Brain Stir Fry and Chinese Pop

There was the Fool, attending some Baby God’s birthday, surrounded by old Chinese men, celebrating at a potluck style dinner. There was a stage set up across the narrow street on which a stunning Chinese dancer belted out awful American pop songs. The Fool sat in a chair on the crumbling sidewalk and wondered if her pirate hat was real leather.

It was a surreal set of circumstances, but the Fool isn’t one to question a free meal. Atop his paper plate was a tall mutant pile of everything available. The hot rice at the bottom congealed with a dozen sauces. It made the plate soggy on his sweaty palm.

The Fool had made a disastrous choice. There’s little more viscerally gag-inducing than chomping a mouthful of pig intestine and cow brain. The spicy chicken, boiled veggies, and fried rice merely added bulk to the briny flavor. This time his adventurous spirit was larger than his palate, but he accepted his fate and downed the entire sloshy stew.

Decades of Mom’s admonishments to finish everything on his plate hardwired an almost heroic mentality surrounding food wastage. That occasionally results in some gastro-intestinal strain when combined with comfort-zone-expanding aspirations in the realm of dietetics. But past his quivering lips went every grain of rice, every chewy organ, and every pink curly.

Upon shuddering out of his stoic determination, the Fool had achieved a deeper understanding of the First Noble Truth of Buddhism; life is suffering.

He turned, bleary-eyed, to his Italian sidekick, who’d refrained from eating at all, and suggested they drown the night with cheap beers and loud music. Up they stood, but as they moseyed on out they were confronted by a Chinese man wearing a bright pink, silk shirt and a wide smile. He appeared to be the big boss.

‘Why you no go on stage?’ the pink shirt offered. Who can know what prompted such an odd suggestion? Perhaps a couple of white guys making an impromptu appearance at the Baby God potluck would bring great fortune to the deadpan audience.

The Fool felt his second visceral pang of the night; the stifling fear that anticipates public humiliation, and that screams in abject defiance of it. And he chose, once again, to defy it. So with two dozen Chinese people watching idly, chewing their intestine and brain stir fry, the Fool leaped onstage before he could convince himself otherwise.

The Italian opted to sip a beer on the sideline. You can’t blame any man his sanity.

The Fool was terrified. The girl was shocked. She didn’t expect a white man to be suddenly standing there at her side, awkwardly imitating her every move. But she sang on like a professional and the Fool let the music flow through him. He dance as wildly as he could. The more he focused on the music, the less concerned he was about the judgment of the onlooking strangers.

He put his ears beside the speakers and drank in the music. He threw out every move he could think of. He flailed and gyrated. He bounced, hopped, jumped, and jiggled. He swayed and jerked. When the song ended, and the tension of a hundred gazes dissolved, he blew a kiss to Mickey, the Chinese pop singer, and bounded off the stage.

In spite of the reckless disregard of his primitive instincts, the Fool felt giant. His will overcame. He strutted with an imperturbable swagger along the quaint streets of old town. He felt as if he’d just fist-fucked two dragons to death.

Side by side with the Italian, they strolled to the cheapest liquor store in town and drank under filthy orange streetlights with a mess of Muslims and a bunch of Buddhists.

It was a good night.

Thank you for reading.

-C

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