Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Pan and Zheng (short short story)

February 5, 2019

Pan and Zheng

1.

This is a story by Shao Baojian. I have changed the details but it turns out the same.

The setting is a mid sized, smog filled, city; in a medium sized country with a quickly growing population.

Some old people there remembered a time, not too far back, when it was against the law to show affection in public. Yes, women could cuddle their children, and old men could embrace and hug after being reunited, but no more than that!

Now public displays of affection between a man and a woman was allowed, but frowned on as being forward, or foreign!

2.

Picture at the end of a half paved road, crowded with tiny stores, and multi family houses, a small apartment building.

This building was somewhat bland and unadorned, but well kept up. It was rectangle shaped, two story, and had ten apartments. Eight of those were families and two housed singles.

Looking at the front of the building the two singles lived on the upper floor on the far left side. Second from the end lived a bachelor named Zheng Ruokui. And at the end was a spinster named Pan Xuee.

Each morning the two would meet on the stairs on their way to work. He would speak first by saying, “Good morning,” with a pleasant smile. Then she would respond by asking, “Going out?” with another smile.

These were the only two sentences anyone in the neighborhood ever heard from them! And that is all the more surprising when one learns that some living here were gossips of the first rank!

3.

Pan was a woman in her late 30’s or early 40’s. Her cute features had lost a little of their softness from age. Her skin had tightened and her muscles had gotten leaner from repeated work. Her face was oval with balanced features. She had a fine complexion, pretty teeth, big eyes, and rich black, long, straight, hair. Her build was a bit skinny and fragile looking; but she was always ready to roll up her sleeves and lend a hand to the neighborhood.

She worked at the big flower shop on Western Street, the wide road that led to downtown.

Zheng was in his mid 40’s. He looked older with a bit of a stoop, black rimmed glasses, messy matted hair, and always a breakout or two on his face, that he’d scratch. He had medium height and weight with, narrow shoulders. His fingers were long and thin, and he often held his hands behind his back when he talked. But he was also bright, alert, and he had a way of telling news with a laugh, like it was a story.

Zheng worked for a theater chain. The job of his team was to paint murals on the walls. There wasn’t much originality in the work, because he had to follow a specific pattern that was the same in every theater.

Besides a movie now and then, Zheng didn’t go out much. He liked to stay at home and read, or paint watercolors. Many hung on his walls, and one had won him a prize in an amateur painting contest.

His room had a narrow bed, two straight backed chairs, a large and a small table, and in the center against the thick wall that he shared with Pan, a very large bookcase as tall as a man.

Those who came to his apartment always commented on the huge bookcase. It stood out. Besides books, magazines, and letters, the bookcase had a shoulder high shelf in the middle, near the top, that was perfect for displaying his precious flower vase.

He owned a blue translucent, family heirloom, flower vase, that he made sure was always clean, polished, and filled with fresh flowers.

4.

One cloudy drizzly day Pan and Zheng met on the stairs, talked as they always did, and separated. That was the last time they met.

Later that day, Zheng was painting on a scaffold when his heart beat became irregular. He called for help. His co workers rushed him to the hospital, but he lost consciousness and died in route.

Soon everyone at the apartments had heard the awful news. Zheng had died. Pan said nothing but her eyes were very red and puffy.

5.

People brought flowers to remember Zheng. The largest bouquet was from Pan. A few days later she quickly packed and suddenly moved away.

One week later family, friends, and neighbors, came together to go through Zheng’s belongings. They were surprised at what they saw.

Dust was layered on everything except the blue vase. That was sparkling clean and full of still fresh, white, chrysanthemums.

When some of the men pulled the large bookcase from the wall they got another surprise. Behind it was a door – an elegant, big, red, door with a bright polished brass handle!

Tongues wagged! The place buzzed like a beehive – noisy with the news that quickly passed through the crowd!

As people talked, the mood changed, and those who had felt kind respect for the bachelor; now felt betrayed; as if he had secretly made fools of them all, and had led a double life …

But then just as quickly, came another surprise. A boy tried to open the door. The brass handle was flat and smooth as the wall itself. So was the frame and the hinges!

The door was painted on the wall!

The RECAP issue, #204

November 19, 2018

Dear Reader,

The new issue of Musea #204 is out at the usual suspected places, been mailed to the usual suspects, and will be online at the slightly suspicious Musea website soon!

This issue is the RETROGRADE Issue, a recap of the last 25 years and 203 issues that went before. Lots of surprises here for every reader, from the casual to the faithful!

Look and see what you think. Comments welcome.

Tom Hendricks – editor.

Come See My Garden (poem)

April 21, 2018

Here’s a poem for any kids who love the garden.

In my garden
everything grows;
I planted straw,
I planted stones.
I planted candy
and moonlight too.
I planted laughs
and the color blue.
I planted clods
that sprouted shoots.
Come see my garden.
It’s all in bloom!

Top of Their Field and Favorites

April 8, 2018

Dear Reader,

Through my 25 years, and 200 issues of the arts and media zine Musea (1992-now), I’ve met many excellent musicians, painters, writers, photographers, filmmakers, etc.

Here are some that are personal favorites, but I also think that they are at the top of their field and they deserve world recognition for their achievements.

Gregory K. H. Bryant – art

David McGhee – photography

Sara Niemietz and Snuffy Walden – music

Michael Helsem – writing

Scott Jacob Loehr – music

Ace Backwards – blogging.

Sparrow – poetry.

David Darling – science website, writing.

TYT, The Young Turks – online news.

Tom Hendricks
(editor of Musea)

MAIN Website
tomhendricks.us

The Best!

Musea #203 Online, and other Newsd

April 5, 2018

Dear Reader,

The NEW issue of MUSEA, #203 is out and online.

This issue , Blue Smoke, is a short story where scattered events lead to surprising outcomes. Lots of thought in 7 pages of text.
Note too our cover photo below. Caption “Musea the zine with attitude.

– Tom Hendricks
(Editor of Musea the 25 year old zine on the arts and media.)

New on my Blog:
Reasons Musea is Against Ads
Realism Versus Other Art
3 Customers or 150 Million?
New Set of Vision Poems.
The Flight of the Queen – story poem.
The Box – 1990 Musea Prediction comes True.
Sayings of Editor Art
People Vs. Corporations.
Protesting Students …

New on my Youtube Channel:
I Was There (guitar instrumental)

New on my facebook page
SPS, Saved Post Sundays, every Sunday

New on the Musea website
Musea #203
Splash page photo of the first 200 issues.

Tomhendricks.us the main website.
Explore the Rooms.


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