combat writing badge C O M B A T
the Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones
ISSN 1542-1546 Volume 03 Number 01 Winter ©Jan 2005

Remembrance in a Farmhouse
excerpted from The Butcher and the Calf

          The hunt for the terrorist, Saladin, and his maimed hostage, baseball star Dave Tyler, would be suspended until dawn’s first light. Meantime the unit could pass the last few hours of darkness here at the abandoned Rhett’s Farm in relative comfort, for it was warm now in the farmhouse, the fire blazing high and bright with the wood Kyle had thrown on. Equipment in, they had stacked the Colt carbines in a corner and moved table and barrels nearer the hearth. They sat silently, except for Lawson on first watch, finishing the cheese and nuts and passing round the flask of brandy. The candle of the hurricane lamp made shadows on the wall. Sitting beside him, their prisoner, the Chechen girl, Nadya, watched Philip Lucas as he ate. He had taken off his parka and she saw the bone handle of his bowie knife, the big wood butt of the Browning automatic in its tan holster, and the white of his undershirt peering over the top of his brown flannel. Now she edged close so that their legs were touching. He felt a strange sudden thrill, said nothing and went on with his food.

          “If Mata Hari gets any closer you’ll be Siamese twins,” Kyle warned. He went to the guns and removed the clips from the carbines. Narrow-eyed, he watched disgustedly as the girl nibbled a piece of cheese. “Look how she stuffs herself,” he said. “What a pig. You should puke,” he told her.

          “You begrudge a little stale food?” Philip asked him. “Let her eat.”

          “Oui, let her eat it all, Kyle,” Jean-Pierre, the old Algerian, said. “If you take a burst from a Kalashnikov it’s best if your belly is empty.”

          “Don’t joke that way,” Kyle said. “It’s bad luck.” He came back and sat, then pulled the bullets from the clips and lined them up on the table. Taking out a clove of garlic he began carefully rubbing it over each one.

          “What’re you doing?” Philip asked.

          “Preparing for her terrorist friends. If a round wounds them, with this garlic on they’ll croak of blood poisoning.”

          “Fascist butcher,” the girl said. “You think of everything, huh?”

          “I try to,” Kyle told her.

          “Garlic is an old legionnaire’s trick,” Jean-Pierre said.

          “Were you in the Foreign Legion?” Kyle asked.

          “No. But I knew men who were.”

          “Fascist butchers,” the girl said. “All of you.”

          Philip turned to her. “Butchers? We found an Arab corpse today, mutilated Algerian style. Suppose you tell me about it?”

          Eyes downcast, the girl muttered, “It must be Jalil. I feared he was dead. But he disputed Saladin publicly. One doesn’t cross Saladin.”

          “You did.”

          “That was different.”


          “Never mind,” she said, sadly.

          “Algeria,” Kyle said, reinserting the bullets into the clips. “Aren’t you from Algeria, Phil?”

          “Yes. From Algiers.”

          “I’ve only been to the Middle East the one time,” Kyle said. “When we trained Saudi troops. I’ll never forget the morning of the heads. We had this field fortification. Early one morning we saw in front of our camp the severed heads of government troops spindled on spikes. Al Qaeda was trying to scare us.”

          Philip said to the girl, “And you call us fascists? Your friends are the excrement of History.”

          “They had expert teachers,” Jean-Pierre said. “Saladin the bloodthirsty one thinks he invented it, but Islamic terror as the West now knows it was born in Algeria.”

          “From the looks of that corpse,” Kyle said, “Algeria has come here to Pennsylvania. What happened there?”

          “A savagery beyond comprehension,” Jean-Pierre said to him.

          “Tell me about it,” Kyle said eagerly. “I’m not sleepy.”

          Jean-Pierre grunted. “It’s too long a story.”

          “Come on, old timer,” Kyle urged. “Tell it to me. We’ve got the rest of the night.”

          The Algerian glanced at Philip. “Very well,” he said. “Perhaps it’s fitting, here on the trail of a Muslim terrorist.” He took out his pipe, filled the bowl, tamped down the tobacco and lit it with a steel lighter. “Life is strange. I always wanted to be a teacher. Now I’m an old man and know little but war, I have no wife, no children, no country.” He caught himself and smiled. “I gave my youth to the French army, yet defended nothing of value, for nothing remained of honor or nobility or even decency.” He leaned forward and spoke with deliberation.

