle-free face, neatly trimmed ginger hair and long sideburns. He wears dark brown, thick-rimmed, glasses. “How are you Gina?”, he asks earnestly? “Good thanks, happy to be here and Annie seems pleased to have me,” I reply. “Yes, I’ve certainly noticed that her mood seems brighter. Have you two discussed any possible activities? It would be priceless if we could find something to occupy her.” His eyes widen in expectation. , “So, I’ve suggested doing some art together. She’s thinking about it.” “Ooh good. That would be awesome. Nice idea, Gina. By the way, you must take this opportunity to explore the city now and again. There are some great boat trips. And don’t forget all those dark, hunky waiters. You can tell me if they live up to their reputation.” He grins boyishly. I laugh out loud and he joins in. This man doesn’t have a bad bone in his body, I think to myself. One of those people about whom you never hear a bad word spoken. And he doesn’t play away from home either. Well, I of course don’t know that for sure but unless I’m a terrible judge of character, Scott Sanderson is a one-woman man. Nobody I’ve ever met is as devoted to his life partner as Scott is to Annie. I don’t care if Miss California turns up on his doorstep begging for it, I’d put money on Scott keeping it in his trousers. He must have crossed paths with women on the make, especially here, where he’s a novelty. Admirable in today’s world. I, for one, have nothing but respect for such strength of character.
What I know for a fact is that Annie has only ever known two other men – Joe Lennard, a hundred-meter sprinter, in her final year at High School, and a Swiss hippy during her Indian odyssey. It is fair to say that life has not gone according to plan for my dear friend since she bailed out of University in the second year, at twenty-two, laid low by depression. It had been hoped that the year out to go travelling would be a panacea but the putative liberation of backpacking in India had proved, for her, elusive. She had found it very hard to loosen up and it had not even ended well with the Swiss guy. Back on home soil, the nagging doubts about her sanity soon returned. Back into intensive therapy and searching for the right serotonin balancing drugs.
Annie had run away once before. Her IVF treatment had failed for the second time and it had seemed to her that there was no longer anything that bound her and Scott together. There was no doubt that they had grown apart. The things they had loved doing together in the early years- the outdoor pursuits, camping and hiking and jogging-no longer held any appeal for her. And he did not share her love of art and theater. There was some crossover, movies and chess for example, but that could only ever take you so far. But she just could not find a new path. She was not robust enough to forge ahead on her own, to create a new reality. So she went back after six months. I remember her confiding in me that she doubted whether he would take her back. “Maybe it would be better if he decided to draw a line under the whole thing,” she said. But he made it easy for her. No need for her to eat humble pie, no huge post-mortem. He just loved her unconditionally and could not, would not, look beyond her. About the kids issue, he was ready to discuss it whenever she felt ready. Adoption, surrogacy, whatever she wanted. She said ok, when she was ready. But she confessed to me that, deep down, she doubted she would ever be ready.
Two months after my arrival, Scott’s mother, Alice, is visiting. As dusk draws in, we’re all having drinks in the rooftop bar, on the twenty-eight floor of the Excelsior Hotel. A window on a sparkling, twinkling world. Huge expanse of water to the left, densely packed urban sprawl to the right. Blinking lights atop skyscrapers, reds, blues and purples particularly evident. Lower down, an army of dancing cranes, urban sentinels at the hub of a concrete siege. Still lower, flashing neon, smoke funneling out of chimneys and vents and yellow taxi upon yellow taxi, weaving this way and that, individually random and yet, appearing to be collectively synchronized, rather like ants in formation. On the huge flat roof of the building opposite, a hundred-odd meters below, we can see hundreds of riot police in buses reinforced with metal grills. Some of the men, all dressed in black, are laying out their tools on the concrete as they ready themselves for the night’s activities. There’s constant movement as the buses move out in single file. Small groups stand around smoking. One of them is holding his arms out in front of his face, palms facing inwards, a Muslim prayer ritual.
While we wait for the drinks to arrive, Alice, digs into her handbag. She fiddles around for a few minutes before pulling out a comb. She begins combing her fine black hair in a rather absent-minded, metronomic fashion. She hums happily as she does so. Annie and Scott look at each other and she gestures towards the flat roof. He looks down and then back at her, shrugging his shoulders and mouthing to her, “I know, I know, ok?”
Annie cannot contain herself. “Did you read about that cop killer who shot an unarmed protester? Acquitted by a court on the grounds that he had killed a person by, I think I’ve got this right, unintentionally exceeding the limits of self-defense due to excusable circumstances. Totalitarian double-speak I call it. Sick joke,” .
