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100 Word Stories

100 Word Stories

100 Word Stories is a weekly series featuring flash fiction by Mackerel and photographs by Daniel Tan.


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23 Jan 2019

What is grace? Who is grace? How is grace? 

Cousins couldn’t meet me for tea because of church. I hadn’t seen them in five years. And my mother just died.


They’re at the temple every Friday but leave the puppy on the road to die.


He tells his followers to bleed for his god. He beats his wives.


Light shining through the cracks in my head.


Her weekly visits to the old folks’ home to see her abusive father.


A day spent with a friend who wants to kill himself.


Not platitudes.

S&W Detective Agency Pte Ltd 

15 Jan 2019

A caption for this picture? 

Sherlock has solved the crime, and Watson is scrolling for the next case.  

Frankly speaking, it’s hard to keep up in this age of convenience, when knowledge is an online search or a prescription for manageable problems a short walk away. But we still get customers, those at their wits end, who have let emotions cloud their judgement.  

So we maintain a small office; it's important to meet clients face to face. And in the evenings, we come to this bench to think. The best ideas often come in the midst of a bustling crowd. 

Back To Front

5 Jan 2019

P-Tail finally had a seat all to herself. Some space, silence; a place to think.

To look out on the world and not be an accessory, tied up in place, forever expected to hold strays together.

This led to a new thought.

If she, by some chance, was cut off from the mane, she would be free of clips, bands and barrettes.

Free to go anywhere, to sit at a restaurant, peruse a menu and not the back of a booth. Order a glass of wine. Flirt with her locks. Be called luscious, wavy, full-bodied. Face the world head on.

Aesthetic Notes

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30 Dec 2018


Facial muscle pull

有道youdao (CN-EN dictionary)

“A facelift?! Siao, ah? Do I look like an idiot to you?

What is that anyway? A mini cudgel? One of them crappy instruments that these rip-off salons always use? You know the ones; the things they use to scrape your back or chafe dead skin off your heels.

I don’t know. They all look the same to me. And in the end? Pain, nothing but pain.

If it isn’t angry red welts on your bum or blood on your soles, it’s swollen cheeks and puffy eyes for goodness knows how long.

I’ll keep my crags and sags, tyvm.”


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24 Dec 2018

It’s been slow. Things usually are this time of year. Where do people go? Hokkaido? Osaka? Seoul? To see the Northern Lights and smoke some weed?

 This is our winter. Rainy and cold. Hong you to stave off the hong sip.

 Step up for a cure? Or shall I tell you a story; spin you a yarn about the days to come? It’ll be good, not to worry. It always is.

 It won’t cost you much, but enough to get me some dinner. And dinner for her, too, if you want your fortune told.

 Help an old man out?


13 Dec 2018

She was 67 when she first learned how to drive, from the pillion seat of Ah Hock’s motorised wheelchair.

For him, this was just a smaller version of the forklift he had deftly manoeuvred for thirty years, stacking crates of appliances at the warehouse in Defu Lane, until one day they told him that a machine would be replacing him.

Life is now this wheelchair for his broken heart.

At least, he can still lift her spirits up in joy, and he feels her smiling when she reaches over to wrench the wheel left, and right. 


8 Dec 2018

While his brother marched by, parades and soldiers in his mind, he found a gap between the heavy drapes and stood for a moment, allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkness after the dazzling sunlight of the gardens. The scent of something heavy shifted against his nostrils. A deep rumbling filled the limitless dark, now growing into shape and colour. And as he looked up, a massive grey elephant looked back at him, eyes fixed like a pilot light on his pounding heart. Then he heard his mother calling, and the moment, like a strange shore, was gone.