Chinese Stories in English
4. What Is Dad’s Wife’s Name?
5. Chen Peisi Collects Scripts
6. Happy Birthday
1. Eyes Wanted Notice
2. In for a Penny In for a Pound
3. Stone Heroes
8. Director Li’s Oddities
9. List of Shame
1. Eyes-Wanted Notice (寻眼启示)
Huang Zhihao (黄志浩)
An entire half a month had passed, and I still hadn't found that pair of eyes.
“We can’t just forget about what happened to your legs, Pops! I refuse to let that bastard have a peaceful birthday!”
He looked at the wall indifferently and didn’t say anything.
In the afternoon, I rode a bike to my friend’s place and borrowed 5,000 yuan from him.
Next morning I posted an “Eyes Wanted” notice in a bustling area of our small town.
The notice really worked. I got more than thirty phone calls within half a day. After I combed through them meticulously, I chose one pair from among them. I got my wish and saw those eyes in Street Center Park late that evening. He was a polite young man and he took out a stack of photos for me to look at. My tears flowed as I gratefully handed him a stack of banknotes.
On a sleety afternoon, I finally found the person and the car in the photos.
“My pop's leg was ... broken!” I took a puff on my cigarette and said it slowly.
“Here’s a check for 300,000 yuan. Take it!” The person in the photo tossed out the check like it was nothing.
I gripped the check in my hand, afraid it would fly away if I wasn’t careful!
Half a year later, I thoroughly enjoyed the condo I bought in Grand View Garden. I’d sent the person I called "Pops" to an old folks home.
I know he wouldn't blame me…. I’m certain of it!
Translated from here, also available here. (Page search for author's or story's name.)
2. In for a Penny, In for a Pound (一不做二不休)
Rainy Wang (王雨)
A businessman from Wancheng Real Estate Development was working a construction project in the Wancheng area of Chongqing. He paid no regard to the requirements of civilized behavior, and after a time the nearby residents became angry and resentful. They and the construction workers armed themselves and faced off against each other. A TV station got wind of the situation and sent a crew over to video the entire confrontation. They were going to broadcast it on the "City Focus" program.
Things were completely blowing up! Pissing their pants in terror, the crew rushed back to report to the boss. The boss heard them out and then waived his hand. “I know. Stay away from there for now!"
Before two days had passed, a competition called the "Wansheng Harmony Cup" was broadcast on the TV news during prime time. According to reliable sources, Wansheng Real Estate Co., Ltd., had contributed ¥180,000 toward the expenses of the competition.
http://bbs.tianya.cn/post-shortmessage-60605-1.shtml, story #9
3. Stone Heroes (石英)
Yuan Bingfa (袁炳发)
A valorous bloodline, and melancholy feelings.
When introducing her to others, it was never the traditional "my old lady", but the fashionable "the one I love." She’d sit there tasting the sweetness of the term "the one I love". As she felt better about him, at night she acquiesced in the "process" he needed, and no longer whined about it.
When they ran into someone and she introduced him, she also used " the one I love."
The days had passed quietly in this way for several years when an ill wind blew suddenly through their tranquility. One evening, on his way home from work, he was hit head-on by a truck and fell under the wheels. He never got up again.
Everyone who saw it said he got what he deserved. How could anyone walking on the road beak the law like that? It really wasn’t that the truck hit him; he ran into the truck!
Shortly after his death, she was sorting through the things he’d left and found ten letters he’d written to a woman but never sent. They were tied up in a stack, in order.
She married again, later. She often told her current husband, “Truth is, I didn't love him.”
Still later, every year on the anniversary of his death, a woman habitually went to the funeral parlor to pay her respects to him. It wasn’t the woman who’d been his wife while he was alive.
Capable Wei and Carefree Liu had come to know each other because a novel written by Capable won a national award.
