Aaron Fox-Lerner

Aaron Fox-Lerner was born in Los Angeles and lives in Beijing

Posts by Aaron Fox-Lerner

Goodbye Joe

A backpacker's last night in China – fiction by Aaron Fox-Lerner


Ed: This was the final story read out at Scotch & Stories night, accompanied by a peaty Laphroaig 10

The guy I went out drinking with was a hostel buddy, one of those strangers temporarily united with you only in the shared purpose of wanting to party and maybe even get laid if it’s a good night. It wasn’t a good night.

The guy was an American like me, but he spoke Chinese and had been living for five years in Zhengzhou, which is a city in China that must be the real deal, because I’ve never heard of it. I felt like he looked down on me slightly for being just a tourist in Beijing, but we were both there in the common area and I had extra beers and we got along alright. I'd only been in China six days, I hadn't planned on staying long since all I'd heard about China was how fucked up it was, but I figured I should hit up the nightlife on my last day in Beijing before traveling on to Korea.

After knocking back a few beers with him, we go to some bar district and I pull him into the first dive I see.


Summer Shorts: Understanding the Chinese

A short short story by Aaron Fox Lerner


I never understood why Derek disappeared until I got the business card. Before that it was a mystery. One day he was there, the next he wasn't. I didn't see him at the nice hutong bars he normally haunted, or at his favorite burger place in Sanlitun, or at the indie rock shows he used to attend regularly. He was nowhere.

After asking around, I discovered he wasn't the only person to have vanished. Everyone else shrugged the phenomenon off. It's Beijing. Going away parties are more common than birthdays. Foreigners leave all the time.


The Copycats

How to fake it – a short story by Aaron Fox-Lerner



You can find a replica of a Chinese copy of a French village in the Santa Monica Mountains in California. It's up in the hills a bit, but if you don't mind dirt roads it's possible to drive all the way there.

It was supposed to be for a movie. The American spy hero has to stop a mercenary sleeper cell in the Chinese military from carrying out a coup and nuking America. One of the screenwriters had read about these fake European villages they have in China and decided to set an action sequence there. They couldn't shoot the film in China if the story had bad guys in the Chinese government, so they needed a version in America.


The Metaphor Pusher

In search of a story – fiction by Aaron Fox-Lerner


Among the hordes of Indian and Pakistani men pushing for you to buy hashish, hostels and rolexes you hear a voice offering metaphors for cheap. You only realise it after you've stepped out of Chungking Mansions into the dense Hong Kong night air, and by that time the voice has disappeared into the dozens of milling figures, now mobbing some poor Asian tourist dumb enough to stop for them.


Migrant with the Machine Gun Arm

Ping pong diplomacy – a short story by Aaron Fox-Lerner



The first time I saw Fang Zheng, he was destroying a park full of old men. One after the other they would step up, and he'd humiliate them all in turn. He didn't play down or patronise them. He never slowed his speed. They'd all watch as he dispatched them as fast as possible, cutting them down with rapid fire arm strokes.