About the Author

Koom Kankesan

Koom Kankesan is a writer with a background in English Literature and Film Studies. He has written short stories and small anecdotal pieces for various journals, and has published film and book reviews with newspapers such as the Montreal Gazette. He is an unabashed fan of comic books and movies. The Panic Button is his first novella.

Books by this Author
The Panic Button

The Panic Button

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1 Who the fuck would want to marry me? That’s the first thing that crosses my mind when my mother mentions marriage. She brings it up at least once a day; it’s the water torture method of persuasion. Marriage!... Marriage!... Marriage!... As you can see, due to the cast on my leg, I can’t get very far from the drops. One of these days, that final drop of water is going to split my head right open, cleave my brain in two. Then, I, like all the other sad Tamil losers, will shuffle forward and wait to be matched with our counterparts, and we’ll all have a big wedding. Won’t it be grand? Our brains will be cut apart with our parents’ scalpels, then fused together with our mates’. We’ll all have four hemispheres, two cortexes, and one mind. Arranged marriages are the panic button of Hindu romance. How long can I hold out? In a few months, I’ll hit thirty and my hand will waver over the button, just like everybody else. My parents, especially my mother, assure me that this will be the case. But I’m still young, doctor. There’s hope for me, right? Tell me it’s not too late to meet someone and catch up. Tell me that there are others like me out there. But like I say – who the fuck would want to marry me? I know that you have to write a report. I know that your technique involves listening. Like a white lab coat, like a blank wall, you listen and don’t say anything. I know you won’t tell me what you think. But I’m supposed to convince you I’m okay, fit to flow back to the real world, present a version that’ll make it easy to sign off your form. Put your pen down for a second; listen to my story and tell me what I should do. Because it doesn’t ultimately matter what your report says if I’m irreparably cracked...if the bone around the hole in my ankle grows back and the fracture lines recede, what does that matter if the ragged hole in my heart, hidden, remains? My story goes back to my parents.

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