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by Spencer Chou

He opened the door and looked at me as if I was the postman, and I just wanted to knock his teeth out. “Dad, it’s me,” I said.

He sighed and stood to one side.

I went in and he started to make us tea and sandwiches while I stood there wondering what the hell to say. He didn’t seem to know either.

He hadn’t changed one bit. His hair was gone and he had a paunch, but he was the same man I remember from when I was a boy. He still made sandwiches with the slices of bread flat bottom to round top. He always knew I hated that. It’d been nearly twenty years, but I swear to God he’d done it on purpose.

We sat down at the dining table when he was done.

“Mum’s dead,” I said.

“Is that all you came here to tell me?” No change of expression, nothing.

“I thought you’d like to know.”

“Was it quick?”

“No.”

He continued to eat.

“She asked me to let you know when it happened, that’s all,” I said. “The funeral is next week. Wednesday afternoon. We don’t mind if you’d like to go.”

He took his time chewing, enjoying making me wait for his reply. He could be a real bastard like that when he wanted to be, and it seemed that he still always wanted to be.

“I can pick you up, if that’s any help,” I said.

He wiped the corners of his mouth with a napkin. When he’d finished he said, “I suppose I could go.”

I made him wait then, but he didn’t seem to care.

“What was it in the end?” he asked.

“Cancer,” I said.

He nodded and sipped his tea. “That can do it,” he said.

Bastard.


Spencer Chou is a writer and editor from Nottingham, England. He runs the literary magazine and publisher The Nottingham Review, and has been published in various places. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award. You can follow him on Twitter @spencerchou.

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