1. Telling Jokes: An Unexpected Dismissal (说段子: 意外辞退)
Liu Bing (刘兵)
At work this morning, when he got off the phone, Chief Jia started off to the bathroom. Suddenly his office door, which had been left ajar, was slammed shut and locked by a gust of wind from outside the window.
Chief Jia hastily dealt with his "private matter", and then came back into our office. The anxiety showed clearly on his face. "Big Liu, how'd this happen? My door's been locked, and my car keys are still lying on my desk. We've got to head out to the Safe National Day meeting pretty soon. What should we do?"
Everybody on the floor was alarmed by the news of this unexpected problem. The transom windows had all been closed up when our office building was renovated recently, and safety locks had been installed on all the doors. Everybody rushed to gather around. They were chattering away, all of them trying to get their two cents in at once.
"If the window's open," Old Huo suggested, "we could go around to the front, and maybe open the lock by sticking a bamboo pole through to the door."
I immediately retorted, "We're on the fourth floor. Are you Spiderman? And besides, where would we get such a long pole on such short notice? And who has such good eyes [that they could operate the lock from so far away]?"
Chief Jia agreed "Yeah, really! That's nonsense! Has anyone got another idea?"
"Well," I said, "we'll have to get an emergency locksmith to help us out." I couldn't think of anything better.
At this point Little Wang, the new intern from the University, stepped forward with some hesitation. "Let me try," he said to no one in particular. Then, under everyone's watchful eyes, he pulled out his ID card and inserted it into the crack between the door and the frame. He aligned it with the lock and jiggled it around a few times, and to everyone's surprise the door opened.
Everyone there cheered. Chief Jia looked like a load had been taken from his shoulders.
"This young fellow is…?" Chief Jia asked me when he'd recovered his composure.
Young Wang had come to the office over a month previously to learn document writing from me. Chief Jia had been busy and we'd never checked in with him. I quickly made the introductions.
As Chief Jia listened, for some reason he knitted his eyebrows and a thoughtful expression came over his face. What he said next, I don't know if he meant it as praise or as criticism:
"One can never tell. College students these days are skilled at both academics and practical affairs. They're really talented!"
Little Wang blushed. "At school," he said haltingly, all the students know this little trick for when the dorm room is locked. It doesn't take much skill."
I got into Chief Jia's car when it was almost time for the meeting. Holding the steering wheel, he resumed his usual contented manner and we chatted casually about other matters.
Suddenly he turned to me and said, "Have someone come tomorrow and change the lock on my office door. I especially want the crack between the door and the jamb tightened up. And that intern, Little Wang, I think his ways are a bit unorthodox! Get in touch with Personnel and find a reason to let him go after the holiday. That'll eliminate a potential risk at work. If we don't take care of this now, such a calculating little fellow could pass you by [for promotion] later on. Bottom line, Big Liu, I'm doing this for your benefit!"
柳州晚报, 2014-03-16, p. 23, Liuzhou Evening News
2. Buy One, Get One Free [Addendum] (买一送一[外一篇])
Wang Yu (王雨)
To save money, my husband and I lived frugally for five years after we got married. We ended up being able to afford, with a loan, a new home that is nearly a hundred square meters [≈1,100 square feet].
A friend advised us that the new place should be allowed to "air out" for a while before we finished off the interior, for the sake of our future children's health, so we decided to let the new place stay empty for a year. We'd start the finishing work after the first six months.
I happened to go by the new place one evening maybe two months later and was surprised to see a light on inside. More than that, it was a very bright light!
I was scared. I called my husband right away and told him to hurry over, and that he'd best bring a couple of friends with him!
My husband brought two guys to help us, and the four of us went upstairs together. There were voices inside. We pounded loudly on the door to boost our courage, bang, bang, bang, and shouted, "Open this door! Open the door right now!"
The door opened, and we were shocked: the unfinished room had turned into a deluxe, luxuriously appointed home.
We asked the workers inside, "Who told you to do all this?"
