“To all my teachers and classmates, I am Jiang Cheng of Year-2 Class-8……”


Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3

          It was a night of deep slumber. Before he fell asleep, Jiang Cheng thought perhaps he would have some dreams, but he ended up sleeping straight through to the next morning, and getting woken up by the cold.

          It had started to get light outside, it was probably already 7 or 8 AM. The fire had already died out in the room, and the wind spilled through the gaps in the window. The first thing Jiang Cheng did when he opened his eyes was a series of sneezes.

          He then reached out his hand to feel around beside him, and found nothing.

          He turned his head, and discovered that Gu Fei was no longer beside him.

          But before he had a chance to fully indulge in his surprise that Gu Fei would get up so early on a weekend morning, he couldn’t help but space out for a few minutes over what transpired the night before.

          Jiang Cheng sat up and ran his hand through his hair a few times.

          The alcohol had worn off by now.

          And so had the madness.

          Though the feeling of awkwardness had not yet set in.

          At the moment he was only wrapped up in a faint sense of panic. 

          Jiang Cheng what the hell did you do?!

         Not to mention, whatever was done was done, but the person you did it with had run off without a trace first thing in the morning…… Fuck me! Who the fuck does that!

          Jiang Cheng hopped off the sofa and circled the room a couple of times, just to confirm that Gu Fei’s clothes, backpack, and stuff were all gone. The spineless piece of shit had fled without a trace just like that?

          Was that necessary?!

          Even if it was a spur of the moment one night stand! Was it necessary to make a run for it like that??

          It was no longer just a matter of embarrassment, what Jiang Cheng felt at this moment was serious fucking blow to his ego.

          “That dog-fucker!” He cursed quietly, then picked up his phone, sneezed two more times, and called up Gu Fei’s number.

          Not even two seconds later, he suddenly heard the sound of ringtone from just outside the door.

          There’s someone there?

          Who’s there?!

          Not A Good Bird?

          Li Yan?

          Or Ding Zhuxin?

          Fuck me has the scene of the crime been properly cleaned up?

          When he finally realized the ringtone at the door belonged to Gu Fei’s phone, his back was drenched in cold sweat from the scare he gave himself.

          The door was pushed open, and Gu Fei walked in carrying two steaming take-out containers, “Was that you calling?”

          “Ah.” Jiang Cheng looked at him.

          “Hurry up and eat, it’s rice noodles with beef.” Gu Fei set the containers on the table. “Li Yan called just now and said he wants to come to the store, so I went to open up for him.”

          “He’s at the store right now?” Jiang Cheng asked.

          “Not yet, he’s gonna head over in a bit.” Gu Fei said.

          “So you’re just leaving the door open like that? Nobody’s there?” Jiang Cheng asked again.

          “Mhm,” Gu Fei answered. “No one will go in and steal stuff at this time of day, the thieves had just laid down to rest after a long night of work.”

          “…… Oh.” Jiang Cheng sat down.

          Gu Fei pulled a tiny tube-shaped packet out of his pocket and tossed it in front of him.

          “Wasabi?” Was Jiang Cheng’s first reaction.

          “You like to eat wasabi with your beef noodles?” Gu Fei put his head down and started eating.

          Jiang Cheng glanced at the thing in his hand, it was an individually-packed tube of mouthwash, “You guys stock this kind of thing in your store?”

          “What about it, our store likes to keep up with the times.” Gu Fei said.

          Jiang Cheng laughed for a long time, then went to wash up in the bathroom, and gargled some mouthwash before sitting back down and digging into the noodles.

          They ate in silence, though Jiang Cheng didn’t really feel like speaking at the moment anyway. His previous speculations about Gu Fei left him a little embarrassed.

          Besides, though he didn’t feel the awkwardness immediately after waking up, perhaps he was too busy sneezing, and feeling shocked and angry….

          … But right now, sitting down and eating piping hot noodles in silence, the uneasiness and trepidation in him finally dared to rear its head.

          “Are you going home?” Gu Fei wiped his mouth after he was done. “Li Yan sounded like he wanted me for something, he might find his way over here if he doesn’t find me at the store. I’ll have to head over now.”

          “Hurry and go then,” Jiang Cheng said immediately when he heard that. He didn’t want to be seen, by anyone, whether or not they could tell that something happened here. “I should go too.”