Carefree was a tall woman. She wasn’t very good looking, but she wore a happy smile on her face every day, which made everyone feel that she was friendly and easygoing. She was a reporter for the cultural section of the Evening News in a small city, so of course she wouldn’t miss the opportunity to interview the award-winning author Capable Wei.
After the interview, Carefree wrote an article entitled "The Aroma of Plums in the Bitter Cold: Foretelling a Better Future". She wrote things like “Capable would give his all for literature with no regrets,” and “In the end, April showers bring May flowers.” Capable had to laugh grudgingly when he read the article in the newspaper. Later he called Carefree and said, “You hyped me up too much, Carefree. I’m not your boss and I can’t pay you a bonus.”
Carefree laughed out loud. “I don't want a bonus,” she said, “I want your heart.” Capable’s heart really did tremble when he heard that. After few seconds of silence, Carefree laughed again and said, “I didn’t scare you, did I, Capable? I was kidding you! If I took your heart, your female fans would eat me alive, you know!”
Just like that, Carefree and Capable were drawn closer by the strings of her article, and from then on they grew closer still. They often ate together when they had nothing else going on. Capable started calling her by the familiar nickname “Little Carefree”. Gradually he came to like her, especially the happy smile on her face when they saw each other. He couldn’t get that smile out of his mind. Finally, on a rainy day, in a small private room at a restaurant, under Carefree’s soft gaze, Capable took her in his arms.... and they fell in love.
They stole away to spend time together twice a week, each time lingering until late at night before bidding each other adieu. Later, Capable felt that he couldn’t do without Carefree in his life, and Carefree felt she couldn't do without Capable in her life, so they made plans. They would each go home and divorce their respective spouses, and then they’d start a new family together.
The planning was easy, but it proved rather difficult to carry out. Capable’s wife exclaimed, “Divorce over my dead body.” Carefree’s husband was even more stubborn: “No divorce even if you drop dead!” Thus, unable to get divorced, Capable and Carefree felt that their lives were particularly complicated.
One day, in the afterglow of love, Capable asked, “Why are our lives so complicated, Little Carefree? Why can't we free ourselves?” Carefree, rather perplexed, looked at Capable. He continued, “We can't ask to live our lives together, but it’s our right to seek death together. We can both commit suicide and complete our marriage in the next world.”
Without thinking about it, Carefree said “OK.” Capable held her and said, “Little Carefree, you’re so good, loving you is worth it!”
On a splendidly moonlit night, the couple went to an abandoned factory in the suburbs. They sat leaning against a willow tree. After they embraced for a moment, Capable brought out a bottle of highly toxic pesticide. “I’ll drink half the bottle, then you take the rest,” he told Carefree.
She nodded. Capable put his mouth to the bottle and raised his head. Half the bottle of liquid gurgled down into his stomach. As he handed the remaining half bottle of pesticide to Carefree, his face began to twist out of shape and he grabbed at the ground with both hands.
She saw his painful struggles and began to feel frightened. The hand in which she held the bottle of pesticide started trembling, and the violent shaking caused pesticide to spill from the bottle. She threw the bottle and what was left in it far away.
“Please forgive me for being scared,” she said to Capable as he lay rolling around on the ground. “I’m a woman, and a mother. I have a four-year-old daughter….” Then she ran like crazy.
A few days later, the writer Capable Wei’s suicide caused a sensation in the small city’s literary circles. Opinions differed, and people were unable to agree about what had happened.
The police found the record of Capable’s last telephone conversation before he died and, following the clue, sought out Carefree to gain an understanding of the situation. She was particularly animated as she told the officer who came to investigate, “Are you saying his death had something to do with me, just because his last phone call was made to me? What kind of crappy logic is that?!” The officer saw that she couldn’t calm herself and noticed that she was getting a malevolent look on her face. He decided to duck the issue for the time being and come back at a better time.
From then on, no one saw her previous happy smile on her face anymore. It had been replaced by a look of sinister horror. People familiar with her began to say that they didn’t know her any longer.
