I finished these first three chapters before I sent in the first to Nifty. But later it won't come out as fast. I'll try to finish one chapter per week.
Someone was nice enough to email me, telling me my English was not too bad ... for a Chinese. Haha. I was grateful for the kindness and encouragement. However, it would still be better if someone could polish it a little bit. So email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing to help.
3.1 The accident
During the summer between primary school and junior high, a few things happened.
First, the city installed water faucets in every house in our neighborhood. Grandma complained that now we had to pay for water, which seemed to her was the most ridiculous thing in the world. But I was happy. Water from the wells tasted weird because you had to put alum in it to kill the bacteria. I never realized the weird taste until we switched to faucet water. There was no way I would switch back.
Second, my parents paid us a one-week visit. That's the only visit I got for the past two years. I was really happy, but pretended that I didn't care. Dad got me some school stuff, like pens, notebooks, a new schoolbag; Mom got me several books, most of them classic novels.
One time Mom mentioned in worry that I was smaller than boys my age. Dad just laughed and said, "You should see him naked. That boy isn't small at all." They didn't know I was close-by. Mom laughed too and said something.
The time they had to leave was really difficult for me, because I knew I wouldn't see them again for a whole year, maybe even longer. But Dad said they were trying to relocate back, so at least I could hope.
Third, my youngest cousin sister Jenny moved in with us. Jenny was six and half and was ready for school. My aunt (my mom's youngest sister; totally she had four sisters, three older, and one younger) lived in another side of the city and the primary school there was not as good, so she sent Jenny to live with us.
Jenny was a total brat. She followed me everywhere and wanted to do everything I was doing. Whenever I said no, she would start shouting hysterically, and Grandma would scold me, no matter how unreasonable Jenny was. I was pissed off by her almost everyday.
What pissed me off even more was she followed Luke too, and Luke was really nice to her. He made several mud animals for her, which she destroyed within ten minutes. But he just patted her head and made her some more. I watched from certain distance away and couldn't figure out whom I hated more, Luke or Jenny.
Our school had primary school section, junior high section, and senior high section, so joining junior high was just moving from one building to another. In China, usually we have six years of primary school, three years of junior high, and another three years of senior high.
Around the time we graduated from primary school, the National Education Department changed the mandatory education from six years to nine years. That's how Luke got into junior high. Otherwise, with his academic record, he didn't stand a chance.
One week before the new semester started, we had to go to a military camp to receive one week of military training. It's nothing like fighting or killing. What we did everyday was just standing tall and still for hours, or walking back and forth in certain military fashion. It's boring like hell, and the late summer sun caused several girls to faint. But supposedly after a week, we should be better disciplined and easier to handle for the teachers.
The problem of standing under the hot sun for a few days was that everyone developed a pretty bad temper, so there were a lot of fights between boys and a lot of quarrels between girls. But the officers easily handled all the eruptions. We were under "military" zone so they could do a lot of things teachers were not allowed to do, like physical punishment or deprivation of food or sleep.
I didn't get into any fights for the first three days, but on the fourth day during dinnertime at the cafeteria, a boy bumped into me and I dropped my bowl. Food scattered all over the floor. He didn't even stop. He just went to a seat and sat down to eat. I was really pissed. I was small, but I was fierce. I went over and demanded an apology. When he ignored my request, I wiped his bowl from table to the floor too. So we started a fight.
The officer on watch blew his whistle and ran over. He was the nicer one; usually he let us get away if things were not too bad. Again, this time he just separated us and told us to stop.
I had to go to the windows to get food again. While walking there, I massaged my skull. During the fight my head hit the corner of a table and it really hurt. Suddenly some girl nearby screamed, "Blood!" It didn't register at first. Then I felt some liquid between my fingers. It's blood. Strong fear took over. I thought I was going to die.
The officer and all the staffs behind the windows came over. The officer had a quick look and shouted, "Who got a handkerchief?" Some girl gave him one. He put the handkerchief on my skull where the blood was coming out and told me to put my hand on it and hold hard. He shouted again, "We need to get him to the medical room. Who can carry him?"
"Let me do it!" Even in that freaked-out state, I recognized it was Luke's voice.
"OK, you look strong enough. Can you run fast?" The officer asked.
"I'll run as fast as I can!" Luke answered.
"Then go! I'll get the doctor from his home!"
People put me on Luke's back. He said, "Hold my neck." I wrapped my free hand around his neck and my legs around his waist. He held his two hands over my butts, fastening my body to his back, and started running like crazy.
