Farah has a new novel coming out in 2011 and it sounds like this “story” is an excerpt from that. See this description of Crossbones
In any event, this piece is about a young Somali who gets involved with a militia and sets out to do their bidding. He’s a kid, though, and that makes it difficult—carrying the weapons, remembering the instructions, following orders. As a result of these problems there is a mixup, and YoungThing brings his leaders—BigBeard, TruthTeller, and FootSoldier—into the wrong house, which happens to be occupied by a renter who happens to be a Somali visiting from Virginia. It doesn’t turn out well, but that’s all I’ll say about the plot because anything else would spoil it.
This piece almost works as a story and the writing is vivid (Think Flannery O’Connor in Somalia . . .). The thoughts and speech of YoungThing seem right on and it’s a completely suspenseful, compelling read.
December 13, 2010: “YoungThing” by Naruddin Farah
>Wasn't too keen on it. Maybe since it is part of a larger book it felt inconsequential. I barely cared about the characters and in the end it just seemed to say "life is brutal" in a very direct and un-nuanced way.