7. Heavenly Path
8. She Says
9. Playing with Brands

1. The Unromantic Husband (老公不懂浪漫)
by Two Bushels (九斗)

      Lin Xiaoying and her husband, Xu Qian, had been married for over ten years and had been very affectionate throughout. Although Xu Qian was a little lazy, he could still be considered up to snuff as a husband. The guy was awfully slow, however, and not in the least bit romantic.
      Then on Double Seven, which is sometimes called "Chinese Valentine's Day", Lin stopped hinting and told her husband directly: If she couldn't get a little bit of romance out of him, her heart would feel as cool as a piece of ceramic tile. Later she was huffing and puffing angrily, changing clothes to get ready for work, when she unexpectedly overheard her husband in the next room saying to their son: "and consider this a pleasant surprise for your mom...."
     Lin peeked around the corner. Their son, late for school, had grabbed his book bag and was running out the door. Her husband then urged her, "And if you don't hurry, you'll miss your bus. You spend all day painting that face, but it's still the same face you've been looking at for decades, so what's the big deal...." On a normal day those words would have been a fuse to ignite her anger, but not today. The spot of happiness in her heart put the fuse out with a hiss. She was concentrating on the pleasant surprise that awaited her.
      Lin was on pins and needles all morning and kept guessing what the pleasant surprise might be. By noon she truly couldn't sit still, so she thought she might as well go to her son's school to ask him what was going on. The boy was just coming out with a group of classmates and was surprised to see her. Lin ran up to him and got straight to the point. "Son," she said, "did your father say he was giving me a surprise this morning?"
      The son nodded. "Yes, yes," he said.
      Lin teared up and asked: "What is it?"
      The boy's classmates were getting farther and farther away. He hurried to catch up, and as he ran he shouted, "I gotta go, Mom. The surprise … the pantry...." A large truck was going by just then, and Lin didn't clearly hear what surprise was in the pantry, but that was OK because she was in ecstasy.
      She was restless all afternoon. She didn't want to waste this bit of romance that was so hard to come by, so she made a decision. She'd get herself some bragging rights to make up for the things she'd had to put up with all these years. She dialed several numbers and finally came up with three friends who didn't have dates for the evening. She figured three witnesses would be enough because all three were gossips who wouldn't be able to keep quiet. By tomorrow the whole world would know how blessed she was.
      Lin had planned on buying some groceries so she and her husband could cook a romantic meal together and share their love. She didn't expect to get a phone call from him. "I've got to take a shift for one of the guys," Xu said unhappily. "I won't be able to get home. You and the boy get dinner for yourselves." Why did Lin feel that Xu was playing some kind of game? Could this guy really have gotten so clever overnight?
      Still in a good mood, she bought some ready-made meals and went home. She didn't expect to find her three friends already there, waiting at the door. After she set the table, she acted as though she had just remembered something. "I'll go to the pantry and get some wine," she said.
      The pantry in their home wasn't very big, but a lot of things were piled in it. She looked through it for a long time, but didn't see anything that looked like a gift. She was getting anxious when her friends said, impatiently, "It's OK if there's no wine. Come and eat so we can get to the card game."
      "I've got to find it," Lin said to herself. "That was the whole point in having them over. It's my fault for being too impulsive. I should've found the surprise before I asked anyone over to show it off. But I know I heard it right." She clenched her teeth and looked again, but still couldn't find anything. She was running out of patience and was about to call Xu to ask where it was when the door opened. It was their son home from school. He saw her at the pantry door and casually asked, "Did you see the pleasant surprise Dad gave you?"
      Lin's friends were really bored, but when they heard what her son said, they broke into a lively discussion. "Has your husband suddenly gained enlightenment, giving you pleasant surprises?"
      Lin's face brightened with pride. "Why would I still be looking if I'd already found it?" she said to her son. "Tell me where it is."
      Her son raised his hand and pointed to the door handle. "The pleasant surprise is," he said, "Dad put a new handle on the pantry door. Haven't you been complaining for months that he wouldn't fix it?"

