The Monkey's Paw
by Andrew Kanago
Ken and Maya Johnson stared at the package the UPS man had just left on
their doorstep. They had placed it upon the kitchen table and examined
it with care.
“The return address…” Maya said, “…do we know anyone from India?”
As he was the general manager of an auto parts store, Ken admitted that
he did not. Some of his regular customers were Indian but none that Ken
knew well enough even to call by name. “Is the address correct?” he
asked. Ken had positioned himself a bit further from the box than his
wife, who examined it very closely.
“Not unless there is another set of Johnsons at this address,” Maya
answered in a slightly sardonic way. She was exceptionally bright, as
Ken often pointed out, but she did have a tendency to make slightly
sardonic remarks that might have been insulting were Ken a less amiable
man. “The person who sent it has the initials…” Maya bent in to examine
the ripped paper covering the package. She was of the age that needed
reading glasses but was not yet ready to admit to needing them. “…NLT.”
Maya looked up sharply, “You don’t think this is from Nan, do you?”
Ken slapped his knee. “Must be,” he said in heavy relief. Truth be
told, he did not like the package sitting there on the table. It spoke
of mystery, possibly of danger. However, he thought to himself, if it
were from Nan, then it probably contained some cheap souvenir Maya’s
cousin had picked up while on vacation.
The reason Maya had not thought of Nan initially was that she and her
cousin had never been close. They had not seen each other often as
children, and Maya thought that a wise practice to continue into
adulthood. Not that Nan was a mean or spiteful person. On the contrary,
Maya’s cousin went through life like a happy bubble. It’s just that Nan
tended to blow into one’s life, gale-like, upset everything in a flurry
of goodwill, and then fly away to some other, often-exotic locale.
The last time Nan had visited the Johnsons had been two years previous,
in what Maya had called “Nan’s Artistic Phase.” She had come at the
beginning of April, when Nebraska began to warm up. She had stayed in
the spare bedroom recently vacated by Gage, who was off to college. On
her first day as guest, immediately after breakfast, Nan went out
shopping and came back with nearly $600 worth of art supplies. She then
proceeded to gift Viola’s room with a two-wall mural featuring gigantic
kitties (which Maya had to paint over afterwards because Viola
developed nightmares), constructed a rickety coffee table from a
variety of woods (Ken told Nan he’d thrown the old coffee table away,
but had merely stashed it at a friend’s home), and crafted multiple
pieces of pottery (vases, decorative plates, more vases) for the home.
After Nan left, Ken and Maya threw all of them away, except for one
blue bowl that served as a dining table centerpiece. Nan had called the
bowl “depressingly plain,” but it was the only thing Maya could come
close to liking.
Now, it would appear, Nan had flown off to India (she came into a
rather large inheritance, which meant she’d never held a real job) and
sent the Johnsons something back.
“What could it be, I wonder,” Maya said.
“No doubt cheap and tacky,” said Ken. The ‘like everything Nan touches’
lay unspoken but implied.
Maya caught the inference and gave her husband a look. Ken could be
terribly starchy when disturbed from his routine. And Nan was nothing
if not a force of disturbance. “I’m sure it’s something she found quite
amazing,” Maya added, although they both understood that ‘something she
found’ qualified whatever the box contained. Nan truly did have
Ken flopped out a breath. “We should probably open it,” he said. He did
not much relish this idea but felt the need to get it over and done
The brown wrapping came off in a second, leaving behind a cardboard
box. Inside the cardboard sat another box, this one of plain wood. “I’m
changing my guess,” Ken said. “I think it’s a watch.”
“No,” Maya replied. “That would too useful.” She reached out and held
the box up. It felt surprisingly light in her hand. She found a clasp
and the box flipped open. “Oh, good lord,” Maya exclaimed in disgust,
putting it on the table.
Ken began to ask what it was when he saw. Inside the box, atop a small
pedestal, rested a desiccated monkey’s paw, yet with only three, not
four, thin bony fingers covered in tight, graying skin. “That’s
disgusting,” he said, wrinkling his nose.
However, the monkey’s paw did not smell, merely sat amidst the fallen
flaps of the wooden box.
“Where…” Maya began, and sputtered out.
“There’s a piece of paper,” Ken pointed out, “she must have packed it
in with the… hand.” Clearly, the last word was not the one he wanted to
use to describe the object in the box, but it was the best he could do.
