Usually, Wednesday afternoons were the easiest time for He Chusan. On those days, he would have a day off from A-Hua Bing Sutt. He would usually finish school at five and then cook herbal medicine for his dad at home. After dinner, he could light a candle and continue studying.
However, he rushed home today and cooked a meal for one person. He kept the medicine warm on the stove and then started leaving his home with his little backpack.
“Where’re you going?” Dad He was resting on the old wooden deck chair at the door. He lifted his cattail fan to stop He Chusan.
“To the school for studying, dad.” He Chusan explained.
“Don’t you eat before going to school?” said Dad He, “The canteen of your school is free today?”
“I……” He Chusan hesitated for a while and said, “I’ll buy some beef entrails from Fat Sis and have it while walking.”
“Ha!” Dad He lifted his nose, “Are you rich now? Having beef entrails as a meal? You think your dad didn’t see you going upstairs suspiciously with two colorful tickets, right? You think your dad got cerebral palsy from a peanut-sized little operation, right? You’ve grown up, He A-San!”
He Chusan dropped his head and confessed for a lighter punishment, “Dad, I’m gonna buy the beef entrails for my friend and invite him to watch a film with me. He’s male. I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“Did I say that you have a girlfriend? Guilty conscience!” Dad He hit him with the fan, “Be thankful that your Dad is open-minded and doesn't wanna care about your business! Go!”
He Chusan hid his head back, carrying his little backpack and running next door for two large bowls of beef entrails, and then crisply left.
He lifted the beef entrails and rushed his way. He left Snapdragon Walled City quickly and he took the bus to save time, a rare occurrence. He ran straight to the billiard room in front of the school gate.
The manager of the billiard room didn’t know that the Big Boss had flipped the chicken-pot table with rage and directly called Little Ma, “Boss Little Ma, Mr. He is here. He said he wants to see Big Boss.”
“No! He can see no one! Who the f*ck does he think he is! Dares to make Big Boss angry!” Little Ma was eating the dinner and cleaning the space between his teeth, “Beat him out with poles!”
He Chusan took the telephone, “Boss Little Ma.”
“F*ck your a*s off! Can you call me Boss Little Ma?! Call me General Manager Ma!”
“There’s been some misconceptions, Boss Little Ma. Boss Liuyi is kidding me. He’s waiting for me to kowtow and apologize to him, to be soft before him. If you don’t let me go, he won’t feel better in his mind, and nor will your life be easier.” He Chusan convinced him patiently.
Little Ma thought about Big Boss’s recent mood and found it was actually not very good. Moreover, Big Boss Xia had cussed him out because of this brat many times. He couldn’t figure out what the Big Boss really wanted and thought he should better not get involved in this mess.
“Alright alright, I’ll find someone to pick you up. Wait for it!”
He Chusan carried his little backpack and got into the car with two bowls of beef entrails. He didn’t forget to give one of them to the driver before he got off, “Please take it to Boss Little Ma. Tell him I brought it all the way from Snapdragon Walled City. One is for him and the other is for the Big Boss. I really appreciate what he did for me.”
“Hey! What a f*cking poor kid, giving a bowl of beef entrails as a thank-you gift! Isn’t this just looking down to Boss Ma?!” The driver couldn’t help judging when he brought it to Boss Little Ma’s table.
“What the cr*p do you know!” Little Ma hit him with chopsticks, “Is this a common bowl of beef entrails? It’s from the shop that Big Boss loves most!”
He took the chopsticks back and stared at the still warm beef entrails. One is for me and the other is for the Big Boss? Really appreciate what I did? This f*cking puk gaai brat – that’s why Big Boss is interested in him, looks dull but has a bunch of schemes! He thought.
He Chusan lifted the bowl of beef entrails and entered the building of Xia Liuyi’s “main office”. This time, he didn’t get to enter the president’s office directly like he did last time. He reported his name, waiting for almost an hour with his beef entrails in the meeting room, before An Qi with the white thighs eventually came with her clattering high heels, “Mr. He? Come in.”
Xia Liuyi was smoking and reading through material. His eyebrows were twisted tightly and he looked very annoyed. He didn’t even move his brow when he heard He Chusan was in. Apparently, Xia Liuyi didn’t want to care about him at all.
He Chusan acted obedient and nice. He greeted at first, “Boss Liuyi.”
Xia Liuyi didn’t even raise his head. Still staring at the material, he said indifferently, “What’s up? You think you’ve lived too much and wanna borrow some money for a coffin?”
