She drops the newspaper on the table, announcing, “They’re still killing people in Syria, you know.  They say it’s over, but it’s not. Anyone can see that. It’s not.”

Although he has not read today’s newspaper, or even yesterday’s, he nods, “Yes, I know.”

“Every day, women, children are being destroyed, and nobody cares,” putting a firm fingertip on the newspaper. “Nobody.”

She on one side of the table, he on the other.

Before he has a chance to say more, or not, they hear a big screeching, and turn to look out the coffee shop window just in time to see two taxi drivers jump from their taxis, slamming doors, hands in the air, loudly arguing, half in the street, half on the sidewalk, followed by much finger pointing.

“Yes, I know,” he says.

“And you are ok with this?”

“No, I am not.  It’s terrible, a blight on humanity, but who am I, who . . . ”

A small quiet slips in as they sip their coffees and continue to watch the two red-faced taxi drivers, now belly to belly, argue, as a small crowd gathers.

“If only we could do something,” she says, staring out the window.


“Anything.  It’s so crazy, so wrong, so . . . many things, and we allow it to continue, to go on day after day. Evil. There’s no other word for it.”

More assorted sipping and nodding, as the argument on the street gets louder, now weaker, now louder again.

“What do we do? What to do, to say?”

Finally, their bigness and loudness all spent and with the small crowd having moved away, disinterested, the two drivers fling one final insult at one another, fingers in the air, before  returning to their taxis, and with more door slamming along with screeching tires, they pitch their taxis back into a traffic that is full of honking and dust.

“It’s terrible, that’s all I know.  Absolutely terrible.”

“Yes, no question. Terrible.”

Both of them looking one last time at where the two taxi drivers had stood, arguing, belly-to-belly and now only the same old busy street, before ordering two more café lattes.

Craig Loomis

For the last sixteen years Craig has been teaching English at the American University of Kuwait in Kuwait. He has had his short fiction published in such journals as The Iowa Review, The Colorado Review, The Prague Revue, Sukoon Magazine, The Maryland Review, The Louisville Review, Bazaar, The Rambler, The Los Angeles Review and others. In 2013 Syracuse University Press published his short story collection The Salmiya Collection: Stories of the Life and Times of Modern Day Kuwait.

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