He will be killed and she will be killed and everyone except for me will be killed as a Muslim, as an alien, as an intellectual, as a homosexual. And I stroke my chin and chuckle in agreement with whatever crude thing is under discussion to cover a sudden watering of my eyes, because shit, they’ve just caught her with a bomb, the policemen say.
They march her in handcuffs up to the table where the commander and I are playing checkers, my silver coins against his gold (plastic is too precious). I am unable to look at her and she does nothing to acknowledge me, whether from contempt or because she wants me to live, I don’t know.
The commander prescribes his usual panacea: one bullet. They take her away. I pray to the ground in which I somehow still believe: open under my chair, swallow me whole. But it doesn’t. The moment passes. I relieve the commander of another gold coin.