《山海经•故事奇闻》Mountain and Sea Classic · Stories and Anecdotes, 2nd Issue 2013
http://www.storychina.cn/frmStoryCollection_Detail.aspx?ID=36480
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2. Men's Seven-Inchers (男人的七寸)

by Now Green Now Red (绿了红了)

      Men's seven-inchers come in two varieties, those that can be eaten and those that can't.
      The seven-incher that can be eaten is Chinese menudo.
      Many men are addicted to Chinese menudo, a goulash made from the tip of a pig's large intestine. Reportedly the tip of a fat pig's intestine is just seven inches long, no more, no less. When cut up and fried there isn't very much of it. Obviously, therefore, Chinese menudo is rather pricy, and that's also why it's called 'seven-incher'.
      Forget the fact that menudo's appearance is so unbearably vulgar, and so sloppy, because it's deep-fried to a crisp outside with a tender inside. The seared, twisty intestines can often make men wearing western suits, who've been straight as arrows in a quiver, get demoralized and let loose of themselves. Eyes fogging over, they fall into a stupor, completely losing their sanctimonious facades. Before the menudo is served they'll crane their necks and look at each other, their greed exposed. After it's brought to the table it'll get them working their chopsticks, the picture of piggishness. Thus a plate of menudo, so light and easy to pick up, exposes men's innate gluttony.
      It's said that menudo is a pig's hemorrhoids! But such horrifying rumors of course don't create any obstacles for strong-willed men. Thoughts floating around in their imaginations on this point seem to have broken wings. As for the pictures that should be brought to mind by the term "hemorrhoids", men automatically screen and filter out every nauseating image associated with the term. They keep on eating as before, without hindrance, showing a rare passion towards their plate of menudo. Really, it's close to an unwavering, eternal infatuation.
      Women often appreciate a man who's a fool for love, but can seldom understand a man who's a glutton for food. I've always thought there was a link between the two. Chinese menudo, it's not only a fat pig's seven-incher, it's also the "seven-incher" that is so dear to these men's hearts. I do appreciate it when a man is capable of having a bosom full of affection for an article of food.
      Everything in the world has a seven-incher. If it's a snake, it has one, and if it's a man, he has one. In China the ancients always called it something harmful or weakening, such as the Life-Gate [a nonexistent organ in the human body which, in Chinese herbal medicine, is said to control the small intestine] or [acupressure points] like the Vital Hole, the Location Child, the Writ Child, and also the Face Child and the Female Child. These are all points that men should take extra care to protect and women should be extra cautious about manipulating.
      The other seven-incher for men is their Life-Gate, which is their Achilles heel.
      Some men don't admit that they have a seven-incher. If it should ever get pinched, they'll stiffen their upper lips and vow that it wasn't. Such men are often hypocritical, and often emotionless.
      Some men don't know they have a seven-incher. They don't feel that they're concerned about saving face and don't consider themselves vain. They don't know that their heart jumps like a deer when they see a beautiful woman, and they get all confused and red in the face. These men often have no secret agenda. They are usually good men.
      A woman asked a stupid question – should a man's seven-incher be kneaded?
      [The answer published on the website is:] My attitude has always been very amiable – why bother? When dealing with men, the less chicanery the better.
      [The answer printed in the book is:] What seems like pinching isn't.

男人的肋骨—绿了红了著 (p. 8), 黄河出版传媒集团,宁夏人民出版社 (2012)
Also at
http://blog.gxnews.com.cn/u/689/a/749469.html
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3. Expressions of Condolence (慰问)

Liu Hongqiao (刘洪桥)

