The Water Bearer

“Do you believe a place, a spot of earth can be bad? Like a person, I mean.”

This was two nights later, when I had awakened and felt the urgent need to pee and smoke, in that order. Pulling on a pair of pants and a t-shirt, I tip-toed outside and lit up.

Jim had been out there a while, and, again, he waited until I noticed him to call me over.

“Sure, I believe that,” I answered in surprise as he popped open a beer and handed it to me. It was this simple, neighborly act that surprised me, not the question.

I had been in such places--felt them--several times during my war years; in a back alley of a Paris slum, in a little clearing near the edge of the Ardennes, and again as I filed past the ruins of the Riechstag in Berlin, even after the Russians had systematically destroyed it.

There are places that, like canker sores or abscesses on the face of the earth, both breed and attract evil.





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