Xia Liuyi threw all of the newly opened billiard rooms at Little Ma to manage. “Red Pole” Ma changed into a brand-new outfit. He got a designer suit, a gold chain around his neck, and two watches on both wrists, respectively. When he walked, he faced the sky with his sunglasses, lifting his arms and swinging them like chimpanzees do, and behind him a few little 49ers followed. He paraded everywhere to check on the territory.
Today, he led his people and wandered to the shop near Long Gang Institution of Technology. As soon as they entered the door, his head was hit by a cue stick! He ai-yahed*1 and fell!
“Boss Little Ma! Boss Little Ma!” The group of underlings surrounded him.
“F*ck……” Little Ma was furious and was gonna go crazy, before a thundering yell sounding even more furious than him came from the shop –
“You f*cking puk gaai brat!”
The billiard room was newly opened and there were still many sundries accumulated in the room. Not far from the door, there was a pile of cardboard boxes with equipment inside and they were stacked to the limit in the room. He Chusan was sitting on the top, sweating and holding his little backpack in his arms.
Xia Liuyi cussed loudly below him, “Come down if you have any courage! Puk gaai brat! I’m letting you swear to heaven with me, not letting you die!”
“Swearing to heaven for what? A marriage?” Little Ma covered his head and entered. Hearing such a sudden sentence surprised him.
Xia Liuyi lifted another cue stick from the side and smashed at him, “Swear to heaven to follow the Big Boss! Shut up!”
“I won’t follow a Big Boss. I won’t join the black society.” He Chusan cowered above, reading his old lines.
Little Ma avoided the cue stick swiftly. He lifted his head, putting his hands on his waist and shouted to He Chusan, “Can our Big Boss be followed by the common?! You ungrateful bastard! Come down and swear to heaven with your Big Boss! Puk gaai brat!”
“Can you cuss him as puk gaai brat?!” Xia Liuyi threw another cue stick to him, “F*ck off!”
Little Ma covered his head and ran away awkwardly. He only dared to complain with his underlings when he reached the street, “F*ck, such a delicate brat, only the Big Boss can cuss at him.”
Xia Liuyi cursed for a while and got no outcome. He commanded the staff cowering in the corners, “Take the table away! He f*cking climbed up and down. I’ll wait to see how he can get back down!”
“Big Boss,” the frightened manager suggested, “What about poking him down with a cue stick?”
“The cr*p you’ll poke! A student studying at the opposite college! Will you compensate with your brain if his head gets any problems due to the fall?! Is your brain worth it?!”
The manager’s head shrank. He realized immediately that the Big Boss was flirting with his new 49er. Leading people to move the table away crisply, he disappeared at the speed of light, and didn’t forget to put a sign saying “Closed today” – the Big Boss could have it whole!
As He Chusan saw the people all leave, he emerged as his true self instantly. He took back the demeanour of a cowardly student kid and poked his head back out to convince Xia Liuyi earnestly, “Boss Liuyi, I really don’t wanna join the black society. See, y’all fight and kill every day. How dangerous it is. Casino, gai dau*2, and loan sharks, don’t each of these destroy someone’s life……”
“F*ck off,” said Xia Liuyi, “Stop pretending to be Tang Seng*3. Is it so great that you got into college? You wanna be a chief inspector, uh? Even the secretary for security doesn’t dare to interrupt my business! Moreover, will I let you be a ‘chick’ or a ‘duck’?! Get a few billiard rooms and that’s tens of thousands in the monthly red packets. You study so hard for over ten years. How much can you earn every month after you graduate?! Three thousand? Five thousand?”
“This is not the problem about more or less money. You commit crimes……” He Chusan wanted to talk more, but Xia Liuyi ferociously kicked at the cardboard box at the bottom! The entire cardboard-box column began to shake.
He Chusan held on to the edge of the cardboard box and stopped speaking. He sighed secretly in his heart. You shouldn’t expect to be able to convince a mafia. See, it’s totally impossible to have a conversation with them!
He lifted his head carefully and looked at the colour of the sky outside. He turned back his head and continued to try to make a deal with Xia Liuyi, “Boss Liuyi, the library is closing soon. Can you let me go down and return the books first?”
“What the heck will you return,” said Xia Liuyi, “stay above and think about your mistakes for a night!”