          “Mmn.” Gu Fei collected the rest of the snacks into a bag and tossed it into a cardboard box on the side, then put all the garbage in a plastic bag and carried it out. 

          Jiang Cheng followed him out the door, keeping quiet the whole way.

          After getting some food in him, Jiang Cheng discovered that it was actually not that cold a day. The wind hadn’t picked up, but for some reason, he kept wanting to shiver.

          Gu Fei stopped when they got to the intersection outside of the Steel Works. Jiang Cheng’s way home was to the left, and Gu Fei’s was to the right.

          “So uh…” Gu Fei glanced at him. “You’re going home?”

          “Mhm,” Jiang Cheng nodded and took a couple steps to the left, then turned around and slowly walked backwards while facing him. “I uh… I’ll be going then.”

          “Mhm.” Gu Fei answered, but stood there without moving.

          Jiang Cheng backed up a few more steps, then cleared his throat, even though he didn’t know what else there was to say, so he waved at Gu Fei and turned to walk away normally.

          As he sauntered up to Li Baoguo’s place, he could see in the distance Li Baoguo also walking rapidly this way from across the street.

          As soon as he saw the guy, he immediately remembered the phone call from Shen Yiqing the day before, and felt a pit in his stomach that almost stoppered all the way up to his throat. And so he paused his steps, wanting to wait until Li Baoguo was home and asleep before going in.

          But when Li Baoguo got closer, he noticed there were two women following behind him. They wore identical clothing, like some sort of sales uniform.

          “Da-shu [1],” The younger woman jogged closely behind Li Baoguo. “Da-shu, we did make the mistake of calling the wrong number, it was our fault, but you can’t just deny everything like that!”

          “I have no idea what you’re talking about! I never got any call!” Li Baoguo said in his usual loud voice as he waved them off. “Stop following me around!”

          The other woman was a little frantic, “Sir please, you look like you’ve got some years on you too! How can you act so dishonourably?”

          “Who’s dishonourable? Who’s dishonourable!” Li Baoguo turned to glare at her. “For days you people have been accusing me of taking your stuff! And slandering is so very honourable of you?”

          “Da-shu, how did we slander you!” The young woman started shouting, with a hint of tears in her voice. “We really did make a mistake and dialled your number accidentally, but why did you have to claim that it was your purchase? And even told us to ship it to you! Our driver still remembers that it was you who accepted the delivery!”

          “I don’t know about any driver!” Li Baoguo entered the building, and a loud ‘bang’ immediately followed as he walked inside his apartment and slammed the door.

          “What’s wrong with this guy!” The young woman stood at the entrance to the corridor and burst into tears.

          Jiang Cheng stood in place, and watched for almost a whole minute before slowly walking up to the two women. He felt almost like he had sandbags tied to his feet.

          “Excuse me,” He looked at the slightly older woman. “Big sis, what’s… what happened?”

          “Do you know that man?” The woman immediately asked, and pointed at the door to Li Baoguo’s place. “Can you talk to him for us?”

          Jiang Cheng didn’t admit that he knew Li Baoguo, but the woman still explained everything.

          These two worked as sales for an alcohol and tobacco wholesaler. An old client of theirs ordered some cigarettes and wine, but a new hire dialled the wrong number and ended up calling Li Baoguo. Li Baoguo told them to deliver everything to the curbside, then walked away without paying.

          “Usually with our older clients they sometimes paid after receiving the products,” The older woman said. “But that evening the client called to ask when the delivery would come, that’s when we realized the mistake.”

          “This is all my fault,” The younger woman said through her tears. “But he can’t just take what’s not his and then outright deny it, those things are worth more than 2000 yuan, if he doesn’t return it, then I’ll have to pay it back…”

          Jiang Cheng felt a chill spreading throughout his whole body. He felt a bloating in his head after turning away to sneeze a few times, and acute discomfort all over.

          “Why don’t you leave your number with me,” He said. “I’ll contact you after I clear things up with him.”

          “You know him?” The older woman asked right away. “What’s your relation to him? Are you his son?”

          “……Yes.” Jiang Cheng nodded with much difficulty.

          “Then you’ve got to help this girl out, you’re all young people. She had only been here for two months, her monthly salary isn’t enough to cover this.” The woman said. “Her family’s also not doing well, things are hard.”

          “I’ll contact you guys after I ask him.” Jiang Cheng said.

          The young woman continued to cry, and the older woman kept pleading with him. Jiang Cheng didn’t know what else he could say, only repeated the one sentence.

