​​         Chinese Stories in English   

Small Other Shore 
Lu Xiaoya


Inscription: Maybe someone is willing and would like to cross the river with me. We can hold hands while we’re at the river bottom. It’s an unexpectedly beautiful thing.

Act One

 (Area 1, Depart Luo, naked except for a long, black rubber raincoat, completely covered with painted designs from below the neck to above the waist)
Luo: There’s a river in front of me. It’s not far to the opposite shore, but it isn’t close, either. Anyway, I can see it. There’s another river beyond it, and I wouldn’t be able to see it if it were any further away.
      I’ve stayed here on this store like a good boy. I can’t see anything on the opposite shore that’s superior to this side, but I keep thinking obstinately that the other side is a lot better than here, and I’ve decided to go down to the river and go across. Why? I don't know, but some people are born restless, as you know. So I start to wade.
      Once I’m in the water, I hear a bunch of voices. Some are cheering me, some are booing, some are telling me to quit and some are encouraging me to go on. It’s really annoying. I'll keep going for the shore.
 (He sits down, smokes, and meditates)
      I have a premonition. There’s eight or nine chances in ten that I’ll die in the river one day, but that’s fate. I don't know if it’s decided by my sign or my blood type, but the bottom line is, I want to cross this river. Before I do I’ve got to think it through, prove the concept, adjust my state of mind and arrange my equipment. Then I can head across.
      Speaking of equipment, I may have to look for a set that’s easier to use, that’s what I’m thinking. I’ve decided to cross this river and it doesn’t look too deep, but standing on the shore talking about it is the easy part. If I can't actually wade across, I’ll have to swim, but the fact is I don’t know how to swim. So what should I do? I feel that, since my desire to cross the river is so strong, some good luck is bound to come along.
(Swimming Equipment Vendor enters from Area II)
Luo: Hey, wait a sec!
Vendor: What’s up?
Luo: Do you know where there’s a shop that sells things for going underwater?
Vendor: That’s what I do. What do you want to buy?
Luo: What’s your phone number?
Vendor: 6264-4912.
Luo: Wait a minute. (He dials a phone) Is this the underwater equipment shop?
Vendor: Yes.
Luo: I don’t know how to swim, but I'm going under water. Is there equipment for that?
Vendor: Of course there is. Respirators, pressure regulators, water-impermeable creams, we have it all. What do you want?
Luo: I want everything I can use. Price isn’t a problem.
Vendor: Oh. Well, when do you expect to come and pick the stuff up?
Luo: I can't swim. Why else would I be buying things from you? Send someone to deliver the stuff to me here. I can pay extra.
Vendor: But we don’t offer delivery service. Look, you’ll have to get over it and come and pick the stuff up.
Luo: I told you I can't swim. How can I get over that?
Vendor: Well, then, there’s no way to do it. Look, can you find someone to pick it up for you, instead?
Luo: I need it right away. Will you deliver it or not?
Vendor: I'm really sorry...
Luo: Fuck off!
Vendor: Thank you. (Exits)
Luo: How can I not know how to swim? I’m really frustrated. I should have a friend. That would be logical.
(Sunset Wang enters)
Luo: Who are you?
Wang: Sunset Wang.
Luo: Then I’ll consider you my friend.
Wang: That’s as it should be.
Luo: According to reason, I should have lots of people with me when I’m crossing the river. That’s only logical. I should also notice lots of other people around me crossing the river at the same time. Some of them quarrel with me and some have conversations with me, or talk to me. Some are quite pretty. Some hit me above water and some hit me underwater and that’s when I can fight back. I can also B.S. with them. I form alliances with this one or that one or the other, and fight this one or that one or the other like the river isn’t big enough for all of us. I can con people and fall in love with one or two of them.
      I keep walking and the water is up to my neck and we can’t keep fighting, so we shake hands. It was all just a battle of words, and we talk it out. I keep going and the water is over my head, and I can’t see anybody, it's all murky. I can hear voices but I don’t know where the people are. It’s easy to lose your sense of direction when you’re completely under water and can’t breathe at all.
      Any physical problems can easily get worse at such a time. Heart attacks and the like are no small matters. It’s easy to get an infection underwater, too. If anywhere festers or gets inflamed, I’ll know what “hard to take” means. I might drown there, which is definitely not good, or I might use all my strength to push through it, but I won’t be able to see anyone when I’m underwater and won’t be able to grab anyone’s hand.
      Occasionally I run into someone who’s scared to death or who’s gone crazy and is thrashing around wildly and bumps into me. To tell the truth, even if someone wanted to rescue me, they wouldn’t be able to see where I am or do anything to help me. So all I can do is just keep pushing on by myself. What else is there?
      If I’m strong and haven’t drowned, my head comes out of the water once again. Then, once again, I can cuss people out or talk with them. When the water’s at my waist again, I can resume fighting and shaking hands. Once I get ashore, the memory of the previous shore isn’t so fresh, so this shore doesn’t mean much to me. I can’t see distinctly whether I look back or forward. I just feel I should take a rest and then go on ahead, or maybe stay here until I turn into a turtle.
      But maybe someone is willing and would like to cross the river with me. We can hold hands while we’re at the river bottom. It’s an unexpectedly beautiful thing.
Wang: From the way you’re talking, you’ve already crossed the river?
Luo: Not yet.
Wang: But you seem to know the details very clearly?
Luo: Well, maybe I forgot.
Wang: I think you should forget about crossing. Aren’t things pretty good on this side?
Luo: Maybe. Actually, I am hesitant. In fact, very few people are willing to cross the river. Most people, when they’re on the riverbank, for one reason or another, for example, if someone kicks them off....
Wang: So now they have nothing to say about it.
Wang: Is it okay for me to say a little something?
Luo: We used to have a journalist called Becoming Xu at our magazine. He could write pretty good essays, but unfortunately our editor didn't like what he did, or maybe just didn't like him.
Wang: Oh, yeah?
Luo: I spent three years with him at the magazine, and he probably only had one 300-word essay published. There was this one time, when he’d sweat blood to write an in-depth article….