          “The war really began in Philippeville, a big city on the Mediterranean. I knew little then of the F.L.N. and its fiendish plan to create a Muslim Algeria. Now, it was clear that the insurgents could never win a pitched battle with the French. So their strategy was to wage a barbaric war of atrocity, assassination of officials, civilian murder. This, the F.L.N. believed, would cause a French repression fueling Muslim hatred and swelling F.L.N. ranks. The terror in all its fullness began at Philippeville.

          “It was a stifling hot Sunday when news came over the radio. I was with Ben Lucas, Philip’s father, at his house. The children were in the yard and Simone Charnet had just come in.”

          “My mother,” Philip said. “He introduced my parents to each other.”

          “How was that?” Kyle asked.

          “At one time Jean-Pierre and my mother were together. But she found my father.”

          “Your mother was the gentlest, most beautiful woman I ever knew,” Jean-Pierre said, seeing her now in his mind’s eye dancing slowly and close with him near the orchestra at the Hotel St. George, auburn-haired, petite, tan-skinned and breath-taking in her gold evening gown. He shook his head. “But when she met Ben, well, with this face what hope did I have? What was I saying?”

          “The radio,” Kyle said. “Phil’s mother came in.”

          “Yes. She arrived as the bulletin came over. We listened in horror, and when it was done Simone Charnet was crying. She had people in Philippeville.

          “Bands of shrieking Muslims had surged into the streets firebombing buildings and dragging Westerners from cars and offices and hacking them to pieces with sickles. The worst outrages were saved for the suburb of El-Halia. Coming in secret while the men were at work, F.L.N. fellaghas cut the telephone wires and passed from house to house slaughtering the Europeans. It was two hours before an army detachment reached the village. What they saw froze their hearts. Pied noir women had had their throats slit and their private parts cut out. Infants had had their brains bashed out against walls. Pregnant women had been disemboweled and their unborn babies mutilated and stuffed back in their open wombs. When it was over, not a dog nor cat, nor even a chicken, was left alive in the town.

          “The reaction of the soldiers was swift. They closed the city and roamed Philippeville in wolf packs, massacring Arabs of all ages until night fell echoing the pop of automatic weapons and the screams of the dying. The F.L.N. strategy paid immediate dividends.”

          “How monstrous!” the girl exclaimed. “Don’t tell any more, it’s too awful.”

          “What’s wrong?” Philip snapped. “Got a bellyache? Don’t you want to learn about your predecessors? Go on,” he nodded to Jean-Pierre.

          “Monstrous, oui,” the Algerian said. “Remember that this bestiality took place not in the Stone Age but in our time. And as it is occurring this very moment.” He paused.

          “The human soul is regressing at a frightening speed.”

          “All right,” Kyle said impatiently. “You heard the news. Then what?”

          “I went to my old friend Colonel Marcel Bigeard and enlisted in his 3rd Regiment of Colonial Parachutists. Then I kissed the Lucases goodbye and went off with Bigeard’s lizards to scout in the bled.”

          “Guerrilla country,” Philip explained. “The hard country.”

          “Hard and dangerous,” Jean-Pierre said. “We hunted terrorists from the Aures to the Plateau du Tudemait to the Tunisian border and back again, and in village after weeping village the tale was the same. The F.L.N. had come like a thief in the night, killing the leaders, kidnapping men for soldiers, and putting such a terror on all that no one dared give any information. I could not fault the villagers, unlike some who abused them as cowards. They knew we could not protect every mechta and that the fellaghas might return with a vengeance. So we accomplished little.”

          “You’re too modest,” Philip told him. “The 3rd did plenty. Who knows what more you might’ve done had you not been ordered into dying Algiers?”

          Jean-Pierre groaned. “Ach, Algiers! There was a snake pit of terror and treachery. A Greek tragedy was building that killed the Lucases and drove me into exile.”

          “Can I ask how they died, Phil?” Kyle said softly.

          Before Philip answered he heard Jean-Pierre saying, “It was sunrise when the column of vehicles transporting the 10th Para Division rumbled into Algiers. Some citizens were already in the street and they watched us gloomily, knowing la guerre was coming to their front doors. As usual, the 3rd R.P.C. spearheaded the advance, and I was in the back of the fifth truck in the column beside Jean La Coste, a pied noir out of Oran and another of Bigeard’s scouts, and I said to him, ‘Jean-Baptiste, what do you think they want of us here?’ Spitting tobacco juice into the road, he said, ‘Jean-Pierre, hear me. If the local authorities are yelping for Massu,’ General Jacques Massu commanding our division, ‘then the F.L.N., the dung, is in the Governor-General’s office tossing a party for the diplomatic corps. All of us will soon be pining for the bled.’

