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Philip Kuan


Lately I watch from the shadows as her cleaver flashes and shudders, relentless tearing of flesh from bone. Only when she turns away do I dare to strike. Moments later, I have both knife and cutting board drying on the rack; and by the time she sees, I have fled.

Lately still, supper persists with superfluous conversation. Small talk is spewed and met with irreverent grunts as I monitor that kitchen, askance. She too seems distracted, hovering, governing me govern her consumption of her half bowl of porridge near the doorway, until the father, losing patience, tells her to sit. She does so with reluctance.

I must eat faster today, to overcome a handicap. Today she's doled nearly twice the rice, claiming that I require twice the sustenance, but I know better. But my subtlety must lack subtlety, because now she is matching my accelerated pace, from chew to swallow. Before long she's disappeared into the next room, sounds of running water rapidly filling a basin.

I have but a remaining ploy. I insist to her that I must repay her kindness. Mother chuckles with slight condescension, before countering that I lack the experience to wash the pots. Then, she hunkers down.

Knowing when beaten, I sulk back to the couch, from where I can only sit politely.

Philip Kuan is an aspiring Californian writer with a passion for befuddling readers. Some of his favorite authors include Charles Dickens, Tolkien, and Franz Kafka, among others. He has been published in several short story magazines, and is always looking for constructive feedback at

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