“Darling, I don’t think mom is too keen to hear about all the political stuff tonight, can’t we just keep it nice and light?,” Scott asks in an eminently reasonable tone of voice, all the while glaring at her.
“Alright dear, we can pretend everything is rosy in the garden, for your mum’s sake. Sorry Alice. Tell me about those turquoise earrings you bought this afternoon,” Annie says in an unnecessarily loud voice. Alice stops combing momentarily and says, “Now now little ones. Let’s all play happy families,” before resuming her task. “Ah yes, my earrings,” she continues. “They are delightful. Do you remember the ones I inherited from gran, they are quite similar.”
Scott would not look Alice in the eye after that. Alice tells me later that she felt a pang of guilt but when she caught sight of flares in the distance and water cannons spewing out their chemical mixture, it quickly evaporated. Annie became politicized about ten years ago. She had been deeply affected by the police killing of a sixteen-year old black youth whom she had met through her voluntary work at a community centre – he had been in her painting class. After the incident she did not leave the house for a month and subsequently spent an unhealthy amount of time in the company of the boy’s grieving family. Her father was a community activist, a bleeding-heart liberal, and Annie was too. But she was too thin-skinned to cope with it all and Scott and her family had made her withdraw. It was the sense of helplessness that she had found so hard to deal with. I’ve always tried to comfort her and counsel against burdening herself with all the injustice that goes on in the world. But she’s as fragile as can be and I’ve never made much progress. Of all the places on the planet for her to be, at this particular moment in time, I can’t think of many worse than here. I’ll have to try and wrap her in cotton wool because she’s a bit of a loose cannon. I definitely don’t want her out there on the streets swallowing mouthfuls of tear gas.
The four of us spend a few days on the coast and, unexpectedly, it turns out to be the best few days Scott and Annie have had since arriving in the country eighteen months earlier. The weather is perfect. The pair of them jog on the beach every morning before breakfast and go waterskiing. We all go shopping together and then to a karaoke bar. Annie is the star turn and her rendition of Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” has everyone in raptures. Scott says it reminds him of their early years together, when both families gathered at the beach every summer. Annie was still well and loved to frolic in the sea with him and her brothers. He would never forget the time she emerged from the waves naked, did some impromptu handstands and ran off giggling. It was her spontaneity that he had loved most of all. But the carefree Annie had existed for all too brief a period.
Within a month the uprising has been crushed. Early for a meeting with our mutual friend, Jolanda, we meander around town. She says it’s the first time in months she’s ventured further than her local mini market. Some of the detritus of battle is still visible; broken windows, an explosion of new graffiti, burned-out vehicles - the carcass of a police car on which a red hammer and sickle had been spray-painted catches the eye - fire scarred buildings and random objects strewn about the place; odd shoes, torn T-shirts, bricks. People, look weary and brow-beaten under the baking sun. Only those in black uniform are energized and unburdened. They stroll around in small groups, laughing and singing, emboldened by their successes on the front line and their huge salary hikes. The new breed of uniformed flâneurs is how they strike me. We’ve both seen riot police in action before but we are in agreement that what marks these ones out is the sheer relish with which they go about their work.
As we stand peering into a shop window, we feel someone’s gaze boring into the back of us. We look around and find a young guy, bearded studenty type, smiling at us. Well, more at Annie than me, but that pretty much goes without saying. She smiles back. He takes her smile as an invitation to engage us in conversation.
“Window shopping?” he asks “Just killing a few minutes” says Annie. “Ah, ok then. You live here? I think I have seen you at one art gallery. Is possible?” He yanks down on his wispy goatee. I notice the boy’s smooth, feminine hands. “Could be. But not recently. The last thing I saw was the …..”
I stand back a few paces and let them chat. Something inside me stirs. This kid reminds me of a boy I had a fling with in my first year at Uni. I was a lot older. He was a virgin and worshipped the ground I walked on. We’d lounge around in his room for hours, give each other massages, burn incense, get high and read poetry. I broke his heart, the poor thing. Had no choice really, couldn’t just spend the whole three years with him. That would have been too easy. Besides, he needed to learn how to love and be hurt and come back stronger.
Jolanda arrives. She looks flushed and her face is puffy. For the first time, she’s starting to show her age. The three of us make small talk for a couple of minutes and then the young guy leaves. “Who was that guy?” asks Jolanda. “Nobody. He just started speaking to me,” Annie replies. “He was quite dishy,” says Jolanda. “If any of us was into cradle snatching, he would definitely be an option.”. We all giggle. “Where did he say he worked?” I ask Annie. “Dunno, couldn’t hear him properly” she says. That’s funny, I think to myself, I could have sworn I overheard him saying he worked at a gallery, something like Smart or Salt.