          When the two of them finally left, he opened the door and walked in wearily.

          “What did you talk to them for?” Li Baoguo was standing in the living room. When he saw Jiang Cheng walk in he immediately hollered in his loud voice, displeased. “You shouldn’t bother with them at all!”

          “Is it true you took those things?” Jiang Cheng threw his backpack onto the couch.

          Li Baoguo was still on his tirade, “Whether or not I took them, this is……”

          “I’M JUST ASKING IF YOU TOOK THEM OR NOT!” Jiang Cheng interrupted his words with a bellow.

          “I took them! So what! They’re the ones who called wanting to send the stuff to me!” Li Baoguo also shouted with his eyes bulging. “What about it! What the hell does it have to do with me! It’s their own mistake, so they have to shoulder the consequences!”

          “Give it back to them.” Jiang Cheng stared back at him.

          “Did you get water in your brain? This is free stuff, why should I give it back? It’s not like I made the move to swindle them!” Li Baoguo looked at him as though he was looking at an idiot. “I’m telling you, they checked the surveillance cameras, and went to the local police station! The cops don’t even give a crap! Let them deal with it themselves!”

          It would’ve been better if Li Baoguo hadn’t said this, but now that he did, Jiang Cheng felt as if the rage could blow a hole right through the top of his head, “You’re proud of yourself, aren’t you? Even the cops don’t want to provoke a shameless prick like you! But you’re mighty pleased, yeah?”

          “You better watch the shit you’re spewing out of your mouth!” Li Baoguo was just as incensed, and pointed at him. “Understand who you’re talking to right now! You’re talking to your old man!”

          Jiang Cheng tried to suppress the rage he felt. After staring back at him for a few seconds, he turned and walked into Li Baoguo’s room.

          “What do you think you’re doing!” Li Baoguo immediately followed and tried to drag him out by his arm.

          Jiang Cheng turned and roughly flung away his hand, “I said! Don’t touch me!”

          “So what if I touch you!” Li Baoguo bellowed. “I fucking ejaculated you out of me, even if your old man beat you up right now it’s still not your place to talk shit!”

          Jiang Cheng was so mad his hands were shaking. He ignored Li Baoguo and bent down to look under the bed. It was piled full of crap, he didn’t see any cigarettes or wine, so he walked over and opened the closet doors.

          “If I don’t teach you a lesson today you wouldn’t know who’s really in charge of this family!” Li Baoguo came from behind and shoved him, hard.

          Jiang Cheng hadn’t expected it. The push slammed him directly into the closet door, he felt a surge of pain on his nose. 

          Li Baoguo followed it with a punch to his face, “You really thought you’re some rich young master!”

          All his life, Jiang Cheng had been yelled at by his parents, had been physically punished by standing and even kneeling, but this was the first time he had been struck by a ‘parental figure’ like this.

          It was a rather heavy punch from Li Boaguo. So much so that he felt it didn’t make sense for Li Baoguo to be pinned to the ground and beat up by those guys that day, based on his fist alone.

          The room blurred in front of his eyes, and Li Baoguo had already begun his third strike; a kick got him immediately in his abdomen.

          This kick landed Jiang Cheng directly on his knees, he was in such pain that he couldn’t make out a sound.

          I’ll. Fuck. Your. Ancestors.

          Just as Li Baoguo was about to land another kick to his shoulder, Jiang Cheng clenched his jaw, grabbed a stool from the side, and slammed it into Li Baoguo’s calf.

          Li Baoguo probably didn’t expect him to hit back; he cried out in one part pain and one part anger.

          Jiang Cheng stood back up, keeping one hand on his stomach. He grabbed the stool and flung it again, this time against Li Baoguo’s arm. It made contact with a crack.

          “Motherfucker.” Jiang Cheng clenched his jaw and glared at him.

          Perhaps because after the two strikes, the Li Baoguo who was only a coward outside but never had his authority challenged in his own home, felt like his ego was bruised, he lunged forward to launch a series of attacks. 

          Jiang Cheng had no intention to continue the fight. Even if this man wasn’t his birth father, he was still an old guy who coughed his lungs out for hours on end…… So when Li Baoguo rushed at him again, he only raised a hand to shove him away.

          But Li Baoguo was just getting into it, and likely wouldn’t stop until Jiang Cheng was beat down and at his feet. At this moment, he looked nothing like the image of a sick old coughing man.