      “Has an honest manner and conducts himself with decency; makes decisions swiftly and decisively while handling affairs conscientiously; shows solidarity with comrades and is witty with a great sense of humor”.
      These were all evaluations of the Department Chief by his coworkers during the previous Cadre Inspection. Ordinarily, though, it wasn’t easy to determine what sort of fellow the Department Chief actually was. But considering how busy everyone was and how the business was booming, the entire Department was certainly vigorous under his leadership.
      One afternoon Young Zhang, a Department employee, received a phone call from someone who claimed to be a member of the Chief’s family. The caller said that the Chief’s father had just passed away from illness. Young Zhang wasted no time going to the various Section offices to pass on the news. He also notified the Assistant Department Chief at the same time.   The Assistant Chief called and presided at a meeting. “Comrades, we were surprised to hear that the Department Chief’s father has passed. We've called everyone together here to deliberate the assignment of tasks for handling the problem.” Everyone in the auditorium immediately started to ardently discuss the matter….
      “I tell you, I was wondering why we haven’t seen the Chief for so many days. Turns out he was attending to his sick father. He really is a filial son.”
      “We should make time to organize a group to go to the Chief’s father’s home.”
      “We can have Young Zhao, Young Li and Young Liu go there first to help with the details. Team members and others from the Department can follow along later.”
      “Young Zhang will be responsible for collecting contributions. Everyone must give.”
      “Let’s do it this way. We’ll proceed according to rank. I’ll give 2,000 Yuan to set an example. Other people start at 500 Yuan with no upper limit.”
      Soon Young Zhang had collected a per capita “condolence fund” and a bus was waiting silently in front of the building to take people to the Chief’s father’s home.
      “The Chief’s father’s home is in a small town in an outlying area of a neighboring county. We’ll have to go by a long, winding section of a mountain road. The whole trip will likely take more than three hours. The Chief’s family does a lot of charitable work and has a lot of prestige in that area. The house the Chief’s father lived in might be old, but it’s near a river and mountains and the scenery is gorgeous. The interior is exquisitely decorated and it’s quite comfortable….” Like a tour guide, Young Zhang, who had been to the Chief’s father’s home, gave everyone an introduction to the place after they’d set out.
      “We should call the Chief and let him know how all us workers in the Department feel. And give him a chance to get ready for us coming over, too.” Young Zhang only thought of this when they were already half-way there.
      When the call went through, the person who answered wasn’t the Chief, but his wife. She started sobbing as she spoke, and it made Young Zhang feel more and more apprehensive as he listened. It seemed that the Chief had gone to his father’s home a few days before and had gotten together with a group of friends. His diabetes had flared up because he had too much to drink. He’d collapsed right there on the table. They weren’t able to save him and he died.
      “We’ve made a mistake!” Young Zhang yelled when he’d hung up the phone. “It wasn’t the Chief’s father, it was the Chief! What do we do now?”
      The entire busload of people was startled awake as they listened to Young Zhang report the news of the Chief’s death. They looked back and forth at each other, each lost in their own thoughts. All of a sudden the Assistant Chief sat up and gestured. “Turn around and head back!”
      It seemed like a heavy burden had been lifted from everyone’s shoulders. Pleased, they lay back in their seats and closed their eyes again. The bus’s horn sounded as it changed direction and headed back toward the county seat.

Translated from here, also available here.
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4. The Secret (秘密)

by Ancient Breeze (古来风)

      On her head a somewhat beat-up, gray hip-hop cap adroitly covered her long, dark chestnut-colored curls. She was wearing a light blue man’s windbreaker. Those eyes of hers, painted with smoky black makeup, were always quick to discover their goal, and her lips, painted bright red, had the kind of beauty that grabs your eyes. She stuck her delicate long fingernails, painted black, into someone’s pocket, then left surreptitiously. None of this escaped his eye. He was a photography buff in his spare time, often looking for something to shoot on the evening plaza. He considered whether to take her picture. If he did, it would be a big help to him in his job as well as his hobby. He also had a career as a policeman, although at the moment he did not like to admit it. He had screwed up a case, so his superior had confiscated his badge and sent him home to think things over. He had had a load on his mind the last few days and had come to the plaza this evening to take his mind off things. He’d seen her before, and from the first he thought to himself that he had never seen such a gorgeous thief. Maybe kept watching her because he wanted to find an appropriate way to warn her, but couldn’t. Maybe, most of the time, he was afraid a cop would see her. Or maybe he just wanted to appreciate her beauty. Should a cop appreciate the beauty of a thief? Damn, what’s wrong with him?
      For an afternoon he went back and forth with himself. Then he saw her again. This time he followed her secretly. She walked down a deep, rundown alley and opened an old door. Through a crack in the door he saw a warm, deep orange light. An old woman who looked in poor health lay on a bed under the light. He thought, that must be her mother. Maybe she steals to pay for medical care for her mother.
      She had seen him staring at her several times. She had just smiled at him with sly complacency and disappeared in a flash. Maybe she knew he wouldn’t do anything.
      He still went to the plaza every evening, just to see her lithe figure. He’d never had a chance to talk to her or been able to help her with anything. She always disappeared too quickly in the boundless sea of people.
      Until one dark rainy night, a piercing police siren sounded over the plaza. He saw her silhouette running through the rain and thought, shit, someone must have seen her. He chased after her without hesitation, wanting to get to her before the police did. He caught up to her quickly and pulled her down the old, dark alley where he’d followed her before. He snatched off her hat and pulled off her light blue windbreaker and hurriedly put them on himself. He said: “Take care of yourself. Wait for me.” Then, with firm determination, he rushed into the murky rain. She had not said a word. She leaned against a wall, two streaks of tears running down her cheeks.
      One year later, on a bright, sunny day, he and she….

