Wei & Young Wei
Xu had punched me. It was a shameful thing. His brother
Deng had to hold my arms behind my back. Now old Lung
thought I'd creep away, but he was wrong.
use of such force only deepened my determination. It was
no longer a matter of the fact that Fang Li or her mother
were watching all this. Now it was a matter of honor and I would
not leave until I was given a refund or a fresh melon.
Deng released me I made it a point to slowly brush myself
off. What I was
really doing was stalling for time. I needed to catch
some air back into my lungs.
I finally gasped, "are the shameful fraud. Every
one of these melons is
a monkey melon. Did you notice the smell of my melon when
I was forced to
turned to Fang Li's mother. "Watch," I said
to her, and without a moments more hesitation I grabbed
the melon out of her hand a threw it on the ground. Deng,
angered by all this, grabbed me around the waist and began
to squeeze me. My air was in short supply, but I had enough
energy to swing my foot back deep into his groin. He howled
with pain and dropped me, but it did not matter. Brother
Xu was closing in fast. He shoved Deng to the side and
Deng, who was doubled over in pain dropped to the ground.
picked me up by one hand right around my neck. He lifted
me up and off the
ground. He was shouting a lot of extremely bad words.
I figured this was the end of a short, sad life. I closed
my eyes waiting for the end. It did not come. Xu dropped me completely.
When I opened my eyes I saw Mother Fang standing over
Xu, the cane she hit him with was still in her hand. Fang
Li rushed over to me. She cradled my head in her arms.
Oh the pain. Oh, what heaven. I felt wonderful and terrible
at the same time. She looked right into my eyes. Her hand
gently brushed my cheek.
Mother Fang walked over and had Li brace me until
I was sitting up.
boy is right. Smell this melon you were about to sell
me. Do you deny it?"
looked over the top of his glasses and his eyes narrowed.
"It must be some
mistake. I know boys like this are always trying to trick
honest people. Who knows what he rubbed on the melon before
he dropped it?"
he rubbed this melon it was only on the outside. You take
your melons and leave this market. If I see you again
I will report you to every honest merchant with a stand
here. They will not let you stay. Leave our town. Pack
quickly and you may avoid spending the night in jail."
Fang prodded me with her cane. "Get up, boy. You
can do it on your own. Li, you can let him stand up on
his own." Mother Fang looked at me.
She ran her hands over my neck.
thing you have a strong, thick neck. It must be from all
the exercise of carrying around that bone head you try
to think with." She smiled at her own humor. It was
her chance for a bit of a reprimand, but it was not forthcoming.
are just like your Grandfather, Wei. He would not let
anyone take advantage of him when he was your age. He
liked to fight, too, as I recall. Have him tell you about
the time he took me to the Park. If he remembers it, that
is. It was a long time ago."
was shaken. Grandfather dated the old crow? Hah. My lucky
crow had flown away
and had been replaced by an old crow instead. I guess
that is a bit unkind as, after all, she did rescue me.
I wondered then if it was because I had been right or
if it was because she knew Grandfather.
two sons were shaking themselves off and I was worried
that they would soon attack again. However all the commotion
had drawn a crowd, and this
was something that Lung feared most. I walked right up
to the old man and
stuck out my hand.
yen, please." I looked the old crook right in the
eye. He was really mad. He looked at me, Mother Fang and
then the crowd. A smile seemed to cross his face. He looked
out and spoke to the crowd.
must close early today due to a family emergency. Sorry
for any inconvenience."
was spoken as if nothing had happened. He was trying to
save face, so I shouted a bit louder demanding my
threw the coin at me and cursed me. "May that one
be your mother-in-law someday" he said. I returned
the intended insult in kind. "And may your sons never
find a mother-in-law to care about them!"
happened here?" I knew that voice. It was Grandfather.
"I turn my back for one moment and the boy disappears.
Wei, what did you do?" I handed Grandfather
the coin. He took it and put it in his pocket.
boy. We have shopping to do and you have wasted enough
turned around to Mother Fang, who was walking back to
her daughter. "Thank you," I said to her back.
She looked over her shoulder and said, "No, Wei,
I thank you. You bought only one melon. We were about
to buy several. Thank you." Mother Fang smiled at
me. From the distance beyond I could see Fang Li's smile.
Her head nodded to me and I nodded back.
Mother Fang said reminded me that Grandfather had not
bought one melon, but two. Where was the other melon?
I ran to catch up with Grandfather. I had questions to
ask him, but of course I would not be able to. If I did
ask, he'd never answer them. I wondered what had happened
in the Park. I wondered why they did not greet each other.
Questions on top of questions. My Grandfather was a bigger
puzzle than I had thought.