The workers looked at us like we were weirdoes. "Who are you people? What do you mean, who told us to do this? Our boss told us to, obviously!"
We were really shook up. "Get your boss over here right now. You're working on the wrong house!"
The workers panicked when they heard that. One of them hurried to make a phone call, and before long a man who looked like a labor contractor arrived. After hearing us out, he also panicked and rushed to make a phone call.
When he finished his call, the contractor took a close look at the number on our doorplate. Then he went downstairs and looked at the number on the front door of the building. His face went pale and he muttered, "This is bad. This is bad. We pried open the lock on the wrong door!"
"Now what do we do?" The contractor looked at my husband, his brow knitted in a deep frown.
While we were standing there not knowing what to do, a middle-aged couple arrived. The contractor rushed up to greet them and, taking the blame on himself, said in a whisper, "Chief Zhang, look, this thing I did, I got it backward…."
My husband started to butt in, but when he looked at the middle-aged couple his jaw suddenly dropped open. "Bureau Chief Zhang," he also whispered, "this is...."
But then his attitude changed abruptly. "I'll [give you the money to] pay the bill for this!" The interior decorating really was well done.
My husband didn't say anything else. After meeting with the contractor a couple of times, he stuck 100,000 Yuan in his jacket pocket and went to see Chief Zhang. Judging from his description when he got home, Chief Zhang, and especially Chief Zhang's wife, were both very satisfied.
Toward the end of the year, my husband was unexpectedly promoted to be an assistant section chief in the Bureau. That night he suggested that we celebrate. He had quite a bit to drink and, while he was tipsy, he blurted out, "I tell you, this promotion, it's a gift from that contractor!"
杂文月刊，2013年8期Essays Monthly, 2013 #8
3. Toilet Aspirations (厕所励志)
Fu Tichang (付体昌)
My cell rang just as I was getting off work that day, an unknown number. I picked up and heard the familiar sound of my hometown accent. I couldn’t figure out who it was until he said, in mock anger, “A-Lei, this is Cousin Chun….”
My memory came back in a flash, like a bolt of lightning. Cousin Chun was ten years or so older than me, same as my uncle. I remember when we were young. He used to ride an old, broken-down bicycle, carrying dried yams on his back, and come over to get my uncle to go to school in town. He’d already gotten married and had a kid by the time I was in junior high. He’d go out every day in an ox cart to plow the fields – or give the earth a trim, as we used to say.
It must have been last year when I went home to ring in the New Year at the Spring Festival. I heard someone say that Cousin Chun had struck it rich and owned four buildings in Tientsin alone.
I was both excited and amazed when I got Cousin Chun’s call. As he requested, I hurried to his hotel to meet up with him.
We were half-way through our drinks when Cousin Chun told me he had gotten the contract for a construction project in this city. He’d have to work on it for a half a year at least, so the first thing he’s doing is hooking up with guys from the old village who are working temporarily here, so he won’t be so alone. I was quite moved by his warm-hearted affability. Also, when he saw I was so interested in the story of his “rise to power”, Cousin Chun opened up to me….
Ten years before, Cousin Chun was just like all the other peasants leaving the village. He depended on his rather ordinary skills as a plasterer to find temporary work in Tientsin. He pushed himself to keep at it for a full year of living like a bachelor. One day on his way home after work felt like he had to go, but he couldn’t find a toilet anywhere, so he could only give up and “do his thing” in some bushes beside the road. Just as he pulled up his pants, a guy dressed like an Urban Control Officer tapped him on the shoulder and handed him a 100-Yuan ticket. He tried to get away but got nabbed. A hundred Yuan, equivalent to three days’ pay. For the next few days, Cousin Chun didn’t dare drink any water when he was out working.
That winter Cousin Chun was finishing off the interior of a small shop that didn’t have a washroom. The landlord told him he could use the hotel across the street if he had to go. It was a five-star hotel, and Cousin Chun had never even been inside one, so he asked what he should do if the doorman wouldn’t let him in. The landlord said no one would stop him if he changed out of his work clothes. Cousin Chun was still leery so the landlord had to go with him to the hotel.
