Mangosteens have a star on the bottom that tells you how many wedges they contain. I give Michael a mangosteen with an eight-pointed star, which represents eight segments of fruit. Sergeant Paul gets five. When he did Cookhouse Duty yesterday, he gave me a banana with an egg-shaped bruise. But the mangosteens are the same size, no matter how many lines on their skin. Wet rind purples my fingers. In front of the guardhouse, the promotion ceremony begins. Hands grasp my uniform and attach new chevrons. White as mangosteen pulp, they gleam in the sun until I take them off.

Ryan Tan studies English Literature at the National University of Singapore. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Straylight, Grimdark Magazine, Bone Parade, Bristol Noir, and The 13 Days of Christmas.

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