Yellow Mama Archives II

Henry Simpson

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Flynn, James
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Glass, Donald
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Price, Liberty
Proctor, M. E.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Stanley, Barbara
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Taylor, Richard Allen
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

Kim Philby

by Henry Simpson


Superior Court Judge Patrick William O’Neill jogged down Painted Cave Road with his beloved German Shepherd Kim Philby trotting along beside. The narrow road serpentined, challenging drivers and terrifying their hapless passengers with its quick, tight turns and steep drop-offs. Great granite slabs thrust up its edges and hung down slopes toward Santa Barbara. Manzanita, Sagebrush, Sage, Chamise, Bay Laurel, and the occasional Yucca and Prickly Pear cactus dotted the arid landscape.

O’Neill stopped a mile down at his usual turnaround spot, jogged in place, and sat on a boulder. Kim Philby was panting but eager as always, his eyes alert, prick ears up. O’Neill reached down, scratched his head, and a fingertip sensed the irregularity of a fresh hard tick in his coarse, brown coat. He grasped it between index finger and thumb, twisted it out, set it on a rock, and crushed it with his foot, leaving behind a dime-sized red splotch.

 Kim Philby gazed worshipfully at O’Neill, a lean and fit man of sixty, clean-shaven with silvery white hair and clear blue eyes.

The view was fine, O’Neill thought. Friends, coworkers, and relatives had all told him it was nuts to live up here, what with wildfires, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and coyotes, but they were wrong. All of Santa Barbara lay below, as far south as Ventura and, beyond the curving coastline, the pellucid blue Pacific Ocean and upstart Channel Islands. It was an awesome place to live despite the hazards.

He checked his watch. They would be along soon now, and it was time to head back up the hill.

He stood and stretched.

Kim Philby’s ears perked and his eyes blazed.

O’Neill took a few deep breaths and then continued his jog, slowly at first, and then quickening his rhythmic pace, heading toward the house on the summit where he lived with his wife and Kim Philby. A house with, among other things, a tripod-mounted Celestron 1000-millimeter telescope good for observing wildlife and surveying the neighborhood. From his hilltop aerie, he had spotted incipient fires, burglaries in progress, and, most recently, a possible clandestine drug laboratory; the next hour would reveal the nature of his latest prey.

 Sun rising above his right shoulder, O’Neill jogged steadily uphill, retracing his earlier downhill course. Kim Philby floated effortlessly beside him, perfectly in tune, breathing with clocklike cadence. The road pitch leveled out as they approached O’Neill’s midpoint landmark, a row of four rural mailboxes atop a stone wall at roadside surrounded by a patch of white-flowering Toyon.

Powerful diesels whined in the distance as they climbed their way up the curlicue road, steadily getting closer. That would be them, O’Neill thought. Right on time.

He jogged past the mailboxes, stopped a hundred feet beyond, turned for a look back, and waited.

And waited. It was like marking time before the first pitch in a championship baseball game. He felt a tinge of pleasure, as if placing a bet, for he had something riding on the outcome of this particular game. His bet was that the Sheriff’s party would find some incriminating prize inside that little house beside the road. If they did, he’d win; if not, he’d lose face.

Flashing lights appeared a quarter mile away as they rounded a bend and came out onto the straights. The lights grew brighter and their conveyances larger, and soon he could make out raiding party elements.

Two sheriff’s cruisers led the way, followed by two white vans and two trailing cruisers. The caravan grew louder and larger, sunlight glinting off windshields and polished chrome, and then gradually slowed until all its vehicles came to a stop on the road alongside the little house. Loud, idling diesels and crackling sheriff’s radios pestered the otherwise sweet and silent mountaintop air.

A few seconds passed, and then six helmeted men in black uniforms carrying M4 carbines disembarked from the front van. A second group left the rear van. Four men in the assault team slung a steel battering ram between them, double-timed to the porch, and swung the ram into the front door, which collapsed inward in two strokes.

Soon O’Neill would know the answer to his question.



Originally published by the author in Poydras Review, 5-7-18.


Henry Simpson is the author of several novels, short stories, and works of nonfiction on technical subjects. He studied engineering, did graduate work in English and Psychology, and holds a PhD from UC Santa Barbara. He lives in Monterey, California.

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