Cousin Chun followed nervously behind him. He could hardly believe it but, when they got to the door, the dignified doorman opened it for them with a radiant smile and welcomed them to the hotel. When the two men left the toilet, they even took a break and sat for a while on a commodious leather sofa, smoking cigarettes. No one kicked them out, and the rock that had been hanging in Cousin Chun’s heart finally dropped away. When they left the hotel, he felt like he was “standing a lot taller.”
After that, Cousin Chun was never again afraid of not being able to find a toilet. Hotels, office buildings, McDonald’s, he’d push open the door and stride right in to “do his thing.”
In his fourth year as a migrant worker, the subcontractor who found work for them landed a more lucrative position and decided to hand off this ditch-digging “chicken-shit contract” to someone else. There were a lot of guys in his crew, but none of them wanted the job because they were afraid of the responsibility. Cousin Chun called the subcontractor that evening and arranged to meet him in a four-star hotel. He tidied himself up as clean as a whistle and, under the dazzling lights in the hotel restaurant, he confidently ordered a feast. That’s how he got his first contract without a hitch, and by the end of the year he’d pulled down twenty thousand Yuan.
Later Cousin Chun switched his operations to the area right between the suburbs and the city. The business gradually got bigger and bigger, and eventually he bought himself a house in Tientsin, and a car….
Cousin Chun said that if you have confidence, you’ll have the drive to get things done. Other people
will be willing to work with you and to help you. The first two years after he came to the city, all he knew how to do was keep his head down and work. He worked his tail off, but never made any money because he didn’t know what he was doing. Then one day he opened his eyes and figured it out – like, when he first came to the city, if he wanted to relieve himself, he’d look exclusively for some out-of-the-way area, but now he can just stroll into some high-class place and “do his thing”, and someone will even open the door for him. In fact the guy doesn’t know how much money he has in his pocket, but with so much dynamism, no one dares look down on him. What makes us alive? Isn’t it just spirit?
青年文摘 2011·11月上Youth Digest, November 2011, First Bi-monthly Issue, p. 61
金建一摘自2011年8月24日《北京青年报》from Beijing Youth News, 8/24/11
Slightly different version at http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/526538184.html
4. A Gift at McDonald's (麦当劳的礼物)
Ye Qingcheng (叶倾城)
The weekend before Christmas my freshman year in college, I was back home feeding on some sparerib soup that Mom had kept simmering specially for me. I was hesitant: Should I ask her for the money?
Dad had left us early, and since childhood I'd been used to seeing Mom hard at work. I'd never asked her for extra money. But this time was different, because of Zhu Ying.
I often strolled along the campus paths with Zhu Ying. We walked to every corner of the grounds without knowing where we were, wondering how to hang on to the moment. My roommates thought up all kinds of strategies for me. They suggested that I should strike while the iron was hot and give her a romantic Christmas [dinner]. Chinese style restaurants are noisy and lack the proper atmosphere, and I don't have the money to squander on a place with the right mood, so I ended up picking McDonalds.
But how should I broach the subject with Mom? I thought it over with the fiery soup in my throat and the room filled with the noise of my eating. Mom sat across the table, quietly looking at me. "There was a meeting at the factory two days ago," she said suddenly. "They said a bunch of people are going to be laid off."
I stood right up and stared in horror at her. "Mom, are you being laid off?" She was surprised, then gave me a smile filled with affection and tenderness. "You look scared. I said they were laying off a bunch of people. I didn't say me. I do good work for them."
I sighed in relief and thought, "She should be in a pretty good mood right now." I chewed my lip and blurted out, "Mom, I'm going to be an intern at a factory next semester, and the school wants a 200 Yuan [≈$33] materials fee."
