主題: TIME AFTER TIME


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作者: Sleepless in Crescent City on June 07, 1999 at 03:58:57:

***Setting-1999 Crescent City

A mundane day: clean up the mess after last night's party, catch up on sleep during day......wondering how I should spend the rest of my afternoon.
Sauntering into E.T. Princess' shop, I spot a time machine sitting idly in the corner. Cool, maybe it's time to pay a visit to the "Happy Inn." Flipping an antique coin into the time slot, I'm set to go. The machine looked plaintive, tired from its overuse and lack of maintenance. [E.T. Princess must have been too busy tending the Happy Inn and forgot all about her shop.] I prayed it wouldn't malfunction on me, for if it does, I will definitely get lost in time and never get back before Y2K.

***Setting-1762 Happy Inn, Peking

"Give me a shot of Tequila, straight up!" I mumbled to the tender as I clumsily stumbled through the door. Mud-streaked face and tousled hair, I paused to catch my breath from my journey.

"What?" the tender implored, squinting at me curiously.

"Oh, hey....just give me whatever you have, you know, the good stuff," I said. "I am new to your time and place and I'm kinda nervous....I need something to settle my nerves."

The tender cupped her hands and yelled inside,"Tequila! Someone is asking for you."

"Oh well," I thought with a shrug. Before long, a little girl dressed in a pink tank top and capri pants emerged from the crowd, running toward me. Excited to see Tequila, I stepped forward to give her a big bear hug and a kiss on the cheek.

"You know, Tequila," I said humorously, "although you are kinda hyper and loud, I am still very fond of you. I never thought there would be any teens your age here from the U.S. You are truly a treasure to this place." Tequila smiled broadly. I gazed at her for a moment and started singing her the theme from the Growing Pains: "Show me that smile again. Don't waste another minute on your crying. We're nowhere near the end; the best is ready to begin..." She nodded wisely.

While we were chatting, a beautiful woman arose from the VIP table and started in our direction. She looked so elegant that my sixth sense told me immediately who she was.

"Hello, Four Seasons, I am glad we finally meet," I whispered bashfully, staring intently at my feet. "I have a confession to make....you see, a few months ago, I told you I would try to learn to type Chinese, and yet to this day, I am still scribbling in English...." I went on, "The truth is, my Chinese is awful. If you think my English is bad, my Chinese is even worse." I paused and tried to gather my thoughts. "Forgive me, I'm guilty!"

She smiled thoughtfully, without a word. That's Four Seasons, a very good listner, sensitive and considerate.

"Howdy!" A young woman in a tee-shirt, blue jeans, and a cute cowgirl ranger hat showed up at the door. Her eyes sparkled, her smile challenged. She was seductively beautiful. All of a sudden, the crowd froze, all eyes on her. I hurried forward to grab her over to our side.

"Tina, where have you been?" I asked eagerly, "You must be too engrossed in J's new episodes and forgot about us!" She giggled. Tina reminded me very much of Little Swallow, always in troubles. She is down-to-earth, and very articulate and smart.

We gossiped about Zhoe Jey, Auntie Chyong Yau, and the Pearl Princess. While we talked about the sentiment and growth of this place, I thought of a good quote from John Berendt's novel "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil":

"The city looked inward, sealed off from the noises and distractions of the world at large. It grew inward, too, and in such a way that its people flourished like hothouse plants tended by indulgent gardeners. The ordinary became extraordinary. Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else in the world."
(Berendt, 388)

I looked at my watch and it was close to 12:00 p.m. I turned to Four Seasons and asked her to introduce me to some of the VIPs whom I have long admired: such as Yun-yu, Gillian, 1000s Js in the Heart, Asking for Little Brother, Scorpion, Leaving Message, Joyce, *Js, and many others who I can't address their names properly in English. I was also hoping to see a long lost friend here who used to appear under the pseudonym "Auntie Fan", but had no luck.

I then called out to Tequila, "Yo, Tequila, I am leaving. Wanna lift home?"

"No, thanks," replied Tequila, giving me a mischievous look and dodging into the crowd.

"Teens! Young and restless," I sighed.

I hope into my machine and wave,"Bye, ya'll! May the Force be with you!"

***Setting-1999 Crescnet City

I jolted at the sound of the alarm clock. It was 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Man, what a weird dream .........

P.S. No translation is needed.



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