He Chusan bent over immediately and became obedient, “Boss Liuyi, I’ve realized my mistakes.”
“I shouldn’t be verbose like Tang Seng.”
“I shouldn’t expose that you commit crimes……”
“F*ck off!” Xia Liuyi kicked at the cardboard box again!
“Boss Liuyi,” He Chusan held on to the box, shaking miserably, “I truly realized my mistakes. Please let me go, Boss Liuyi. There will also be a fine if I miss the date of return.”
“I can pay you back however much they fine!”
“There will be a bad-credit record too and they won’t let you borrow books anymore and will also cancel the scholarship,” He Chusan smoothly made things up and called at him disjointedly, “Boss Liuyi, Boss Liuyi……”
Xia Liuyi formed calluses in his ears from the endless stream of words from He Chusan. He shouted annoyedly, “Shut up!”
He Chusan shut up at once and merely poked his head out to glance at him.
Xia Liuyi pulled at the table with a single hand and failed to move it. Looking around, the manager had sneaked away to who-knows-where.
“Jump off,” he lifted his head and opened his arm, “I’ll catch you.”
He Chusan considered it. He wanted to ask, can you really catch me, but considering how hard he would be beaten after speaking such a sentence – he ended up forcing himself to climb to the edge of the cardboard box, closing his eyes, and fell downward.
Sure enough, Xia Liuyi fell onto the ground under his impact. They rolled into a sphere on the ground. Luckily, the table was moved beforehand. They didn’t get their heads or any other parts hurt.
“F*ck! Did you grow even taller! What did you eat!”
“I practiced tai chi,” He Chusan said, lying on Xia Liuyi and holding his waist, “My dad said I could still grow.”
“Your dreams are so sweet,” Xia Liuyi patted at his back, “Get up!”
They got up and patted the dust on their bodies off. He Chusan held a cue stick and poked the little backpack he left above down. He wanted to sneak away as soon as he made an obedient farewell. He was called back by Xia Liuyi, “Come back immediately after returning the books. I’ll take you to Jordan for chicken pot.”
“I’ll go home to re……” the “view” was glared back by Big Boss Xia.
Xia Liuyi was almost killed by the rage that this brat brought upon him. He truly deserved no kindness. Such a Dragon Head Big Boss like him got so tired when he wanted a 49er. When inviting someone for a meal, the invited one didn’t even want to go! F*ck!
What’s wrong with the mafia? Is the meal from the mafia poisonous?!
Of course, he had completely no unusual intentions for He Chusan. He was simply annoyed because he didn’t get a “college-student 49er” – the expansion of Xiao Qi Tong went very smoothly, and Big Boss Xia had more-than-enough leisure time.
Besides, this kid looked dull, but actually had a bunch of schemes in his belly. Xia Liuyi fought him with his wits every day, and it could be considered as an IQ training or a leisure activity – just like those educated people buying newspapers for crossword puzzles when they had the time.
His temper was even improved by this kid. He pretended to have a poker-face every day and acted calmly and amiably, and no longer whipped someone with a pole easily – if he did he would beat the person to death!
He Chusan held his backpack, running to the school library. He kept sighing in his heart while running. He didn’t know when he could get back, since he was caught for a meal, and again, he had to stay up to study tonight.
He thought that him agreeing to go to Xia Liuyi’s “place” and learning billiards at the very beginning was simply because Xia Liuyi said his arm became disabled, and his brain became a mess, which had made him unable to control his words. As for why he often went for Xia Liuyi after that, he was also, simply, forced to – this Big Boss let someone drive a car and block the school’s gate to pick him up, and the teachers and students had all watched. Many students even secretly guessed that he found a sugar-mommy living in the mid-level villas.
After the New Year, He Chusan was already twenty-two. He grew constantly this year and developed wide shoulders, long legs, and a lank silhouette. Because of him practicing tai chi for a long time, he also had a thin layer of muscle that made him look fit. When he was carrying a little backpack nicely, he looked handsome, shy, and naive – wasn’t this a standard boy-toy figure that those sugar mommies adored most?
He Chusan couldn’t control others’ thoughts and neither could he prove his innocence. He could only think he was a typical pure-and-good citizen who was bullied and swindled by the triads under the current chaotic sky that was covered by “black clouds”. He intended to leave the shadow and go back to sunlight, but couldn’t find the way out. He was bothered by it a lot.