She sighed, "ahh", with a clear overtone of disappointment. "More money...." I didn't dare look her in the eye. "On the other hand, I could tell the teacher...." Mom had turned away and pulled open a drawer. "I'll give you two hundreds. They're easier to carry [than a bunch of small bills]."
Mom looked a long time, but could only find one hundred, one fifty and the rest in tens. She smoothed the corners of each paper bill and counted them over and over. Then she folded the bills four times, forming a small square, which she carefully put in one of the sections of my book bag. She pulled the double zippers closed and was still warning me, "Be careful on the bus, there's a lot of thieves around these days" as she saw me to the door. I answered "Uh-huh", but couldn't control my steps. I flew out the door, walking faster and faster. I was anxious to get back to Zhu Ying.
It snowed in the evening on Christmas day, which made it feel more elegant, and more like Christmas. There was a sea of people in McDonalds and we had to wait a long time before a group of people at one table left. I jumped over to the table in one stride and grabbed us two chairs. Zhu Ying beckoned to the attendant. "Miss, clear the table for us."
The attendant, a woman, headed over. From a distance I could only see that she appeared somewhat frail and leaned forward slightly as she walked. Actually she looked very familiar. I froze: Mom!
How could this be mom? She should, she should be at work now. Was she lying to me? Had she been laid off?
Mom also saw me at the same time. Her eyes flashed wide and she stared at me rigidly and intensely. I saw boundless shock, disbelief, disappointment and pain gush from her eyes, a tidal wave of emotion, and her body swayed a bit. But she didn't say anything, just lowered her head and lithely began to clean up the trash and dishes that had been left on the table. I wanted to call her "Mom," but couldn't get the word out my mouth. Maybe it was because I was shocked, or maybe because the people around us were so noisy, or maybe it was just because of Zhu Ying, all I could do was stare blankly at her.
She went directly to clean up the adjacent table without looking at me again, then paused a moment to rub her forehead when she threw the trash into the bin. When she walked away from me again, I saw a long, clear stain of tears on her on as distinct as the McDonald's emblem.... Oh, it was that weekend evening, wasn't it, that Mom was going to tell me that she'd been laid-off? What made her change her mind? Was it that she couldn't stand seeing how tense and anxious I was at that moment? I grabbed hold the [remaining] bills in my bag, and for the first time I understood the weightiness of money.
Many things that had happened during my childhood years boiled up and roiled around like a whirlwind [in my mind]. I couldn't hold back my tears. Through my tears I saw Zhu Ying, her graceful features, her exquisite waist shown off by her elegant black leather outfit, and suddenly I knew: For me, love was too extravagant a game....
At the start of my sophomore year, I put a stack of money down in front of Mom "I've got my scholarship, and money from a tutoring job. I'll pay my own tuition next semester, so you won't have to work so hard."
Mom looked at the money a long time, then suddenly covered her face with both hands and cried.
百年百篇经典微型小说 100 Years, 100 Classic Mini-stories, 2nd Printing, March 2012, P. 234
Also Published at http://tieba.baidu.com/p/476190665
5. His Father's Alma Mater (父子的母校)
Wei Ruhui (韦如辉)
When the father told his son about his alma mater, the stubble on his cheeks danced up and down like it was flying.
Putting down the hoe he had in his hand and spreading his arms wide in exaggeration, he mumbled incoherently, "That playground, and that classroom building, and those parasol trees, son of a gun, so big, so tall, so beautiful!"
Following his father's exaggerated movements, the son's thoughts flew like a dove into the distance.
When his father brought his arms back down, his right hand was shaking like a leaf being blown in the wind. "And that classroom, too," he said. "Son of a gun, so bright and clean." He spat a jet of saliva from his mouth, and the thick smell of tobacco wafted across the sunlit fields like it had a mind of its own.
The son held his breath, his full attention riveted on his father's performance. Finally he asked, in his child's immature voice, "Dad, was your alma mater really that good?" He didn't disbelieve his father, really, it was just that he'd never seen a school as wonderful as his father was bragging about.