He Chusan looked at An Qi. This beautiful secretary didn’t need her Boss’s command. She stepped on her high heels and quickly disappeared.
He Chusan ran forward with little steps and put the beef entrails that he had covered with his chest to conserve the last bit of warmth onto Xia Liuyi’s table.
Xia Liuyi finally glanced up and then he sneered, “What’s this?”
“The beef entrails from Fat Sis’s shop.”
Xia Liuyi leaned on his office chair and sneered again, “Apologizing with a single bowl of beef entrails? Who are you, He A-San? Governor of Hong Kong? I’m too lazy to look at you, even if you f*cking kneeled on the floor and kowtowed for me! Take it back and f*ck off!”
He Chusan lowered his head and took out the second “must-have to beg for triad Big Boss’s forgiveness” – it was a film ticket from the Hong Kong Cultural Center. There was a big red stamp at the upper right corner, “complimentary ticket”.
“They were from the student council,” said He Chusan, “The Godfather, Chinese dubbed.”
Xia Liuyi sneered again, “Ha!”
He made a call, “Let A-Yong and A-Biao in.”
Soon his two beefy bodyguards came in, “Big Boss.”
“Is the henchman of Fat Qi caught yesterday still alive?”
“He is, Big Boss.”
“Did he say it all?”
“No, he refused to say it no matter how he was.”
Xia Liuyi gestured at He Chusan by lifting his chin, “Take him to see something new.”
A-Yong and A-Biao respectively held He Chusan’s left and right arms and took him away. Carrying him into the lift, going down to the parking lot, and entering a small door, they arrived at the basement.
As the door was opened, the stench of blood attacked their noses. A man was stripped nude and there were bloodstains caused by whipping all over his body. He was suspended at the center of the room with his limbs tied, and his eyes looked closed because of the swelling. All in all, he looked like he was dying.
A-Yong pushed He Chusan away and walked to the man. He called Xia Liuyi with a daai go daai*1 and turned on the speaker.
“The Fifth Zheng, how was your ‘Children’s Day’ last night?” Xia Liuyi’s cold voice came out.
The man lifted his head with difficulty and mourned, “Big Boss Xia, I beg you……I really know nothing……I’ve followed Fat Qi for so many years and my wife and child are all under his control. If he knows I sold him out……I beg of you Big Boss Xia……Please let me go……”
“Ha,” Xia Liuyi laughed, “You’re worried that he will hurt your wife and child? Boss Liuyi has already thought about that for you. Today, they were also invited for a ‘Children’s Day’. Do you wanna take a look?”
The man shouted aloud instantly as if he was hit by a thunder, “Big Boss Xia! Please don’t! I beg you to let them go! It was none of their business! I beg you!”
“A-Yong.” Said Xia Liuyi.
A-Yong waved his hand to the guarding underlings on the side. The underlings wheezed and carried a sack from the next door. They threw it onto the ground and opened it with a knife. The heavy rotten stench became overwhelming!
Under the dim light, there was a bloody body without head and limbs! The abdomen was wide open! The bloody entrails rolled out at once!
Even the by-standing He Chusan couldn’t help quivering the corner of his mouth and gripped at his clothes tightly. The Fifth Zhang had begun screaming crazily and desperately, “G-ahhhh--!”
He twisted his body crazily but couldn’t free himself. His throat turned hoarse because of his sharp and miserable yell. In the end, he began crying loudly, “My wife, my wife ahh……It’s all my fault……Wu ahhh……how miserably you died……ahhh……”
A-Yong stepped forward and blocked his mouth with stinky socks, so that he could only grunt with grief. Tears ran around on his dirty face.
“The Fifth Zheng,” Xia Liuyi’s voice continued coming out from the daai go daai, “Your daughter is so active and cute. She would love interesting holidays. It all depends on if her dad wants her to have one?”
The Fifth Zheng grunted insanely and kept nodding hard. A-Yong pulled out the socks, and he began to cry and beg, “I’ll say it! I’ll say it all! Please don’t hurt my daughter! Please!”
Xia Liuyi hummed coldly, “Then obediently say it all! A-Yong, bring him up!”
“Ah?” A-Yong hesitated and said, “Isn’t it too dirty, Big Boss?” Bring such a bloody person to the office?
“I mean bring the brat up!” Xia Liuyi raised his voice annoyedly.
