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  • Writer's pictureNeuro Logical

乖 - Cheng Him

(kuai, from mandarin, meaning well behaved, usually used on children)

in a dark alley in taipei a cleaner lady puts a pack of kuai kuai

biscuits on top of a vending machine. it is a nondescript machine

filled with off brand drinks ever since it was first placed there,

though those who know of the machine swear its drinks are

sweeter than any other machine’s. on its end, the machine

makes little note of this, replying each idle compliment with

the steady thrum machines of its sort are predisposed towards

making. till date, no one has wondered how the lady manages to

reach the top of the machine almost twice her height, yet each

time she comes by the machine is just short enough for her to

reach its top to wipe it down in its entirely, and when she coos

“乖, 乖,” and puts yet another packet of biscuits atop its head

its lights glow ever so brighter and all its drinks become just that

much sweeter. this goes on for years until one day, the lady does

not show up and the national broadsheets murmur about a

rich man’s son who was let off too lightly for getting behind the

wheel of a lamborgini after an evening at the KTV. shortly after

the machine vanishes and no one thinks to ask where it has gone;

after all, things change so much these days, and who will miss a

single vending machine? but those who used to frequent it will

grumble about how the drinks from the other machines just don’t

taste the same. in the days to come, the broadsheets will scream

about how the scion to the largest companies this side of taiwan

was found bludgeoned to death in his own bed, his body reduced

to gristle, how the investigators came in and were stumped to find

a vending machine standing atop the wreckage of his body, plugged

into nothing, thrumming happily nonetheless, as it was wont to do.

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