Xia Liuyi stirred the soup in the chicken pot and told him, “I’ll produce a new film next month. Write the script.”
He Chusan sighed.
Xia Liuyi hit the chopsticks onto the table. He Chusan explained immediately, “I have too much work to do for this term, and the mid-term exams are coming soon. May I write it during the summer holidays?”
“Sure. Shall I drive all the staff of production away, stack the equipment until it’s rusted, seal all the actors into the freezer and make them sticks, to wait for you?” said Big Boss Xia.
He Chusan lowered his head and picked up a shiitake. He said obediently, “I’ll write it next week.”
“F*ck, you only speak against me,” Xia Liuyi cussed and returned the shiitake near his mouth back to the pot with the chopsticks, “Boil it longer. It’s not fully cooked yet.”
He Chusan picked up another chicken claw quietly.
“You deserve no good things. Eating bones while there’s meat, responding to strength while benefits are given.” Said Big Boss Xia.
“I’m being unbendable first, and then improvising my actions according to the situation.” Said He Chusan.
“Stop playing word games, sau seng*4! Sir! Two bottles of beer!”
“Aye, coming!” The shopkeeper scurried back into the shop and then scurried back out like the wind, “Big Boss, beer!”
The 49ers who sat by a table far away and played the roles of bodyguards cried out too, “Sir! Four bottles here!”
“Cr*p is what you’ll drink! Who’ll drive later?” Xia Liuyi turned his head and cussed.
The 49ers played a round of rock paper scissors and quickly decided the two unlucky guys couldn’t drink, while the others could have fun.
What about the tasks of bodyguards? He-he ha-ha! Over the entirety of Kowloon, who dares to inflame Big Boss Xia?
This was the early summer of 1990. Early in 1987, the Chinese government had made an agreement to demolish Snapdragon Walled City. Although this plan had encountered many obstacles and resistance, the demolition of the walled city had been established. The compensation plan for the inhabitants’ migration had been decided and gradually, the first group of inhabitants were moving into the wu cuns*5 nearby.
The gangs in the different levels from the walled city had been withdrawing back too. They had stretched the claws of their power to Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, New Territories……disputing with the other gangs that previously dominated these places publicly or secretly, and there was constant fighting in those hidden alleys.
At first, the power of Xiao Qi Tong was within Kowloon City, and during Azure Dragon’s period it had permeated into places like Mong Kok. After Xia Liuyi took it, he went even further, opening nightclubs in the area near Mong Kok like Prince Edward and Sham Shui Po, and further south where he even reached Hung Hom.
What we wanted to say through babbling about locations was – the active expansion policy of Big Boss Xia had hugely disrupted the interest of the surrounding gangs, specially the interest of He Sheng Gang, who were camped around Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui.
The Big Boss of He Sheng Gang was called “Fat Qi”. If our dear audience still has some impression of him, Xia Liuyi once cut off a finger of Lai Quan, his brother-in-law.
Fat Qi could barely watch as Xia Liuyi gradually put his red flags across the line with intentions of encircling towards the He Sheng Gang. New debts and old hatred accumulated in his heart. It was impossible for him to feel good. Before the New Year, he put all his strength into a huge fight with Xia Liuyi. However, the “Red Pole” on his side was heavily injured, and he left awkwardly with three underlings’ corpses. Xia Liuyi threatened him with the fact that he would be beaten whenever he was seen, and since that time Fat Qi lived in his own places quietly. He felt so bad and he couldn’t even tell. What he could do was to throw darts at Xia Liuyi’s photo and prick a voodoo doll every day.
Where Xia Liuyi took He Chusan for chicken pot today was in the region of Fat Qi’s power. The shopkeeper of this chicken pot shop had flattered Fat Qi for years and this didn’t bother him to flatter Xia Liuyi. The shopkeeper had always been harassed by these triads and he knew the way to survive by heart – fortune never stays. For this year, it could be Big Boss A and yet next year it could be Big Boss B. Y’all can hack each other, but what I shall do is to give the protection money to whoever there is. When you flatter well, your business will go well!
The shopkeeper cared nothing about the situation outside but his money, and suddenly he heard a pretentious yell before his stand, “Get outta the way! Get outta the way!”
A few 49ers cleared the way and allowed Fat Qi, who had a big belly just like his name described, and his flamboyant girlfriend, Third Sis Lai, in.
