Chapter 1: The Tragedies of Brother Xiaolong
1993; on the day when I was just born, the big-fat nurse who carried me with her big arms towards the baby room slipped and pressed me under her big body. If it were not because this “father” was strong enough and had a strong vitality, I would have been dead flat and downtrodden by this hundred-kilogram meatball already.
My old man really had no common sense when he chose my name. He was watching a movie on television: Li Xiaolong’s or Bruce Lee’s “Way of the Dragon”. Dad suddenly got this heavenly revelation, pounded the table and exclaimed, “It’s Li Xiaolong!” And thus, Dad named me Xiaolong after Bruce Lee.
Dad then brought my birth proof to the relevant government authority and registered my name in the family register. But the next accident made me absolutely think: “What kind of heavenly revelation did my old man receive that day?” He mistakenly wrote Li Xiaolong as Zhang Xiaolong! Thus, a new surname appeared in our household family register for the first time since the beginning of history. My name had become the biggest joke of all time! My biological father’s name was Li Guofu and my name was Zhang Xiaolong. Seriously, what the f**k? Sometimes I wondered which brainless person named me Zhang Xiaolong? Have you ever seen a son follow another surname instead of his own father’s? However, my family was living in the countryside and my parents were not highly cultured, so this kind of accident just passed by without any big disturbances.
When I was five, I was still wearing open pants for infants before toilet training and was playing with pebbles while accompanied by four other children. It was then that it happened; a window in Uncle Lee’s house next door had broken, smashed by a stone! I swore that the stone smashing into Uncle Lee’s window wasn’t thrown by me! But when Uncle Lee furiously interrogated us to find out who had thrown the stone. The other four “honorable” kids simultaneously pointed at me in silent agreement! I was silently petrified! “I was so good to them, and these damned punks cheated me by pushing me down into the hole?”
I was so angry that I swore to never play with them anymore. Nevertheless; the final result was that my father compensated Uncle Lee and lost quite some money. Afterward, he dragged me back home and gave me some beatings.
At 6 years old that year, I was following my mother in the back, right behind her butt. I had forgotten that Mom had the habit of closing the door quickly. The result was, my head got clamped and squeezed in by the door. I was of course screaming out and crying in agony. A large bruise grew on my head and made me look like a strange alien baby. It took a month for the swollen bruise to subside and heal.
At 7 years old that year, because I mixed up the Chinese phonetic alphabet and English alphabet, the teacher didn’t allow me to advance from kindergarten to the first grade, resulting in my glorious achievement of getting squatted in the same grade.
At 8 years old that year, when the class was on a break, Chou Xianbai opened a bottle of Lippo energy drink, and drank it near the other children who were running back and forth. He got hit by a running child; the drink was spraying everywhere and made my desk mate and Xiaohui’s chest dirty and wet. Of course, I had to help her wipe and clean her chest. However, in a short while, the school lesson bell rang, and then a bald-headed middle-aged teacher came into the class. He saw me rubbing Xiaohui’s chest, especially on that little swollen part. With a dreadful face, he pulled his throat and roared loudly: “LET LOOSE THAT GIRL!”
He dragged me to the office and gave me some ideological lecture. He said that I was too precocious, blaspheming my female schoolmate, and that I had a very bad nature. He almost got me expelled from the kindergarten. Later on, my father sent him 2 big cocks; presumably for cock fights; and, my verdict became lighter. I could still remain in the kindergarten. However, the bald-headed teacher also said that my capital crime may be exempted, but I of course couldn’t escape the punishment I deserved. He let me continue in the kindergarten to squat another year.
9 years old that year, I finally graduated from kindergarten! Dad was very happy, his eyes brimmed with tears as he said: “My son really has a promising future”.
11 years old that year, the factory that employed my father was about to go out of business. But at the critical moment, my Dad’s accidental action had rescued the entire factory unexpectedly. The chairman thanked my old man and promoted him to a manager, and gave him a scholarship to study. Eventually, Dad got a Financial Management grade from some Chinese College. Some people’s fate in life was really mysterious. Who would have thought that Dad who had been in rural work for all his life, would have such luck and encounter such a good thing?
