first publ: jan. 20, 2014
Chet shoved the key into the lock of his Brooklyn apartment and twisted.
In arid Mauritania, Hissein fell writhing against the lead goat, holding his belly from the pain of the parasite in his stomach.
As Chet dropped down the stairs two at a time toward the sidewalk, the tailings dam of Cerro Negro, Petorca, in Chile, began to bulge outward from age and the press of water behind it.
When Chet reached the curb, he glanced at his watch.
Dolores, in the mountain town of Sarang Sarang in Indonesia, died of old age at 53.
He chose the ignition key from his ring.
A village school closed its doors in Belen de Andamarca, Bolivia, for lack of funds.
He threw his briefcase onto the backseat and dropped into the driver’s seat.
Bored policemen in the Jiaodoku neighborhood of Beijing watched as householders stowed their remaining possessions onto a wagon to lead them away from their home to a resettlement camp in the next district; Jiang Zu dropped her bundle of bedding in the dusty street.
Chet started the Prius and pulled quickly into an opening in traffic.
The elevator down into the coal mine stopped suddenly with a lurch that twisted Sergei Tuleev’s stomach and all the lights went out.
Chet made it to Broad Street in two minutes, while Madyawako fanned the air above the unaffected flies on the face of her little Bakili.
As he topped off the gas tank at the Shell station, the ooze from the leaking coupling in the oil pipeline that ran down the center of Kpor in Ogoniland, Nigeria, pooled at a low spot in the street.
He got into the line of cars at the front of Middle school slightly before the bulk of the other parents.
In Gedo, Somalia, Sufyaan waited in the long line for the scoop of rice that was to last his family for two days.
Chet inched the car forward and saw Amy emerge from one of the six big doors of the School.
A Yanomami hunter came out of the jungle near the Rio Orinoco after two days with a single skinny monkey over his shoulder to feed his large family.
Amy opened the door and jumped in.
A magnitude 4.1 earthquake collapsed the concrete and stone buildings in Kermam, Iran, and a related landslide swept away the highway that connected to Bam.
His eyes were full of Amy’s face and his heart with love of his daughter. “Hi, Ames.”
With a satisfied sigh, a doctor in Chechnya administered BCG vaccinations to the last child in line at the clinic.
“Dad, a bunch of us want to go to the mall.”
The cost of flour inflated to record levels in Egypt so Hassan left home to find work in Europe.
“We’ll see,” Chet said, with a smile, immediately starting to plan the quickest route.
A dolphin was still-born in the Gulf near Galveston.