The shopkeeper panicked secretly in his mind but he could only go forward and welcome them, “Boss Fat Qi! Welcome, welcome! Please, please, sit here!”
“No, I wanna sit there.” Third Sis Lai said in a shrill voice, raising her pink finger.
At the exact same moment, Xia Liuyi and his people heard the sound and turned their heads back.
They glared at each other. Fat Qi roared out, “Xia Liuyi?!”
Xia Liuyi lifted his eyebrow. He couldn’t be calmer, “Fat Qi.”
And then he casually picked up a chicken tail for He Chusan.
He Chusan was chewing on a shiitake mushroom. Because of Fat Qi’s roar, he held it in his mouth stiffly. He lowered his head quietly at this time, trying to swallow the shiitake, and from the offered chicken tail, his instincts recognized the coldness and danger hidden under Xia Liuyi’s calmness.
As soon as Fat Qi heard that casual tone, he was inflamed. He took out the gun on his waist furiously!
“Xia Liuyi! You killed my people! Took my goods! And you dare come into my place with a few 49ers?!”
Xia Liuyi’s bodyguards jumped up and brought their guns out immediately. The 49ers on the other side also showed their stuff swiftly. The two sides formed two rows like a gun exhibit and glared at each other.
The chicken pot shopkeeper hid in the back secretly with an account book on his head. He didn’t forget to make signs to those workers who watched from faraway with their faces pale.
Xia Liuyi put down the chopsticks leisurely and stood up. Without being noticed, he blocked He Chusan who was sitting beside him.
“If you have the courage to kill me, then do it. Otherwise, I suggest you put your gun back. Don’t freak the passers-by out.” He pulled a tissue from the table and wiped his mouth.
“Xia Liuyi, don’t go too far!” Fat Qi said angrily.
“How can you stop bullying others, when you’ve been in such a career,” Xia Liuyi crumpled the tissue and threw it away. He tilted his head to light a cigarette, breathing in with his eyes half-closed, and breathed out, “Furthermore, I have the ability to bully you.”
“You!” Fat Qi shivered his meaty chin, but dared not pull the trigger, hesitating.
Xia Liuyi’s 49ers were famous for being as crazy as their Big Boss. If he shoots and hurts Xia Liuyi, he could very possibly be the victim of the following shot. Moreover, the previous battle made his He Sheng Gang lose too much. The brothers of Xiao Qi Tong were all over Kowloon and the Deputy Cui Dongdong was also a famous tough gal. If he kills Xia Liuyi in this way, all of them would make tremendous efforts to avenge their Big Boss, and he would be very likely to lose more than he would gain.
Fat Qi was struggling with his complicated thoughts, while Xia Liuyi had turned around and lifted the absent-minded He Chusan, “A-Yong, A-Biao, drive the car.”
The two bodyguards who didn’t drink answered and put their guns back. They went to get the cars as they were ordered.
Fat Qi could barely watch as Xia Liuyi along with his underlings got into two cars and left easily.
“F*ck!” He hit the table and cursed, “Xia Liuyi, I’ll let you pay all your debts back someday!”
Xia Liuyi and his people drove along the grand dusty road. They sent He Chusan back to his home first as they reached Snapdragon Walled City.
He Chusan sat in the backseat, holding his backpack, and said nothing. The atmosphere was heavy, and Xia Liuyi tried to elicit a response from him, “What’s wrong? You were scared?”
He Chusan lifted his head and took a look at the driver’s seat, still staying silent.
Seeing his uncomfortable face, Xia Liuyi knew he had something to say. When the car was parked by the Snapdragon Walled City, he drove the bodyguard to the other car. He rolled down the window and lit a cigarette, leaning on the seat, “Just say what you wanna say.”
“Next time……Can you not take me to places like that.” He Chusan lowered his head, holding his backpack tight.
“F*ck!” Xia Liuyi already guessed what he would say. He hit the window with his powerless right hand, “Stop being dramatic like a little girl! I didn’t know Fat Qi would come!”
“Even if he didn’t come, the purpose for you to have a meal with your people in his region was still to be defiant – I don’t want to participate in these kinds of things with your triads.” Said He Chusan.
Xia Liuyi extinguished the cigarette, stayed silent for a long while, and pointed to the outside of the car before he began beating him up, “F*ck off.”
