Tornin was pleased to be in a market with tables piled with green oranges and red pommerac. It was humid and overcast but not raining. So far, the only unusual thing about this morning was that, after being deposited right outside the market by a fellow squash player, he’d dropped his cell phone and it had gotten crushed underfoot. So no calls today. What a relief. Instead, he was free to listen to the vendors shouting with their island accents and hear colorful tropical birds congregating in nearby banana trees.

In truth, it was his own heel that had crushed the phone. Smeared it into the filthy water, splintered the glass screen and defiled its delicate circuits in an oily tropical puddle. Mostly that little appliance had only caused trouble.

Tornin smiled at the old men with their neat rows of brown sapodilla. He felt one-hundred-percent normal now although that morning a concierge named Natalia had said, Okay, you’re scaring me again. You’re scaring me.

The other time he’d scared her would have been that time in the parking lot. But that was a month ago or more. Long before he’d found the diamond. He’d found a diamond in a little crack along the hotel walkway. He knew for sure it was a real diamond because he could scratch glass with it. One day he would cash it in and none of this would matter. After finding the diamond everything was “Happy Happy”.

This morning though, he’d checked the hotel safe and his bag and the secret pocket in his shoe, and most everywhere else and was unable to locate the diamond. The last time he remembered seeing it was in the middle of the night when he’d been out by the pool. He’d been reclining on a pool chaise after the other hotel guests were asleep. Drying off in the warm air, post swim. He’d held up the big diamond to make it glint in the light.

And Marlies was gone. Or maybe she’d gotten into an accident. She always drove the car too fast and was more often than not on the wrong side of the road in this country. The hotel room was half-empty now.


Natalia discovered that in the market Tornin had purchased a machete.

Natalia found his destroyed phone.

Natalia came upon the car belonging to the fellow squash player, door still open and keys in the ignition. But no one found the player.


Tornin sat in his seat on a tiny plane. He found his usual litany of interconnected thoughts had been obliterated and replaced by a tuneless drone. He drank coffee and grinned at the other passengers. He gave the flight attendant a big grin. Moments later he was crying.


After the plane landed Tornin spent fourteen hours in a stall the airport restroom. Every so often he’d inform somebody: Occupied!


Natalia found the eviscerated squash player’s body under a wooden table at the market.

Natalia found Marlies floating lifeless in the mangroves.


Natalia didn’t go to the police.

Because Natalia found Tornin’s diamond.

And for Natalia the diamond became a plane ticket back home to Minnesota and after a few months, a down payment on a small farmhouse.

Ten pairs of expensive new shoes ordered online.



Natalia! There’s a man to see you Natalia! He’s here all the way from the islands! I’m sure she’ll be right down, Mr. Tornin. Would you like to come in?

Tornin said nothing. He smiled. A cold wind blew a few snowflakes and they melted on his cheek. He stood very still in the doorway, beaming.






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3 thoughts on “Diamond

  1. Tom Lisowski Post author

    Thank you and I agree- I totally want to continue this one! I’ll let you know when I do!

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