The father seemed unhappy and, with an angry look on his face, plunked his son on the top of his head. The boy's head swayed back and forth like it was on a spring. "Hey, kiddo," the father said in a dignified tone, "would I lie to you?"
His father's alma mater filled the son's dreams. The playground was there, and the classroom, and the tall building, and the parasol trees.
One day the father came stumbling back from somewhere outside the village, a mountainous bundle of firewood pressing down on his back.
It would be winter before you knew it, and the father would need this firewood to deal with the frigid weather in proper fashion.
The son looked sympathetically at his father. Whenever the old man, who was gasping with every step, would squat to set the load down and rest, his son would grab a handful of twigs from the bottom of the bundle. The boy didn't have much strength, but this really did help relieve the pain of his father's bent back.
His father bragged about him. "What a good son!"
The son smiled broadly, his eye teeth flashing playfully in his father's eyes.
One day, as the son was helping his father bring in the last bunch of firewood, he asked, "Dad, take me to see your alma mater, okay?"
The father hadn't expected his son's request, or maybe he had expected it a little. After solemnly blowing out a mouthful of smoke, he asked the boy, "You really want to go?"
The son nodded his head energetically. "Yes!" he said firmly.
The next day, even before the fog had cleared from the fields, the father and his son were on their way.
The father talked to his son while they were walking. "My alma mater is in the county seat, really far away from our place. We'll have to cross two rivers and then take a bus for three hours to get there, you know." When he came to that last word, "know", he said it in a long, drawn out voice, like a chanter.
The son to say, "Dad, you don't have to tell me that, you've already told me lots of times." He didn't say it, though. He was afraid his father would be unhappy and would change his mind. He was afraid his father wouldn't take him to see his beautiful alma mater.
The wind was blowing in his face, carrying with it the dampness of the fog. It felt a bit like he was being stuck with needles.
But before long the boy was dripping with sweat. Beads of sweat were like little bugs crawling around on his forehead.
His father turned and asked, "You tired? I'll carry you piggy-back for a while."
The son gritted his teeth and said, "No!" He puffed up his chest and stood straight as a tree.
Close to noon, after many twists and turns, father and son arrived at the county seat.
The county seat was a nice town. The boy had never been there and his curiosity was at fever pitch. He envied his father. The old man was really something, with his alma mater in the county seat. It was really amazing that he'd been able to go to school there.
When they got to an open area, his father got very excited and his eyes were dazzling. "Look," the old man said, "this place, it's my alma mater's playground. Son of a gun." There was myriad of excited tones in his voice.
The son's eyes were filled with awe. His gaze expanded and galloped and somersaulted over the vastness of the athletic field.
"Look," said his father, pointing his finger. "That four-story building is where we had classes. My class was on the third floor, that door at the east end. You see it?"
Of course his son could see it. In his eyes it was a lofty, majestic tower. The boy wondered, "When will I be able to spend a day studying in those classrooms? Even if it's only one day, I'd still be satisfied!"
His father was still talking. "You believe it now? Son of a gun!"
The son dreamed the whole night long when they got back from the county seat. He dreamed, of course, about his father's alma mater.
Later, the son really did go to school in the county seat. His father said to him, "That school you're going to, it's my alma mater. Son of a gun!"
Still later, the boy got admitted to a university and became a city slicker.
The son had figured it all out. His father had never spent a day in school and didn't have any alma mater in the city. The few words he was able to read, he'd picked up and learned by heart from literacy classes in the village.
So why had his father claimed that his alma mater was in the city? Why had he blatantly misidentified the Sports Commission building and athletic field? The son of course knew why, and the knowledge made his eyes fill with tears.
6. Comrade Stinky (带味同志)
Yan Ailin (闫爱林)
To his immense joy, my bro' Liqing finally passed the college entrance exam in July 1993, after several years of hard preparation and a rather difficult time with the exam. It was the English Department that he was admitted to, and following custom, his section leader picked an English name for him. He was a strapping fellow with a full beard, so the section leader chose David [which literally means 'Big Guard' and is pronounced 'Da Wei' in Chinese.] But the guy was addicted to cigarettes and always smelled of them, so instead of David, after about six months the other students started calling him "Stinky" [pronounced 'Dai Wei' in Chinese, almost the same as 'David'.]