Translated from here, also available at http://www.thriftysem.com/WeiXing/s961.html
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5. Watching Movies (看电影)

by Huang Huanzhi (黄焕支著)

      One summer vacation my son dragged me to a movie theater to see a swashbuckling kung fu blockbuster. I hadn't been to that theater in a long time, and when we walked in, I looked around at the impeccable facilities and cozy milieu in the screening room. As I enjoyed the show with my son, relaxed in both body and soul, I couldn't help thinking of scenes from when we watched movies in my youth.
      That was back in the '70s. Workers living in the factory district usually watched outside in the open air, sometimes in a lit ball yard and sometimes in the farmers' market. (The area was used to sell produce during the day and to show movies in the evenings.) It was quite simple and crude – a spacious, empty flat area with two wooden poles erected in the middle. There was a movie projector which would shoot a beam at a flat white sheet pulled up between the poles as a screen. We watched movie after movie that way.
      In those days, as long as there was a show playing in the evening, it was like a holiday or a vacation. Everybody would be in high spirits, holding fans in the summer or wearing cotton-padded jackets in winter. They came carrying all kinds of stools and chairs, having very early agreed to get together to "monopolize" a spot, to occupy the best position for viewing the show.
      We didn't feel like it was crude at all, and were always quite pleased even if the projection was poor and the crowd was too noisy. Usually people preferred the area right in front of the projector because they all considered it the place with the finest view. Then they'd wait patiently for an hour or two, or even longer, for the movie to start.
      Frequently in those days, one film would be taken around and shown in several different places in one evening. We called them "running films". Often, as soon as one place had shown the first reel, someone from the next place would take it away for showing there. Sometimes, because it was a long way away, or if the projector jammed or something (projectors those days could burn film), the next place would have to wait patiently – if the film didn't get there they'd have to pause the show and wait until the next reel arrived before they could continue. When that happened we'd just have to sit there. It wasn't like today when they stick in commercials and show trailers or things in the interim. In those days a "midway pause" was a common occurrence.
      Along with watching sports games between the factories, people's favorite recreational activity was watching movies. It was a diversion. The time before the movie started was often a good chance for the masses to socialize and the kids to run around making noise. The adults would talk freely at the top of their lungs. It was really a joyous time, completely the opposite of how we watch films today, quietly and alone.
      We were still young in those days, not willing to merely occupy a spot and wait for the movie. Before the projection started, we'd play beside the screening area, making noise and having a good time. When the show started we'd hurry to find a seat and sit down. By that time the screening area was usually densely packed, filled to over-flowing, and there were seldom any suitable seats left. Sometimes we couldn't find any seat at all, so we'd run around to the area behind the screen and sit there to watch the movie. Those times the seats were superlative because there was no one to fight with, and no one to disturb you, and lots and lots of room. But the images we watched were all reversed, a very peculiar, very interesting and very delightful kind of visual angle.
      Now, when I think about the carefree happiness of childhood, they are really pleasant and beautiful memories.