In the same year, myself and a few children broke into a certain family’s garden and stole apples; however, we were discovered by the owner’s dog which gave a hot pursuit! We were running so fast. It was as if we were gambling with our life! And I never knew why, but I was absolutely sure that I was running faster and ran in front of everyone, but that dog seemed to fancy me! I got caught by the dog; it held me down on the ground; pounced and bit me. The several “honorable” buddies had absolutely no “brotherhood” camaraderie, like at all! They quickly scattered and ran away to God knows where, even I couldn’t find their shadows anywhere! I was sent to the hospital afterwards, and got myself several rabies vaccine injections. The school feared that my schoolmates would be infected by me and thus gave me a 6 month holiday. That was even longer than summer vacation! I thought I would have died that time for sure!
Meanwhile, the factory’s chairman gave Dad a house in the center of the city, so Dad would find it convenient to work. Therefore, we moved. I took my time and said some farewells to those little “honorable” devils who always cheated me. It would be almost a decade until I saw them again.
At 12 years old; Mom and Dad were not at home. I was so eager to clean the windows to give them a pleasant surprise. The next event didn’t live up to my expectations; I lost my footing and fell down to the ground. My family was living in a 2 story house, and I lived on the 2nd floor. I fell from the 2nd floor and broke one of my legs but was fortunate enough to be alive.
At 13 years old; I went to the lavatory with my primary school classmates and learned how to smoke. However, the Teaching Director unknowingly started his inspection that day and suddenly inspected the toilets. Those classmates of mine sure were seasoned veterans; they quickly threw the cigarettes into the toilets and flushed them; then deftly took out a chewing gum from their pockets. The foolish me could only stand awkwardly and was caught red-handed with a cigarette on my lips. I foolishly laughed when the director reprimanded me and gave me a lecture.
At 14 years old; my first love confession to a certain female schoolmate had been rejected! I was so frustrated that I bought myself a pesticide and tried to commit suicide. I spent 130 yuan to buy that bottle of pesticide from the pesticide store’s boss. I drank the pesticide and instantly vomited when a toenail of that “liquor” entered my throat. I continued to vomit for the entire night and collapsed the next morning.
At 15 years old; I was looking back and contemplated my past. I realized that my life had always been full of tragedy. The depressing feeling drove me to buy a bottle of pesticide for a second time. But this time, I was smart enough to buy the pesticide from a different pesticide store. Finally, after buying a bottle of it, I opened the bottle cap and drank it! My eyes were brimming with tears as my heart whispered: “Lord… it’s been 15 years! 15 years!”. And yet, the tiny bottle of pesticide didn’t seem to be enough to kill me. So I took the bottle cap and went back to the pesticide store to ask for another bottle from the boss. I smiled at him and finally returned home, only to find Mom and Dad sitting on the couch. There was an empty pesticide bottle with no cap on the edge of the table. Their faces were very dark as they looked at me with burning eyes. And then, I was severely beaten again. That day I swore that I would never drink pesticides ever again.
At 16 years old; I was standing under the electric pole pissing. I never knew that the electric pole was leaking. The electricity paralyzed me and got me electrocuted! I just cried at that time: “Which God had been provoked by me? I only wanted to pee but how come it almost cost me my life?”
At 17 years old, I was successfully admitted to a nearby high school, thanks to my own effort in passing the test. My own transcript grade was only below average among the average, so the result was really to my surprise. Therefore, being able to be admitted into a high school with my own efforts was a really glorious achievement for me. Although the result was not great, placing me at the bottom-most ranking, I still passed the test and got admitted. Dad was so elated that he threw a feast for me.
In the same year, Mom bought me “the basket 1258” bicycle to ride back and forth to school. I didn’t have any objection since my school was not far from my house as it only took 15 minutes by bike.
Riding a bicycle to school every day gradually upgraded my bicycle skills to a new height. I could even loosen the steering handle while riding and imitate some acrobatic moves. However, there was always something happened that was contrary to my expectation. One day when I was loosening the steering handle, I didn’t even realize that there was a cobblestone lying in front of my bicycle. Surely the bike rolled over and I face planted into asphalt. This led to the dislocation of my lower jaw and an arm bone fracture. Mom and Dad hurriedly rushed me to the hospital and got me hospitalized. I was bedridden for 7 days, my arm was covered with gypsum, and a suspension hook was braided on my jaw.