He and I graduated after two years of specialized training and were assigned to teach in the same school. Following his lead, I'd also become a smoker.
The school had a rule at the time that each person would be given thirty kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. Those who didn't use up their allocation were given a discounted share [of the money saved]. At the beginning of each month, when we received our share, we'd use the money to buy smokes.
His professional accomplishments were outstanding during the years we worked at that school, and his addiction to smoking increased as well. Every time he walked by you, coughing loudly, the smell on his body was more intense than it had been the last time.
Later, his outstanding accomplishments got him a transfer to an elementary school directly subordinate to the District. Because he was diligent and guileless in his work in that township, he was soon promoted to Director of Moral Education there.
My bro's memory had always been unusually poor when we were in school, and nothing changed after we started working. In the evenings he'd ride a commuter student's bicycle to go eat, and most of the time wherever he ate was where he left the bike.
One time we went to a restaurant and the owner told us to take professor Wang's bicycle with us when we left because it had been there almost a week. Even more peculiar, sometimes he could forget four or five bikes at the same place. The restaurant's back yard would be packed full of them and we'd wonder, "How have those kids been getting to school?" After a while when the kids got more experienced, if they couldn't find their bikes they'd go looking around in all the fast-food restaurants, and they never failed to find them!
While he might not have been able to recall the things he'd studied or remember his personal affairs, he could remember the local slang in that township with particular clarity. After he became a director, he often presided over meetings or pedagogical assemblies, and he was able to use the localisms adequately in giving speeches. But my bro' "Stinky" overlooked one key factor. The school was in an oil producing area, so his colleagues were mostly [transferees from other] oil field areas. They couldn't understand what he was saying when he used local slang.
In the meetings he'd say things like: "Our students are too young. [When you have them have clean up the classroom*,] don't let them stand on the outside ledge while they're cleaning the windows. It's farming. ('Farming' is how the locals in our area pronounce 'alarming'.) If they fall, we'll be closing the gate to catch the bull. It'll be a big shout and a drumbeat. Remember, from now on don't do suspended things like climbing a ladder on a camel…."
The breadth and depth of the Chinese language allowed him to develop his points vividly and thoroughly, but the one thing he ignored was the localized nature of language. Going on like that really made it tough on the teachers who had been transferred in from other areas. They'd have paper and pens but not know how to take notes at these meetings. After listening as hard as they could and talking it over among themselves, these lovely people would basically get the message. "Oh, he was emphasizing safety discipline. So from now on just think safety."
After subsequent Director's meetings, these terms used by "Stinky" became commonly known, and there came a time they surged through the school as a fad. The sweet voices of those female teacher transferees spoke of things like "going to bed on a tractor" and "shutting the gate to catch the bull" when they were teaching students in class. What a scene that was!
But the School demanded that everyone speak Mandarin, so how could it be acceptable to continue this fad? Eventually the principal issued an order that henceforth the local dialect could not be used in school. As a result, my bro' "Stinky" was in low spirits for a long time.
Later our school became a Mandarin Demonstration School. In private conversations, though, the localisms used by my bro' are still popular. If you don't believe me, just come to our school and listen to people talking. And if you say "shut the gate to catch the bull," everyone will know what you're saying!
*[Students in China are typically required to do janitorial chores in their classrooms – Fannyi]
2013 Annual Humorous Writings of China, from Comedy World Magazine, Ding Si, Ed., p. 77
Translated from Version at http://zk.hhek.cn:9999/epaper/dyzk/html/2013/09/05/36/36_29.htm
Records of a Woman's Phone Calls (一个女人的通话记录)
Her Mother's Call:
"Xu, it's Mom! Was Yang Chunqiu in an accident?"