鸡啦街纪事 – 黄焕支著,33页, Notes on Jila Street by Huang Huanzhi, p. 33
大众文艺出版社 2008年6月第1版 , Popular Culture & Arts Publishing House, June 2008
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6. Please, Become an Official (求求你们当官吧)

Lu Zhenhong (鲁振鸿)

      "Since becoming an official, the pain in my lower back is gone, and my legs don't hurt anymore. I have more energy and can run up nine flights of stairs in one breath...." A fat man was talking as he walked in front of the camera.
      Then a skinny man came around from behind the fat guy. "Since I became an official," he said, "my teeth are better and I've got a good appetite. My health is top notch and food tastes great."
     A short fellow came into view just after the others. "Since I became an official, hey, forget all that stuff," he said. "People really treat me right, now."
      Finally the three men looked directly into the camera and, all smiles, shouted in unison: "Friends, comrades, come on, come be an official! Let's build glory together!"
      The director yelled "Cut!" before the sound of their voices had even faded away. The three temporary actors sighed with relief as they sat down for a tea break. They started to chat.
      The fat man, Bureau Chief Zhou, was sitting on the sound stage sofa. As he sipped his tea he said: "Since the start of the twenty-eighth century, people don't want to become officials any more. Why do you think that is?"
      The skinny man, Bureau Chief Li, sighed and said: "These days people don't even want to sit for the civil service tests or for jobs with public institutions, let alone become officials."
      The short man, Bureau Chief Wang, said without much emotion: "They're satisfied with what they have. And if it wasn't for these 'Be an Official' ads, how much money would we be making? That tiny damn salary I get is barely enough to cover my mortgage."
      Bureau Chief Zhou added: "You guys be the judges. Do I have it easy being an official? Every day I get up early and come home late. I work like a cow – they give me grass to eat and squeeze the milk out of me. But since I'm an official, my son can't even find a girlfriend. Girls these days turn their backs on sons of privileged families. They say they're parasites. The injustice is killing me."
     Bureau Chief Li nodded his head: "That's exactly right. Being an official is a grind. It's lots of work for little pay, and not only that, there's always someone looking over your shoulder. The last time I took a pencil home from work I was put on report and publicly reprimanded. I was petrified and couldn't leave home for days. I wrote a ten thousand word self-criticism."
      Bureau Chief Wang interjected: "I've been a Bureau Chief for more than a decade. What gets me the most is that the low ranking types, the civil servants, are always coming up with piles of opinions about us leaders. I have to bow and scrape, and take careful notes. Always brings on another attack of my neck pain."
      Bureau Chief Zhou seemed to have thought of something. "I remember hearing my grandfather's grandfather say that people used to want to be officials. He said that once someone became an official, he would give all his friends and relatives official positions, too. And not only friends and relatives. Even his neighbors' nannies would share the wealth. But look how it is now. My wife is still at home, unemployed."
      "Exactly," Bureau Chief Li said indignantly. "I remember my grandpa's grandpa saying that officials had authority in those days, and could do whatever they wanted. But take another look at how it is now. Me and a friend of mine at work had a union complaint filed against us just because I suggested giving him a raise. Both of us almost got fired."
      Bureau Chief Wang said: "I remember my granddad's granddad said that people in the old days fawned on the officials. You could have a mistress or two. These days, I'm a leader, but forget about a mistress. If I just look the wrong way at one of my female subordinates, or just crack a joke, you don't even want to think of what would happen."
      While the three of them were in the middle of their complaint session, the director shouted at them: "You three get over here. We're going to start shooting."
      In front of the camera, Bureau Chief Zhou said warmly: "Since becoming an official...."
      Bureau Chief Li said shyly: "He's good and...."
      "I'm good, too." Bureau Chief Wang said, blushing.
      "Cut!"

2012中国年度幽默作品,丁斯主编,漓江出版社,p. 46
http://epaper.voc.com.cn/wczm/html/2012-08/30/content_552854.htm?div=-1
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7. Heavenly Path (天道)

Chen Jiangong (陈建功)