It's not a comfortable ride, bumpy and tiring. I tried my best to hold onto Luke. All I remembered later was the smell of Luke's hair, because that's exactly under my nose. The smell of clean soap mixed with sweat, a lot of sweat, and it's so Luke. Weirdly that smell somehow soothed my nerve, and I was no longer frightened.
From time to time, Luke tried to talk to me out of breath, like, "Are you all right?" I just murmured "yes."
We got there a minute or two before the doctor did. The doctor was really great. He smiled at me first before doing anything and said, "Don't worry, kid, you are not going to die today." I actually smiled back.
I didn't remember he used any Anesthetic on me. I mean, with my skull hurting like that, adding stitches really felt like nothing. Totally I got four stitches. But later when I was telling the story, Grandma said I must have forgotten, because there was no way the doctor would stitch me up without Anesthetic. I wanted to argue back, but again, maybe I did forget.
After the stitches, the doctor patted Luke's shoulder and said, "You did great!" I didn't hear any reply from Luke.
This accident gave me an exempt from the military training, so I stayed home for the rest of the week. It's good because Grandma treated me like a king. I got a lot of candies from neighbors, and even Jenny behaved around me, so I shared my candies with her. She was very happy.
Grandma insisted I stayed in bed all the time, except for using the toilet. Saturday night after dinner, when Luke came into my room, I was half lying and half sitting on my bed, reading a book Mom bought me.
At that moment, I got really emotional. I didn't shed a tear through the whole accident, but when I saw Luke in my room, I could hardly hold back my tears. Millions of thoughts ran through my mind. I wanted to say something, wanted to thank him, but words couldn't come out. So I just looked at him, smiling shyly.
"You feeling better?"
"That's good. You need anything?"
"No, I am fine."
Then an awkward silence followed. It seemed that he also wanted to say something but couldn't. After a while, he said, "Good night then. I'll see you tomorrow?"
Then he left. I was very happy that he's going to come and see me again tomorrow. That night I had a very good sleep.
3.2 Alison and me
Upon Grandma's insistence, I stayed another week at home so I missed the first week of the semester. Luke came to visit me every night, but he said very few words. I couldn't think of anything to say either. But just him being there made me very happy.
When I arrived at school, I didn't know which room to go. It turned out I had to go to the principle's office first. He wanted to know who caused my accident. Apparently other kids refused to tell.
I thought it for a second, and decided not to tell either. I mean, that kid didn't plan to kill me, did he? It's just an accident. No reason to get him into more trouble. I was grateful to him in a sense, because the accident brought Luke back to me.
I said I didn't recognize the kid, and now I forgot about what he looked like because of the accident. Yeah, having a skull accident did have its advantage.
But I did lose something from this accident. I used to have a photo-graphic memory. When I was three or four, people around city came to our house to see me reciting stories after being read to just once. Now my memory was still good, but a normal one.
The junior high had totally six classes each grade. That's because some neighboring primary schools' students had to join us too. Luke and I were in different classes. But again, now we were no longer enemies or strangers, I shouldn't be too greedy.
But Luke and I never went back to the old relationship. I missed walking home together with him very much. That intimacy just wasn't there any more. It would be really awkward if I forced to rebuild it, so I just let it be.
A month later my class had an election for a new class president. Since I was the top one student in the class, besides my classmates somehow found out that I didn't tell on the kid who caused my accident, I got elected the class president.
In primary school, it's always one boy and one girl sharing a desk. Luke and I were really an exception because there were two more boys than girls. The reason they arranged sitting like this was because two girls together talked too much and two boys together fought too much.
Now in junior high, the concern changed. Now the school's highest concern is early dating and pre-mature love affairs. So instead, they arranged boys sitting with boys and girls sitting with girls.
My desk-mate was an obese boy. I wouldn't have a problem with that, but he's sullen all the time and seldom talked. For the three years we sat together, we talked less then ten times. But someone important in my life came into the picture at that time. Her name was Alison, and she sat right behind me.
She's not a pretty girl. What attracted me was her personality. She was not shy and snobbish like most girls were at that age. Whenever she wanted to talk to me, she would just kick my ass from under her desk. I complained many times, all in vein. Many times I had to lie to Grandma why there were always footprints on the back of my pants. Sometimes I stood there, she would come up, grabbed my ass, and said something like, "Hmmmm, nice ass!" She's shameless and she liked to torture me, but I loved her anyway, from the very beginning.