Maya moved away from the paw and told her husband to go ahead and pick
up the piece of paper. “I’m not touching that thing,” she finished.
Rather than risk argument, Ken obliged, albeit with a few grumbles.
Something about having to work hard all day while she stayed around the
house even though Viola was in school. He picked up the note
hesitantly, as if the piece of paper were connected to an electrical
wire. Instead, it was a folded up piece of white notebook paper. He
opened it and, clearing his throat, began to read the handwritten
message: “Maya – If you have any sense at all, you will BURN this
monkey’s paw as soon as you receive it. I did not and have only a few
minutes before I am found. Since I cannot dispose of it, I must send it
to you. Please, I beg you, destroy this thing! It will grant you two
three wishes. I wished for too much. They are coming for me. Destroy
this, please. I love you, Nan.”
Forgetting her earlier revulsion, Maya reached over and snatched the
note from her husband’s hands. She read it through several times, her
eyes wide and skin pale. “I cannot believe it,” she said at last.
“Me either,” Ken said in a more relaxed tone. “She really had me going
there for a minute.”
“You think this is a joke?”
“An old monkey’s paw that’s able to grant wishes?” Ken asked. “What
else could it be? You know full well how your cousin likes to be…” he
waved his hand in the air “… dramatic. I can just imagine that Nan
thinks we’ll absolutely love this thing and put it on top of the
Maya nodded slowly, as if getting herself to agree, “She does rather
enjoy unusual home décor.” She gestured at the paw. “It truly is
The two began to laugh. Some couples need some external force to keep
them together. Ken and Maya had two children, a mortgage, and a fear of
the government taking away their rights. Having Nan as some kind of
outlier helped them as well, made Ken and Maya feel incredibly normal.
“As if I could…” Ken began, squinting at Maya, his imagination a rusty
machine in need of greasing, “wish that our fridge always had a few
sirloin steaks in it.” He laughed a little harder. “Imagine being
scared of that.”
Maya’s smile (Ken wasn’t such a bad sort, even if he was a little bit
stodgy and boring) fell away from her face when she noticed a movement
in the corner of her eye. She turned and saw the third finger of the
monkey’s paw descend until only two fingers remained raised. “My God,
He looked and cocked his head. “Weren’t all of the fingers raised?” he
asked. When Maya nodded, he looked back at the paw. “When did one of
them fall down?” He reached over and prodded the third, now-lowered
paw. It felt frozen where it was, as if it had never been extended. He
began to speak the words “That’s strange” but the words trailed off as
he looked into the kitchen.
At the exact same time, Maya’s head turned as well. “You don’t think…”
Instead of answering, Ken got up from his chair and walked into the
kitchen. From the upstairs, he could hear Viola’s music blaring,
something upbeat, and poppy. Maya followed Ken as if she were his
shadow. His hand went to the door of the refrigerator and hovered
there. “You don’t think…”
“Open it, Ken.” Maya’s voice sounded suddenly ragged.
His hand clasped the handle and pulled. Inside, amidst the milk and
eggs and half-eaten spaghetti leftovers, sat three cellophane-wrapped
packages, each resting on white Styrofoam as if Maya had picked them up
from Baker’s the day before.
“Good lord!” Maya yelped out.
Ken grabbed the top package from the fridge and looked at it. It hadn’t
come from Baker’s, which always labelled the top of their meats with
prices, bar codes, and descriptions of what was inside the plastic
wrap. “It’s a steak, all right,” he said. His voice was low, a little
rough from some kind of awed surprise. “I think it’s a sirloin.”
“Throw it away!” Maya barked. To her annoyance, Ken hesitated. “Do not
even think about cooking these,” she said. He could be like that, would
have no problem eating steaks that magically appeared in his fridge. No
sense to the man.
So Ken deposited what appeared to be perfectly good steaks into the
trash. Maya slammed the door shut and leaned against it, breathing
heavily. “I can’t believe it,” she said. “The monkey’s paw granted your
“You sure you didn’t buy steaks the last time you went to the store?” Ken asked.
She shot him an ugly glance. “Yes, I am very definitely sure. Steak’s expensive.”
“Oh,” he said. Then, a second later, he continued, “You know, I think I
said the word ‘always.’” He let the implication hang in the air.
Maya nodded, turned, and opened the door. Inside, as before, sat three
plastic-wrapped packages in exactly the same place as the previous
three. Ken even took a look in the trash to see if somehow the steaks
had migrated from trash to fridge without their knowledge. There were
definitely at least six sirloin steaks in their kitchen.