          “Later that morning the Intelligence sections were called to Massu’s headquarters. When we went in he was seated behind a desk covered with dossiers. A hero of World War Two and Indochina, he was stocky with a thin black mustache. That day he wore a red beret and a dress uniform. We stood anxiously as Massu studied us and then came forward.

          “‘Men of the 3rd R.P.C.,’ he said. ‘I, your General, having assumed authority in the city, am its military governor. Under the guise of freedom fighters Islamic cutthroats have unleashed savage attacks upon the innocent people of Algiers. I am here as their protector and here I shall remain until this F.L.N. is shattered by the hammer of French power.’

          “He went on to tell how, after the guillotining of two terrorists in Barberousse prison, F.L.N. death squads were taking reprisals, assassinating Westerners and bombing so lethally that the city’s life had ground to a halt. He told also how European mobs, in ratonnade or backlash, would swarm the streets and murder Muslims on sight. The cercle infernale was indeed complete. Since the police could not cope with a rebellion let alone civil war, the 10th Paras were to be the restorers of order using any and all means. I thought this phrase ‘any and all means’ to be a figure of speech. But I learned its literalness in the cellars of the city.

          “Ending his summary, Massu went back to his dossiers. Snatching one up he returned and, to my surprise, called my name.

          “‘Darneau,’ he said, reading in the dossier. ‘Step forward.’

          “I complied, rigid at attention.

          “‘Colonel Bigeard tells me you are a fine soldier with much skill at the unearthing of information,’ Massu said. ‘Is this true?’

          “‘Oui, Mon General!’ I said. ‘I have skill.’

          “‘That is well,’ he said quietly. ‘You will need all of it. Brutal work lies ahead. The 3rd R.P.C. is assigned the Casbah, where we believe bomb factories are located and a writhing network of saboteurs. Find me these factories and ferret out the saboteurs. Bring them here in irons.’ He scribbled out an order granting me authority to act in his name.”

          “Did you find them?” Kyle asked. “Did you satisfy the old warhorse?”

          “Therein hangs the tale,” Jean-Pierre said. “Listen. Since the 3rd R.P.C. had the Casbah, the main Arab section, smelling always of saffron oil and charcoal and garlic and perfume, composed of rundown apartments, bazaars, cafés, whorehouses and opium dens, with its serpentine alleys so narrow that a man can hop the rooftops, I sealed it off, sent in Arab undercover agents, and began house-to-house searches. And I considered something Massu had said: calling the terrorists a writhing network, implying tentacles. Pondering this, it seemed that the fastest way to free the city of the terror-tentacles was to destroy the monster’s brain. So I made the organigramme.

          “The organigramme was a pyramid drawn on a blackboard. As intelligence trickled in from interrogation centers a name would be written in on a level corresponding to the arrestee’s rank in the F.L.N. hierarchy. As the noose on the Casbah tightened, I made a big catch. A courier with bomb blueprints hidden in his robe was caught, and after a fierce interrogation I had an address, an ironic one: Number 5 Impasse de la Grenade. Also I had the name for the top of the pyramid: Yacef, Saadi Yacef. He was the mastermind, highly intelligent and slippery as an eel. Knowing every inch of the Casbah, he had made it a fortress and armory. He had had masons construct secret passages and tunnels that snaked from house to house, and clandestine arms caches, bomb factories, and way stations for his operatives, everything concealed behind a series of false walls.

          “All this we learned later. But finally possessing the name, we struck hard. I ordered a helicopter assault on Impasse de la Grenade, and caught them flatfooted. Though Yacef was not there, our haul was huge. We seized 200 bombs, 5,000 fulminate of mercury detonators, hundreds of grenade launchers, and bagged much of Yacef’s staff. By this blow he was badly damaged, and for a while the city had peace.”

          “For a little while,” Philip said. “A very little while.”

          “It was my fault,” Jean-Pierre nodded, sadly. “Instead of congratulating myself and getting drunk with Jean-Baptiste, I should have redoubled the hunt for Yacef. Burning for revenge, he soon launched a bombing offensive greater than before.”

          “Nobody in his right mind could blame you,” Philip said. “It wasn’t your fault what happened.”

