Kevin by Phil McNulty

The last time we saw Kevin he was
sitting in the lobby of the small hotel.
The marihuana, cheap in the backstreets of Quetta, had seduced him.
He was taking tea with the hotel owner and the chief of police.
And nearby, in the shadows,
were two bulky men in shabby western suits.
Who watched him being euphoric and foolish and loud.
And we said he must be careful.
The policeman agreed.
In an outburst of bravado Kevin produced his jack knife.
And on the table demonstrated 
its square blade and short marlinspike.
And how he could use it to defend himself.
His new friends laughed
and brought out their machetes, cleavers and guns.
The next day we took the 39 Up, Rawalpindi Express,
as far as Lahore.
Kevin was not on the train.