Sichuan Literature, 5 Aug 2017. Translated from Press Reader at
4. What Is Dad’s Wife’s Name? (爸爸的老婆叫什麼)
Zeng Yongmei (曾詠梅)
The sun was setting. It daubed the two shadowy figures in the yard with a golden light.
"Dad, we’ve got to move around more." My cousin walked ahead of my uncle, holding his hand. Uncle followed behind, walking with small, quick steps, every bit as unsteady as a toddler just learning to walk.
Uncle had Alzheimer's. His hands and feet weren’t nimble, and neither was his mind. There were lots of people and things that he couldn’t remember clearly. His language functioning was obstructed.
The doctor had ordered the old guy to move around more, with people accompanying him, and to talk more. That was the only way to improve his condition. So Cousin came home every few days to spend time with him.
Being sick, Uncle didn’t like to see people, but he did smile broadly when he saw Uncle. Then he looked like a lovable, well-behaved child. Cousin thought up all kinds of ways to get Uncle to talk.
"Dad, I remember you working in Guangzhou when you were younger. (In the past, his work experience in Guangzhou was always on Uncle’s mind.) Your Cantonese, the local lingo, was especially good back then. Can you still speak it now?"
Uncle perked up when he heard that. "Yes, I can,” he said.
"Let's talk in Cantonese, okay?"
"Okay," Uncle said with a laugh.
Cousin, who’d studied in Guangzhou, immediately came out with some authentic sounding Cantonese. “What’s another name for Guangzhou?"
Uncle answered in clear Cantonese: "Sheep City."
"Hey, you’re all right, Dad.” Cousin sounded like he was praising a primary school student.
Uncle perked right up.
"What’s your name?"
"What’s my name?"
The questions and answers went back and forth as they walked and talked. Cousin couldn’t help but laugh at the distinctive flavor of Uncle’s Cantonese, a hearty “ha ha” laugh, and Uncle laughed along with him.
"Well, do you remember your wife's name?" Cousin continued.
"My wife, uh, her name was.... It was...." Uncle paused. "It was Grown Pretty Luo." It seemed Cousin might not’ve heard, so I raised my voice and repeated, " Grown Pretty Luo."
Cousin immediately poked the old man when he heard that. He abruptly looked over at the house, where his mother was in the kitchen stir-frying something. The ventilation fan was banging away.
After leading Uncle back to the living room, Cousin went back to the bedroom and lay down. He tossed and turned, depressed and unable to understand. “Wasn't he talking about that woman Grown Pretty Luo who lived with him for just a year or so? But Mom’s been married to him for decades and has worked hard and put up with a lot. How could Dad only remember that other woman! Doesn’t my mother count for anything?”
Cousin felt really bad for his mother.
I didn’t see Cousin come to spend time with Uncle for several days in a row.
My Aunt noticed that something was different and asked Cousin: "Is something making you uncomfortable, Son? Looking after your Dad is tiring, is that it?"
"Don't mention Dad, Mom. You treat him too well, but he doesn't remember how good you are at all. He only remembers his wife was named Grown Pretty Luo. Did you know that?"
Cousin was frank by nature. The words that had been bottled up in him for days came flowing out from his mouth in an instant, like beans through a funnel.
Aunt sighed softly. "Silly boy,” she said, “so that’s what it was. This thing, I’d better let your aunt talk to you about it. It’s time.”
That evening, my mother and I stood in front of Cousin, and she said to him very seriously:
" Grown Pretty Luo was indeed your father's wife, child. She was married to your Dad for more than a year before she left this mortal coil. But, do you know? She was your mother!"
Cousin was shaken to the core. He looked at my mother perplexedly.