Alison not only acted like a boy; she's as strong as any boys in my class. Boys respected her and considered her as one of us. Girls were afraid of her and they all hated her. But they didn't dare to offend her, because instead of saying mean things back like most girsl would do, she would not hesitate to use her fists. And that girl had a very dirty mouth.
Grandpa was very strict with me about languages and behaviors. He raised me in accordance with all the traditions that's no longer valued when the Communist Party came into power in China. I wasn't allowed to use any dirty words, no cursing and no whistling. I had to be very on time, because he thought if you respect someone, you had to respect their time first. Whenever I handed a scissor or knife to someone, the sharp edge had to face myself instead of the other person; according to Grandpa, that's the ancient common curtsey to avoid unnecessary suspicion. A lot of tiny little things like these.
But Alison was raised a total free spirit. She cursed, talked dirty, arrived at school late almost every day ... Whenever she's around, Grandma always shook his head and sighed, "Young generation!"
I had expected Grandma to dislike Alison. But amazingly they got along really well. Later Grandma told me that it took one strong woman to recognize and respect another, and a strong woman was the foundation of a strong family. She thought Alison would be a perfect wife for me.
Alison lived further from school than I. Everyday she insisted I walked with her to her home first, passing my own house, and walked back alone. I asked, "Why should I do this?"
"Because I am a girl!"
"Now you are a girl! Where's that female part this morning when you beat Mark?"
"Well, whatever you say, I am a girl and I can prove it. You wanna see my pussy?"
Yeah, that's just a regular day conversation between Alison and me. And trust me, if I said yes, she would show me right then and there.
3.3 The unwelcome savior
Since Luke and I were in different classes, I only got to see him during the breaks. I noticed that he was with the "gangster boys" of our school all the time. They bullied younger and weaker kids, demanding for money or forcing them to run errands. They smoked in the bathrooms. They cheated on tests. They bought porn magazines and rented them to other kids.
One time a big kid in Luke's crowd stopped me on my way home. That day Alison wasn't with me, so I was all by myself. That kid demanded for my money, I lied and told him I didn't get any.
"I want to see your pocket!" He moved closer.
There was some cash in my pocket. I looked around, there was nobody close enough to help; I evaluated the situation, and realized in frustration that I didn't get a chance. That boy was much bigger and stronger than me. But again, I would rather die than letting him take my money.
"OK, OK, I have some cash. Let me get it out!"
The kid smirked in satisfaction. I pulled out my cash, and he reached out, expecting me to hand it over. But instead, I tore the cash bills into pieces.
"There, you can have it!"
"You little shit!" He was furious, and kicked me in the ass really hard. I fell to the ground. He kicked me a few more times; then someone was walking toward us, so he ran away. I got up, checked my body, making sure no serious damage, and walked home angrily.
The next day in school, I ran into that bully again. He recognized me, walked over, ready to kick my ass again. Luke was near-by and he saw it, so he came over and asked, "What's the matter?"
"This little shit disobeyed me yesterday!" The bully answered.
"Nah, leave him alone. He's my buddy." Luke said casually, putting his arm around my shoulder.
"Alright then. It's your lucky day, little shit!" He told me before turning around and leaving.
"Let me know if anyone is bothering you, OK, kid?" Luke said.
"I can take care of myself!" I didn't know why I was so angry. Only I was. I jerked to get Luke's hand off my shoulder.
Luke looked truly surprised. Instead of shouting back, he pulled me aside and asked quietly, "What's wrong? Why are you angry at me?"
His eyes were focusing on me, with such intensity. That's the Luke I was so familiar with, not the "one of the gangs" Luke. My heart softened. I said quietly, "I am sorry. I was just pissed at him. Thanks for helping me."
He stared me for a moment and said gently, "If you get any problem, you can always come to me. You know that, right?"
"Right." I answered, again, very quietly.
He just patted my shoulder and left.
The truth was, I was more pissed at Luke than the bully boy. Or more accurately, I was really pissed at myself. Ever since we joined junior high, Luke started to change. The way he's talking changed, the expression he usually held changed. And I didn't like the changes at all. Luke became less and less special. He's still as handsome, but became more and more ... vulgar. I felt that MY LUKE was slipping away from me, and I tried to grip tight, but it's useless. That's the first time I realized that as human beings, we really had no control of our heart. Our heart has a will of its own. I wished that my feeling toward Luke would never change, no matter how he changed. But it's just unrealistic. The fact that my heart betrayed my will pissed me off big time, and I targeted my anger at Luke.