Hence, He Chusan, who had watched torture and had his face go pale in a short period, was brought back to the office with A-Yong and A-Biao on his left and right side just like how he came.
It was mid-summer, and the air conditioner was working in the office. There was also a slight scent of perfume. In the room, the air was fresh and the furniture was clean and bright. The floor-to-ceiling window showed the night view of Hong Kong Island, city lights glimmering like gems. Compared to the dark and stinky basement, only heaven could describe it.
Xia Liuyi was still at ease. He leaned on the office chair and smoked, “You’ve seen enough?”
He Chusan lowered his head, looking over-terrified, “Yes.”
“You know what kind of person I am?”
“What should you say if you know?”
He Chusan shivered and begged for forgiveness quietly, “I’m sorry, Boss Liuyi. I dare not irritate you next time. Please forgive me, and don’t involve my dad. He’s old and can’t ‘have a holiday’.”
“Huh!” Xia Liuyi puffed with his nose, “What the heck are you? I don’t have the time to deal with you! F*ck off far away and don’t let me see you again!”
He Chusan turned around and “f*cked off” slowly for a few steps and then he remembered something, turning back and saying, “Boss Liuyi, The beef entrails are cold now. Let the secretary heat them up before you eat. Don’t get sick.”
Xia Liuyi suppressed it for a while, watching him carry the little backpack and move to the door like a snail, and eventually, he couldn’t suppress anymore, “Stop.”
He Chusan turned around immediately.
“You knew it was a dead pig in the sack?”
He Chusan took back the over-terrified face and nodded obediently, “Yah, Fat Sis’s shop also sells pork livers and fried chitterlings.”
Every early morning, Fat Sis and her husband would transport the supplies with a little cart. Every time they met He Chusan getting up early to practice tai chi, they would greet him enthusiastically together with the bloody pig entrails.
The Fifth Zheng was beaten dizzy and had recognized the dead pig as his wife. However, He Chusan had felt that something was wrong when the sack was opened and the smell came out. After looking at it carefully – he couldn’t help quivering the corner of his mouth and gripping at his clothes tightly to keep himself from laughing.
He knew what Xia Liuyi was like. Although he looked rough and brash, he loved morals, and it was impossible for him to hurt women and children.
Xia Liuyi, “……”
Xia Liuyi extinguished his cigarette and stayed silent for a long while before the Best Actor He Chusan, “F*ck off.”
He Chusan could only turn around and continued “f*cking off”. He didn’t forget to ask after opening the glass door, “So will you watch the film with me, Boss Liuyi?”
“F*ck off --!”
Xia Liuyi sulked on his own for a long time. He kicked the desk a couple of times before finally feeling his breathing calm down and his desire to choke He Chusan to death fade away as he did a while ago. He went out to the lift with his face dark.
He became the merciless and indifferent Big Boss again when he walked to the basement. Dropping cigarette ash towards the trembling The Fifth Zheng on the floor, he asked A-Yong, “What did he say?”
A-Yong looked serious and whispered a few sentences to Xia Liuyi. Xia Liuyi changed his demeanor at once, squatting and pulling at The Fifth Zheng’s hair, “What did you say?! Before Azure Dragon died, Fat Qi had gone to Xu Ying?! What did they say?!”
“I don’t know! I really don’t know! They closed the door to talk, and no one could go in……”
Xia Liuyi fiercely threw him away. Cold desire to kill filled his eyes.
Usually, Saturday afternoons were the busiest time for He Chusan. At this time, the A-Hua Bing Sutt was in its rush hour, and the people coming for the special char siu rice would line up to two alleys away. He Chusan would always hold three plates with his hand and head, spinning around in the dense maze of tables like a top.
However, he unexpectedly took a day off from Uncle A-Hua today. Through the angry curses of Uncle A-Hua, who was busy like a weary dog, he held the little backpack and squeezed out from the crowd to rush away. He was watched by the neighbors queuing for food all the way to the outside of the walled city.
“Puk gaai brat!” Uncle A-Hua cussed while cutting char siu unceasingly, “Doesn’t work but focuses on girls!”
Auntie A-Hua threw a rag to him, “Did you work when you were pursuing me? Weren’t you being beaten around by your dad!”
“If I’d known you would be like this twenty years later, I wouldn’t take you even if you were for free!” Uncle A-Hua said in an aggrieved tone with the rag on his head.
“Tsk! You think I would favor you? Take a look at what the heck you are!” Auntie A-Hua turned her big butt proudly and sent the meal as a substitute for He Chusan.