“Grown Pretty Luo,” she continued, “your birth mother, that is, died from an illness when you were less than one year old. Knowing what a male chauvinist your dad is, just before she died she entrusted you to my sister, your aunt, that is. Your aunt devoted herself to taking care of you and asked your grandfather to let her marry her brother-in-law, your father. Your aunt became your current mother. Her name is Jade Pretty Luo."
That was when Cousin found all about it.
My mother patted Cousin’s shoulder. "You have a good life, child,” she said, her voice filled with meaning. “In the beginning my sister, Jade Pretty Luo, talked it over with us and we decided to keep things from you until you came of age, so that you’d have a healthy environment to grow up in. This fib was so many years ago that we’d all almost forgotten about it…. But you should be very clear, your mama Jade Pretty regards you as her own. She’s had no other children in her whole life because of you. You’re her treasure...."
Later, on other days, we could often see Cousin leading Uncle in the courtyard sprinkled with the afterglow of the setting sun. From time to time Uncle would say clearly in Cantonese, "My wife’s named Pretty. My wife’s named Pretty."
From 雪花新闻 at this page
5. Chen Peisi Collects Comedy Scripts (陈佩斯走进校园征集喜剧剧本)
Wang Run, Reporter (记者王润)
A few days ago, the renowned comedian Chen Peisi went to the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts campus to promote a script search for the "Beijing Comedy Art Festival 2014". It happened to be the day when the students were holding their graduation ceremony, so graduates wearing baccalaureate gowns were all over the campus, their dreams for the future showing on their faces. Many came directly to the site of the script search still wearing their gowns. They came to the extravaganza not only because of the substantial bonus of 160,000 yuan offered for scripts, but also for the chance to work with Chen Peisi to bring their work to the stage. It really was a tempting opportunity for young students.
But Chen, the founder and artistic director of the “Beijing Comedy Art Festival”, gave those students still on campus more than a great opportunity to showcase their talents. With his always ample and uniquely individual personality, he didn’t mince words in pouring ice water on those youths who harbored delusions. He indicated that he did not expect to get much out of this script search. "To tell the truth, because I’ve hung around the script writers for the Spring Festival Shows and have participated in so many of those shows, I’ve collected scripts from all over the country every year. Up to today, though, the good scripts are almost zero, and none I could just pick up and use." He spoke frankly. "And that’s the case not only for scripts from just anywhere in the country – scripts from high-level schools are even more Arabian Nights fantasies. A good script requires several people comparing notes for years, and then performing it on stage for years, and then modifying it some more. None of that ‘can’t spend ten years grinding it out’ stuff."
In his eyes, "Making people laugh is the hardest thing in the world." A few years ago, he said, a performer who was considered a hotshot invited Chen to watch one of his comedy sketches. He did, and concluded that the guy didn’t understand comedy at all. As a result, the guy never again asked Chen to watch him perform.
Chen said with emotion, "There’s no special comedy course in our performing arts education. That’s why many people don’t understand the attributes of comedy when they’re creating. The lack of knowledge about laughter is the crux of the problem. Everyone is a blind person leading the blind, and that includes me. Our generation gropes around until we hit a brick wall. Luckily I broke through that wall, but after I did, I was still just groping around.
Chen indicated that he hopes the current script search for the Beijing Comedy Art Festival 2014 will provide a platform for "planting the seeds of comedy which, after several years of hard work, will produce sprouts and turn our dreams into reality."
It is reported that the script search will continue through the end of October.
People’s Daily 人民网
6. Happy Birthday (生日快乐)
Zhao Xin (赵欣)
"Happy Birthday" was the name of the restaurant. It specialized in birthday celebrations. It was next door to a maternity hospital, which might have been coincidental or maybe was intentional.
Several classmates gave her a small “party” there, as they say in English. This birthday had a special significance because she was to become a college student a month later. On the way to the restroom she passed by the adjacent private room and, looking through the glass door, noticed a middle-aged man drinking alone. Giving himself a birthday party? It was outlandish.
