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by Kapka Nilan

I hit my little finger in soapsuds water, thinking about names. They call me Pinky, at school. I like it, it’s short. Better than Hop o’ My Thumb. Names and things are short round here but I keep hitting myself. I hit my arm on the door handle twice last week, got two fat indigo bruises. Maybe that’s how it’s gonna be like, like Dad, plodding through life, hammering myself.

We had wasabi seeds for lunch. Dad wants us to move to Japan. He wants us to move to Japan this week. Last week it was Russia. We drank vodka. He is searching the map again chewing on his tuna sandwich at the surgery. He is a locum. Canada, it suddenly hits him. Grizzly bears, autumn splash of colours, maple syrup. Of course. He washes down the sandwich with a Diet Coke, burps and calls the next patient. He passes the afternoon looking at rash patterns, ear wax sculptures, sore throat displays, smiling, thinking about bear cubs rolling in snow.

Mum is cooking tea for dinner. In the country we’re now living, we have tea for dinner. It’s fish fingers. Apparently they’re not fish fingers. Fish don’t have fingers. My little brother is confused. He is drawing weird things on top of trees, their big button eyes slanting in the sky, angry blotches of something yellow. His teacher complained he called tree branches arms. Now he refuses to speak. I look at my pinky, it’s gone purple. Can a pinky be purple, I wonder, but keep it to myself. We sit at the table waiting for Dad to tell us where we’re moving next. One day he may say we are going home.


Kapka Nilan is a Nottingham-based writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in Sonder Magazine, Black Market Re-View, Zeroflash, 101 Words, and Spelk, and has been long-listed for the Bath Flash Fiction Award.

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