          Jiang Cheng had no choice but to continue pushing him away every time, moving from the bedroom to the living room, until a last shove landed Li Baoguo on the main entrance door to the living room.

          “You wanna kill me, huh!” Li Baoguo bellowed. “Come on then! Kill me!”

          Jiang Cheng didn’t want to speak, just stared at him without a word.

          “Lao-Li! What’s going on?” A neighbour’s voice sounded from outside the door.

          “My son wants to kill me!” Li Baoguo hollered, then opened the door behind his back, and continued to shout at the neighbours standing outside. “Take a look everyone! My son wants to kill me!”

          “How can you…” Jiang Cheng’s tremendous shock had already surpassed his fury, even his voice trembled. “Be so shameless?”

          “I’m shameless?” Li Baoguo turned to look back at him. “I’m shameless? I have to provide for you, feed you, clothe you, and pay for your education! All I did was take some freebies delivered to my doorstep, and you call me shameless?”

          Jiang Cheng felt as though he could hardly get a breath in, like he was going to keel over right then and there.

          “Your dad doesn’t have it easy either……” An older man said from outside the door.

          “You shut the fuck up!” Jiang Cheng exploded.

          These neighbours, with their expressions of gossip. It was clear from a glance that none of them were actually sympathetic, or genuinely came to break up the fight. They were gathered here for the sole purpose of watching Li Baoguo make a fool of himself.

          “Yuoo!” A middle-aged woman yelled out. “How can the kid behave like this!”

          “Like what!” Li Baoguo suddenly turned on her. “What’s wrong with my son! What the hell is it to you that you’re blabbering on over there!”

          “You’re a lunatic!” The woman glared at him, and stomped upstairs as she continued her tirade. “A whole family of lunatics! The pharmaceutical companies are closing down because they can’t even keep up with crazy people like you!”

          Li Baoguo slammed the door shut.

          He turned around and stared face to face with Jiang Cheng for a long time, then finally opened his mouth, “I’m dying……”

          “Don’t talk to me,” Jiang Cheng’s voice was hoarse. “I’m already dead.”

          Li Baoguo opened the door again and walked out of the apartment.

          “Where’s the stuff?” Jiang Cheng asked behind him.

          “Sold it.” Li Baoguo said.

          “And the money?” Jiang Cheng asked again.

          “Spent it all.” Li Baoguo answered.

          “Starting from this moment on,” Jiang Cheng said. “I am no longer your son. Never was, and never will be.”

          Li Baoguo stood unmoving outside the door.

          “I’ll move out.” Jiang Cheng said. “You don’t have to provide for me, no need to feed me or pay for my education.”

          Li Baoguo turned to give him a look, scoffed, then left without a word.

          Gu Fei sat behind the counter playing on his phone. Li Yan leaned against the front of the cash register and watched as Li Baoguo wandered around the store shelves.

          “This sale item, has it already expired?” He pointed to the tubs of yogurt drink inside the refrigerated area.

          “It’s close,” Gu Fei said. “They’ll expire in two or three days.”

          Li Baoguo picked up a tub and placed it on the counter, “Cash me out.”

          “I didn’t know Li-shu likes to drink yogurt?” Li Yan said.

          “Why not, never had it before,” Li Baoguo said. “Might as well try.”

          “Is it going on your tab?” Gu Fei asked.

          “I’ve got money.” Li Baoguo pulled out a stack of bills.

          “Got pretty good luck these days, huh Li-shu?” Gu Fei smiled and made change for him.

          “Not bad, not bad.” Li Baoguo walked out carrying his yogurt drink.

          Li Yan sat down beside Gu Fei and watched as Li Baoguo left, “That’s really Jiang Cheng’s biological father?”

          “Mhm.” Gu Fei kept his eyes on his phone.

          “Fuck. I guess the environment really does have a big impact on how you turn out.” Li Yan raised his arms up in a stretch. “Look at Li Baoguo, and look at that family of his. I can’t believe he has a son like Jiang Cheng.”

          “How much longer are you gonna stay here?” Gu Fei didn’t continue the conversation, only kept swiping on his phone. “I’m wasting my entire weekend here with you, what a pain.”

          “I’ll go back whenever my mom gives up on trying to set me up on dates.” Li Yan said.

          “Aiyoo,” Gu Fei tossed his phone on the counter. “Why don’t you just buy this store from me then.”

