The story is magical Lahdah, an island which appears only in night, as port for lost brigands who fear each harbor discover their loot. It is where thieves have their peace. No one found at charted ports has seen Lahdah. It becomes vapor at dawn, taking those thieves’ ships with them and their treasure. Once a pirate finds Lahdah, he has no cause to leave it. The island is an immensity of vice, to the brim with plundered wines and stores, a deck of mad cards.

Lahdah would sink from all accrued gold and dancing rogues, if it ever ceased to be buoyed upward by laughter. Yowling laughter, spiteful, snorting laughter. Gusts of laughs float Lahdah behind a cloud each time gentle folk peer toward it. Laughter wraps around ribboned casks, tilting wine into their glasses, the lucky thieves.

Some say they heard that laughter, not far from a coastal town in Cyprus. Others swore they heard Lahdah close to Bali, others, Seychelles, others, Bahamas. It moves like a vapor across every shore, gathering at circumferent horizons in stellar dance, always night-ward, the sun’s own wake. Still today, laughter carries Lahdah, the gleeful, drunken-giddy island, across the bows of cruiseliners, over the backs of yachts as it flies along with night. A foghorn, that laughter belts the harbors of New York and San Francisco, an echo down the boulevards to the best restaurants. And, if you knew how you might listen to an iron safe, you’d be sure to hear Lahdah laughing from every teller’s vault. Lahdah laughs, because it won.

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Easily distracted mathematician

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