Editor’s Note: “Butchery,” from the 15th edition of the Delmarva Review, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in fiction.
Author’s Note: “When you’re a scientist doing fieldwork in another part of the world, uncertainty comes with the territory. That includes the other scientists on your team. How will they act, especially if things go wrong? I set out intending to tell the tale of a field season soured by recklessness. Instead, “Butchery” reveals how misplaced priorities can destroy careers . . . and even cost lives.”
AT DINNER, Sondersohn told Kate they’d reach the site by late afternoon. But when they arrived at the river crossing the next day around noon, the ferry was missing.
The two-track road they’d rattled down all morning wound back through tan scrub into haze. On the bank, four men squatted beneath the weak shade of an acacia. The only sounds were buzzing flies and the wet chewing of the men’s jaws as they worked khat. Decorative scars covered their bare chests, their split earlobes hung pendulously. Each wore an AK-47 slung over his shoulder. A pungent odor filled Kate’s nostrils. Goat.
Birhanu, their driver and guide, wrinkled his nose. “Mursi.”
“The stalwart guardians of our ferry,” quipped Sondersohn.
Birhanu stepped toward the acacia. Three dogs crouched beside the men: tough little things, by the look of them, covered in bites and scratches, missing chunks of ear and, in one of them, an eye. They growled but, undaunted, Birhanu began speaking to the men in a language that sounded nothing like Amharic.
That’s why he’s here, Kate thought. Why she was here, well . . . once they reached the site, that’s when her skills would come into play. But it was taking a long time. Too long, Sondersohn said, and she agreed. Nearly two weeks in-country so far. First Addis: an interminable blizzard of Amharic negotiations, with many piles of birr exchanging hands. Then five dawn-to-dusk days lurching along progressively worsening roads in their field vehicle, a white Toyota SUV overloaded with field tools, camp supplies, and extra fuel and water. At the site, she’d be in her element. Until then, she was just one more piece of cargo.
Birhanu turned to Sondersohn. “Doctor, the Mursi say we go across. The toll is 250 birr for each, 2,000 for the truck.”
Sondersohn wiped sweat from his eyes. Stocky and pale, with short straight hair and a pudgy boyish face, he gave off more the impression of an overgrown schoolboy than of a star scholar of ancient human prehistory. “Where is the ferry? Ask them where’s Bulaba? He’s the one we negotiated with last year.”
Birhanu turned back to the Mursi. Sondersohn gave Kate a Can you believe this shit? look. She’s seen it often since they met for the first time—she’d known him only by reputation and her adviser’s recommendation—in the Bole Airport.
As the two farenji, they were set apart. Alone together, Kate thought, like the book. The staring, the begging, the kids chanting “you, you, you” everywhere they went, only amplified the aloneness. So what happened at dinner last night — which really wasn’t much of anything, just a brush of the fingers — was about companionship, not anything more.
“Bulaba not here, they say,” Birhanu informed Sondersohn.
“Really?” Sondersohn glared. “Thanks for helping figure that out.”
Whereas Sondersohn treated Birhanu with absent condescension right from the beginning, Kate had wanted very much to like him. At first, she thought it would be easy. A compact man with wispy white hair and crooked teeth, he gave off a grandfatherly vibe. The slender National Tour Operators cap he wore made him resemble a train conductor, and she imagined him conducting them out to the site in an orderly yet caring manner.
Once they set off, however, he grated on her. He ignored Kate completely and spoke to Sondersohn only when necessary. This despite his excellent English and propensity to argue or negotiate with nearly everyone they came across. Vendors, government officials, police, managers of the restaurants and hotels they stopped at on the road; Birhanu spoke with them all, sometimes at great length, but to what end she never knew. The conversations went untranslated and unexplained.
And, for a so-called tour operator, he wasn’t much of a guide. As they drove through the lush, hilly countryside— nothing like the arid scrub she’d seen in photos of the site or here by the ferry crossing—hours would pass without his saying a word. One afternoon in the midst of his silence, he’d made a sudden remark: it sounded like a swear word. She spent the rest of the day wondering if something had upset him. But that evening, when curiosity got the best of her and she asked Sondersohn, he explained with a laugh that Birhanu was merely pointing out a bustard near the road.
“Tell them,” Sondersohn said, “there’s nothing more to talk about until we know the whereabouts of the ferry.” Reluctantly, Birhanu reengaged the Mursi, who—faced with the prospect of their leaving without parting with any money—suddenly had a lot to say.