          Li Yan leaned against the chair and laughed, “What the hell kind of friend are you.”

          “Are you still gonna be here tomorrow?” Gu Fei said. “If you’re gonna be here again, I’ll tell my mom she doesn’t need to come by, just you alone is enough. You can watch over Er-Miao at the same time too.”

          “Mmn, no problem.” Li Yan said.

          “And pick up some stock for me?” Gu Fei glanced at him. “That place where we got frozen dumplings last time, you’ve been there before.”

          “OK OK OK OK, just leave it all to me.” Li Yan sighed.

          Li Yan wasn’t that old, not even 23 years of age. But since he never had a girlfriend, this made his mom, who had wanted a grandson ever since he was 15, extremely anxious. She didn’t even have time to bother with the fact that he wandered around all day without a proper job. She was single-mindedly focused on getting him married.

          Sometimes even Gu Fei felt tired for him.

          This time was probably more intense than before. Li Yan opted to simply turn his phone off, and had been hanging around his store for the past two days, just to avoid having to go home.

          Gu Fei had run out of hearts in his Aixiaochu game. Jiang Cheng promised to get through three levels for him, but in the end only finished one. He had worked on the remaining two for the past two days, but still couldn’t pass them.

          He sighed, and exited out of the game, instead opening his Friend Circle and scrolled through it mindlessly.

          It was pretty meaningless. The girls only posted all sorts of heavily filtered selfies and shopping purchases, whereas the guys only posted about games and showing off.

          In the midst of all this, Jiang Cheng’s post was certainly a breath of fresh air.

Cheng-ge: I have so much money.

          Gu Fei stared at the sentence and laughed for a good while, then gave it a ‘like’.

          Jiang Cheng hadn’t contacted him in the last couple of days. Even though they never used to talk very much on the weekend, but considering the adult content that happened a couple days ago… Gu Fei was fine, but he was a little worried about Jiang Cheng’s state of mind.

          Though judging by this post, there didn’t seem to be any problems.

          Only when he saw Jiang Cheng again on Monday, he could still tell that Jiang Cheng’s countenance wasn’t the best, but his mood seemed to be normal.

          “Here.” Jiang Cheng handed him two folded up pages.

          “The self-admonition?” Gu Fei asked.

          “Mhm,” Jiang Cheng nodded. “There shouldn’t be anything you can’t pronounce in there.”

          Gu Fei gave a little laugh, “I’m a slacker, not illiterate.”

          This was the day they all had to get up on stage and read their self-admonitions out loud. Lao-Xu had collected them by the side of the podium before the assembly started. No one from Class-5 was there yet, there were just the bunch of them gathered there like idiots before even the flag ceremony had started, standing by to go on stage.

          And so they stood there all the way until the ceremony was over, when the principal and the teacher on duty had finished their speech, and it was their turn to go on. They almost got the feeling that it was ‘finally their time to shine’.

          “First one up is Gu Fei.” The principal said.

          A wave of applause sounded below. 

          “What are you clapping for?” The teacher on duty said. “What’s worth clapping for? What’s so great about reciting a self-admonition that you need to clap for it? Everyone be quiet!”

          Gu Fei opened up the self-admonition Jiang Cheng gave him, and stood in front of the microphone.

          “A self-admonition,” Gu Fei read out loud to Jiang Cheng’s shitty chicken-scratch. “To all my teachers and classmates, I am Jiang Cheng of Year-2 Class-8……”

          After a brief moment of silence, the entire school erupted in uncontrollable laughter, with some screams among them. The principal and teacher on the side both turned to him in shock. 

          “Fuck.” Gu Fei swung his head back to look at the row of people standing behind him.

          Jiang Cheng was frantically going through his pockets. Then after what seemed like forever, he finally pulled out another two sheets of folded up paper, and dashed up in two long strides to hand it to him.

          Gu Fei traded them for the pages in his hand, and said under his breath, “You really are something else you know, how could you mix it up like this?”

          “You’re really something else yourself,” Jiang Cheng also said in a lowered voice. “You don’t even know your own name?”


Footnotes:

[1] Da-shu: uncle, a polite term for a man around your father’s age

Some Stats

  • Raw character count: 5798
  • TL word count: 4152
  • TL time: 3:46:57
  • Edit: 1:01:09
  • Curse words: 11x fucks, 4x shit

TL’s Notes

Heh, these idiots