My newly three-months old-girlfriend visited me at the hospital, telling me that I was a good person and then left. I thought to myself: “You probably wanted to scold me on how stupid I was, right?”. Maybe she was right:
“Which girl would have enough strength and kindness to see her boyfriend get squeezed by a door; squat in kindergarten for 2 years; fall from the 2nd story of the house breaking a leg; fail in trying to kill himself after attempting suicide by drinking pesticide twice; almost die by being electrocuted while peeing under an electric pole; and had his jaw and arm broken while riding a bicycle?”
When I was about to get discharged from the hospital, the doctor told me that after my jaw dislocated and fell off, it would be very easy for it to get dislocated again. He taught me to take care of my jaw and left me a note, saying that I must not chew too fast when I was eating; to not speak too fast, and that I couldn’t deliberately shout and sing without thorough consideration.
Although I have tried to pay attention to these problems, accidents still occurred. There were times when I was eating in the cafeteria at noon and my jaw accidentally fell off, which of course caused my saliva to flow down from my mouth. Three women with their sons furiously reprimanded me as a smelly mouth and a smelly hooligan. I cursed the heavens: “Why do you still torture me? Don’t you see how those three dinosaurs opened their mouth and “drooled” at me?” I was really speechless. Soon after, my name was known throughout the high school.
In Qingtian City High School, some might not be familiar with the first ranked school beauty, but you must definitely be familiar with the biggest loser; and Zhang Xiaolong was absolutely that biggest loser.
Anyways, this kind of reputation could also be said as that of a celebrity’s, though wherever and whenever I go somewhere, there would be at least 90% of onlookers at school that would have diverted their attention only to have some kind of look at me, and then talked behind my back in whispers. Be it in class or even the whole school, nobody wanted to befriend me. They were really unable to identify a person of great ability like this one, even the girls never knew that there was such a macho man standing next to them.
And today was the middle of October. It was already night when I left the school as the sky had completely darkened. I cycled back home and found people crowding in the streets to watch something.
“Was there a car accident?”
I was pretty curious and immediately pushed my favorite little “Basket 1258” bicycle forward and approached the crowd. As I finally arrived at the front, I couldn’t wait to see the situation when a coarse old voice shouted in a trembled tone, “Grandson, grandson! Save your grandfather quickly!”.
A dirty old man was lying on the side of the road and pointed his index finger at me.
I pointed at my nose and replied, “Me?”
I really didn’t recognize this old man, but I was absolutely sure that he was pointing at me. I knew that bad luck had always been following me, and this time, I was picked by this cheap gramps. I was too overly familiar with this kind of script. And it seemed that this time, I would have to endure the test of luck again.
“Yes, you, my grandson!” said the old man with a cordial voice.
Although I knew that I was always out of luck, it didn’t mean that my intelligence was so low to the point where I couldn’t even realize this trick, “Heh, do you even know my name?”
“Zhang Xiaolong,” the old man quickly and concisely replied.
“Eh? How did you know?” I asked in astonishment.
However, one of the passers-by said, “Hey boy, aren’t you a high schooler? How could you pretend to not know your own blood grandfather? This kind of morality and personality is not good. I must go to your school and talk with your principal.”
The old man quickly followed the mood, “Hey big grandson, come help me. Grandpa has been raising you since you were small. You need to show your filial obedience to your grandpa.”
What the… Grandmother…What the hell was this filial obedience?
This day was absolutely the unluckiest day since the beginning of my life. If I didn’t hold this old man up, I would be expelled by my school. But if I propped him up, this old goat would surely take advantage of me and use me till death…
However, I was surrounded by many people right now and they would definitely act if I didn’t do anything. Therefore, the poor me could only resign to my fate. Thus, I walked to the old man’s side and propped him up.
And yet, to my surprise, the old man whispered, “Hey, did you feel puzzled why I knew your name? Your chest was exposed and your school name tag showed your identity to me”.
If I was not crouched at that time, I would absolutely have him thrown to the ground.