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Short Story - The Smart Cut

2023-03-29  Ruben Kapimbi

Short Story - The Smart Cut

Johnny bangs and kicks the creaking door. Behind the yawning brown door, mom was chopping fresh onions as tears trickled down her pinpointed nose. “Why are you crying?” Johnny asks, tossing the half-chewed letter from the headmistress onto the three-legged table. “What’s wrong?” mom asks as the slamming door shuts her question.                

Afterward, Johnny stumbles upon papa who was cutting firewood with a sparkling axe. “It’s a secret,” Johnny says. Instantly, papa lifts his torso and wipes the sweat trickling down his flattened nose. 

Johnny hops inside and shuts the bedroom door. Toto crawls in, “N-a-n-a, n-a-n-a,” he sobs. “Grow up, it’s a milk bottle!” Johnny yells, wrestling the tot swimming in cottoned diapers. He spills the milk all over the tot’s face. Before long, Lucky – the puppy – licks the toddler’s face. “What’s happening?” asks mom as she steps into the littered room. 

Soon she recites the hair-raising letter. “If you sign that letter, they’ll cut my tobacco pipe,” Johnny cries. “Please don’t sign it,” he sobs, stomping his feet. “Boys don’t cry,” Sasha croons, sticking out her tongue. “Tuck in your tongue,” Johnny shouts, digging his teeth into his bottom lip. “They’ll cut you,” she says, teasingly. “Mom, you can’t keep a secret,” Johnny wails. 

Mom mines a red pen out of her leathered bag and presses the pointy tip on the evil paper. “Sign with your left hand, ‘cause I know my rights,” Johnny scolds. Mom carries the wrinkled paper to papa. “Our son will become a man,” mom says, tossing the cruel letter toward him. “Please don’t sign,” Johnny yells. 

He squirts lukewarm water between his toothpick legs and bounces into the toilet. By now, the ceramics plates and mugs did most of the noise. Soon Sasha brings up the taboo. “Tomorrow,” she says, smiling. Instantly, Johnny spews the steamy tea from his mouth. “Papa don’t sign that letter, they’ll cut my straw,” he wails. 

Afterward, Papa peels the golden banana and digs his teeth into the sweetness. “Did you get the S-cut?” Toto asks papa, sucking his thumb. “I saw it coming,” Johnny shouts, banging the table, and rattling the cutlery. Papa dresses his fists in boxing gloves with a nod. “Daddy, they chopped your ...?” Sasha asks papa, smiling ear to ear. Mom dumps her finger on Sasha’s lips. “Shut up!” mom sings, as papa signs the indemnity letter.

2023-03-29  Ruben Kapimbi

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