Comet Tails

17 Jan

Mom Would’t Approve

Episode 1

* * * 

Tommy was a teacher in the village where my Dad lived. He made $100 a month, a good salary by Southern China standards. I employed him as my interpreter and right-hand man during my stay in China. For six weeks he lived a Rock-Star life, eating out every evening with me, drinking on me, smoking weed for his first time with me, and scoring a cutie with me. It was the least I could do, for without him, the language barrier with my own people would have made it impossible to carry out my mission as a Chin in China. 

 * * *

I stumble out of the bar and find Tommy with his arm around Massage Girl. With her passes at me going nowhere she had targeted Tommy instead. Tommy fidgets back and forth looking between Massage Girl and me, his eyes filled with hope. I take in Massage Girl’s petite body and heavy breasts for a second.

Why didn’t I make this trip as a single man? I’m getting married in two months.

I shake my head and laugh, time for me to leave.

“Tommy!” I say as I slap his shoulder and smile, “I go room. Hotel! Very tired.”

“Ok!” he yells running into the street to wave down a ride for me.

Within seconds a motorcycle pulls up and I climb onto the back. Tommy speaks in fast bursts and I nod having no idea what he’s telling the man on the motorcycle. I barely have time to grip the seat bar. My head jerks back and then I know exactly what they talked about.

No doubt, he told the guy, “This American is drunk. This is his last night here. Make him fall off and I’ll split his stuff with you. Here’s my number.”

The streetlights extend into long comet tails; the roar of the motorcycle seems distant—like a sonic boom trying to catch us. Tai San, China, the city at the center of my gene pool will be the place where I die. Splattered against a building or smeared over a quarter mile of pavement. The comet tails stop and there are just walls and shadows. We are in an alley; I won’t be found until morning if I’m found at all. I consider jumping off but he never slows down. There is nothing I can do but hold on so I adjust my grip on the rear seat bar and leaned into the driver’s sweaty back for counter pressure. Fear snaps me into a man ready to fight for his life. I wait for him to stop and a team of thugs to surround me. I visualize finding a weapon, anything—a pipe, a rock, or a street sign and giving them a dose of Drunken Master—Jacken Chan style.

Wah Bah!

Suddenly, we merge into traffic at an impossible angle and the comet tails return. The stores look familiar and my hotel shines. When traveling Mom always tells me to use legit taxis. She definitely would not approve of a drunk high-speed motorcycle ride with a stranger but at least I wasn’t driving.

 China Sit on Mom's House PortraitChilling on the roof of the house where my Mom was born.

Southern China 2006

 * * *

Ryan Chin is the creator ofWithout Rain There Can Be No Rainbows, a multimedia memoir with two dozen short videos accenting the written word. Mr. Chin likes to call it a pet and teacher memoir sandwiched into an overseas adventure. The book is available at Amazon, ibooks, and locally at Powell’s Books. His next multimedia memoir, Who Put the Chin in China, is a work in progress. 

 

 

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