Basra wasn’t much of a city, more like a watering hole on the way to grander places like Mushtallah or more strategically important ones like Punjai. Most of the people living there worked at the textile and munitions plant on the southern side of the city, a government-subsidized operation that blew yellow smoke over the city all day and orange haze all night. There was a little cantina on the edge of town called the Boxing Matron. It was one of six cantinas on the main drag. Basra also had four brothels, two laundries, one grocery store, and no mosque. During most prayer times, the woman who owned the tallest building in the city—a fight club—sent a servant up to the roof to call out prayer.