"Was it serious?"
"Yes, it was!"
"I tell you, Xu! You've got to start planning right away. If Yang Chunqiu dies, you'll have to fight for the assets!"
"I know, Mom!"
"You absolutely can't go to sleep at the switch. That mother-in-law of yours isn't an easy one to deal with."
"I know, Mom! I've already got a lawyer, a Mr. Zhang. He can set his own fee, as long as he guarantees that all the family assets go to me. Ha! If that old fool picks a fight with me, it won't even be close! You know, Mom, Mr. Zhang is known all over town as 'Iron Beak'."
"Don't get over-confident, Xu!"
"Don't worry, Mom. I've got the money to make things work for me. Mr. Zhang has already started looking for evidence. He says if I lose even a penny of my property, he won't be called 'Iron Beak Zhang' any more. Humph! If she wants a fight, it won't even be close!"
Her girlfriends' calls:
"Don't be sad, Xu."
"Haven't you figured it out, Xu? Yang Chunqiu drove to the Great Waterfall Bathhouse in the middle of the night. What do you think he was going to do? He was going to screw around, for sure!"
"He got what he deserved, rolling the car!"
"What are you crying about, Xu? Isn't Yang Chunqiu's money all yours now?"
"Now you truly are a rich woman, Xu, not just in name!"
"Oh, Xu, what's so good about Yang Chunqiu, except his money? He's about the same as Wu Dalang [the short, ugly cuckold in a novel]. Now all those millions are yours. You can get yourself eight or ten boy toys and do whatever makes you happy. "
"Don't talk nonsense, Xiuyun!"
"Nonsense? You expect me to believe you aren't glad?"
Her lover's call:
"Red, was Yang Chunqiu an accident?"
"That's fantastic! Really fantastic! We're finally out of the hot water!"
"Let's go to the Jade and Clouds right now, Red. Today we celebrate, big time!"
"I'll divorce her tomorrow, Red. It's not up to her! National Day we get married. We still have over two months, plenty of time!"
"Oh, Zhang, what are you saying! What are you thinking!"
"Don't you think about that every day? Didn't you say that?"
"Shut up, Zhang!"
"What's with you, Yu Honghong? You haven't even got your hands on all those millions yet, and you've already had a change of heart! That was way too fast!"
"Zhang! You shut up!"
"This old man isn't going to shut up, Yu Honghong! You think you can break faith with me? No way!"
"I've got audiotapes, Yu Honghong! And video!"
"I'm coming over right now, Yu Honghong, and you'll see it's the truth!"
Her Boss' call:
"Oh my, Director!"
"Was young Yang in an accident?"
"You need to treat him right! Once someone dies, there's no coming back!"
"You need to keep it together, Little Yu! Don't get depressed!"
"Thank you for caring, Director!"
"There's something we need to talk about, Little Yu! Vice Mayor Ma's wife passed away the day before yesterday."
"I'll tell you a secret, Little Yu! When everyone's terms expire at the end of this year, Vice Mayor Ma is going to become Mayor Ma!"
"I've thought about it over and over again, Little Yu. You and Mayor Ma would be quite a match."
"Don't be embarrassed! Mayor Ma is a little old, but he's about as healthy as I am, really tops!"
"Director, my husband Yang is still lying in a hospital bed."
"Hospital? I had people go to the hospital and ask. He'll breathe his last breath today or tomorrow."
"I'm doing this for you, Little Yu! A matchmaker to introduce you to Mayor Ma is waiting at the door."
"One more thing, Little Yu! This matchmaker? I'll vouch for her!"
Translated from 分节阅读9, also available at http://www.scimao.com/read/1051083
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Midis Page Ten
1. An Unexpected Dismissal
2. Buy One, Get One Free
3. Toilet Aspirations
4. A Gift at McDonald's
5. His Father's Alma Mater
6. Comrade Stinky
7. Records of a Woman's Phone Calls
Chinese Stories in English