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The Punch

by Tiffany Hsieh

I shot the puck but it hit the goalie. That was Tuesday. The next day the moron looked like this pug-faced avatar I killed fifty-seven times in a video game. That was back in spring break, senior year. That week everybody I knew went upstate and I went downstairs. Ma pegged socks and underwear on a clothesline tied to a water pipe that gurgled every time Ba flushed the toilet upstairs, in the bathroom next to the guest room that was once Bro’s. Bro was the best goalie on the block when we were kids. He wore his mask like a pro, sure as hell never took it off in front of the net, and beat up anyone who tripped me. Billy, now a sales associate at Toyota. Jackson, dumb enough to knock up a girl from NorCal and follow her to Canada. Liam, in prison for something no one seemed to know much about. Bro didn’t like these guys but he liked them enough to buy a used Corolla from Billy, drive to Toronto for Jackson’s shotgun, visit Liam’s parents whenever he was home. Like Christmas and Lunar New Year. I used to think I should stop by too, see about getting some info on Sally, Liam’s sister. We hung out a few times. Popcorn, movies, parking lots. The last time, in the backseat of her parents’ Oldsmobile, she swirled her tongue in my mouth and said I was not bad for a dork. Later, around the time I joined the men’s league, I realized girls called you a dork when they liked you but wished you weren’t actually so dorky. Sally was the smart one. She got into Yale and never texted. Not even emojis. I was just some dork who made her horny once and I was fine with that. I went out for a beer on Friday. The goalie from Tuesday was there with his broken nose and a knuckled fist. It came out of nowhere and fast and I saw stars, real ones. I think I even tasted Sally’s bubble gum too. Leathery, a hint of strawberry, very masticated.

Tiffany Hsieh was born in Taiwan and moved to Canada at the age of fourteen. Her work has appeared in the Best Microfiction anthology, The Los Angeles Review, The Malahat Review, Passages North, The Penn Review, Quarter After Eight, and others. She has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net. Her manuscript Calculate Life was a finalist in Kissing Dynamite’s Microchap Series. She lives in southern Ontario.

Lead image: “It’s OUR game. O CANADA.” (via Flickr user Just a Prairie Boy)