Later that semester, I got harassed a few more times. I always fought back hard, never let anyone take money from me, and always came home with cuts and bruises. After a while, the harassment stopped. They chose other easier and more lucrative targets. I never asked Luke for help.
3.4 Luke the porn star
Three months into that first semester in junior high, the government started a political campaign to rid the porn material in China.
Porn was always illegal in China, and still is. But in the 80s, when the economy began to grow and importation increased like crazy, a lot of porn stuff came into the country too, including books, magazines, nude pokers, and videotapes. Since China never had this problem before, so the government wasn't prepared and did nothing for a while. During that period, anyone, including kids my age, could easily buy porn books from any book booth on the street.
The situation lasted for a few months, and the government finally recognized the seriousness of the problem. Overnight, many sellers were arrested and put into prison, all the porn material burned. Being a Communist country as China, a campaign usually lasted for a long time. So after the initial arresting and burning, every school, as required by the government, had to educate their students about the harm of porn.
Our school decided that each grade should have a gathering. And those who indulged themselves in porn should reveal themselves and make a public oath not to commit that "crime" again. For my grade, I was appointed as the organizer of this gathering.
I was really nervous about being the organizer. The reason was that I myself also indulged in porn for a while. Who hadn't? But now as the teachers told me, I needed to get at least six students to confess in public. Well, apparently they over-trusted their model student and thought that I was beyond the seduction of porn and sex.
I was like a frog in hot water. How could I convince six students to confess while I commited the same "crime" as everyone else? I couldn't think of a solution, couldn't concentrate on my study, couldn't sleep, and totally lost my appetite.
Alison tried to help. As daring and shameless as she was, she volunteered to be one of the six. Ironically, she actually never touched any porn stuff. She thought they were all stupid.
"But even I count you in, which I won't, it's only one person. I need six!" I whined, desperation all over my face.
"What about Luke? You could ask him. Maybe some of his buddies?" Alison suggested. I didn't like the idea at all.
But after a few more days, with the gathering day approaching, I had no other choices but to go to Luke.
"No!" Luke plainly refused.
"Look, Luke, I have to find six people, and I got zero at the moment." I begged.
"No! I am not doing it!" Luke started to walk away.
I got really desperate and said, "If you do this, I'll do anything for you!"
Luke stopped immediately, "Anything I want? Anything?"
"Yes! Yes! But you need to get me five more people!"
Luke thought for a moment, "OK, I'll get you five more people. But you need to write us six confessions and we'll just read them."
I let out my long-held breath and agreed, "No problem. I'll write six confessions."
"And you'll do ANYTHING for me after that!"
He cracked an evil smile and left. My dick suddenly got hard. Secretly I hoped his "ANYTHING" was the same "ANYTHING" I was thinking. I wished it to happen for a long time, but never got the guts to approach Luke.
Writing six confessions was a piece of cake for me. I got the six pieces ready in no time and gave them to the six "porn stars" two days before the gathering.
During the gathering, I was the first to talk, not to confess, but as some moral model to criticize the porn-addicted. I felt like a total hypocrite giving this speech. Growing up in a Communist country, you would get used to such farce sooner or later in your life and learn to go along with it. But that didn't mean you stopped feeling ridiculous. I also worried that someone from the crowd would stand up and reveal that I enjoyed porn myself very much. Luckily, that didn't happen. After my speech, the six guys delivered their confession one by one.
I put Luke to the last. While writing the confessions, I thought of his evil grin and decided to have a little fun with him. I wrote something "special" for him. Knowing Luke, I was sure he wouldn't look at the piece in advance, and he was not someone who could come up with a speech on spot by himself, so he would have no other choices but read whatever I wrote for him.
There he was, standing in front of the whole grade, teachers and students, with the usual "I don't give a shit" attitude on his handsome face, began to read the confession I prepared.
"... I thought of sex during the days. I thought of sex during the nights. Even a dirty swine looked sexy to me. I wouldn't mind having sex with a dirty ugly fat swine ..."
Kids began to laugh; teachers tried to hush the crowd. Luke looked really embarrassed. He shot me a nasty and really menacing glance; I just gave him a toothy smile. He finished the confession in a hurry. When he walked down and passed me, he said in a very low voice, "I'll deal with you later! Little devil!"
Oh! I could hardly wait for that!