          “No? Perhaps your mother would disagree.” The Algerian stared into the fire, and when he looked up his eyes were glistening. “Yacef murdered her,” he said. “He murdered them all. He blew them to pieces. All except little Philip who witnessed the horror.

          “With the damage to Yacef’s network,” he continued, “a false sense of security descended on Algiers. Ben Lucas went on holiday, and one hot night took his family to see an American film.”

          “The movie we were to see was Moby Dick,” Philip said. He drew a deep breath. “It was about six o’clock when we arrived and my mother gathered us together, my older brother, Nathan, and our little sister, Nicole, and me, and before the show we went to a restaurant and sat at a table in the back. It was a milk bar that served sandwiches and shakes, and it had thick glass windows looking out on the street. We hadn’t yet ordered when two pretty girls carrying beach bags sat down at a table next to us. I remember that they smiled at me. After we ordered I noticed that the girls were gone but that their bags were still on the floor. Then I forgot about it because our food came and we ate.

          “Throughout the meal Nathan kept pestering my father about whaling and about New Bedford, where my father was from. At that point I got up and ran outside and found a stick to use for a harpoon. As I stood turning it over in my hands, the bombs exploded. There was a gigantic bang and the ground flew out from under me.

          “There was smoke when I looked up and the glass window was gone and the restaurant was caved-in, and I could think of nothing but to go in to find my brother.”

          “You were in shock,” the girl said to him.

          “Something was wrong when I got up. My leg hurt and blood was coming through my pants and I saw a big shard of glass stuck in my thigh. People came running over screaming. Some men started climbing into the restaurant until some one yelled, ‘Don’t go in! There’s another bomb!’ The men jumped back but I went in and no one tried to stop me.

          “There were mangled bodies everywhere. Some were twitching. Blood covered everything. I waded through the wreckage toward the back. The first person I recognized was my mother. I knew her from her dress, white with red polka-dots. She was lying near my father. They were both dead and their limbs were gone. Nicole I never saw except for her shoes. She wore white patent leathers and I recognized them and the white anklets still attached to legs that had been cut off. Of my brother I saw nothing, only body parts about, hands, feet, legs, heads. And blood. Everywhere blood.

          “I could not think of anything but to go home. I hoped Jean-Pierre would come because I didn’t know how to find him. I started to run. Mobs were everywhere. The ratonnade was under way. The mobs were dragging out Muslims and beating and shooting them and burning them alive on the avenue. On one street I saw an old man lynched. To this day I can still hear him pleading in Arabic and see his white goatee and brown wrinkled face as they hoisted him, and the way his caftan blew in the wind. I ran home and stayed there.”

          “I found him shivering behind a sofa,” Jean-Pierre said. “He was afraid to come out even when he saw me. Next day we buried the family with all the others in a mass grave. I then entrusted Philip to a neighbor and threw my energy into hunting down Yacef, who bragged of the bombing. And I vowed before God and all His archangels never to rest until that head lay in a basket under the guillotine.”

          “That son-of-a-bitch bastard,” Kyle said. “You caught him, I hope?”

          “The net was closing fast,” Jean-Pierre said. “A paid informer identified Yacef’s hidey-hole: at 3 Rue Caton.

          “On this street, so narrow that the opposing housetops nearly touch, Yacef had his last refuge. In the dead of night I cordoned off the street and led a para detachment inside. The house was silent, apparently empty. But I knew the fox was there, somewhere. Jean-Baptiste La Coste commenced an examination of the walls until he found it: a cache. He turned, grinned at me and gave a thumb’s up. I was off in the hallway and I watched him take a rifle butt and hammer a hole in the hollow, false wall. And then a horrible thing happened. Before Jean-Baptiste saw it, a grenade came flying out of the hole and exploded, killing him instantly. As terrible a provocation as this was, I was determined to save Yacef for the supreme humiliation of the guillotine. So I spoke to him, making my voice as impassive as possible.

          “‘Yacef!’ I shouted into his hole, from a discreet distance. ‘Major Darneau here. The house is surrounded. Surrender now if you wish to live.’

          “No response from the cache.

          “‘Yacef! As one soldier to another I call on you to surrender!’ I shouted, thinking to appeal to his pride. ‘You are without hope.’

          “Still no response. But I could see smoke pouring from the hole and knew he was burning documents. Again I called. Again he refused to answer. So I took several grenades and hurled them against the floor so he could hear the thud but not see the grenades.