Act Two

(Zone 3, two dancers wearing black cloaks move extemporaneously behind a desk)
Editor-in-Chief: Oh, Young Xu, have a seat.
Xu: Chief, look….
Editor-in-Chief: Is something wrong?
Xu: Well, Chief, I’d like to know, this time I....
Editor-in-Chief: Hey, Xu, I heard that the young girl who just started in your group writes pretty well.
Xu: Seems pretty good. Chief, I don't know, this time I....
Editor-in-Chief: Ah, right, right, what brings you in to see me?
Xu: It’s like this, Chief. Look, I wrote this essay just the way you wanted. I put a lot of time and effort into it. You see, I came on the job three years ago, but if you count up what I’ve done here, I’ve published maybe just a little more than the security guard downstairs. But I don’t know how come this time.... I know I’m just average....
Editor-in-Chief: Don't say that, don't say that. You're an outstanding young man. Look, an old fogey like me doesn’t have your sense of humor, but you still need refinement. Young people have nothing to fear if they work at refining themselves.
Xu: But I feel like....
Editor-in-Chief: Look, you’re still not earnest enough, you see.
Xu: But I’m a journalist. The qualities I need are....
Editor-in-Chief: Look at me, young man. After I graduated from college, I was continuously running all over the place, a veteran player, and I got something every time. You don't think I'm as good as I was, but even if I’m not I’m still on the job. This comes from refinement, young Xu, and you can’t get it just by growing old. On this point you young people still have a long way to go.
Xu: You see, I'm not the kind of young man who seems particularly youthful. People all say I look older than you, but I just want to do a good job for our magazine, to be a good journalist. When all is said and done, I don’t think this article fails to meet your requirements. I feel that....
Editor-in-Chief: Yes, yes, yes, I'll take another look. I'll read it again.
Xu: You always say you’ll look again and reread my essays, but have you ever really done it? Do you have a problem with me? If you think I'm not suitable for this job, I’ll resign, OK?
      Bottom line, you never read my article. It’s an old trick I learned. I put glue on the last few pages of the manuscript. Look, they’re still stuck together            We're not a big newspaper and you don’t have many manuscripts to read, but you didn’t read mine. And you say I....
Editor-in-Chief: You’ve made a mistake, young man. There are things to discuss. What are you in such an all-fired hurry about? I told you before, you should learn to use a computer. Of all the young people, you’re the only one who writes by pen. And what did you put glue on your manuscript for? Just to deceive me?
      What’s more, you should watch what you say. Seriously, what you’re doing is menacing your boss. There are a lot of reasons your articles don’t get published, a lot of reasons. Why don’t you take a close look at yourself? Huh? The first thing you do is raise a stink. For better or worse, I’m the chief editor here. Just what do you think your attitude is? Huh?
Xu: Chief Editor? Damn, I’ve had enough! Fuck it! Chief Editor? I’ve heard of sheep hooks, riding crops, donkey whips and cattle prods, but I’ve never heard any of them called a Chief Editor!! (Dance ends)
Wang: Maybe you'll meet him again one day. The story sounds familiar, though.
Luo: It’s normal for things to sound familiar.

