Sample stories from A New Anthology of Chinese Short-Short Stories: Surprises, Wisdom and Philosophy
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Excerpts of “The ‘Drunkard’ Dog”
Written in Chinese by Xiao Jianguo
Translated by Harry J. Huang
Lao Fang kept a pet—a drunkard dog. What does it mean? That is, just like the owner, the dog drinks three times a day—when it eats. Without a drink, he would behave perversely: he would lie barking on the floor and refuse to get up, just like a little child.
It was all Fang’s fault. He was a gatekeeper for a realty company, who had too much money to spend but too few things to do. Because he indulged in drinking, he was never clear-headed anytime of the day. His wife could not stand the alcohol smell from his body all year round, so she went away with another man. To reduce his boredom, he raised a dog. In the beginning, his dog did not like alcohol. Despite all his tactics of coercion and cajolery, the dog did not give in, refusing to lick one single drop.
This indeed offended Fang. “F--k you! Aren’t you just a dog? You think you are a human who has bottom lines?” The angry Fang then leashed the dog and starved him. All he gave him was a bowl of alcohol. “Just lick it once and I will give you food,” he said to the dog. But the dog would rather starve to death than lick it. He just looked straight ahead, ignoring the alcohol altogether.
Three days later, the severely starved dog began to vomit white foam. Lao Fang could not stand seeing the dog dying, so he quietly mixed some alcohol into the meat fried-rice and put it against his mouth. The dog could not resist the tempting smell of the food and began to gulp it down. Thus, he gradually fell into Fang’s trap.
Every day, when mealtime came, Fang and his dog would each have bowl of alcohol (the dog would be given a little less), and they would indulge in the pleasure of their eating and drinking. Soon Fang discovered that a drink would make the dog a great worker. For example, to open the gate, theoretically his dog could not reach the button that was about three feet from the ground, even if he raised his front paws. However, after an alcoholic drink, the dog could jump—just high enough to touch it. His push would then slowly open the power-controlled steel gate. If Fang did not serve him alcohol at mealtime, however, the dog would not even move if he was told to open the gate, and might even yap at him in hostility. Gradually everyone inside and outside the company learned that Fang had a drunkard dog. Whenever they passed by the gate, they would stop to look at the dog. Some even wanted to photograph him, in which situation he would pose for the camera like a relaxed star.
At one dinner, Fang just had enough alcohol for himself in the bottle, so he did not pour any for his dog. The dog disliked his treatment and kept rubbing against Fang’s legs back and forth, growling his extreme displeasure. Unable to enjoy his dinner, Fang said, “You son of a bitch, it’s not because I don’t want to give you any, but there’s no more. If you want any, go buy it yourself.” The dog immediately popped out his head from under Fang’s legs and said, “Woof, woof.” Fang thought for a moment, drew out a ten-yuan note and threw it onto the floor. When the dog saw it, he picked it up in his mouth, wagged his tail and ran out at once. Before long, he came back happily with a plastic bag dangling from his mouth. Fang took over the bag and opened it, finding not only a bottle of whiskey, but also the change. Merrily surprised, Fang opened the bottle and poured out a bowl for his dog. The dog was so happy that tears welled up in his eyes. While he was drinking, Sister Flower, the convenience store owner, ran over to tell Fang how clever his dog was. “Your dog is really incredible. As soon as he entered my store, he put down the money, pointed to the whiskey bottles and began yapping. He would not take anything else I tried to give him. Only when I had finished packing up the whiskey bottle for him did he stop yapping. He has nearly become a demon now.” Sister Flower’s lavish praise made the drunkard dog even more famous.
For the May holiday, Fang cooked several delicious dishes, and it goes without saying that he also drank a bit more. An elated Fang also poured an extra bowl of whiskey for his dog. Unexpectedly, the dog got drunk this time, and even had a drunken fit. He not only prolonged his woofing and sang canine songs, but even tried to please people he saw by raising his two front paws and joining them to make a slight bow. Seeing a car coming from outside the company he jumped up quickly to open the gate, and before it had crossed the gate he jumped up again to close it. Good heavens! The car was nearly caught in the closing gate. Fortunately its driver responded quickly by pressing hard on the gas pedal, managing to escape from the imminent damage. Fang immediately came out to apologize to the driver as he gave his dog a sound scolding.