They had spent last night in Jinka, the nearest town of any consequence. After dinner, the inevitable beg wot the only choice at the hotel’s dingy restaurant, Sondersohn ordered another beer. Heading to her room to swat cockroaches off the walls and lament the lack of running water was distinctly unappealing, so Kate joined him.
When the Bedeles arrived, they clinked them together. “May be our last cold beers for a while. About time, huh?” Then he added, eyes gleaming, “Afar, 1993, 2.2 million years old.”
This was a reference to why they were here, to the scientific record they seemed poised to break. During last season’s excavations, Sondersohn unearthed ibex bones with suspicious cut marks. The site was old, older than 2.2 million years. So were the bones. He’d recognized the possible significance but wisely left them in situ when the rains drove him back to Addis. He needed an expert evaluation, and through a convoluted set of referrals, here sat Kate, a mere doctoral student yet one of the world’s top experts on an incredibly obscure, hyperspecialized topic that almost no one cared about. Except for the few who cared passionately.
“The Leakeys,” she replied. Their hands crept closer to one another across the battered tabletop. “The cover of Science magazine.”
If this worked out, it would be a find of staggering significance. She imagined a Science cover with their names on it, rather than the Leakeys. The media appearances. The professional society accolades. Even … tenure. It would make her career. Their fingers brushed.
If it worked out. Kate slowly withdrew her hand.
Now she glanced sidelong at Sondersohn, intently watching Birhanu parlay with the Mursi though he couldn’t understand any more of the back-and-forth than she could.
That brief touch last night, she hoped they were both clear on what it was … and wasn’t.
She turned her gaze across the coffee-colored river. A glint on the opposite bank drew her eye. Not one but several large pieces of sun-roasted metal protruded from the tan mud. A termite mound rose, like a stalagmite, from the dust-caked edge of one.
She pointed and Sondersohn scowled. “Birhanu!”
“Doctor, the Mursi say they will give us a bargain. Only 1,000 for the truck.”
Sondersohn blinked. “Have you been haggling over price? The ferry’s on the other side of the river. It’s in pieces. Let’s go.” Flushed, he strode toward the Toyota. Kate followed.
At the truck, Sondersohn turned back toward the Mursi and unleashed a torrent of verbal abuse. She’d seen flashes of his temper before, but nothing like this.
Though they couldn’t understand the words, it was surely clear to the Mursi that their payday had evaporated. The dogs growled again, baring their fangs. One of the men, broad chested and muscular, rose to his feet and shoved Birhanu, who’d been standing mutely during Sondersohn’s tirade. He went sprawling, his NTO cap landing beside him in the dust. The other Mursi men stood up. One slipped the rifle off his shoulder.
“Erik!” Kate yelled. She stepped forward, but Sondersohn stopped her with a hand.
Birhanu retrieved his cap, then inched back and rose awkwardly to his feet. He was covered in dust. The Mursi shouted what Kate was sure were taunts.
“I said, let’s go,” Sondersohn chided him.
Teeth gritted, Birhanu limped to the driver’s side.
THE ONLY OPTION now was to cross the river at the nearest bridge and approach the site from the north. This was a terrible option. They’d need to drive most of the way back to Addis to reach the bridge and would then face a longer journey on the western side of the river. Just how long they didn’t know, as even Birhanu had never been that way before. Every day on the road ate into their precious time at the site.
The next morning, back in Jinka, Birhanu took the Toyota to be serviced, leaving Kate and Sondersohn with some hours to kill. The center of the town was a large grassy field that served as both an airstrip and grazing for goats. Corrugated metal-roofed shacks — homes and shops in an undifferentiated jumble — lined the dusty road bordering the field. Bright-colored Amharic signage everywhere advertised she had no idea what. Diesel fuel and woodsmoke ripened the air as they strolled past wandering chickens and goats, women hauling wood and water, and kids who called to them. Sondersohn kept up a low-level chatter, complaining about the ferry, the Mursi, and the added time. Kate, overwhelmed by the surroundings, listened with half an ear.
At a small roadside market, old ladies sat beside pyramids of produce: tomatoes and mangos, potatoes and garlic. A stocky man managed piles of brightly colored spices and a rickety balance. Heaping bags of brown grain, which Kate surmised was teff, rested next to stacks of spongy, freshly made injera discs. There were jerry cans and water jugs. Washbasins and buckets. Candy and tinned fish. Cheap digital watches and tired clothes of the sort that, in the US, would remain unsold at the end of a big Sunday tag sale.