          “Then I said, ‘Yacef, listen. I have just placed dynamite beneath you. The timer is set for two minutes. If you do not surrender in five seconds I will light the fuse and blow up both you and this entire street. Five seconds to choose, mon ami.’

          “This brought him tumbling out. He was dressed as a woman, wig, lipstick, and all, choking from the smoke and cursing me for a murdering French lapdog with no regard for human life. And so there in the Rue Caton, Yacef’s career as a terrorist came to an ignominious end.”

          Kyle slapped the table and laughed with satisfaction. “You must’ve been elected mayor after that.”

          “Not quite. Shortly afterward I was driven out of the country.”


          “You see, what I’ve told you is part of the story. A large part, but maybe not the most important. I’ve told you of Philippeville and the bled and Yacef and the F.L.N. terror. Of the French counterterror I haven’t spoken. It was the worst because we were the defenders of humanity. But in the end we were as barbarous as the F.L.N. I mentioned interrogations. Do you think that suspects talked because they enjoyed conversation? It was la torture loosened their tongues. Muslim women were raped by whole squads, had high pressure hoses put in their rectums. Old men and boys had legs broken with crowbars. And beatings, with whips and mallets, without mercy. It was information we craved, intelligence, because the F.L.N. was a beast and because Yacef was a barbarian and because one wicked turn deserved another.

          “Not only did this sicken me, it proved an obstacle practically in that some prisoners gave false information to escape their tormentors. And many were innocent.”

          Kyle looked at him quizzically. “How can you feel guilty?” he asked. “So there were rapes and beatings. So what? What about Phil’s baby sister with her legs blown off? If the quickest way to find her murderer was to torture, then torture. What counts in war is to win. It’s no different here for us. Saladin’s kidnapped a famous baseball player. Our mission is to rescue him. If the quickest way to succeed is to torture,” he looked viciously at the girl, “then torture becomes moral. It can’t be wrong.”

          Jean-Pierre sighed. “Others now make similar arguments. But for me the question is, can good men defeat terrorism without becoming terrorists? Without damning their souls? You asked why I left the country. Torture is connected with the reason. Listen to this. While the Battle of Algiers raged, a secret brotherhood of French officers dedicated to Algerie Francaise came into existence, later known as the O.A.S. It resented a lack of support from weak, appeasing politicians in France. These officers swore that France would not be humiliated in Algeria as it had been in Indochina. Later, this clique staged over thirty assassination attempts on De Gaulle, hating him like Satan, for being the arch betrayer of the army. Of course, at this time few knew of the brotherhood. But while hunting Yacef I sensed a new mood. Then one night on a trip to an interrogation center, I ran afoul of the brotherhood.

          “This center was located in a café. There were armed guards at the door and they looked at me coldly before directing me to the wine cellar. Entering, I came into a wide, low, stone vault smelling of sour wine and stale sweat and fresh urine, and that housed the kegs and bottles. There was a table with an unshaded lamp on it and some chairs around the table. Four soldiers stood over a naked prisoner, a Muslim boy perhaps nineteen-years old. The boy was groggy and sitting tied in one of the chairs. His face was a bloody pulp, and I noticed an electrical device connected to his head and to his genitals.

          “‘Major Darneau, 3rd R.P.C. Intelligence,’ I announced. ‘Who is in charge here?’ One soldier, stripped to the waist, dark and burly with hair covering his back, turned and said in an annoyed tone, ‘Captain Jacques Dupin.’ This was like saying Captain John Smith. ‘What is it you want?’

          “‘A prisoner who should be here. One Ali Ben Yhedda. And when you speak to me, I am Major Darneau, Capitaine. Is that the man?’

          “‘Who knows?’ Dupin evaded. ‘Whoever he is I have business of my own with him. But let us learn his name. Let us ask it.’

          “‘What gadget do you have on him?’ I said.

          “They all laughed. ‘Why, the gegene,’ Dupin said. ‘Have you never seen it? Little electrodes, attached to a signals magneto. Would you like a demonstration?’

          “‘I am here for a prisoner, not a lesson in sadism.’ Now they all frowned. My uneasiness grew. ‘I will ask but once more,’ I said. ‘Is he Ben Yhedda?’

          “‘Are you Ben Yhedda?’ one soldier called to the prisoner. Before the prisoner answered, the soldier turned on the current.

          “It was as if a lightning bolt struck the boy. His hair stood straight up and his entire body shook in convulsed spasms. His eyes crossed then disappeared totally to leave only the whites, which turned a greenish-purple color. He was frothing at the mouth and straining to speak, but no words would come out. He just shook cruelly, and watching his agony I nearly wept with pity and terror.

