Nick Compton

Nick Compton is a writer and editor living and working in Beijing

Posts by Nick Compton

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Best Buddies

There's no place called home – by Nick Compton

 

Jake’s house wasn’t much to look at. He rented a weather-blasted two bedroom on the edge of town for a couple hundred bucks a month. The roof was caving in and the exterior scraped clean of its white paint by winter winds and too little attention.  What remained was gray lumber streaked white by curling chips. It looked mean. Haunted, almost.

He was my best friend growing up, but I didn’t know where we stood now. I’d left for university, moved around, ended up working in China and never really looked back.  It was rural America. A tiny town in the hills of Northeast Iowa. My home, but no place I wanted to stay.

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Mouse Trap

Rats in a maze – fiction by Nick Compton

 

Bachelorhood didn’t suit Jake. He had an empty fridge and a cupboard full of mice. He’d hear them at night. Not just a few, but bloody hordes of the little bastards. Loud as a herd of elephants. Lying awake in bed, thinking of her, he’d listen to them run riot throughout his little hutong place. It was worse when they’d get into the drawer filled with plastic bags he used for the trash. The scratch and swish as they rifled through them had an air of desperation that panicked him much more than their secret scampering. When he told his landlady, a fast-talking barrel of lava from Sichuan Province, she laughed and waved him off. “It’s an old Beijing neighborhood,” she said in an explosion of accented Mandarin sand-blasted by years of chain-smoking full-tar cigarettes and screaming at her husband. “Buy a glue trap.”

One night he’d forgotten about a cookie in a little paper pouch he’d tucked into the side pocket of his backpack. As he closed his eyes, he heard what sounded like an excited kid tearing into a brightly wrapped present on Christmas morning. He popped out of bed and grabbed a slipper, sneaking to the top of the stairs that separated his lofted bedroom from the vermin below. It was too dark to see clearly, but he aimed for the bag and fired.

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Summer Shorts: Beijing Bound

Up in the air – flash fiction by Nick Compton

 

Been saddled up on this airplane economy seat for too long. I know it doubles as a floatation device, but I have a strong breast stroke and don’t plan on surviving a spiraling free fall from 30,000 feet into the deep Pacific, anyway.

United, from New Orleans to Denver to San Francisco to Beijing. Over 20 hours of mind-numbing, time-bending flight.

You start out early in the morning. Pull yourself out of a warm bed next to a soft girlfriend to load luggage, slurp coffee and pace off reams of reserve energy that would otherwise remain bound up in the maddeningly close confines of a trans-pacific budget flight.

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Baijiu, Baby

Drinking in a yurt isn’t child’s play – by Nick Compton

 

Ed: This is one of the stories read out at Writers & Rum night on Wednesday. More to follow next week ...

Some people say that every type of alcohol, in proportional quantity, results in the same drunk. I’m not sure. Baijiu, or Mongolian baijiu at least, doesn’t give you the same heady buzz as a few beers, a glass of wine, or a snort of whisky. With baijiu, inebriation comes on like a freight train, hard and hollering. Your throat and belly are warmed and your mind becomes at once both lucid and completely fucked. As I polished off the first bottle, I knew I would soon be ripped.

The Han Chinese paid to dress as Mongolians and dance around our tables continued to clap and chant, but I could sense that dinner was winding down. Now warm and imminently drunk, I didn’t want it to stop.