She was both mischievous and bold. She went to peek inside and accidentally bumped the door open. Flustered, she exchanged pleasantries with the man. She felt nothing but awkwardness and shyness standing there.
She thought of that day occasionally after she arrived at her college. She remembered the man and the private room.
Something unexpected happened in a classroom on the campus.
When the male teacher was taking attendance that first day, he said teasingly, "Hey, is the secret agent Dai Li undercover in our class?" Her name was Dai Li – the same name as the head of the intelligence agency of the Republic of China during World War Two. The teacher had turned out to be the man from the restaurant. She hadn’t expected life to be so theatrical.
As a teacher, his sunny disposition, humor and breadth of knowledge made her and the other students love him. He also dispelled the awkwardness and shyness between her and him. Without the natural barrier that had been between them the first time, for no reason they felt a rapport slowly growing between them.
On her next birthday, Dai Li chose to go to the same room in that restaurant. When she went to the bathroom, she became uncharacteristically cautious. She hoped to nudge the door open accidentally on her way, but was also afraid she wouldn’t see the person she wanted to see. This time, when she bumped the door open, the people in the room were quite lively. That lonely figure wasn’t there.
The tacit connection between them disappeared as if it had never been. Disappointed, she drank glass after glass of wine and got tipsy.
On her next trip to the bathroom, she noticed her teacher sitting upright in front of the table. The others in the group had just paid their bill and left when her teacher arrived. Her feet felt like they were on wheels and, unable to control herself, she walked into the room. They talked about this and that, and even had a few drinks. She was unhappy that the drinks were making her dizzy and she felt she was losing her chance for love. As her anguish grew, she hugged her teacher and began to weep.
Afterwards she realized that she’d done a lot of things she shouldn’t have. The teacher hadn’t taken advantage of her, but she’d taken the opportunity to tell him something she wanted: On this day in the future, the two of them would have to spend it together.
Their relationship became more delicate after that. Everything looked normal but also seemed to hide secrets.
By the new semester, she’d completed all her electives and would no longer be attending the teacher’s classes. When they ran into each other occasionally on campus, they’d just smile and say hello. In fact, they each knew the other’s phone number, but neither one wanted to be the first to call.
Another year, another birthday, the same place. Her group of friends were about to graduate and would be going their separate ways. She alone refused the join in the celebration because she remembered her appointment with the teacher.
He really did come. They blew out the candles before cutting the cake, made wishes and had some drinks. He cherished her like a father, like a friend, like a classmate, like a.... even more like a boyfriend. When she asked if he remembered the first time they’d met, he laughed. She said: "I want to spend my birthdays with you forever." He still laughed. She reached out her hand. "No matter what our situations, we must keep this date." He hesitated for a moment, then hooked fingers with her to promise that he would.
Time has nothing written in stone. Ten thousand people will have ten thousand ways of staying connected, but these two fell into a most unconventional way. The next time they saw each other, she was shopping with her boyfriend. The teacher looked at them with eyes full of congratulations, which disturbed her quite a lot.
On the morning of her birthday, she’d just woke up when she got a text message from the teacher. “Best wishes! We should cancel our appointment now.” She replied, “No, we must keep the date!”
So they got together there again. Like an old friend, he asked her what she’d been doing since graduation and passed on many of his own experiences.
She got pregnant soon after she got married. The day her husband took her for a prenatal exam happened to be her birthday. As they passed by the “Happy Birthday,” she sent a text message to the teacher apologizing for not being able to make it that day. By some happy coincidence, the teacher said that he was out of town and couldn’t get back in time, either.
Of course they could and maybe should have arranged to meet another day, but neither wanted to be first to mention it. Like their tacit connection in the past, where neither had gotten in touch with the other, this date turned out to be like a kite cut loose from its string.
They didn’t see each other again until a number of years had gone by. Her child was grown and had tested into a civil service position in another province, where he’d gone to follow his own dreams. Her husband had started to change at some time, maybe when the first wrinkles crept into the corners of her eyes, or maybe when their child went away to college.... She kept finding hints of another woman on his cell phone.