Act Three

Wang: Well, why didn't you think about going back? I mean, back to the last shore.
Luo: Go back? People have tried it, but it’s never been possible to go back and they all died without accomplishing anything. But I don’t know when it started to be acceptable to look back.
      If you make a good show of it, everyone will cheer you on, but once you get in the water to head back, all the people will laugh at you, and some of them, the ones with a more violent nature, will try to harm you.
Wang: Why’s that? It’s hard to understand.
      When will you be ready to get in the water?
Luo: After I tell another story.
Luo: As it was, our company's Personnel Director was called Becoming Xu. She was pretty but had never gotten married. Never even had a boyfriend.
Wang: Maybe her standards were too high.
Luo: No, her standards weren’t too high, but maybe her qualifications were. Anyway, nobody dared to approach her. Long story short, she did what she was supposed to do at work, and after work she spent all her time on the Internet. Once she hosted an interview. (Dancers begin a courtly dance)
Xu: Please briefly describe your work experience.
Interviewee: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah (The blahs … here and below are enunciated at the speed and tone of a normal answer, but no meaningful words or phonemes appear)
Xu: You used to be a journalist for the North China Digest. This has no relevance to the position you’re applying for now.
Interviewee:blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Xu: Then, as a newcomer, what do you think of the business you’re about to start out in?
Interviewee:blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Xu: What do you know about this company?
Interviewee: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Xu: What do you think is the weakest aspect of our products in today’s market?
(Actor freezes, then jerks forward and freezes again)
Xu: Thank you, we’ll give you an answer within a week.
Interviewee: Thank you very much.
Xu: Do me a favor and call the next one in.
Interviewee: I’m the last one. There’s no one behind me.
Xu: Good, it's about time to get off work. How are you getting home?
Interviewee: Oh, I have a little something to do, then I'll take a cab. Where you live? We could share, except you'd have to wait a bit.
Xu: Oh. My home’s in White Rock Bridge.
Interviewee: It’s on the way, on my way. Let’s go.
Xu: Well, thank you very much. Excuse me, but, your phone number’s on your resume, right?
Interviewee: Right. 136-1001-0009. Call me if something comes up.
Xu: That’s an easy one to remember.
(They exit, then come back onstage as they arrive at home and turn on their computers)
Luo: They both have the same habit when they get home, going on the net to mess around.
(Xu and the Interviewee act out their parts in the background while Luo and Wang say their lines stage front)
Luo: Hi, Pretty Woman.
Luo: Oh, that's wrong, it should be pretty girl, Hi, Pretty Girl.
Luo: Are you interested in going a couple of rounds with me?
Wang: Flake off.
Luo: Don't be that way. With that attitude, you’ll be an old virgin when you get to hell.
Wang: Oh? Is there such a place as hell?
Luo: Yeah, sure. I just got back from a business trip there yesterday.
Wang: Private chat.
Luo: OK.
Wang: All right. Don't beat around the bush. Do you want to screw me?
Luo: Good, that's direct enough. You’re really something. A dinosaur, though, or a pervert pretending to be a woman.
Wang: Dino-your-mother’s smelly bush. You mother. A little hairball like you doesn’t have the right to say what kind of person I am. How long can you do it for?
Luo: God but his old hairball likes people with spirit. We can try it and see.
Wang: So we’ll try it. (Music #1* in. Dance starts, extemporaneous style switching to lascivious and obscene. Luo and Wang act flirtatious. Sounds of making love throughout. Xu and the interviewee act nervously excited. Dancing stops, music #1 out)
Luo: That was nice. Yeah, nice.
Wang: Are you in Beijing?
Luo: Yeah, I live near White Rock Bridge. My place or yours?
Wang: Yours. It's not convenient here.
Luo: OK. There’s no bus now, so get a cab. Tell the driver how to go. When you see a convenience store, call 136-1001-0009. I'll come down and get you.
(Wang and Luo act startled, freeze)

