fiction

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Patrolman and Pumpkin

A short story by Hannah Lincoln

 

 
It’s been months since I switched from tea to coffee, and Master Liu has never stopped berating me for my choice.

“Tea is very healthy! It keeps you warm and strong. Little Li, you listen to me – coffee is nothing but dirt dug up in the West! It does not care for your well-being as tea does. I am already seventy and healthy as an ox thanks to long jin.”

Sometimes he is seventy, other times sixty. On really cold nights he is as old as eighty-three. In winter he usually claims to be older, as if preparing his own obituary.

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The Sixth Life of Driver Wang

AN EXCERPT FROM THE INCARNATIONS, A NOVEL BY SUSAN BARKER

 


Through the windscreen of his taxi, Wang has seen the city change. He has seen the wrecking balls swing, bulldozers levelling streets to rubble and dust and skyscrapers rising like bamboo after the rain. Land and planning permission is bought and sold. Property developers draw circles on maps and, in weeks, all that is circled disappears; the residents exiled to the far-flung suburbs and demolition crews moving in to clear out the rest. In the decade Wang has been a taxi driver, the city has changed radically. And as the dust of construction gusts across the city, sheet after sheet, he often wonders when it will end.

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The Devoured Man (part two)

A different kind of zoo – Josh Stenberg's story concludes

THIS STORY FIRST APPEARED IN HALITERATURE

 

 

Back at the museum building, Vitaly slunk off without saying a word, clearly embarrassed at how far from bovine the tigers had proven. The guide, herself frightened witless, told everyone to keep calm. She could not be blamed for the incident, and though the director cuffed her on the head out of sheer frustration when he emerged from his office, gazing uncomprehendingly at our terror like a fruit bat in sunlight, I do not think her job was ever in danger.

The director then delved into a strikingly quick and unperturbed general address of sorrowful farewell, urging us to return on a more propitious occasion—incidentally, they had successfully hosted many weddings.

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The Devoured Man (part one)

Don't feed the tigers – A short story by Josh Stenberg

THIS STORY FIRST APPEARED IN HALITERATURE


My editor signed off on the tiger story right away. “Yes, yes and yes again. Finally, you’re getting the hang of it. Endangered species, big scary-slash-noble cat, conservation, Chinese corruption—all of these are humdingers. Go for it. Way better than the poor-factory-conditions stuff you’re always trying to pull. Be sure to get a picture of a tiger roaring or something. Smiling tourists, taunting a cub or whatever. You know what works; you know what the public likes, ergo you know what I like. Things red in tooth and claw.”

I had proposed the topic after reading about the tiger park in a Chinese newspaper fluff piece, and now I searched the Internet to see what was current on the subject in the Anglo press.

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Big in Beijing

A fable from expat pond life – by Carlos Ottery

 

Some thought Leroy a loser. Honestly, he was probably more of a drunkard than anything, but first and foremost Leroy considered himself a DJ. Sure, he wasn’t averse to moonlighting as a language teacher for extra cash. After all, what was the point of speaking English if you couldn’t spread the love a little, now and then?

In fact, Leroy was doing rather well for himself, pulling in about 7000 kuai a month from the Old Oriental Learning Centre alone. And his income could easily jump up to nine or even 13K if he factored in the DJing, not to mention the bits of journalism, and the copy editing he did for hotel brochures. Let’s put it this way, Leroy had no problem getting a round of beers in.