She used to think that if they saw each other again, she’d look confident and happy as she smiled at him and said, "I’m doing very well." When the black hairs faded to white, though, she realized that the track of her life was like that time when she and her boyfriend had run into her teacher on the street – in the end, one can't escape the clichés of a story line in a play.
She’d long avoided the "Happy Birthday", but she went there on her birthday this year. She had nothing of the shyness of inexperienced youth, but her hopes remained unchanged. The restaurant’s decorations were the same, as was the boss. He talked with her about the past as if they were old friends reminiscing about old times. "Yeah, these last several years,” he said, “only that teacher of yours has come here every year on this day, to just sit there. Hasn’t missed a year….”
She looked through the unlatched door into the corner of the room where the boss was pointing, and there he sat. He was a dignified old man now, with a stooped back and sparse white hair. His hand seemed to shake a bit when he picked up his glass. He looked like he was thinking about something, and waiting. While he wore no expression, he could not smooth out the vicissitudes of life carried along with every wrinkle on his face.
She burst into tears as she got up quickly and walked toward him, feeling as though she’d returned to the days of her youth. Her legs and feet moved nimbly but time moved slowly – the distance between them spanned almost half their lives. When she got to the door, he strained to look at her through eyes drooping from wrinkles. A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth and erased the two lines of tears. She thought that, in the next second, he would run over and take her in his arms.
For a long while, she watched him struggle to support himself on the table to stand up. He reached for the cane hanging beside his chair and stumbled over to the door. They stood there for quite some time. Outside this restaurant, he was a lonely old man whiling away the rest of his life in a nursing home, and she was a woman who’d endured an unfortunate marriage for the sake of her child. But here she was Dai Li, his spy, and he was the teacher, her date. He stood in front of her, shifting from one foot to the other, and said shakily, "Happy birthday, Special Agent!"
小说月刊，2017年第二期, story 5
Translated from 91du.net, also at http://xxs.d0088.cn/archives/12828.html
7. Self-Restraint (涵养)
Rainy Wang (王雨)
When the new leader took office, he went on an inspection tour at the grassroots level. After he left, there was an exposé in the media – with photos as proof. Someone had “pranked” him and the masses were laughing out loud.
The leader didn’t get angry or indignant. He remained as calm as a lake on a summer’s day.
His family saw the reports in the newspaper. They asked him, "Why didn’t you react?"
"Things are unsettled in officialdom these days,” he said, “and this sort of thing is quite common. Is it worth making a fuss over? – They sweat blood for a few days, just to get me to stop and take a look, so that I’d fall for their prank. That was tough enough on them. If I’d pounded my fist on the table and flown into a rage, the people under me would’ve complained that I couldn’t even take a joke. Without this little bit of self-restraint, how would I ever fit in here?”
http://bbs.tianya.cn/post-shortmessage-60605-1.shtml, story #10
8. Director Li’s Oddities (局长的蹊跷事)
Han Chunrong (韩春荣)
Young Wang bumped into Director Li as he was leaving the housing unit. He went up to him to say hello. “How are you, Director?”
“How are you, Young Wang?”
After this exchange of greetings, Young Wang walked along with Director Li. Neither of them said anything else. They were both in a hurry to get to work.
An arched bridge was ahead of them, with a small flat bridge beside it for pedestrian use. The reason for the pedestrian bridge is self-evident – people could cross it with less effort and have a shorter route. Director Li didn’t take the smaller bridge, though, and instead walked toward the arched bridge without looking back. “Director Li,” Young Wang said, “The pedestrian bridge is closer. It’s this way.” Director Li waved his hand and left Wang behind. Wang didn’t follow the Director and walked onto the pedestrian bridge by himself.