Many of the vendors called out aggressively. Sondersohn ignored them while Kate muttered, “Just looking,” unsure they could even understand. An adolescent offered to be their guide for the day. “No,” Sondersohn told him firmly, while Kate— remembering Sondersohn’s outburst the previous day—pressed a few consolatory birr into his hand. A small girl tried to take her hand, and Kate looked around for the parents. They’d quickly gained a following: an uncomfortably large group of children, toddlers to teenagers, dressed in dirty t-shirts and tribal cloth. One little one slowly hobbled after them on a crutch.
She glanced at them uneasily, and Sondersohn said, “They’re just bored.” He pointed to a nearby storefront. “Here’s something you’ll like. Come on.”
The metallic scent of blood hit her nostrils upon stepping inside. Flies buzzed through the fetid air. As her eyes adjusted to the dimness, she made out four goat carcasses, skinless and splayed open, hanging from hooks. Two men worked at a table, taking a carcass apart with cleavers. One was short and stout, the other tall and slender, both wearing dirty aprons stained with gore. The men looked up at the two strangers but then went back to work.
While not every chop or slice would leave marks on a goat’s skeleton, many would. Kate watched with practiced eyes, having witnessed the butchery of numerous animals. Were she to look at the bones under a microscope, she could reconstruct the angle, force, even the order of every strike. She’d know they were using metal tools, not stone. Most importantly, she’d know that the animal was butchered by human beings: not hunted by lions, scavenged by jackals, or merely scraped up by postmortem wind, sun, and dust.
To do this work was painstaking, subtle, and anything but glamorous. Great for chatting about at cocktail parties or, more often in Kate’s case, house parties. Maybe not so great for making a living . . . at least not so far, though her fortunes might be about to change.
What had drawn her to study such a crazy topic? More than the thrill of investigation and discovery, more than the physics or the forensics, what drew her in most was its intimacy. With the butchered animal but, much more, with the people who did the butchering. To reconstruct their actions was in a small way to know their thoughts. This brief communion—a half-step into impossibly remote minds from vastly different cultures and times—this was the draw for her.
The men finished with the carcass. One called out, and a moment later a boy led a live goat into the shed. Kate appreciated this, too: the connection between a living organism, its death, and our sustenance. How far removed from the typical modern American experience: the supermarket’s sterile meat department, where a single drop of blood—or, more precisely, myoglobin—staining the pristine white packaging was cause for squeamishness.
The boy pushed the goat down onto the earthen floor. It chewed placidly as the taller man sharpened the straight-edged knife he’d use to kill it. What a mercy: the beast’s ignorance of death. She envied it.
“Tonight’s wot at the hotel,” Sondersohn whispered, and she suppressed a chuckle.
The other man, the stout one, grabbed the goat, which bleated and pulled away, finally realizing something was wrong. The stout butcher slipped, landing on the goat. Something snapped. The goat began thrashing, and the man with the knife yelled angrily.
The stout man strained to hold the goat as the one with the knife went for its throat with the blade, missing again as the goat bleated and writhed. Kate recoiled. Finally, after too many seconds, the blade struck home, and the goat’s bleating ceased.
“Interesting method,” observed Sondersohn. “About on par for efficiency with everything else in this country.”
Revolted, Kate left the shack. She squinted in the sunlight, drinking in the open air and the scents of the market.
Most of their youthful following had dispersed, but the boy with the crutch lingered. No more than six years old, his underfed body was draped in rags. One of his legs was stunted and twisted at an impossible angle, while on the side of his head was a large patch of gnarled skin. Not a birth defect, she noted analytically, but likely the result of an accident of some kind.
He shambled toward her: eyes large and clear and a smile full of perfect little white teeth. “Farenji,” he said, but in an affectionate murmur rather than the yelling she was becoming accustomed to. Never one for maternal instincts—career-killers those—she nonetheless resisted an urge to embrace him.
But who was she to feel that? His crutch was well-crafted, pieces of dark weathered wood smoothly jointed together. Effort and skill had gone into its making. Who was she to surmise he wasn’t already deeply loved?
Sondersohn wandered out, his expression sheepish. She hoped he realized his quip had irked her. “Birhanu might be back by now,” he said, checking his watch. He glanced at the boy. “No. Go away.”
Kate removed a stack of small bills from the pocket where she kept her birr.
“Don’t,” Sondersohn advised. “He’ll just . . .”