Act Four

Luo: The guy ended up not getting hired.
Wang: Maybe you’ll see him again someday. The things you talk about are quite interesting. With so much going on here, do you really have to cross over to the other shore?
Luo: Do you like to run?
Wang: Huh?
Luo: I like to do long-distance running for my regular exercise. After I’ve run a certain time I get really tired and I think I might stop at any second, but definitely not right that second when I’m thinking about it, so over the next few seconds while I’m still running I keep thinking about it, and after I’ve run a long way I stop.
Wang: Why are you telling me this?
Luo: Do you know I’m a spineless person? Before I get uncommunicative I’ll spout some nonsense. Everything I say is the same as anyone who’s lived and the fleas on their bodies have all been through. I do it to delay things to the last moment.
Wang: You’re saying....
Luo: I’ll tell you one more story. When I’m finished I’ll definitely get in the water.
Wang: I don't understand why you have to go over there. And I don't think you’re in very good shape. You’ll most likely drown in there.
Luo: I know. Tell me, why do people take drugs?
Wang: Where are you going with this?
Luo: Becoming Xu was the most interesting person in our class at school. His was in a gang, which isn’t so strange. In that county our school was known as the "Number One Dregs of Society Factory".
Xu: We’ll go to the city in a few days.
Co-ed: And do what?
Xu: Have a good time, of course.
Co-ed: Who all’s going?
Xu: Who do you think?
Co-ed: Oh, I know.
Xu: What’re you going to do over the holiday?
Co-ed: Hang around. Maybe help my mom pickle some veggies. What can you guys do in the city to have a good time?
Xu: Walk around.
Co-ed: I don't believe it. Where'd you get the money?
Xu: None of your business.
Co-ed: I know. Don't think I’m stupid. The county auto repair shop lost a lot more tires a few days ago.
Xu: Don't make wild guesses.
Co-ed: How much money did you guys get?
Xu: Don't make wild guesses.
Co-ed: If you don't want to tell me, that's all right. I don't believe you’re going to the city just to walk around window shopping, either.
Xu: What business is it of yours?
Co-ed: Becoming Xu, you’re disgusting. I always thought you were different from Camel and the rest of them, but it turns out you’re cut from the same cloth.
Xu: What’re you saying?
Co-ed: Camel told me everything. You’re going to get some hookers. You’re staying in the hotel next to Camel’s uncle’s house. There’s a ton of hookers there.
Xu: How could he have told you all that? He’s a fink.
Co-ed: Don't shout. You got no hair on your balls yet. You're just a little fart tagging along with Camel and the others to get some hookers. You’ve never even touched a girl's hand.
Xu: How can you know everything?
Co-ed: Don't go. You get good grades and you’re smart. Don't get mixed up with them. Wouldn't it be great to get into college to leave this god-forsaken place?
Xu: I don't really want to go. If you tell me not to I won't.
Co-ed: Good boy. Give your sister a kiss. Tomorrow or the next day my parents will both be away on business. You can come over and spend some time with me.
Xu: That’d be boring, but I don't have anything else to do anyway. What time?
Co-ed: Any time, but early is best. We can play Tetris.
Xu: I’ll be there, and I’ll play Tetris with you all day. I’ll like that. You don't need to bother fixing anything to eat, either.
Co-ed: Right. In the evening we can go to the night market for some spicy tofu soup.
Xu: Right. Afterwards I’ll want to go home but you won't let me, and we’ll go back to your place, and we'll be so awkward starting out for the first time, fucking, and when we finish we'll feel so weird and funny.
      And then it’s like I fell in love with you like that, but when the college entrance exam came around, you didn’t take it in this county because your father wasn’t wasting his time coddling up to the big shots for the last twenty years or more, and he finally got transferred to the capital and became a big official like all us country people want to be, and you became a phoenix while us country people were still sheep shit, and you and your family worked hard together to get you into the best university in China.
      But me, I was so stuck on you when I took the college entrance exam that I screwed it up and I just got into a vocational school in this same town, and my brother came, too, and opened a little shop selling steamed buns, and I was supported by the profits from the steamed buns, and I graduated, but the town managers sent my brother down to the outskirts of town to dig ditches.
      And the ones who went to the city to get hookers that time, some of them got put to death for taking drugs and committing robberies, and some of them were married and had kids, but me, I got assigned to a small magazine in a small city in northern China.
      I didn’t get along with my boss, so I wanted to start over in the city where you were, so I quit my job and moved here and went to work as a salesman  and I worked my way into the office staff and then the assistant manager of the department, and then I spent some money to buy an MBA degree and became the personnel manager, and I never sent a penny to my family after I started work and I spent my lonely nights drowned in the Internet, and I seduced all sorts of women and got seduced by all sorts of women.
      I never once looked for you, but.... When I finally bought a diamond ring and went looking for you, the address you’d given me was useless because you’d already graduated, and I never saw you again after you left this town….
Co-ed: In fact my family sent me overseas for my sophomore year in college. I wanted to tell you, but.... I knew you loved me, but....
Xu: You’re wrong. You don’t understand. I didn't love you. I only fell in love with a symbol of the good life. That’s why I liked all those neat little trinkets you had spread around your house in this county town, liked them better than you. You misunderstood. I was just never satisfied.
Co-ed: But….
Xu: There’s no “but” about it. In fact you got robbed and killed in a public park. I saw it on the news three days later. We should go back to your house now. Look, there’s nothing good to eat at the night market.
(The two exit, looking like especially close lovers. Music #2 in)