We drink coffee and Jolanda expands on her plans to do a screenwriting course in either Dublin or Venice. I wonder if Annie has it in her to cheat on Scott. I’ve always seriously doubted it but her easy interaction with that boy gets me thinking. Annie’s always maintained that casual sex could never provide any real relief from her deeper malaise. But I wonder if that’s true. Maybe a gentle, understanding companion, who could make her laugh, would be just the tonic. Someone innocent, untainted by years of emotional strife. Umm, interesting thought. Not that I would ever actively encourage her to move in such a direction.
“What’s up Perkins? Did you blow your inheritance money yet?” Scott enquires. They are having lunch in the staff canteen. He is having his usual - a tuna salad sandwich and two yoghurts. Perkins is sinking his molars into a kebab. “Not yet buddy. Still toying with it. Brenda says maybe we should use it to build a loft extension on our place in Vancouver. Decisions buddy. Bloody decisions, eh. Drives you crazy.” Scott nods in agreement. He had fretted ad infinitum about the decision to jack in his old job, where he had been for eight years, and come here. Annie had accused him of only thinking about himself, a charge he defended vigorously, and then this god-awful rebellion had broken out. Who could have predicted that? The job was working out ok but with her in the state she was in…. he did not feel like he was on firm ground. “You got that right Perkins. But you know what, bringing Gina over might just be the smartest move I’ve made in a while. She knows Annie so well and, if anyone can encourage her to be positive and rediscover some motivation, it’s her. She’s already suggested they do some art together. Plus, we had an excellent few days on the coast. It’s years since I saw Annie have fun like that.” “Really, I’m so pleased to hear that buddy. Fingers crossed that it keeps moving in the right direction,” says Perkins. “Yeh, fingers and toes and I’ll even kneel down and face Mecca if needs be.” Scott pats his friend on the back. “By the way, Perkins, did you see that one of those commies painted a hammer and sickle on the side wall of this building? Jesus, they better not overthrow the government while we’re in town, right?” “Relax dude, it’s under control. They got enough hardware in this country to take on the Red Army. They don’t fuck around.”
I call Scott from the hospital. “She’s under sedation and on a drip. She had a panic attack, she was hyperventilating. It’s nothing serious. We were in an art gallery and it all kicked off outside. Some of the protestors ran into the gallery to get away from the cops and two cops followed them in and tear-gassed the place. We were all choking.” “Fuck me Gina. I was relying on you to keep her out of trouble. Instead, you go straight to the front line.” “Scott, the gallery was bang in the center of town, tourists everywhere, we couldn’t have predicted it. And you know it’s all been quiet lately. This was the first outbreak in ages and, sods law, we’re right there. As you know, I’m trying to awaken her interest in art.” “Yeh, I know, I know, it’s not your fault Gina. Just when it looked like things were improving, this happens. Another unwelcome curveball heading my way.” “Relax, ok. They want to keep her in tonight for observation. I’ll stay with her and we’ll see you tomorrow.” I obviously don’t tell Scott that we were invited to the gallery by the bearded student who we met two weeks ago. Turns out his dad is the owner. He’s got another gallery on the coast and has invited us to a prestigious opening in a month’s time.
That night, Scott dreamt they were honeymooning on Hawaii and Annie was serenading him in a green grass skirt and a woven white feather headdress. He beckoned her to come to him but she remained tantalizingly out of reach. She laughed out loud and began to spin round and round like a whirling dervish. She made herself so dizzy that she fell over. He went to her but she had fallen asleep. He tried to shake her awake but to no avail. He read for hours, Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather,” and then fell asleep himself. When he awoke, he saw the grass skirt and the headdress on the ground but she was nowhere to be seen.
The sound of gunfire and police sirens wake him up. He’s alone again and his heart sinks. The sense of foreboding won’t go away. Stay calm Scotty, he tells himself. Now is the time to hold your nerve. This will all pass and we’ll be back in San Francisco before we know it.