          “‘Turn it off,’ I said. ‘That is enough.’

          “‘Wait,’ Dupin grinned. ‘Let him think things over. Do we want his name? He’ll tell us. Do we want his address? He’ll tell us. Do we want to know how many girls he’s diddled and how he satisfied each of them? He’ll tell us in minute detail. He’ll tell us anything. He’s a good fellow.’

          “‘Turn it off. I order you to turn it off.’

          “‘Listen, harki,’ Dupin said harshly, this being an insulting term for an Algerian fighting for France. ‘You have no authority here. Get out.’

          “By now I was nearly shaking. ‘I am your superior and gave you an order!’ I bellowed. Dupin paid no attention. I produced the order given me by Massu and thrust it in his face. ‘Look here. I speak with the authority of General Massu himself.’

          “‘Fuck Massu,’ one soldier growled. ‘And you with him.’

          “I reached for my pistol but two of them grabbed it away and pinned my arms. ‘I will clap you all in irons!’ I roared. Meanwhile the boy continued to shake.

          “Now Dupin came up and struck me across the face. ‘Careful, harki. Or you’ll taste the gegene yourself.’ Then with his eyes bulging, he screamed, ‘It’s treasonous Arab-nigger lovers like you who would destroy our civilization!’ and hit me hard with his fists. ‘But we honest patriots will defeat you. All you canaille will depart Algeria in suitcases or coffins. As refugees or corpses, Monsieur Major Darneau!’

          “‘Unless you kill me,’ I gasped, stupidly inviting death, ‘I will return and arrest you.’

          “‘You’ll not return,’ Dupin said. ‘Nor open your trap to any one. Because once we punish you, the gegene will seem like a boon. You will beg to die. Comprendre?’ He hit me several times more for good measure before they dragged me upstairs and dumped me in the street.

          “‘I’ll ship the lot of you to Devil’s Island!’ I yelled bloody-mouthed from the ground. But they laughed at me, for my threat was empty and they knew it.

          “Later when I returned to the caf‚ they were gone. The new guards on duty had seen nothing. Next morning I went to Massu. He was angered, but said there was little to be done at the moment. He would chastise these renegades when the time came. Meaning he had no political guidance. As for la torture, it was an unfortunate but necessary reaction to the F.L.N.’s terrorist war on civilians. He thanked me for the capture of Yacef, and dismissed me. The following week, two attempts on my life occurred. And pondering all I had witnessed, with a bottle of cognac and a pistol beside the bed and with one eye on the window, I decided to make a separate peace and go to America. But now I have an idea that I should go home. America has been good to me, yet the pain of exile increases with each passing winter. Well, Kyle, you asked what happened. Perhaps you were not so surprised after all.”

          Kyle shook his head thoughtfully. “The electrodes. The electrodes nauseate me. Thinking of electrodes on my balls makes my legs go all weak.”

          Just then the door of the farmhouse burst open with a gust of icy air, and Lawson, red-faced, stepped in.

          “Trouble,” he said. “We’re being watched.”

          Philip jumped up and grabbed his coat and a carbine. “From where?” he asked.

          “From the timberline. There’s three that I saw, with rifles. Maybe more.”

          “Did they see you?”

          “They must have, they’ve got field glasses.”

          “Come on,” Philip said to him urgently. “Kyle, with us. Jean, stay and watch Nadya.” He hurried out with Lawson.

          As Kyle pulled on his parka and walked to the door, he stopped suddenly and turned back to the Algerian. “Jean-Pierre,” he said. “Tell me something. What became of Yacef? Did he go to the guillotine?”

          Jean-Pierre smiled wryly. “Yacef became a grandiose political gesture. He was amnestied by that great patriot, Charles De Gaulle, and went on to make a propaganda film about his heroic exploits in the battle of Algiers. It is being shown today in the Muslim world on Al Jazeera network.”

          Kyle looked at him with raised eyebrows, started to speak then thought better of it, put up his hood and went on out.

by Christopher S. Baldwin
... who is a transportation director interested in history, with numerous cultural and political articles published in The American Spectator, National Review, Chronicles, The Leading Edge, and elsewhere. His short stories have appeared in literary magazines; and while Night of the Barbarian is making the rounds with publishing houses, this story is excerpted from his second novel, The Butcher and the Calf, a book in progress.