Act Five

Luo: I miss Becoming Xu very much.
Wang: People like me rarely miss anyone that much. I think you’ll certainly see him again soon!
      But people like me rarely miss anyone that much. But I think you’ll see him again soon!
Luo: This river in front of me, I really don't know why I have such a strong desire to cross it. Every time, when I finally make up my mind to stretch out my foot to the edge, my instep goes under the water first. Slowly, my calf is submerged, but I continue to walk forward. Look, Sunset Wang, that’s the way the river is. The parts of the body that are out of the water can still perform their functions fully and normally, because they’re in the air, but the parts that are underwater maintain a completely solitary aspect.
Wang: I know. Above water and underwater are two different worlds.
Luo: To give you a simple example, when the water drowns my knees, it is quite hard for me to kick anyone, whether they’re in the river or completely normal on the shore. But at the same time, my hands, my waist and the features on my face can still perform their functions. I can see, hear, touch, speak, and smell, I can shake hands and sign my name, or do anything that people would find despicable, if only I want to do it. It’s still an effective environment for me then. I can cheer or boo, I can even hear marvelous music about remembrances of things from the far distant past or the future. Of course, there’s all kinds of noise, not all of which has anything to do with me. I can also stand off to the side and watch people who have absolutely nothing to do with me put on their fine performances. I don't even know how this natural law, or maybe I should say rule, came to be formed.
Wang: That has nothing to do with you. And afterwards?
Luo: Afterwards? I'll still keep going forward. Slowly, less and less of me is above water, and more and more parts are underwater. And there's those one or two times I saw people walking in front of me suddenly disappear.
Wang: Their entire bodies went under?
Luo: Yeah. Out of sympathy, or maybe friendship, I had an urge to help them every time, but I couldn't see where they were. I only know that they were completely submerged under the water. I encountered similar situations when I was onshore.
Wang: I understand. There was no other way at the time. For people in the river, the people on shore can only scream at them. They can't actually play any significant role. It's the two worlds. Their ears are submerged, anyway, so the people underwater can't even hear the screams.
Luo: Oh, you're right on track, so we're able to talk about it.
Wang: And then?
Luo: Then? As long as I'm still moving forward, this is all a waste of words. I gradually submerge my waist. At that time....
Wang: At that time? Ha ha ha ha.
Luo: I know what you're thinking. If it isn't two people who love each other making love, what could be a bigger deal? Afterwards, the water covers my belly, and then it covers the bottom of my ribs, and then it covers my chest. This is the time when many people don't want to give up some of their functions too early, so they put up their hands and even hold their heads up. I won't do that. As long as you keep walking into the river, your hands losing functionality is something that's going to happen sooner or later.
Wang: Yes, something that'll happen sooner or later.
Luo: As more and more parts go under, the normal functionality of the organs remaining above the surface gets smaller and smaller. For example, if the water covers up to here on your throat, your vision might start to drift. Often you'll talk nonsense and agree to oral provisions that are obviously unfavorable to yourself. This isn't because of mental problems. Your mood at this time is very complicated, like I just said.
Wang: Right. At this time you'll have lost a large part of your power to concentrate. That can be forgiven.
Luo: But if I'm lucky the people dealing with me at the time won’t think like that. It's like no one pays much attention to whether you're really in the river or on the shore, or if you're in the river, how much of you is underwater. Everyone's like that, I'm the same, and so are you.
Wang: Everyone's like that this year, but it just encourages the people in the river to keep going forward.
Luo: The mouth, nose, eyes and forehead all get submerged, and finally the only part that can communicate with the outside world is the hair. Don't think that your hair doesn't have feelings. In fact, hair is rich in feelings.
Wang: I know that.
Luo: After a little while more, the water covers the top of your head. The feeling of being completely underwater is wonderful. It's not what you'd call loneliness, and it's not what's called pain. Actually a more accurate metaphor would be the throbbing of obsession, just like you're stuck in a nightmare that makes you tremble.
Wang: I know lots of people get obsessed but stop in the middle of it.
Luo: Whatever the reason, after someone's stopped for sixty seconds, the water begins to pour into their throat, and that's when, you know, they can no longer be saved.
Wang: They die.
Luo: But I'm going to keep walking forward. Slowly, the process I just described gets reversed. First the cranium is exposed above the water, then the chest, the back, the belly, the groin, the thighs, the knees, calves, the ankles and the insteps. I came ashore and couldn't wait to smile at people and say hello.
      The memory of the last time I was on shore and then in the river immediately became rather unclear. Even if I'd remembered it clearly, could I have talked about it clearly? Even if could've spoken clearly, could I have gotten close to the reality of such a huge process?
      And now there's another river in front of us, crossing our path. Hey, look, the other side isn't far. It isn't close, either, but anyway you can see it. How normal and natural life on that shore is. Out in the air, there's no pressure or threat from the water, no fear. But the more rivers I cross, the less courage I have. The final time I put my feet into the water, I'll think about it more and more.
Wang: I hear faint sounds of movement from the other side.
Luo: Where? Where are the sounds coming from? God, it's Becoming Xu! Becoming Xu is on the other side! God, it is Becoming! Becoming! Becoming!
Wang: Depart Luo!
(Music #3 in. He eagerly removes his rubber raincoat and, naked, struggles in the water circulation equipment. At the same time he throws a fish into the audience. Finally his styling ceases while Wang dances from the stage entry through the orchestra pit)