      When Ding Nannan promised herself that she'd go out and make a fortune, others had already gotten plenty rich enough.
      In fact she'd seen a lot of people make their fortunes, and it never seemed to affect her much. On Alumni Day at her school, however, a little brat who used to call her "Red Guard Grandma" and hang on her belt crying for his mommy and daddy, arrived in a Cadillac. He pulled up with a roar and stopped arrogantly right in front of her, like he was intentionally blocking her way. He got out and, right there in front of her and everyone else, tossed a seven-figure check to the principal. It made her so mad she almost had a stroke.
      "Fuck, our fathers built this country. How does he get off being so rich?"
      I first met Nannan at a friend's home. When she talked about that day at her school, she clenched her teeth and seemed to come to a sudden realization about something.
      "I finally understand what fucking idiots we were. Children of the fucking Manchus, fucking black sheep – what were they so worried about? Go on, let 'em get rich! Why the fuck didn't they let us get rich....?"
      …………
      Before long I heard that Nannan did get rich after all. She flipped real estate down south for a few months and turned into a wealthy matron.
      You can't help but sigh. It was her fathers who built the country, after all.
      Many times I heard her friends say that Ding Nannan wasn't one of those people who "never blow their top", even after she got rich.
      "Haven't I got all this money, now? So why should I stifle my anger?" I'm just "a songbird who doesn't understand the aspirations of a swan".
      Her friends said, "Who knows what's with her? She's always cussing people out. 'Who's world is this, anyway?' she says."
      "You've got to tell her. Even if the world is hers, she still ought to leave a path for other people to walk on."

      Nannan's boiling angry looks aren't hard to bring to mind. When I think of her, even today, I can't help but feel happy.
      Recently I ran into a friend at the entrance to a hospital. He said he'd come to see Nannan, that she was about to die.
      "About to die?"
      "Yeah. She has liver cancer. She's already confined to bed."
      I went to her room with my friend.
      "It's so stupid!... My whole life, I worked my butt off all the time! And it wasn't worth a fart! No matter who you are, they plug you into the furnace and burn you till you're no fuckin' bigger than a fist!" Her sallow face was covered with a feverish sweat, but her tone of voice was the same as before she got sick.
      "If you'd thought about this earlier, you [could've been less uptight] and wouldn't have gotten sick," I told her. "But it's still not too late, you know, you can still get better…."
      "Bull! Don't try to fool me! I'm not getting better!... But you are right about one thing. He's already told me." She pointed to my friend.
      "…. I've talked this over with my family. When I die, they'll spread my ashes around. I don't even want a space the size of a fist – while I was alive, I too seldom left a path for others, so when I'm dead I might as well clear some space for them…."
      I heard Nannan didn't die after all, and is still around today.

小小说名作、佳作阅读与欣赏 Famous Mini-Story Masterpieces to Read and Appreciate
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6ceb4af10101f1qd.html, Story #2
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8. She Says…. (她说……)

Unattributed (不详)

•     Rice and wheat: tract after tract in the ground are called crops; a few handfuls hung in the city are called art. Sometimes life is just so unreasonable and strange.
•     Most of the time, refusing to possess is the most effective way to face up to loss.
•     The Yangtze River spreads wide after it passes Yichang, and becomes unhurried and calm. And when people mature, they begin to understand and appreciate being unhurried.
•    Worry is like a loose thread on a sweater: The more you pull it, the longer it gets. Mistrust is like stubble on fabric: the more you rub at it, the more holes appear.
•     Truth is, all men would like to be children. The problem is, where can they find a mother who's able to take care of such a big child?
•     When someone tells you, "I'll love you just as much, even though your beautiful black hair has turned to snow and your face is covered with wrinkles", it's a sure thing that your black hair still cascades like a waterfall and your complexion is still like a flower.
•     There's a saying in my hometown, "The neighbor's food always seems better than your own." If the neighbor's food is still spiced up with a little romance, of course it seems incomparably better.
•     People these days have an uncountable number of ways to acquire light and heat, but the Olympic Flame is still taken from the purest and holiest place.
•     Love is freehand brushwork, done with attention to the general mood and feeling; marriage is meticulous brushwork, where one can't afford to overlook any detail.
•     The depth of a friend's trust doesn't depend on whether you'll laugh with him, but whether you're willing to cry with him.
•     There are a lot of things for which you must wait until they come to a conclusion before you can tell whether they're real. On this point, love affairs and matches are quite similar.
•     Women are afraid to take on any role which will make them more easily grow old. Motherhood is the only exception.
•     The most frightening life isn't one where you don't know what tomorrow will bring; it's one where you can see your entire life before you, and can't do anything to change it.
•     Tangerines produced in Huabei Prefecture are oranges. It's not that the trees bear the wrong fruit, it's that the people planted the wrong trees.
•     Really, loving and being loved are both easy. The hard thing is mutual love. Like cats always wanting to get closer to fish, while the fish never want that at all.
•     The outside world is exciting, but when it's more exciting than you can take, the outside world won't do anything about it.
•     Two cold people will always desire closeness more than two warm people.

