There wasn’t much of a fuss. They came by and took my neighbor in. His name was Abdul, he was from Afghanistan, used to tell me stories about fighting the Soviets. One time he was drunk and showed me some bullet scars. We were talking soccer another time and he said he watched the 1986 World Cup from a Tehran jail, or maybe it was 1990. I never did find out what he was in for. But anyway, they came for him today. I was outside getting the mail and I saw him walking out with the men. Two of them, and two more waiting by the van. Abdul’s wife Courtney stood on the porch. He’s got a kid, Elijah, used to play with my kids but not so much anymore. They have different interests now. For a minute I thought they were going to take Elijah too, but I guess he was still too young.
I thought about saying something, but at the same time, what do you really know? I mean, people say things. It’s all Wikileaks or the Russians or somebody, I mean who knows. It’s all just a temporary thing. I like Abdul. He’s kind of an asshole sometimes—he got a dog one time and then gave it back to the shelter when it wasn’t housebroken soon enough—but he’s a good neighbor. When his dad died we brought him food, and when our younger children were born he and Courtney brought over some really nice baby outfits. A good guy. Always on me to hire his crew to paint my house.
Funny thing is Abdul was good friends with the one serious conspiracy kook on the block, Larry. Larry’s got an arsenal in his basement. He and Abdul used to get together and talk guns. Larry’s always all taxes this and immigrants that, loud talk radio coming from his garage all the time like he really needs us to know how he feels about things. Ever notice nobody listens to that stuff at a low volume? But he liked Abdul. Just goes to show you.
They let Abdul finish his cigarette. He stood at the end of his driveway regarding the butt. The four men looked everywhere but at Courtney. “Abdul, hey, man,” I called across the street when he caught my eye.
“Alex, my friend,” he said. “Everything okay.” They ducked his head into the van. I almost said something. But what would it have been? I mean, we don’t really know what’s happening.