Act Six

Wang: So I’m the only one left. What should I do?
      There’s a river in front of me. It’s not far to the opposite shore, but it isn’t close, either. Anyway, I can see it. There’s a river beyond it, too, and I wouldn’t be able to see it if it were any further away.
      I’ve stayed here on this store like a good boy. I can’t see anything on the opposite shore that’s superior to this side, and I think Luo has drowned, but I keep thinking obstinately that the other side is a lot better than here, and I’ve decided to go down to the river and go across. Why? I don't know, but some people are born restless, as you know. So I start to wade.
      Once I’m in the water, I hear a bunch of voices. Some are cheering me, some are booing, some are telling me to quit and some are encouraging me to go on. It’s really annoying. I'll keep going for the shore.
(He sits down, takes out a compact and ponders)
      I have a premonition. There’s eight or nine chances in ten that I’ll die in the river some day, but that’s fate. I don't know if it’s decided by my sign or my blood type, but the bottom line is, I want to cross this river. Before I do I’ve got to think it through, prove the concept, adjust my state of mind and arrange my equipment. Then I can head across.
      Speaking of equipment, I may have to look for a set that’s easier to use, that’s what I’m thinking. I’ve decided to cross this river and it doesn’t look too deep, but standing on the shore talking about it is the easy part. If I can't actually wade across, I’ll have to swim, but the fact is I don’t know how to swim. So what should I do? I feel that since my desire to cross the river is so strong, some good luck is bound to come along.
(Swimming Equipment Vendor enters from Area I)
Wang: Hey, wait a sec!
Vendor: What’s up?
Wang: Do you know where there’s a shop that sells things for going underwater?
Vendor: That’s what I do. What do you want to buy?
Wang: What’s your phone number?
Vendor: 6264-4912.
Wang: Wait a minute. (He dials a phone) Is this the underwater equipment shop?
Vendor: Hello, this is Becoming Xu. Who are you calling for?
(End)

*Music #1: Tom Waits, “Hang On St. Cristopher”
Music #2: Music Box [Fannyi – Perhaps “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills]
Music #3: Mad Bird [Fannyi – Apparently referring to “The Verse” by Huang Bo]


21世纪中国文学大系;2002年网络写作
21st Century Chinese Literature Compendium; 2002 Internet Compositions, p. 179
Translated from http://www.poemlife.com/showart-3328-1080.htm




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