She handed the boy the whole wad, not sure how much it was but hoping it was enough to make a difference.
SONDERSOHN wore the growing strain everywhere . . . his face, body movements, and words. After six more days of travel, they were all grubby—Kate genuinely looked forward to a bath in the muddy, crocodile-infested river when they finally reached the site—but Sondersohn was as rough as the road. Each day that passed, the tension grew. There it was, in his red-rimmed eyes, the set of his jaw, the sweat on his brow. The clock was his enemy. Precious days they’d been relying upon for fieldwork were spent instead on the road. And each day they lost now meant another for the return journey before the rains got too severe.
They shook and rocked at a snail’s pace along unmaintained roads through hilly forest, misty in the mornings and hazy in the afternoons. Tightly encircled by trees, their track wound up and down, with occasional vistas when they reached the tops of rises.
Birhanu drove all day, day after day, and he did not complain, though surely this was not what he’d signed up for. Sondersohn nonetheless began arguing with him about where they were and how far they still had to go. Sometime today, Sondersohn insisted, they should reach the hilltop village of Maji and then tomorrow begin their descent into the dry river valley where, somewhere, is their site.
They must be getting close, though it didn’t feel like it to Kate.
There was nowhere to pull off the narrow track, so at lunchtime, Birhanu simply stopped the Toyota, and they opened cans of sardines, ham, and fruit salad. Not exactly appetizing, but nothing about sitting in the truck made Kate hungry. Besides, this was the kind of food they’d subsist on at the site. She’d best get used to it.
They leaned against the vehicle, eating in silence. Still chewing, Sondersohn wandered off down the road, restless, scouting. Maji might be just over the next rise. Uneasy, Kate glanced at Birhanu, but he, as usual, ignored her.
The afternoon passed, and at dusk they were still nowhere. Once the sun sunk behind the hills, it grew dimmer by the minute. Birhanu turned on the headlights.
At the top of the next rise was a small clearing where they caught a glimpse of the surrounding landscape. No light anywhere.
“We stop here,” Birhanu said. “Maji tomorrow.”
“No, Birhanu, Maji tonight,” Sondersohn replied.
“Erik,” Kate said, “We’re obviously not close. And it is getting hard to see.” The dark out here was not the dark of home. It was something to be reckoned with.
Birhanu added, “This is a good place to camp.”
“You said we’d reach Maji today,” Sondersohn pressed. Kate bit her tongue at this falsehood. Birhanu said nothing. “You’re our expert guide. So tell us: how far are we from Maji, and how much longer will it take to get there?”
“I do not know, Doctor.”
“Erik, come on,” Kate chided.
“We are not stopping here,” Sondersohn insisted. “We’re going to Maji, even if it takes all night.”
“But it is dangerous!” Birhanu exclaimed. He seemed truly panicked, though Kate had observed that he also sometimes spoke to them with elevated emotions, as though to toddlers, to get his point across. “We must stop.”
“We are not stopping here,” Sondersohn repeated with finality, then settled back in his seat.
Birhanu, agitated, shifted into gear. They rolled forward barely a hundred feet before the truck lurched to the left. A pothole Birhanu hadn’t seen. He stopped again. “Doctor, I must insist. We will start at dawn and . . .”
“Keep driving!” Sondersohn snarled, suddenly so fierce that, like his tantrum at the ferry crossing, it shocked Kate.
Birhanu sat rigid. Then, hands shaking, he turned off the motor.
All three of them silently absorbed his act of rebellion before Sondersohn stiffly declared, “Fine then. I’ll drive.”
“No, Doctor, that is not allowable . . .”
Kate interjected. “I agree with Birhanu. Let’s stop. We can’t see a thing out here. And we could all use some rest.”
Sondersohn swiveled to face her and raised his voice. “For all we know, Maji could be over the next hill. I thought this work was important to you.”
Kate, growing angry herself, didn’t bother keeping the acid out of her reply. “I want to get there in one piece. That’s why we should stop.”
Ignoring that, Sondersohn turned back to Birhanu. “Either you drive, or I do.”
The two of them—silhouettes to Kate—faced each other down. Then Birhanu surprised her by handing Sondersohn the keys. Silently, they got out and switched seats. Once in the driver’s seat, Sondersohn shifted into gear, and the truck jerked forward. Birhanu slumped in the passenger seat. Kate checked her seat belt.