I can see a potentially serious problem developing. Annie is becoming increasingly embittered by the squashing of the uprising. The other day, when we were on our way to the art shop, we saw a young guy being chased, and then caught, by a cop. It happened less than twenty meters from where we were standing. The cop had the guy up against a wall and was grabbing him around the neck. He then handcuffed him and made him sit on the ground. Annie suddenly yelled out “Fuck it, fuck it, let him go, bastards.” The cop turned towards us and fixed us with a steely look. “Shut up Annie, shut up, do you want to get us arrested?” I said as I pulled her away from the scene. I just about managed to get her around a corner but she almost broke free. “What is it that you want?” I asked her. “I want to confront one of those fascists and ask him how he can sleep at night. I want to tell him the world is watching.” “Annie, what good would that do? They aren’t going to see reason, are they? Why not wait until you’re back home and then join a campaign? On their soil, it won’t end well for you.” “Oh fuck them, I’m not scared Gina, they need to be told that what they’re doing is a disgrace.” In the end, I just gave up. If I can only get her to block all this crap out and focus on doing some art. At least, we’ve bought some materials. Persuading her to pick up a paint brush is the next step. I don’t want to alarm Scott so I haven’t told him about the incident. She’s abrasive with him anyway so it’s better for me to act as a shield between them. The truth is, she shouldn’t really be here. It’s clear to me that she ought to return right away to Francisco. That course of action would obviously render my role here redundant but that’s not significant. Annie’s needs and wellbeing are more important than mine. I admit that I’m relishing my task here and I still believe I can get through to Annie and persuade her to put herself first and start to nourish her own soul. Contemplating failure is never easy, is it? Once I raise the issue with Scott, it’s tantamount to an admission of failure on my part. I have some serious thinking to do.
The rap on the door is full of intent. Coupled with the fact that it’s only 8.15 on a Saturday morning. Whatever it is, it can’t be good, I think, as I clamber out of bed, throw on my garish, mustard colored bath robe and head for the front door. Scott, in his pyjamas, beats me to it. “You are Scott Sanderson, yes?” One of the cops is thickset and has a pointy chin, the other is much younger and slimmer. His black hair is greased down and he barely looks old enough to shave. “Yes I am.” “Your wife is Anne Sanderson, yes?” said the older one. “Yes,” Scott replied. “What’s happened? Wait, where is she? I thought she was here.” He turns around and sees me. “Gina, where is she?” I shrug my shoulders. There’s a look of horror on his face. “Your wife is in the police station Mr Scott. She threw rock at one policeman and he break his arm.” “What the fuck! You’ve got to be kidding me.” Scott stumbles back and slumps down into an armchair. “Oh my God, Oh my God,” he repeats. “You must to get one lawyer,” says the young one.
They give Scott some papers which he signs for. They actually appear quite concerned about him. The big one pats him on the shoulder and says “Don’t worry Mr Scott. You American. Maybe we give you back the wife and you give us back our peoples.” Scott is beside himself. “Tell me this isn’t real. I don’t understand a damn thing. I just woke up and assumed she was having breakfast.” “The cops woke me up Scott. She must have gone for a walk. Oh shit.” He puts his head in his hands and starts to cry. I put my arm around him and try to reassure him that everything will be alright. “You’ll get a hotshot lawyer and we can always claim mitigating circumstances due to her mental health.” Turns out Perkins knows a good lawyer. He can take it on but it’s the weekend and he may not be able to arrange bail until Monday or Tuesday. They go to see Annie. When he gets back, he says she admits doing it. She could not sleep and went for a late-night walk. Inevitably, she got caught up in a protest. She joined in when the police started tear gassing everyone. She says she threw a small stone and there’s no way it could have broken the cop’s arm. The lawyer says he will ask for the medical evidence.
That night, Scott and I order pizza and drink red wine. The lawyer is quietly confident that they will get away with a heavy fine. His mood lifts. We get quite drunk. I ask him if he remembers the last time we got drunk together. He’s quite taken aback. “Drunk? You and me? Really? I don’t think we’ve been drunk together before.” “Yes, we have been. It was when Annie was in India. We met at Josh Peterson’s twenty-fifth birthday party. It was like four in the morning and you, me and Josh were the only people left in his house. We did some weed and played charades.” “Jesus Christ, Gina, how do you remember shit like that? “What can I say? Remembering is what I’m good at. I write a lot of stuff down you see. It’s quite useful.” “No shit, I never knew that about you. You are certainly a dark horse, Gina Garrett. Anyway, thanks for being there for us. You’re a rock. I don’t blame you for this. I should have seen it coming. She’s always going on about this fucking rebellion. It’s like she was determined to get involved in it herself.” “Scott, you mustn’t blame yourself. We’ve all tried hard with Annie, to get her to heal and harness all the talent she has.” Scott’s lost in thought. I pour another glass of wine. I’ve really dressed up for our cosy tête-à tête and my cleavage is on full display. Life for me is good right now and I intend to milk it for all it’s worth.”
Harvey Burgess is a British writer. He is the author of two books: "Political Asylum From The Inside" (non-fiction) Worldview Publications, Oxford, UK, 2000; and : "Tucson Tales, Bohemians, Bolsheviks and Border Rats." (Fiction) Sunstone Press, New Mexico, USA, 2013. His latest book, about the leading reggae group in the city of Tucson, Arizona, entitled: "Reggae Night - Neon Prophet at The Chicago Bar" is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2020.