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The Short Form

“Sleeping on Earth”

Nguyen Thi Am

Excerpt

One evening, in a deserted alley near the bus station, three middle-aged women in rags were playing cards. 

“A pair of black pawns,” said the fat one, chuckling, and showed her hand.

“What bad luck,” sighed the skinniest one.

“It's your own fault. You should have played it safe,” grumbled the third, whose face was pockmarked. 

The losers fished money out of the hem of their pants and paid up, grumbling. Next to them lay a half-naked baby in a ragged shirt. He must have been a year old. He was sleeping. The quarrel between the players woke him up, and he howled. He was no angel. Between his little thighs, black with filth, nestled a tiny penis the size of a plum. Furious, the little penis shot a stream of urine in an arch. His bawling bothered the players. 

We read it in Night Again.