“Whoa,” Ken said with a small smile, “free steak for life.”
“You are not eating that steak. No one is eating that steak. It could
be poisoned.” Maya’s tone of voice indicated that any thoughts to the
contrary would not have been thought through.
However, Ken spoke up, “I asked for steaks, Maya, not poisoned steaks. This could save us some real money.”
“Really?” she asked, “How much?”
They argued for a brief time, but it threatened to turn into a larger
fight. However, Ken agreed that they would put the monkey’s paw in the
safe while Maya agreed to keep the steaks as long as the first one Ken
cooked would be served in small pieces to Duke, the enormous dog next
door. “If the dog lives,” Maya said, “we’ll talk. If not, we throw the
paw into the fire.”
The dog lived, and the monkey’s paw went into the same safe Ken and
Maya kept their birth certificates and home loan information.
In his heart, Ken found having delicious, well-marbled steaks in his
fridge to be enough. He bought a book on grilling and liked to
entertain his wife with his plans to become something of a sirloin
steak maestro, plumbing the myriad ways one can cook eight ounces of
Maya, however, wanted to aim a little higher. She decided that the best
course of action lay in wording the wish in just the right way. She’d
taken a pre-law course in college (the semester before she got pregnant
with Gage) and knew that a good contract prevented all sorts of
mischief. And wasn’t a wish pretty much like a contract?
Ken noticed that his wife’s bedtime reading had turned to books on
contract law and said nothing at first. Maya sometimes went off the
deep end with some project or another. Scrapbooking, beekeeping,
opening her own bakery. Heck, before the monkey paw arrived, Maya had
been making noises about building a hen house.
It took a few more nights for Ken to ask what his wife was doing. When
she told him, he reared up. “Hey, I don’t think that that’s a good
“Oh, really, you’d rather not have millions of dollars?” Maya asked in
an innocent way. “Personally, I like the idea of us retiring early.”
Ken fought down the urge to discuss her use of the pronoun “us.”
Instead he muttered, “Steaks in the fridge is one thing, babe, but
should we be pressing our luck? I mean, we haven’t heard from Nan in
weeks. Something bad might have happened to her. Something caused by
that thing.” He pointed toward the safe, which sat in the back of the
closet under some clothes Maya never wore.
“If Nan got into trouble, it’s because she wished for something that
could be misinterpreted. That’s the key to these things. You have to be
clear in what you ask for. That way, there’s no wiggle room.” She spoke
as if she’d been dealing with magical wish-giving objects her entire
Thoughtfully, Ken said that Nan was the kind of person who would just
go and use her wishes (both he and Maya spelled out the word whenever
upstairs, just in case the Monkey’s Paw heard and acted on said wish).
Maya jumped on the thread (she quite forgot about Nan’s fate, as did
Ken). “That’s why I’m studying this. I need to find some way to word
the W-I-S-H so as to make sure it doesn’t boomerang back on us. I don’t
want to ask for a million bucks only to have it directly deposited to
our bank account from some drug lord. I don’t want there to be any tax
problems or to have the money result from some life insurance payout if
the paw should decide to have you run over by a car.”
“I appreciate that,” Ken agreed.
“Right now, I’m thinking diamonds. Maybe finding a box filled with diamonds somewhere on our property. What do you think?”
Ken thought long and hard about diamonds, taxes, and drug lords. Something came to him. “How about the lottery?”
Maya clapped her hands in delight. “That’s perfect! Okay, give me a
little while. I think I can make this iron-clad.” She leaned over and
kissed her husband, who really was a good sort. The kiss lingered
before becoming something else. Maya got up and tiptoed over to the
door to lock it. “It can wait a little while,” she said, a smile on her
The next day, a Saturday, found Viola at a friend’s house for a slumber
party. After a nervous day at the computer, Maya printed out what she
called the completely airtight request for the Monkey’s Paw. Per Maya’s
request, Ken went out to the nearby Stop-n-Go to pick up a handful of
tickets for that evening’s Mega Lottery, currently up to a $37 million
Not long before the drawing, Maya and Ken sat at the kitchen table, the
lottery tickets and monkey’s paw spread before them. Maya held the
W-I-S-H in front of her, but she suddenly thrust the paper at her
husband. “Please, read this for me,” she asked in a quavering voice.
“Please. I don’t want to mess this up.”