I really don’t wanna talk with this f*cking brat!
Holding his backpack, He Chusan pushed the door open and f*cked off. The swiftness of his movements made it seem like he desired to run away from Xia Liuyi.
Xia Liuyi was choked by the rage he brought upon him. He smoked in anger – and then he choked again, “ahem, ahem!”
Patting off the ashes dropped onto his suit awkwardly, he ferociously hit the window again.
He truly thought that chicken pot tasted good and had gotten in the mood to show something new to this poor bumpkin! The kindness of a good person would never work on an ignoramus!
He sulked in the backseat for a while. The bodyguard in the car behind saw the situation wasn’t good and scurried forward to ask, “Big Boss?”
“Y’all can go back first.” Said Xia Liuyi.
“That’s……” the bodyguard hesitated.
Xia Liuyi waved his hand annoyedly.
The bodyguard found that the Big Boss wasn’t in a good mood and wanted to stay alone for a while, and he considered the fact that around the walled city, were all their places and so nothing would happen, and the group of people squeezed into a single car and scrammed obediently.
Xia Liuyi finished the entire cigarette in the backseat and switched to the driver’s seat. He drove to the seaside villa nearby.
This gorgeous villa that Big Boss Azure Dragon had once lived in, had already been a murder house because of the miserable death of the owner couple and tens of servants. Xia Liuyi found a group of Taoist priests for a few ceremonies, and then left it empty.
The pale headlights lightened the creepily black road. He drove alone and went up along the secluded seaside path and stopped at the gloomy gate of the villa.
The big iron gate with lion bas-relief was rusted. A few pieces of yellow fulu*6 with messy writing were stuck on it, floating and rattling with the sea wind.
Xia Liuyi got off. Facing the tar black and cold villa, he lowered his head and lit a cigarette.
He breathed in, and then squatted to put the cigarette between the rails of the iron gate.
“Mr. Big, big-sis, I drove by and came to see you.”
He squatted there and lit up another cigarette with his face in peace. He said slowly, “The business of the gang went smoothly. It’s all good.”
“I’m also doing well.”
“I’ll find those people who murdered you and cut them into pieces.”
After those three sentences, he seemed to have no more to say. He was silent for a while and lifted his head, watching the sky.
The starry sky reflected in his eyes. They were so dense, like shattered glass falling onto a black cloth.
Reminding him of the shattering bloodstain beside the pool.
Both the people that were most important to him were in the heavens, above the stars, far from him.
He possessed hundreds of millions now. His business was going well, and he had countless people under his command. Even the wind and rain would come for him if he wanted – but still, he had nothing. Even a pre-puberty brat could look down on him and refuse to be his company.
He couldn’t even compare to the eighteen-year-old boy at that time – young and fearless, having only two machetes in his hands, having only boiling blood in his heart, but also having his family, having hope, having something that he protected with his life.
There was only the sound of sea winds in the darkness. His hair and clothes were blown messy. The cigarette put into the iron railing was swept into the sky abruptly. After a glimmer, it vanished in the endless darkness.
Half an hour later, Xia Liuyi drove along the path and drifted down. He returned to the city by the way he came.
There were no cars nor passers-by late at night. He turned the wheel casually. When the car passed somewhere near the Snapdragon Walled City, his instincts lifted his head and made him glance.
This glance let him see an odd silhouette scurrying beside the road.
The bump on the silhouette was so tall that it looked like a huge pack of stuff. It wobbled its way along the road and moved fast.
Xia Liuyi stepped on the brakes. Frowning and watching for a while, he rolled down the window and shouted in confusion, “He Chusan?”
The silhouette suddenly paused. Xia Liuyi loosened his foot on the brakes and slipped a little bit forwards. The headlights barely illuminated the terrified face of He Chusan.
And the Dad He, who looked unconscious on his back.
- *A Chinese exclamation just like “oh no”. ↑
- *A brothel. ↑
- *A central character in Journey to the West. When he reads a spell he can make Sun Wukong’s (another character in this book) headband contract and cause a headache. He is sometimes used as an implication of being wordy. ↑
- *Cantonese “shut up”. ↑
- *A cheap rental house built by the government or volunteer organizations. It belongs to Hong Kong public housing. ↑
- *Taoist magic writing. ↑
TN: Edited by our capable editor Mio Rio ^^