100 Word Stories is a weekly series featuring flash fiction by Mackerel and photographs by Daniel Tan.
20 March 2019
This is my Uncle Tony. Everyone has an Uncle Tony. The last time he got into trouble was when he mouthed off to some Ah Beng. Told the guy to feed his scrawny girlfriend. She was so pale and skinny, she frightened him. He thought her legs would break in them heels.
He got a swollen lip for that.
But who would hit an old man?! That’s my Uncle Tony. He loves his cheesy curios and he loves telling people about them. He also loves his kopi-o kao. Wouldn’t trade it for any of that fancy latte or espresso shit.
6 March 2019
Dawn breaks with the sound of slippers shuffling down dormitory corridors. Slippers are floppy beings. We are soldiers on standby, scuffed to shine.
I’ve already clocked 10,000 steps and it isn’t even lunch!
He takes a nap but I stand guard, ready for a quick getaway in case the foreman comes around.
I’m soaked with mud from a sudden downpour, but his toes are warm and dry.
Finally, a bath!
I line up next to my family and we trade stories of dust and driftwood, resting our soles for another day.
28 Feb 2019
For $9.90, why not? It is the only way to experience the greater galaxy these days.
Smog is an eternal cloud that sits over the city, and if not for these darkstar umbrellas, it’s easy to forget there’s an entire phalanx of twinkling lights out there. Still, it takes patience and a certain nerve to look up and allow yourself to be lost in the depthless beyond.
It’s a pity (read the fine print!) that the micro-universe feature is only activated whenever it rains, which is rare these days. Under sunlight, it’s just gimmicky, something for couples to giggle over.
20 Feb 2019
Leaning forward in the ferry, something about how the sun glints off the dome of the mosque at the edge of the water catches his eye, reminds him for a second of the Sura Mosque in Dinajpur.
When he was young, he would listen with his mother from their doorway as the call to prayer rang beyond the famous terracotta carvings, of holy men and their exploits for distant kingdoms.
Clouds pass over and the shimmering light disappears.
His friends miss all this, deep in dreamless sleep, heading to build another empire, one that will never remember them in stone.
14 Feb 2019
The view from the top of the carousel is no different from the pack of suited skyscrapers behind; dizzying, panoramic, vast.
The harbour stretches below, carefully touristed to elate with all the right hashtags. Beyond, out of reach of the camera, lies the depthless sea. Lights from a thousand anchored ships, bereft of cargo, wait for a sea change.
High above, the pleasures of power last only until the attraction powers down, the elevators stop running and the windows lower their blinds one by one.
In the end, we’re always taken for a ride.
6 Feb 2019
It’s a strong coconut, this one.
Before either of them can taste the flesh, the juice has already transported them beyond the bench and through the curtain of lights that hang behind. They are lifted into the sky, the familiar out-of-body-experience due to the elevated levels of potassium and Cocoon™ coursing through their blood.
All over the city, people are floating above buildings, tethered to the thin plastic straws, bobbing up and down on a gentle post-dinner rush. It’s just a harmless pastime, a way to shoot the breeze, nobody has died from it yet, or so the papers say.
30 Jan 2019