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The Interpreter's Tale

Cover_2 The pickpockets of Barcelona are justly famed for their ability to extract whatever they want from anywhere; why are they suddenly stealing cheap cellphones in preference to laden purses? What does this have to do with Gaudi's fantastic unfinished cathedral, with mega-yachts, with the long-ago Caliphate, and modern-day terrorists? Interpol and their super-hacker consultant Dom Montain would like to know; so would the Romanian-born police interpreter Maria whose tale this is. If you read my novel hackoff.com, you already know Dom. Whether you read hackoff.com or not, I think you'll enjoy meeting Maria.

"The Interpreter's Tale" is a long short story. It was just released today as an Amazon Short.  You can buy it from Amazon for reading, printing, or downloading as a PDF for just 49 cents, the price of all Amazon Shorts.

Below is a teaser from the story.  However, I'm NOT planning to  run the whole thing as blog posts this time.  It'll cost you $.49 to find out how it ends.


Barcelona, not Madrid, was the leader’s first choice for an attack on Spain. It is well-known that he hates Barcelona, considers it the well-spring of Muslim humiliation which began with the Reconquista in 722AD, continued with the Crusades, and led to the current unsatisfactory state of the world.

Usually the leader’s first choice is what happens. But last time Allah did not will it so. The local cell in Barcelona was incompetent; that in Madrid excellent. As the leader feared, the Basques were first given credit for the attack; but this myth was soon dispelled. Spain, as he said it would, recognized their power and elected politicians committed to withdrawal from Iraq.

One does not question the decisions of the leader, even if one is respected enough to be in The Cave (The location of The Cave is always changing. Sometimes it in Afghanistan, sometimes in Pakistan; but it is always The Cave). If one is very respected, one may ask to be informed by what wisdom the leader has made his decision. One has asked to be enlightened of the wisdom by which a further attack on Spain is planned after the success of the operation in Madrid and the quick capitulation of the Spanish, Allah be praised.

“The Spanish are still infidels,” the leader reminds them. “They have troops in Afghanistan even though these troops are cowards who are prohibited by protocols from actually fighting. Their culture remains degenerate. They respect neither the Prophet nor those who worship him. There must be a clear lesson that partial capitulation will never be accepted nor will it be proof against our power.

“Allah willing,” he continues, “ a new time has come. The Caliphate will be restored. This time it will not succumb to the bickering and rivalries and impieties which led to the downfall of the old Caliphate. The world will be united in the one true faith as the Prophet tells us that it must be. It is our honor to be the means to this end. A new lesson is needed and, Allah willing, shall be delivered.” He turns in a way which indicates that this discussion is ended.

But then he turns back. “Certain mistakes were made in the last operation,” he says. “Our men were prepared to be martyrs but they did not have to be. Worse yet, some were captured before they could be martyred. Allah did not make them strong enough and the infidels learned much more than they should have. These mistakes must not be repeated.”

“What are those mistakes that we may avoid them in the next operation?”

“Those who have a need to know already do know. There is no need to spread the knowledge further.” He turns away again and this time the conversation really is over.


The rest of the story is here.


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Tom Evslin


Just heard from Amazon that they do intend to make Amazon Shorts available on Kindle. It's a no-brainer but they haven't given a date yet.

Terry Gold

Let's hope Amazon makes the short stories available on the Kindle soon. I guess you could republish it there, but it would seem like Amazon could do it for everyone with just a little work.

geo geller

i lived in spain for 8-mo in 1992 and would sit in the main squares of seville and granada in southern spain at the time i was a practicing painter/artist now i am a recovering artist... i would spend my days watching people especially the pickpockets do their pocket picking and well these guys had to be the worst imaginable pickpockets - they were so obvious and sloppy it was laughable they would even take stuff back to the vendors - so who knows why they were fishing for cell phones - oh i forgot, this is a a fictional story :-) - but the real story behind the story is that most of the guys who were pick pockets who usually work in 2's and the beggars were just after drug money - since spain has all sorts of food kitchens they weren't in need of money for food for the most part - in seville there was this incredible blind flamenco singer beggar whose singing would stop time - well there is a little window on my spanish pickpoket experience that i never told anybody - interesting story though - first have to go out and pickpocket 49 cents before i can get the rest of the story from amazon though - g-oh


Truly, a renaissance man. The geeky guys I know only know how to write code. They don't know how to put sentence structure together only computer components and of course how to program my car.

David St Lawrence


Amazon.com has still not figured out how to download The Interpreter's tale.
I will wait 24 hours and see if they have figured out how to do business.

One way or another, I will get a blog post out of it. :)

I enjoyed hackoff.com and am looking forward to seeing what Dom is up to this time.

He and the police Inspector who also was a game player were the only admirable characters in the hackoff story. Unfortunately, your story was dead on and reflected the unconvenient truths of the Internet bubble. There are a few good people, but there are more who have compromised their integrity.

I spent a few years at Taligent and Sun Micromicrosystems and finally was jettisoned with scraps of my sanity still intact. I managed to get a book out of the experience (see dangerquicksand.com) and have found a rural place to make a stand that has some of the qualities of Vermont.

I follow your blog with great interest. Keep up the good work.

David St Lawrence


A link got lost, sorry for double posting: http://quiston.tpsa.com/blog/index.php/archives/188


Good to hear that, Dom was the only character in "Hackoff.com" that I liked (a short writeup of "hackoff" in Polish),


I would love to read your new short story, but my husband will not let me buy anything online. Nothing! He is very old school and is sure my info and mastercard will be stolen and L will become a victim of indentity fraud. He is very security conscious.

Any chance that you will be book signing in Boston in the future? That way I can just buy the short story from a bricks and motar store.


Any plans for an audiobook?

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Now on Kindle!

hackoff.com: An historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble

CEO Tom Evslin's insider account of the Internet bubble and its aftermath. "This novel is a surveillance video of the seeds of the current economic collapse."

The Interpreter's Tale

Hacker Dom Montain is in Barcelona in Evslin's Kindle-edition long short story. Why? and why are the pickpockets stealing mobile phones?

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Recent Reads - Click title to order from Amazon


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