It was slow going. The road wound back and forth in steep switchbacks as they descended, ascended, then down and up again. Deep ruts gouged the road where rainwater had run down the hilltops across the track. Kate could easily have kept pace with the truck if she got out and walked alongside it. She wished she could, despite the darkness and what might be lurking in the gloom in this strange place.
Fieldwork often lent itself to “we’ll laugh about it later” situations: annoying, scary, or downright awful circumstances that didn’t seem so bad later, back in the lab, or merely after a hot shower and a cold beer. But something about the atmosphere in the truck made her doubt this was one of those times.
An hour passed, then two. They drove through deep forest, nearly pitch black in the night, with vegetation pressing up against the road as they slowly climbed. They each craned forward to see what was ahead. Even as she anxiously scanned the road, Kate tried distracting herself by thinking about the procedure she would follow at the site.
The first step would be to locate and uncover the bones. Measure and photograph in situ. Then extract, take additional measurements, and begin analysis of the cut marks. There was only so much she could do under field conditions. The bones would be brought back to a lab where she could investigate them under microscopy. Ideally with a scanning electron microscope, but that wouldn’t be possible in Addis, and taking the bones out of the country was not allowed. Anticipating this, she’d brought special materials to make high-quality molds and casts that would capture the surface of the bones in exquisite detail. The final analysis would be completed at home.
How long would the field part take? A week? Two? Surely, even with all the delays, they’d have that amount of time.
At the top of the rise, Birhanu sprang to life. “Light!”
The forest melted away. More lights appeared as the road leveled and smoothened. Sondersohn accelerated.
“Maji,” he announced triumphantly, and sped up even more. The vegetation whizzed by, dark on dark.
Kate barely registered the shadow in the road before something heavy thudded off the bumper. Sondersohn cursed, and they rolled to a stop. “Fuck. A goat. I must have hit a goat.”
Kate flashed back to the time, when she was a teenager, that her dad hit a deer. They’d gone to pick up dinner and were cruising down a mostly residential street in Stamford. “My God!” he’d exclaimed, “Katie, are you all right?” He pulled over and they’d both stepped out to examine the damage on the hood.
Now suddenly there were lights and noises behind them. A dozen people stood in the road, with torches and lanterns, crowded around something. Then a woman screamed.
Kate held her breath. Birhanu emitted an anguished cry.
The Toyota began rolling forward. “The truck seems fine, thank god.” Sondersohn accelerated.
“No, no, no,” Birhanu said. “We must stop. We must go back.”
“Are you crazy? They’ll kill us.”
Kate told herself there were many unknowns, maybe it wasn’t so bad. Though with that wailing, how could it not be? “We have to stop.”
“We cannot leave here,” Birhanu urged.
Even in the darkness, Kate thought she could discern how tightly Sondersohn gripped the steering wheel.
They drove into the center of the village. After all the build- up, Maji was nothing — a few square shacks around a small square — and shortly they were on its far side, among scattered huts, the dark forest looming ahead. The road descended, gravelly and rutted, the grade even steeper than on the way up. Sondersohn was forced to slow the truck to a crawl.
Kate sat transfixed by the darkness before them, the road revealed by the headlights a few feet at a time. The child must be dead or maimed for life like the boy in Jinka.
With effort, she shifted her gaze from the road to Sondersohn’s vague outline peering over the steering wheel. Like a rupture in her brain, the implications of what he’d done exploded and cascaded on and on: the long shadow stretching far out into their futures. She slumped back into her seat.
The hours passed as the truck wound its way down and down. The adrenaline shot from Maji dissipated. Despite what had happened and the dangers of the dark road, Kate struggled to remain awake. None of the stories about fieldwork adventures, not those told in the safe cradle of the lab nor by beer-sozzled colleagues at conferences, were like this.
Her head pitched forward, a big bump jarring her awake. The truck stopped.
“Fuck,” said Sondersohn. The headlights revealed a dry channel across the road, two feet deep or more. He pounded his fist on the steering wheel. “Fuck!”
After a moment, Birhanu spoke up. “I will get us across.”
“You will?” Sondersohn asked, as surprised as Kate. “You can?”
Birhanu got out and walked to the front of the truck. He gestured in displeasure at what he saw there. The collision must have done damage, left signs. Or worse. Kate shuddered.
Birhanu contemplated the channel. Sondersohn slid over as Birhanu got into the driver’s seat. He put the truck in gear and navigated to a spot on the edge of the road where the banks were gentler. The down and up were jarring, but they were past the channel in less than a minute. The dark and rough road continued on, and without a word, Birhanu drove on.
