The Dead Man and the Card Game / Tristan Foster

Kabid steals sweet dumplings from his mother when her back is turned. The same type of sweets his father eats with fortified wine and which he cuts into quarters on a plastic plate with plastic knife and fork, as is his way; he thinks it makes them last longer. The other men at the party sit at a table in the back room and talk of trade and investments, things they read in the newspaper. Kabid’s mother shoos him away, tells him to play with the other children outside; he sneaks a sip of his father’s wine and will remember the taste in his dreams for ten years. He watches his father, sitting alone, savouring the sweets while the other men argue.

When the sun goes down and all the children begin to lose energy, the card game begins. Kabid follows his father to the back room, sits on a windowsill to watch the game. The men smoke and crack their knuckles and swat at mosquitoes. There is a pink beach in the Bahamas and an underground bank on a Norwegian island storing the seeds for all the plants in the world in case the apocalypse comes. The cards are upturned on the table and the men tell jokes, but they are not jokes at all.



Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Letter to the Author of the Letter to the Father and 926 Years, co-authored with Kyle Coma-Thompson.

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