The Bluest Crab at Grandpa's Funeral The following story was chosen by Anthony Doerr as the winner of the 2023 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize. The prize is awarded annually by Selected Shorts and a guest author judge. Subscribe to Selected Shorts wherever you get your podcasts to hear this story performed by an actor in the near future. Carapace Three crabs attended my grandfather's funeral. Atlantic blues, they picked at a lump of chicken inside a milk crate trap, legs turquoise and spine-tipped, shells olive, bellies white. As a puddle formed on Auntie Yin's dock, their antennae stroked the poultry with a delicate, oblivious air. The ten of us paused to admire her catch. “Fat ones.” My grandmother gave the tub of ashes an affectionate little pat. Yin, Uncle Teong, his wife, his twins, my parents, my sister, and I all nodded. “Weng must be thinking of us up there.” By her logic, the deceased had thought to send us dinner amidst the most profound spiritual bliss, while we, sweating in the Carolina summer damp, wouldn't let his funeral begin until we had planned the resulting meal. Appropriately, the tub was labeled: Daisy Sour Cream . If the man hadn't died, his memorial might have killed him. Born in Malaysia, albeit more Anglicized than the average Brit, my grandfather exuded a knightʼs poetic strictness. Every day, he brushed his lone suit like a vassal polishing steel. His era had reduced him to a paralegal assistant. Still, on weekends, he made a leaky waterbed his court, where enchanted by his voiceʼs rumble, I absorbed chivalric illusions of King Arthur and Guan Yu. Behind gold spectacles, his face was square. His skin was line-less save the forehead, bisected by a solitary, reddish crease. When I fell in love in college, it furrowed gravely. “Knowledge is a jealous mistress,” he said. Take a break from the news We publish your favorite authors—even the ones you haven't read yet. Get new fiction, essays, and poetry delivered to your inbox. Submit For this exacting chevalier, we gathered behind the milk crate in […]
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