Young Wang told Young Li about this when he got back to his unit. Young Li said, “I’ve noticed something odd about Director Li, too. He lives on the first floor. There’s a lavatory on that floor, but he’d rather use one farther away. He insists on going up to the third floor to do his business. Once when a subordinate came to see him to make a report, Director Li still didn’t use the first-floor lavatory to save time. He rushed all the way up to the third floor.”
While he was speaking, Young Pang came in. He said something had happened that morning that Director Li could’ve ignored, but instead he handled it as though he enjoyed it.
Pang and some colleagues had been playing badminton during the lunch break, he said, and accidently hit the shuttlecock onto the roof of the building beside them. The guys looked at it and sighed. No birdie, no more game. Eventually they got a ladder and leaned it against the building’s eaves. Pang moved the ladder around. Although it rested on the eaves at a certain angle, it was very unsteady. He had one foot on the ladder’s crossbar and, when he put weight on it, the ladder swayed. Pang was so scared that he quickly took his foot off it. He wanted to get someone who didn’t weigh as much to go up and retrieve the birdie.
Right then Director Li came over. Without saying a word, he pushed Young Pang aside and, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, went up to the roof and brought the shuttlecock down. Off to the side, Pang broke into a cold sweat while he watched the Director’s chubby body climbing up so high on the ladder. If there was an accident, oh, Jeez!
When Director Li came down, Pang asked him, “Weren’t you afraid to climb up so high? You’re older and kind of chubby.” The Director shook his head and said, "Nope. You guys keep on playing. Call me if you hit the birdie up there again.”
Oh, mother, Pang and his buddies couldn’t handle that and got out of there. They weren’t worried that they’d knock the birdie up on the roof again – they were afraid that Director Li would come to help again. They couldn’t take the chance that an accident would happen.
They talked it over and each had his own opinion. Director Li chose to take the arched bridge for the exercise. He went upstairs to go to the bathroom because it was more peaceful. He got the birdie off the roof out of compassion for his workers, and he wanted to help them out of a jam. This was all conjecture, though, and not everyone agreed.
The guys knew that the organization’s Old Wang and Director Li had been comrades in the army. They were close and often talked, pouring out their innermost feelings to each another. Old Wang would have better insight into the Director’s way of thinking, so the guys asked his opinion. Everyone told Lao Wang about their own views.
Lao Wang shook his head. “You’re all wrong,” he said softly. “Director Li was being considered for promotion and his superiors were checking him out. “But soon a little bird told him they were afraid he couldn’t be promoted because of concerns about his age. Tell me, how could he stand it, being about to get promoted but having it fall through? What else could he do? If he couldn’t move up in his job, he’d make up for it by moving up with his feet. Look, you guys, going up the arched bridge, going upstairs, going up to the roof, aren’t these all things where he used his feet to move up? Director Li is voluntarily expending his energy in this way to move upwards and onwards on his feet. He’s seeking a balance by offsetting his inability to move up in his career.
小说月刊，2017年第二期, translated from 91读网 at
www.91du.net/filedownload/139527, Also available here.
9. List of Shame (丢人榜)
Rainy Wang (王雨)
Bureau Chief Zhao and Bureau Chief Qian lived opposite one another. One evening Mrs. Zhao came over to pay Mrs. Qian a visit. While they were chatting, Mrs. Zhao said she had some good news – she’d been selected as one of the “Ten Most Frugal Helpmates”.
After she left, Mrs. Qian asked her husband, “How come you don’t give out a nice award like that?"
Bureau Chief Qian smirked. "So that’s a nice thing? Let me tell you, this 'Ten Most Frugal Helpmates' list isn’t an honor at all. On the contrary, in our circle we say it’s a ‘list of shame’. If you’re on the list, it means that your husband doesn’t socialize, is incompetent and only loves pinching pennies! And after your name goes on the list, the others will take more and more pains to avoid you! You almost become a nonentity in official circles and socialize less than ever!"
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