A short time later, he stopped again. A large tree lay across the road. It would take many hours to clear, if they could clear it at all.
Defeated, Sondersohn suggested, “Let’s sleep for a few hours until it gets light.”
Without a word, Birhanu turned off the headlights and shut the engine.
Sondersohn’s soft snoring began almost immediately.
Kate’s stomach gurgled. They hadn’t eaten since lunch the previous day. The forest rustled. Her mind churned. She dreaded tomorrow. And yet, within moments, she drifted off.
A LOUD KNOCK rocketed her out of sleep. Six men—clad in grubby t-shirts and checkered wraps, their faces etched with anger—stood in the dim dawn light. It was obvious what had woken her: the butt of a rifle whacked forcefully on the truck’s hood.
The oldest of the men began yelling in Amharic, punctuating his points by hammering his rifle on Birhanu’s door. Birhanu answered, voice wavering. The man repeated the same words over and over; Birhanu shook his head and gestured toward Sondersohn. Six angry pairs of eyes moved to Sondersohn, then back to Birhanu. Sondersohn sat quietly in his seat, staring straight ahead. Kate wanted to hope this wasn’t what it looked like, that these were only road bandits, and this was just a robbery.
The men’s leader grunted. Birhanu, sobbing and shaking his head, began furiously rolling up his window. The man yanked the door open, and the others rushed in, prying Birhanu’s hands off the steering wheel and pulled him out of the vehicle.
“Say something!” Kate urged Sondersohn.
They hauled Birhanu, howling, to the front of the vehicle. The leader pointed at the hood—to the sign of impact—and slapped his face hard.
“Wait!” Kate’s arm shook as she removed the pile of birr from her pocket and opened her door. “It wasn’t him! It wasn’t him!” Two of the men raised their rifles at her, the black holes of the barrels like the blank eye sockets of skulls. She held out the birr. “Take our money,” she said. “Take all of it. We’re so sorry. It wasn’t him!”
The rest of the men began dragging Birhanu into the forest. He yelled and writhed, but his struggles barely slowed their progress.
“No!” Tears began streaming down Kate’s face. “It was him!” She screamed it, pointing at Sondersohn, who remained quiet and motionless in his seat. “It was him!”
Birhanu’s cries grew fainter as they pulled him into the brush. Deep in the surrounding woods, a bird called. The two remaining men kept their guns trained on Kate. It grew brighter each second, and as it did, she thought she could discern more of the emotion in their eyes. Rage. Wonder. Fear. Determination.
Or maybe she had no idea what was in their heads.
A single loud pop echoed off the hillside, then died away. One of the men grabbed the money out of her hand, then they wordlessly disappeared into the forest. She heaved huge loud sobs, sounding to her own ears too much like the woman on the road the night before.
In the gathering light of the new day, she saw the road behind them: a series of long switchbacks on the hillside. They’d covered very little distance last night. No wonder the men so easily caught up.
Scraping and clinking nearby drew her attention. Filthy and unshaven, sweat stains blooming under his armpits, Sondersohn rummaged through the back of the Toyota like some kind of scavenging beast. He pulled out a small ax and dropped it on the ground. Then he grabbed cans of ham and fruit salad and began prying them open.
“We need to eat, then clear this tree.”
“What about Birhanu?” she asked. “We can’t leave him here.”
He answered without a word, pointing past the downed tree in the direction of the site, the work, the discovery. Their future, her future. Then he climbed into the driver’s seat, where Birhanu sat moments before, to eat.
“Come up front.” Sondersohn spoke through a mouthful of food, not turning around.
Instead, she began walking away, uphill, back up the road the way they’d come.
Josh Trapani is a scientist turned policy wonk who writes fiction and humor. He is senior editor at Issues in Science and Technology. Josh’s work has appeared in The Writing Disorder, The Del Sol Review, The Big Jewel, and other venues. He’s reviewed books for the Washington Independent Review of Books and peer-reviewed journals, including the publication Science. For more information see: www.linkedin.com/in/joshtrapani
Delmarva Review is a national literary review with strong local roots. Over its 15-year history, it has published original prose and poetry from 490 authors in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and 16 foreign countries. Forty-six percent are from the Chesapeake and Delmarva region. Financial support includes tax-deductible contributions and a public grant from Talbot Arts with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. The review is available worldwide in print and digital editions from Amazon.com and other major online booksellers, as well as regional specialty bookstores. Website: www.DelmarvaReview.org
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