A Joke

by ephraem tan, photo credits.



“The living room’s trashed again, there’s stuff all over the floor!”

An anguished groan, followed by approaching footfall: Paxton bursts in, exasperated. The couch is overturned, magazines strewn haphazardly across the carpet; the TV lies face down on the ground, its cables ripped clean off. At least the tacky electric chandelier Ridhwan insisted on installing last November, he’s relieved to see, hasn’t been spared: it glitters on the ground in tacky electric pieces. Ridhwan himself stands to the side, partially blocked by a big grey mound. Paxton leans over to yell.

“Again? This has to be the third time since Friday!”

“I know!” Ridhwan shouts back, cupping his hands to his mouth. “And, and – you see here? The weird indents, they’re on the ground again!”

On the carpet are the mysterious indents that keep appearing after each incident – huge, circular marks, deeply set in the carpet, as though a tremendous pressure had been applied at each spot.

“Do you think it’s burglars?” Paxton yells, distractedly waving away a huge tail brushing over his face.

“Can’t be. Nothing’s taken, everything’s been disturbed but still here.”

Paxton folds his arms, his sigh in equal parts frustration and resignation. “Ok. Well. I cleaned up the last time, so this time it’s your turn –”


“ – so this time it’s your turn. I’ve got a report to do so I’ll be in the study. Shout if you need anything.”

“Ok,” says Ridhwan gloomily, pushing aside a huge grey trunk as he stoops down to pick up the chandelier shards.

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