For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Without a King”

Nguyen Huy Thiep


Normally, Khiem was the first to get up in the morning. He set the alarm clock for one. When it went off, he would get up immediately, brush his teeth, then leave on his bicycle. Ton locked the door behind him. Doai, disrupted from sleep, bitched: “Truly the working hours of a criminal.” At 3 o'clock, Old Kien got up, plugged in the electric stove to boil water for tea. The outlet was faulty and had been fixed several times, but every few days someone still got a good jolt. When Old Kien got a good jolt, he blurted: “Your ancestors! You guys want to get rid of me, but there's a God above, with eyes, and I'll be around for a long time!” From his bed, Doai yelped: “I don't know about elsewhere, but in this household, the green leaves fall down before the yellow ones.” Old Kien countered: “Your mother! What a way to talk to your father! Who hired you to work for the Education Department?” Doai laughed: “They checked my family history. Three spotless generations, as clear as a mirror.” 

We read it in Night Again.