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The Roach

The Roach

– Fiction by Nora Chau –

Featured in issue 16 of Dreamers Magazine and second-place winner of the 2024 Pen Parentis Fellowship!

Homemade Insanity

I stare at the cockroach and am sure that it is my father. It’s got the same shifty eyes that he has – well, had. It doesn’t run away when I swing a frying pan at it. I don’t smash him. My mom would be pissed if she knew
that I killed my father and left a stain on the kitchen counter too.

It’s exactly seven days after the sudden death of my father and we were told his soul would return home today for one final visit. The Chinese are very superstitious people or as my ex-boyfriend often joked – stupidstitious. My father hated him.

That’s not why I broke up with Tom though. He’s a lot like my father. I almost stayed with him out of spite, but I didn’t want to repeat the same life my mom had. Always waiting, forever wanting the affection of a man that had too much love to give to everyone but us. He spread his seed and all our money to his paramours.

I’m happy that he’s gone. One less asshole on this earth. While others pretended to wail at his funeral, I smiled. I laughed when others spoke highly of him. My aunt took me aside and said people might think I have hate in my heart for my father. And you know what I told her? Yes. Yes, I do have hate in my heart for him. The hate in my heart is the only thing that keeps me going frankly.

While my classmates don’t have to worry about buying clothes or even getting a soda – I did. Who has money for those things when your father would come home and sweet talk your mom out of all the money she earned scrubbing toilets?

These fancy clothes we wear? All taken out of the garbage of my mom’s clients. The nicer folks hand it to her discreetly. The others just dump it in their trash mixed with last night’s dinner. Do you know how hard it is to get truffle oil stains out of a cashmere sweater?

I trap my father in a clear glass. My mom doesn’t have to know that I squashed him. I could take him outside and do the deed with my dumpster dived sneakers. But that would be too quick of a sweet release for this motherfucker. He literally has hooked up with some of my classmates’ moms. Needless to say, that doesn’t make me very popular.

As I pull out the last of his hairy legs, I see my brother watching me.

“This is weird and psychotic even for you,” he says while eating a sympathy casserole.

“I caught father coming back to visit us – thought I’d torture him before sending him off. You’re welcome.”

My brother is silent – probably unsure of what to do. He always liked to play Switzerland in our family battles.

“Okay,” he finally says, “but who are those guys?” He points to the toaster where there are three other roaches watching me.

I can’t believe it. Even on his last visit to us, he brings his girlfriends. This guy – I fucking hate him.

About the Author – Nora Chau

Nora Chau loves a good story. She is a member of the Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab, a former ABC/Disney Grant Recipient for New Talent in Screenwriting, an ABC/Disney Writing Fellowship finalist, and a Women’s Project Lab finalist. Her short plays have been published by Smith & Kraus, a global leader in full-service boutique book publishing

Meanwhile, at Dreamers…