He Chusan, who innocently gained the notorious fame of dating girls from his dad and employer, didn’t even have a meal – to save money essentially – and went all the way to the Cultural Center at Tsim Sha Tsui holding a ticket. The Culture Center was newly built last year, officiated by Charles, Prince of Wales, and Princess Diana. The silver arc-like architecture stood facing the sea, elegant and magnificent.
People who came here were mostly celebrities, romantic great men in the business world, elite white-collars in tidy suits, reputable cultured people with shiny glasses, etc. Because of the worn old outfit and the little backpack, He Chusan, with his tall silhouette, was especially conspicuous among the crowd.
He stood straight at the entrance, holding a book in his hand, but he was too worried about missing the coming Xia Liuyi to open it. His eyes merely watched the people coming in.
The film would start at seven, and it was already a quarter to seven. A few classmates in the student council passed by in the crowd and greeted him, “A-san? You’re also here for The Godfather? It’s almost time. Let’s go in together.”
He Chusan shook his head, “I’m waiting for someone.”
He waited obediently from quarter to seven to seven, and then from seven to a quarter past seven, and……anyway, when it was a quarter to eight, he had basically given it up. He squatted and put the little backpack on his knees, starting to read under the light at the entrance.
His sight swept through an English line absently while thoughts spun quickly in his mind – why didn’t Xia Liuyi come?
--Is Xia Liuyi so angry that he doesn’t want to be acquainted with him anymore? If so, why did Xia LIuyi let him watch the “torture” to frighten and play with him? A beating could drive him out easily.
--Is he stood up by Xia Liuyi for fun in order to let him taste some bitterness? If so, he could only bare it. After all, he had angered Xia Liuyi. Just be nice to Xia Liuyi and make him feel better.
--But he really can’t take the money from the black society. He would still refuse to take it even if it happened again in the future. He’d packed the money for this time well and put it into the little iron box, planning to return it all to Xia Liuyi once he had a chance in the future.
--Alas, at the time he returns it to Xia Liuyi, he would definitely see the rage again. This triad Big Boss is so hard to serve. He’s totally unreasonable. Doing anything he wants, robbing people if he wants to, giving money if he wants to, and if you don’t take it he would flip the table, just like a kid……
Xia Liuyi sneezed while driving, “F*ck! Who cursed me?!”
He Chusan had never been so unsettled in his life. Unexpectedly, he couldn’t read. He lowered his head and dug it into the yellow pages, smelling the scent of ink which always gave him a sense of safety. He thought that at the beginning, wasn’t not being related to the mafia what he wanted most? Why is he so uncomfortable when the mafia neglects him now.
--If the mafia treated him kindly but he angered the mafia and felt bad in his conscience as a result, it makes sense. However, this was a brash and bossy mafia, forcing him to write scripts and forcing him to take the money after he finished. How could such a forced deal happen due to kindness?
And he even felt bad in his conscience for this.
He Chusan preliminarily affirmed that he was mad.
The mad He Chusan had never been so dejected. Holding the book and being absent-minded for a long while, he sighed powerlessly.
“Why do you sigh like an old man at such a young age?” Xia Liuyi looked down at him from above.
Amazed, He Chusan lifted his head, seeing Xia Liuyi with his slim waist and long legs in a black suit, and surprisingly, he had applied some hair oil for his unbridled messy hair. Before He Chusan, he was almost a handsome, charming apollo.
He Chusan couldn’t help being stunned.
Xia Liuyi kicked him lazily, “Stand up! What are you stunned for?”
“You……” said He Chusan, and then he turned to see the big clock in the entrance hall, “You’re an hour late.”
“There were paparazzis following me and the traffic was jammed,” Xia Liuyi said annoyedly, “I drove all around Kowloon to get rid of them. I’m in a terrible mood now. Don’t irritate me.”
He Chusan pushed on the wall and stood up floppily, looking at the space behind him surprisedly, “You were stalked by someone? Didn’t you bring bodyguards with you?”
“Why would you need bodyguards for a film. Could they understand it!” Xia Liuyi irritatedly scratched his hair and dug into the elegant hair oil hairstyle, loosening it, “What kind of a f*cking place is this? Why is there no one selling fish balls and popcorn at the door?”
“Food is not allowed when you watch films here,” said He Chusan.
“F*ck! Is it even watching films! What the heck is here!”