One short reproachful glance later, Ken took the sheet and stared at it. It seemed pretty simple. He took a deep breath.
“Read slowly,” Maya said.
Ken gave her a sidelong glance, then began to speak in a deliberate
voice. “For my second wish,” Ken began in the tones of a funeral
director, “I would like one of these tickets that are sitting here in
front of me, which were bought by me…” The entire wish took nearly two
minutes to deliver, included such caveats as making sure the lottery
computers not suggest the ticket be anything but genuine and that their
ticket be the only winner for that week. When Ken finished, the couple
looked up to see the second finger on the paw descend. Although he
couldn’t be sure, Ken suspected that the finger took longer that second
time, as if the paw tried to look for some kind of loophole before
granting the wish.
Maya looked at the tickets and saw something strange, as if one of the
tickets had gone out of focus for just a moment. Then it looked normal
again, except the numbers had changed. “I think that one is going to be
the winner,” she declared, pointing at the changed ticket.
Ken smiled hungrily before suggesting they lock the paw away for
safety. He had a look in his eye that suggested he wanted something
else as well.
An hour later, and about two miles away, Juan Castillo heard the jingle
of the lottery drawing from the living room and hurriedly finished
stirring in a can of tuna into his piping hot mac and cheese. He didn’t
make much and, since the divorce, about the only indulgence he had left
were the ten lotto tickets he played every weekend.
He arranged the tickets on the battered coffee table. Three of them
were “luckies,” numbers he played every week. The rest were generated
by the computer at the gas station down the street from his apartment
complex. Juan had laid them out an hour before, according to the first
number and just had time for a quick prayer before the ping-pong balls
began flying up the tube.
The first number was seven. Some weeks, he didn’t even have the first
number for any of his tickets, but seven was the start of one of his
lucky numbers. He didn’t look down at the tickets because luck was
fickle sometimes. The second number was 22. Juan’s eyes lit up: 7-22
was his birthday, July 22nd. Then 53 and 56, the birth years of his
He’d never gotten the first four right. Juan tried to think of how much
that the first four numbers would win him but he stopped thinking. The
next ping-pong ball came up: 16. His daughter’s age (he didn’t see
Giselle but once a week but she was always in his thought). The
Powerball number… 38! Juan’s high school football jersey number.
The leap into the air knocked the coffee table over; Juan’s scream of
joy probably woke up his shithead next-door neighbor. Nevertheless,
that didn’t matter. In a month, Juan would have a house in Regency and
enough money for the Corvette he’d always wanted. He could tell Ken,
his boss, to fuck off and never work again in his life.
Sudden fears of the winning ticket falling down an air vent overtook
Juan’s mind. He righted the coffee table and pawed through the tickets.
He looked… and looked. Where was the one with his winning numbers? The
ones with his lucky numbers? He gathered up the tickets, counted them.
Ten tickets. The same as every week. Two of his luckies were there.
Then there were eight others, except none of those were the right
numbers. He never missed his lucky numbers. Never not once in years.
Hell, the woman at the gas station probably knew Juan’s lucky number
tickets by now. He’d gotten them from Stacy just today.
He ran to the trash, digging through to the bag he’d gotten from the
gas station that day, the one that had held the Twinkies and two Cherry
Cokes he’d bought. Maybe he’d gotten an extra ticket that had fallen
into the bag… No.
Then to the car. His neighbors must have wondered at the sight of
middle-aged Juan throwing shit out of his car onto the pavement, a
stream of tearful cussing emerging from his mouth.
He couldn’t find his lucky ticket.
The next few days were something of a blur for Ken and Maya. They
called Gage at school (“When did you start playing the lottery? Wait, I
don’t care. We’re rich!!!”), relatives who greeted them more warmly
than they had in years. Maya and Ken agreed to spend whatever they
needed to find Nan. They consulted a tax attorney. Ken took a leave of
absence from the store. Then, finally, they called the lottery hotline
to report that they’d won nearly 30 million dollars.
“Strange thing,” Ken said after his first day back from the store. He’d
just stopped in, briefly, to say hello and assure everyone he’d be back
in a week. It had been three days since the awkward ceremony where they
had to hold the coffin-sized check in the air and smile for the
cameras. “One of my employees, this guy, Juan something or another, has
been coming in every day to ask to see me. Even on his days off. Guy
probably wants a ‘loan’ or something.” Ken used air quotes around the
“Why are you going back to work, anyway?” Maya asked, more than a touch
of annoyance in her voice. They sat in bed, Ken with his iPhone (which
he’d just upgraded), Maya with travel brochures to Tuscany.
