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For a moment Anthony Cardno can’t remember what country he’s in.

It isn’t his fault. Most of the countries in the Human Rights Watch unit he reports on are in upheaval, and nations in upheaval look alike. More, they feel alike.

The paper flags strung across the bar’s ceiling rustle in a stray gust of wind. Bars in the tropics and semitropics are often like this — half outdoors even when you’re sitting inside. The breeze kicks dust off the floor and catches it in the condensation on the bottle in front of him.

The foil label on the beer is how he remembers. Central America. The bigger of the two countries he’s special rapporteur to. The one he loves, despite his better judgment…

Short story in The Many Tortures of Anthony Cardno, 2014. Click to order.

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