Available at http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_5d244e8e0100om8b.html
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9. Playing with Brands (耍品牌)

by Unfettered for Now (逍遥拉兹)

      A young man named Mixer Li worked in a factory. His family was fairly well off and his parents really doted on him, so if he wanted something at home, all he had to do was ask; they’d never turned him down. His every need was always satisfied, and over time it made him “stuck on himself”.
      Take the clothes he wore. They were all famous brands. Not only that, as soon as some name brand would put out an ad for a new product, he’d rush to be the first one to buy it. When he watched TV he liked to pay special attention to the commercials for famous brands, to the point that his mind was sodden with advertising jargon. He liked to be noticed and would show off his awareness of brand names to people.
      Old Yang, a guard at the factory, was a middle-aged fellow who always wore simple clothes. He had a sense of responsibility and normally took his work seriously. He’d often been named an Outstanding Employee at the factory. He didn’t very much like the way Mixer Li dilly-dallied around, acting like he didn’t care about anything. Sometimes he’d deride the kid. Because of this, Mixer didn’t think much of Old Yang and was always looking for an opportunity to get back at him, to teach him a lesson.
      He thought it over and came up with a plan that was sure to embarrass Old Yang to tears.
      One night Mixer, in accordance with his plan, changed into an outfit that consisted entirely of brand name clothes and went to work the night shift.
In the dim night light, he climbed over the fence to get into the factory, intentionally choosing a place where the guard would be able to see him.
      Old Yang got mad when he saw him. He grabbed Mixer angrily and asked him, “Why didn’t you come through the front gate?”
      Mixer patted his shirt. “Meters/Bonwe [Menswear],” he said disapprovingly, “doesn’t take the usual path!”
      Old Yang took a look at the fence. It was almost six meters high. This kid’s got some spunk, he thought to himself, to be able to get in over that thing.
      “Such a high fence, how did you get in over it?” he asked, in amazement.
      Mixer pointed proudly at his pants. “With Li Ning [Sportswear], everything is possible!”
      “You’ve got some guts,” Old Yang continued, “and you don’t worry about getting bruised up. What did it feel like, going over the top?”
      With a cocky expression on his face, Mixer pointed to the shoes he was wearing. “XStep, you’ll feel like you’re flying!”
      The next day Mixer wore a new pair of shoes to work. He came into the factory through the main gate.
      Old Yang deliberately teased him. “How come you didn’t climb over the fence?”
      Mixer pointed to the new shoes he was wearing and smiled secretively. “ANTA, my choice, my delight!”
      On the third day Mixer wore an odd assortment of clothes to work to tease Old Yang.
      Old Yang came up to him as he went into the factory. “Your clothes are a mess,” he said. “You can’t come into the factory looking like that.”
      Mixer looked at Old Yang with disdain. “You don’t recognize this look, either,” he said sarcastically. “What’s wrong with your eyes? You wear what you wear, Semir Apparel!”
      Remarkably, Mixer wore a sleeveless shirt to work on the fourth day.
      When Old Yang saw that, he came up and stopped Mixer from entering. “There’s a factory rule against wearing a sleeveless shirt to work.”
      Again, Mixer acted as though he didn’t care at all. “For a man, simple is best, Edenbo Menswear!” he said.
      Old Yang was by nature a very self-controlled sort of guard. He seldom got angry, but he’d been stewing about this for several days. It was making him miserable and he could no longer keep it locked up inside. He shook his finger at Mixer and said angrily, “I’m putting you on report!”
      Mixer rolled his eyes. “Such a little thing. You think it’s worth it?”
      “The M-Zone,” Old Yang shot back with complete confidence. “It’s my world and I’m the boss! China Mobile [Telecommunications]!”
      Mixer was dumbfounded that Old Yang hadn’t been intimidated.
      In the end, the mischievous Mixer was put in his place by an angry guard using his own tactics against him.

Available at http://www.newshs.com/a/20150603/00186.htm




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Midis Page Two

1. The Unromantic Husband
2. Men's Seven-Inchers
3. Expressions of Condolence

4. The Secret
5. Watching Movies
6. Become an Official

​​         Chinese Stories in English