Ken took a moment to answer. “I guess I just like working. Not all of
it. I don’t like having to do paperwork or anything. But I like
shooting the shit with Josh, Sully, and Charlie. I’d miss that if I
didn’t go to work anymore.”
Inwardly, Maya rolled her eyes. Her husband could be somewhat dumbly
obstinate sometimes. Kind of like a dog with a bone. It almost sounded
as if he didn’t really want the nearly thirty million dollars. Leave it
to Maya to have to take care of this too.
The next morning, Ken drove down to the store. Josh was there, along
with a few other guys. They all made jokes about lending money from
Ken, who wouldn’t have minded just giving them some money. He made a
mental note to ask Maya if he could do that. Pretty soon, though, they
were just talking about the best muscle car for a newly rich man to
get, whether Trish had a boyfriend (Charlie was single), and Husker
football (Ken did tell the others that he’d take them to the next home
game, which was another thing he’d have to tell Maya).
Then Charlie shut up and nudged Ken. “Hey, Juan’s coming. He’s been real weird since you won. Maybe slip out the back?”
“Nah,” Ken said, feeling full of generosity. “Juan’s good people. Maybe he needs a loan, you know.”
As soon as he saw Ken, Juan made a beeline towards him. “You won la loteria,” Juan said.
“I know. I can’t hardly believe it.” Ken gave him a good-natured smile.
That smile, however, only penetrated a micrometer. Juan walked with a
kind of stiff-legged gait, not unlike a rabid dog.
“How did you choose the numbers? The winning numbers?”
Ken gave a half-shrug. “I just let the computer do it.” In his mind, Ken desperately thought back to the wording of the wish.
“Because those numbers, those very numbers,” Juan continued, “are ones that have great significance to me.”
Charlie made to step between them. “That’s real nice there, Juan. Real coincidental.”
“In fact, I have played those very numbers every week for years. Years!” Something in Juan’s voice broke with the last word.
“Buddy,” Ken heard himself say, “if you have a winning ticket too…”
“I don’t. I looked for it but it wasn’t there. We got our tickets at
the same gas station, and I know I played those numbers. Seven and 22
are the numbers of my birthday.”
“Those are starting to sound real accusatory, amigo.” Charlie bumped
his massive belly against Juan. “Are you trying to suggest that Ken
stole your winning lottery ticket?”
“All I know is that one of my tickets was missing and another one had been put in its place.”
Ken took a step backward, unconsciously. “I didn’t,” he began but couldn’t think of anything more to say.
Luckily, Charlie asserted himself. “Are you trying to suggest that Ken
broke into your house and swapped one of your lotto tickets before the
drawing? When no one knew what the winning number was?”
“I don’t know. But I know that something is not right. It is not
right.” Juan stomped his foot against the ground. “That winning ticket,
it should have been me. Me, not you Ken.”
A few minutes later, Ken had beat a hasty retreat and drove off.
Charlie all but held Juan in the store so that Juan would not follow
Ken’s car. It took him three tries to dial home before he managed it.
Maya answered on the third ring.
“I know how the paw did it,” Ken said. He described Juan coming into
the store, the terse exchange, Juan’s lucky numbers. “He knows
something is wrong but can’t put his finger on it.”
The line went silent for long seconds. “Okay,” Maya said, thinking. “I
don’t see where we have to do anything. It’s not like Juan could
possibly know about the monkey’s paw. He doesn’t have a legal leg to
stand on. What could he sue us about? I think we’re okay.”
However, Ken wasn’t having it. “Maybe he decides to stab me to death the next time I see him at work?”
“Then don’t go back to work,” Maya said flatly. “Maybe that’s the price
you pay for winning the lottery. It’s not like you can’t invite your
buddies back here. Grill them a bunch of your steaks.” To be honest,
Maya had grown terribly sick of sirloin steak. She’d put on ten pounds
since they found the monkey’s paw and wouldn’t it be ironic if they
died of heart attacks because of all the steak? “Juan will calm down,”
However, Juan did not calm down. If anything, the man’s agitation only
increased. He continued to watch for Ken every day, often sitting in
the parking lot for hours on end. When, after a few days of that,
Charlie let Juan go, an off-duty police officer had been present to
make sure nothing violent occurred.
Not long after, Ken received a phone call from someone with a local area code.