He Chusan could say nothing but told him, “This film is three-hours-long. We can still go in.”
Xia Liuyi frowned and turned to go in. He didn’t even care about He Chusan who was tidying his backpack hurriedly behind him.
The theater was on the first floor. They stepped onto the stairs one after another. The golden light of the hall made a long shadow for Xia Liuyi. He Chusan would always step on his shadow. He couldn’t help smiling.
“Boss Liuyi, I’m happy that you came.”
“Shut up! Who the he*l would come if you could find a Chinese dub elsewhere! Your face is so annoying!”
He Chusan ran to Xia Liuyi’s side with small steps, turning and smiling to him.
As expected, Xia Liuyi kicked him for his “annoying face”.
They walked into the theater, shoulder to shoulder, finding a seat at the back in the darkness, and after a few seconds, everyone in the room suddenly heard an angry yell from the back.
“F*ck He A-san! Isn’t this a Mandarin dub! Where’s the Cantonese?”
“Shh!” Another voice explained quietly, “They’re all Chinese anyway.”
When Xia Liuyi came out from the Cultural Center, his face was even darker than it was when he went in. Setting the problem of dub aside, there were many stowaways from the mainland in Snapdragon Walled City. Living with them, Xia Liuyi could understand the dub if he tried. However, this f*cking cinema not only had no fishball or popcorn shop, but didn’t allow him to smoke!
The staff came to stop him many times, and before he got annoyed enough to throw the staff away with a single hand – all the audience had stood up to condemn him as they couldn’t tolerate him disturbing other audiences from time to time and asked him to get out at once!
Receiving such humiliation, Xia Liuyi pinched the cigarette, sitting in his seat speechlessly with his face tar-black. He Chusan thought he would abruptly snap and take out his gun as a warning to make everyone shut up, or more directly, break out to beat someone and set a fire in the cinema, but eventually, he just stood up silently, dropping his cigarette to wherever, pushing away the staff in his way, and left.
He Chusan scurried out after him and caught up to him on the golden, shiny stairs, “Boss Liuyi.”
Xia Liuyi didn’t speak, having his hands in his pockets and going downstairs as fast as an arrow. He strode to the outside of the Cultural Center, and He Chusan jumped up to him to grip his right arm, “Boss Liuyi, I’m sorry.”
Xia Liuyi tilted his head and glanced at him silently. This kid always lowered his head cowardly and at this point, he was so nervous that he had straightened his body. This kid had actually been as tall as him. They looked at each other at the same height for a while, and then Xia Liuyi asked with no expression on his face, “Sorry for what?”
“I……” said He Chusan, “I shouldn’t pick such a place and make you angry again.”
Xia Liuyi grunted coldly, finding a cigarette from his pocket, tilting his head to light it, and inhaling, “You think I didn’t know about the rules among educated people and lost your face inside?”
“No, they were,” He Chusan wanted to make an excuse for him, but thinking back, Xia Liuyi was the bossy one who had disturbed others watching the film normally, and he could only open his mouth awkwardly, “They were too strict.”
Xia Liuyi held the cigarette between his lips, sneering and slapping He Chusan’s head with medium strength, “Too strict? Stop speaking for them! To me, y’all are simply sick! Is this how you watch a film? Come to my company next week and I’ll teach you how to watch it!”
He Chusan answered with “uh-huh” obediently, “Then are you still angry with me, Boss Liuyi?”
“Being angry with you? Do I have the time to be angry with you every time?! F*ck off!”
He Chusan “f*cked off” to his side to walk together with him, “Shall I invite you to eat fish balls, Boss Liuyi?”
“I’m already full from the anger you fed me. What the cr*p would I eat.”
“……” Didn’t you say you weren’t angry.
He Chusan could only shut up and sau seng, trying his best to let Xia Liuyi hear the thundering noise from his belly.
As expected, Xia LIuyi frowned, “You didn’t eat?”
Xia Liuyi’s large palm hit his back, “Don’t eat fishballs. Boss Liuyi will take you to the Peninsula Hotels for lobster!”
He Chusan quivered his shoulders, “That’s……”
“Stop the nonsense! Let’s go!” Xia Liuyi was not feeling good and was determined to be an uncouth nouveau riche. Dragging the backpack strap, he lifted He Chusan away.
- *A daai go daai is the very first type of cell phone. Motorola was a famous company that produced it. ↑
TN: Edited by our dependable editor Mio Rio ^^