Five Finger Fillet.
The games had started innocently
with the radiators on maximum –
as the Christmas snow
twisted and turned outside.
I wasn’t even that competitive but
the explosive reaction
that I’d get from
my brother was always worth it.
I was button bashed
at Rocket League,
thrashed at Ping Pong,
but I smashed him at
Shut The Box
and after my brother
then lost at Ker Plunk –
he vowed to beat me
after he’d rolled
Once, the twenty minute ceasefire
drew to an end my brother ran off
to the kitchen –
returning red eyed and grinning with
a chopping board, kitchen knife
“Five finger fillet!” he said.
“Really?” I replied.
“We’d play it all the time when I was
working out at sea –
those rough waves were
good teachers! Now, put your
hand on the chopping board!”
“Aren’t you supposed to use
your own hand?”
“That’s no fun!”
“The whole thing looks far from fun.”
“Fine, start with me.” my brother said
and put his hand on the chopping
My brother then set the stopwatch
for a minute stretched out his pinkie
and thumb, as he then counted
whilst I built up momentum before
the stopwatch sounded.
“48 stabs!” my brother shouted.
“It was more than that!” I argued.
“I was counting them.”
“Fine, now it’s my turn to count.”
I got the stopwatch ready and
put my hand on the chopping board,
like some slab of meat
in front of a butcher.
“Go!” I said.
With a deep concentration I counted
the knife once –
before I felt a searing pain
as the blade pierced my finger
and saw blood on the chopping board.
“You got my fucking hand!
You did that on purpose!” I said.
“What?” he replied.
He put the knife back down,
before I pushed him onto the floor
as he performed some strange
wrestling manoeuvre and I flew back
onto the shelving unit,
taking him with me –
as a vase toppled off and landed
on his shoulder
shattering into a million pieces.
Then there was silence.
I had no idea if he’d just
lost five finger fillet –
or he’d secretly won by stabbing me,
but he looked over and grinned,
holding his shoulder
as I held my hand
knowing that the games were over
and that life wasn’t something won
it was something that you played,
or at least it played you.