The Algerian Exchange


© Sue Vincent

Twenty-five year old Eileen Kateb could only hear the sound of her own breathing and her soft footfalls as she slowly made her way between the columns of the Cathedral de Sacre Coeur, which had recently been converted to a library. Her grandparents had quietly immigrated to England during the heyday of French rule over Algeria, so she could have blended in among the millions of Muslim women in the coastal city of Oran who looked just like her. However, she chose to dress as a European instead of clothing herself in a hijab, because, after all, Houari Boumédiène and his thugs knew she was here. That was the point.

“You can stop right there, Miss.” The man stepped out from behind one of the pillars to her left about ten meters ahead. He was average height, medium complexion, dark hair slicked back with Brylcreem, neatly trimmed mustache, pressed tan suit. He looked like an Arabic Peter Sellers. “I’m surprised the Americans didn’t send a male representative.”

“Actually, I’m British, and James Bond was too busy killing SPECTRE agents and seducing women in the Bahamas to accept this assignment, or perhaps you haven’t seen that movie.”

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Promotional image for Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 chart “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”

“You keep saying you’ve got something for me.”

Aiming down from the observation deck of the tower, Charles slowly pulled the trigger of the Remington and the first student dropped on the quad. He was surprised that all of the other people down there didn’t panic and run. Maybe if he killed enough people the monster in his head would stop making him do this.

“You’ve been messin’ where you shouldn’t have been a messin’”

The second person went down. Most people don’t think actual rifle shots sound real. They think it’s firecrackers going off, or maybe a car backfiring, or construction equipment operating.

His Timex said about four minutes had passed since he started shooting when he saw the first cop.

“one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”

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