Two Fictions


The Piro called their home Teypana, which may have been their word for “village flower,” but they are gone and they took the meanings of their words with them.

The Spaniards called the place Socorro, for the succor the Piro provided when the Spaniards, lost and looking for loot, came staggering up from the south out of the Jornada del Muerto. This was in the Year of their Lord 1598, in the early summer, which is the dry season in an already dry land.

Jornada del Muerto is Spanish for Long Day’s Journey Into Death. What the Teypana called it is unknown. There was no loot there. It is all white sands and black lava rocks and treeless red mountains.

The Spaniards established a mission at Socorro and continued north.

A century later they stopped by on their way back south. They were fleeing from people they had looted and they invited the Piro to come with them. A few came along and a few stayed behind.

The Apaches came after the Spaniards left. They took whatever they wanted, burned Teypana Socorro to the ground, and slaughtered all the Piro who had remained behind.

You’re expecting something to happen next, but it’s not going to. They’re all dead.


The candlestick on the window sill was burning. I had been sleeping. It was the middle of the night.

Christmas Eve, I left the candle burning on the window sill to light the way for the Christ-child.

The room had no smoke alarm.

A fire that starts in one corner can engulf a room in three minutes.  

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