For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Cross Thieves”

Miroslav Penkov


“Why the hell didn't we just take a loaf and run?” I ask Gogo, and he says, “We aren't like that. Our ancestors died for bread. We can't steal bread.”

That's rare talk from Gogo. But when you're hungry, all your history reveals itself clearly before you, if only in a flash. Though I suppose Gogo has a point. Some things are bigger than we are. “The essential,” being one of them. Nasashtniyat, “the essential,” that's what we call bread here in Bulgaria. No one is bigger than bread. Proverbs and Sayings, volume 35, page 124. 

“Gogo,” I say now to add a proverb of my own, “no one gives you bread for free.”