Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

False Start #68

I’m in a terrible dream. Undifferentiated, pale faces are pursuing me. These men and women turn into devils with dark raspy voices and eyes of burning fire. Unidentified hounds of my past call out: Failure! Nothing! Pathetic nothing!

They are coming. They are coming for me.

I wake up in my darkened room, lit only by the low lights of the electronics charging around me. The lilt of the rain outside enters into the silence.  My heart is pounding. I’m gasping for breath. For a moment, I’m not sure whether the devils are real or not. I look around my room in panic.

Then I tell myself that the real devils don’t appear in dreams. They aren’t mystical beings. They aren’t even figments of the imagination. They’re daywalkers, smiling widely, shaking hands, kissing babies, supposedly saving us all. But deep down they know, and we do too, that they’re only out to save themselves. And we let them betray us.

They aren’t here, I think. They aren’t here.

I fall back asleep.

posted by ferret at 4:14 pm  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Translation: Goose Poem

Per the course for the newest round of Chinese Dream propaganda, a bunch of new posters have gone up near my office. One of them had a poem about geese on it attributed to 晓玲, who turns out to be a singer. She’s most famous for her (very over the top) song 《梦圆中国》which is the audio centerpiece for the Chinese Dream campaign. But enough about her, on to the geese!

My translation:







Goose, goose, goose, goose –

A child’s voice floats across in a song with thousands of years of history.

White feathers, red feet and the poetic spirit are present

Moonlight on lotus blossoms as the shadows of the clouds roll by

May the Chinese civilization flourish forever,

And peace for China be in the people’s hearts!


The poem came complete with some nice folk art:

Geese represent the future of China, you know?

posted by ferret at 5:48 pm  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shanghai in a Box – Part 6

[Xiao Yan takes Ferret to the end of Shouning Lu where it meets Renmin Lu. He follows her across the street and into the old city. In the small back alleys, residents of the ancient decrepit houses are aware of Ferret’s presence. They stare at him, not maliciously, simply asking, “What are you doing here?” Xiao Yan turns into the alley leading into a cluster of darkened homes. She beckons Ferret silently, as if he were a dog.]



This way?

Xiao Yan



[They go through the damp and dust of a kitchen just barely sheltered from the elements and walk towards a room bathed in an eerie glow. As they walk inside, Ferret turns to see a man completely surrounded by TV screens and computer monitors projecting silently onto his attentive eyes. ]

Xiao Yan


Wang Qing!

[Wang Qing doesn’t hear her.]

Xiao Yan


Wang Qing! A foreigner has come to return your notebook to you.

[Wang Qing suddenly turns his head and focuses on Xiao Yan and Ferret. His face looks wan and tired, full with its sunken eyes and poor skin, but still he grins fiendishly at them and points with frail limbs.]

Wang Qing

哦,请坐, um, please-a sit.

Oh, please sit. Um, please sit.

[Wang Qing points to the ramshackle collection of sheets which makes up his bed.]



Oh, okay.

Xiao Yan


I’m going. Wang Qing, if you’re free come help out at the restaurant.

Wang Qing


I’m not going.

Xiao Yan


Why are you so lazy?

Wang Qing


Lazy?! I’m making money! What the hell do you have to do with it? Get out of here!

[Xiao Yan leaves angrily.]

Wang Qing

I- am very- very sorry. My English  is poor.



Then let’s speak Chinese.

Wang Qing

You have… you have my book-a?


Yes. I have it.

Wang Qing

I can see it?

[Ferret begins to feel very nervous, realizing that he is all alone in a strange place. Wang Qing doesn’t seem particularly threatening, but he has no idea what to expect or what’s in store.]


Um. Yes.

[Ferret takes out the notebook and tries to offer it to him, but Wang Qing has become distracted. He’s looking at one of the TVs.]



Wang Qing

Oh, yes, I sink ziss is good one. You have be watching?

[He points to one of the TVs. It looks like a Chinese cop show. Someone is being interrogated. Ferret’s never seen it.]



[Wang Qing snatches the notebook out of Ferret’s hands and opens it up. He smiles.]


Did you send this to me? Who is behind all of this?

Wang Qing




Did you send me the notebook?

Wang Qing

Oh, yes. I know. I know. No. I did not do it.


Who did?

[Wang Qing starts watching another TV program for a moment, then puts the notebook down and grabs something from behind one of the TVs and hands it to Ferret. It’s a business card.]

Wang Qing

Here. You go here.


What is this?

Wang Qing

Business card.


I know, but why are you giving it to me?

Wang Qing

You go now.

[Wang Qing puts his hand on Ferret’s shoulder and begins guiding him towards the door.]


What about my reward?

Wang Qing

Yes. You go.



What about my reward?

Wang Qing

Oh. Yes. He give you.

[Ferret is pissed, feeling that this has all been some elaborate hoax. Maybe someone is about to rob him. He doesn’t know. He wants to get out as quickly as possible.]


Okay. Right.

Wang Qing

Bye bye!

[Wang Qing escorts Ferret out of his house. Ferret just wants to leave. He pockets the card without looking at it. He’s annoyed and bit worried. He walks back out through the alleys of the old city, keeping his wits about him and watching his back.]

posted by ferret at 3:23 pm  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Words: Petrichor and Nystagmus



Special thanks to Far Enough East

posted by ferret at 10:45 am  

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