Still in his drunken fit, the dog was chasing Sister Flower’s egg-laying chickens, sending the flock flying in all directions. Feathers from the frightened chickens flew all over the place. Sister Flower came out swaying her hips when she heard her scared chickens squawking. Seeing the drunken dog harassing her chickens, she grabbed a wooden stick, intending to beat him. The dog saw her wearing a short blouse with short sleeves that exposed much of her white skin, and his eyes started to glow as he woofed and charged at her. Sister Flower was stupefied, standing there like a motionless puppet. In a split second the dog jumped upon her with his front legs landing upon her breasts, his hard penis sticking out from under his hips. Luckily, Fang stopped him before Sister Flower could see it.
The new general manager who happened to have seen everything kept laughing at the drunken dog. The next day, he came to Fang and told him he wanted to buy his dog. That became a headache for Fang, who did not really want to sell his pet, but if he did not, he would offend his superior. Finally, he said, “If my dog agrees, I have no objection.” With this, he tied a rope around the dog’s neck and led him over to the general manager. When the drunkard dog saw this, he became upset. He opened his mouth and started howling, wanting to attack the new owner. Fang’s boss realized he could not take the dog forcibly. Rolling his eyes, he hit upon an idea. From that day on, whenever mealtime came he would come with a bottle of alcohol. His alcohol was of fine quality, including name brands such as Fen Jiu, Lao Yao, and Xiao Bai Gan. The moment he opened his bottle, the sweet smell would assail your nostrils. He would pour half a bowl for the dog each time . . .
©Copyright 2019 by Bestview Scholars Publishing. All rights reserved.
Excerpts of “New Poems”
Written in Chinese by Zhou Daxin
Translated by Harry J. Huang
Accompanied by his secretary Xiao Liang, Director Chang of the Bureau was chauffeured throughout his inspection trip to the various counties. Wherever he went, he was entertained by local officials with sumptuous dinners full of rare delicacies, all paid for by public funds. Every time the Director offered to pay for their food, his hosts would shake their heads smilingly: “Forget it! What times are we in now?”
After visiting all the places, they started their trip home. Night fell when they were halfway through, so the Director suggested that they stop at the roadside restaurant for dinner. The driver pulled up accordingly, and they soon ordered a whole table of food.
While the waiter was writing the bill for them, the Director said, “Throughout this trip, we’ve been eating free meals—all paid for by taxpayers. We should pay ourselves tonight. Please don’t stop me. I earn more than you, and I want to be your host for tonight.” The secretary and the driver found it difficult to accept, so they drew out their wallets, fighting to pay. Seeing that neither would give in, the Director smiled, “Now, how about this? Each of us will make up a poem. It must contain the following words: ‘round, round, round,’ ‘sharp, sharp, sharp,’ ‘hundreds and thousands,’ ‘thousands and hundreds,’ ‘. . . have . . .?’ and ‘no.’ Whoever fails will pay. How’s that?”
“Great!” laughed the secretary and the chauffeur.
“Now, since I’m not very well educated, I’ll go first,” said the chauffeur after a moment of thinking as he looked down. “Here’s my poem.”
My car’s lights are round, round, round;
My car’s front is sharp, sharp, sharp.
I have traveled hundreds and thousands of miles;
I have driven thousands and hundreds of people.
But have I ever had an accident?
The Director nodded at him, “Pretty good poem. It’s acceptable. You don’t have to pay for this meal.”
Then came the secretary’s poem:
My pen is round, round, round;
Its tip is sharp, sharp, sharp.
I have written hundreds and thousands of “reports”;
I have summed up thousands and hundreds of cases of
But have I ever written an honest sentence?
The Director nodded again, “Pretty good, too. You don’t have to pay for the meal, either. Now listen, you two. Here’s mine.”
My mouth is round, round, round;
My teeth are sharp, sharp, sharp.
I have been invited to hundreds and thousands of banquets;
I have hosted thousands and hundreds of dinners.
But have I ever paid a penny?
The secretary and the chauffeur clapped their hands . . .
©Copyright 2019 by Bestview Scholars Publishing. All rights reserved.