“How did you steal my money?” Juan said when Ken answered. “I know you stole it. I saw your lying, stinking face.”
Ken hung up, his face white as cream. He didn’t even want to finish his round of golf. Juan, it seemed, would not be going away.
“That’s enough,” Maya said that evening. “I don’t know how Juan got your number but this has to stop.”
Nodding, Ken said that he would contact the police the next day.
“Do you honestly think,” Maya said, “that the police can help? Juan
might be seriously unbalanced. Give that man a gun and we are in
danger, she said. Viola might be in danger.
“If we don’t go to the police, who then?” Ken asked.
Maya gave him a level gaze. Then she pointed up at the ceiling, in the
general direction of the safe in their bedroom closet. That evening
found Maya once again with a book on contract law propped on her knees,
her reading glasses sliding down her nose.
The next day greeted them with rain, which continued all day. Golf was
out, but Ken did not feel much like leaving the house anyway. He felt
trapped, as if Juan was hiding in the bushes waiting for him to open
the garage door. Every time he let the dog out, Ken’s skin crawled at
the image of his pale, portly body in the scope of Juan’s high-powered
At lunch, Maya announced that Viola would be going to Grandma and Grandpa’s that night. “They’re taking you to a movie!”
“Don’t I have school tomorrow?” Viola asked.
“They can take you,” Maya replied. When his wife looked at him, Ken felt his blood freeze. She had another wish to make.
Grandma and Grandpa picked Viola up after dinner and left a happy
group. Ken looked and thought he saw an unfamiliar car down the street.
It was tough to tell in the rain. Maya called from inside, but Ken
dawdled in the doorway. Did he see movement?
When he came back to the kitchen, a piece of paper sat upon it, still
warm from the printer. The monkey’s paw also rested on the table, its
one finger pointing up. At what? The ceiling? Heaven?
“I think I saw Juan down the street,” Ken said. “He was sitting in the car.”
“Well, read it quickly then,” Maya said. “Let’s be done with it.”
Ken looked at the paper, read through the words carefully. It looked
airtight. Ken put a finger to the collar of his polo shirt as if he had
trouble breathing. “It’s murder,” he said at last. It took so much for
the words to release into the air.
“He’s down the street, you just said so.”
“Maybe it’s not him.”
“It will be,” Maya shot back. “If not tonight, then soon. The monkey’s paw will try to kill us.”
“It’s still murder. Juan is an okay guy.”
She rolled her eyes. He could be such a pussy. “Don’t be absurd. Juan
could kill our daughter. Our son. This is the only way to end it.”
“Maybe you could just make him forget?” Ken asked.
“The monkey’s paw will find a way past that,” Maya responded. Her eyes
glittered in the dining room lights. “If he’s dead, he can’t come after
Maya cut her husband off. “Just read the damn W-I-S-H!”
A clop of thunder roared just as the doorbell rang. “It’s Juan,” Ken screamed. “We should just give him the money.”
“You are a fool. A coward and a fool. He might just kill us and you’re doing nothing. Read the wish!”
No more ringing the bell. The thunder roared again, a full-blown storm
raged against the windows. The person on the step banged on the door
again. The dog barked and barked.
Bangin at the door.
“You are so awful,” Ken yelled. The thunder and rain made talking impossible.
“I want a divorce,” Maya screamed back, her eyes white with fear.
Something broke in Ken, something he’d held in reserve all the years of
their marriage. “Awful. You’re awful. Everything you want to throw away
“You can’t defend your own family,” Maya screamed back. The knocking at the door came relentless now. Now maybe it was kicking.
“Wishes, all for wishes.”
“What do you wish for, then, you shit.” Maya’s voice stretched thin upon the waves of thunder.
“I wish you die a horrible, painful death.” As soon as the words were formed, Ken slapped his hand over his mouth.
The thunder slackened at once, as if the storm had disappeared, had
never existed. Even the banging at the door stopped. The two of them,
both wide eyed, together turned toward the monkey’s paw. The last
finger slowly, almost sensuously, fell. Without any upraised fingers,
the paw looked like a fist.
Outside, Viola stared at the door. She had forgotten her backpack for
school the next day. Grandpa honked. Where had the rain gone? Why
weren’t her parents answering? She heard a sound from inside. It
sounded like screeching.
© 2017 Andrew Kanago
Bio: Andrew Kanago was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He is
currently teaching English at a local high school and trying to sell a
novel about a man with magic OCD.
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