A Christmas Story

Reads: 69985  | Likes: 9  | Shelves: 8  | Comments: 16

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Christian Writers

In a future world divided between three superpowers, an ordinary Chinese prostitute meets a mysterious foreigner on Christmas Day. Continues in SCARLET BEAST and ETERNITY.

It was a cold morning of December 25th, 2077, when Honey Zhang left the Super Communist massage parlor on Huaihai Road in Shanghai. Looking back at the slogan, white characters on red background, saying: "All Together We Shall Try to Achieve a Big Orgasm for Future Prosperity of Our Homeland", she suddenly noticed a man standing nearby.

A laowai, to be exact. He was probably around thirty, with long brown hair and a full beard. He was dressed very shabbily - the way laowais always do, must be a law in Laowaiguo or something - and looked at her with a queer expression. His gaze was intense but she felt there was also pity in it - or perhaps desire. Just a laowai. She was used to them. And they were much easier to treat than those wackos from Yisilanguo, anyway.

“We're closed,” Honey said, looking at the laowai from below fake eyelashes.

“I know,” the laowai said, still staring at her. “I didn't come for that.”

“Oh.”

She expected him to say something else, but he was just standing there, his gaze steady on her, sometimes scrolling down to the thin legs nicely clad in furry boots. What a weirdo. If he didn't want “that”, why the hell was he just standing there? Those laowais had too much spare time, really.

“We open at 3pm,” she tried again. Since there was still no reply, she added awkwardly: “Merry Christmas.”

“You know about Christmas?” The silly laowai looked surprised. Must have been living on Mars lately, really. Who doesn't know about Christmas? Maybe some Yisilanguo guys or whatever.

“It's the biggest holiday everywhere, I get good customers usually - Middlelanders, of course, you laowais prefer to stay home – you know, this kind of stuff,” she said impatiently. “Look, if you don't want anything –”

“But do you know what the... err... meaning of Christmas is?” the laowai asked.

She sighed and started walking towards the bus station. The bearded wacko followed her, smiling stupidly.

“I told you, it's this huge holiday, I get good Middle Land customers, and... hey, you really don't know what Christmas is?” she looked at him, slightly amused by his stupidity.

But the guy just smiled.

“Are you hungry?” he asked suddenly. “Let's eat something. I'd like to talk to you... just a bit. If you don't mind.”

She shrugged her shoulders. Free dinner - that was always good. And she was hungry, as a matter of fact.

They entered a small restaurant that claimed to serve “Middle Land's traditional food cooked in laowai fashion with Yisilanguo flavor”. The restaurant was appropriately named Socks Tasty.

The menu card offered a dish translated into laowai language as Hairy Blood Prosperity. Honey couldn't really read laowai language, but she knew it was just a usual Sichuan-style spicy dish. She ordered that and a glass of Lemon May Be Happy, the most popular drink in the world.

The strange laowai asked for two cups of water. A dreamy waitress brought the food and the drinks and sat down in the corner, staring at laowai's neck.

“So,” Honey said, “you're from Laowaiguo, right?” As if it wasn't obvious. But she felt she had to say something. The silence began to annoy her.

“From the USDW, yes,” the laowai said. She knew that laowai word, yu-aisi-di-daberyu. Was either the way they called Laowaiguo or the name of a new famous pop band, she wasn't sure.

“United States of Democratic West,” the laowai continued. “Or, to be exact, a territory it occupies now. The Caliphate claims it's been a part of it for centuries.”

“The what?” Honey asked.

“The Caliphate. What you call Yisilanguo. The place I come from is the only part in the area that doesn't belong to the Caliphate. So it's dangerous there. It's been dangerous there for many years now.”

She nodded, barely listening. She was bored. Couldn't he tell her something interesting – like something about that cute new pop singer from the Sun Origin Islands, the one who wears this super-cute furry pink coat, and has this super-cute face with super-cute earrings and super-cute peach-colored hair. What was his name, Mountain-Rice Field-something, those Sun Origin guys always have weird names, kept using them even after the Great Annexion. If he asked her to marry him she would, really. But no sex before marriage, of course.

The laowai took one of the cups with hot water and handed it to Honey. She sipped from it, but the water tasted strange.

“Hey,” she said. “I thought you ordered water.”

“I did.”

“But this is wine,” she said.

“Oh.” He looked puzzled. “That's weird. Maybe they gave us wine by mistake. Doesn't matter. Just drink it.”

For a while they sat there silently. She'd finished eating and was just waiting for him to pay and go. But he kept sitting there, looking at her thoughtfully.

“You know, I feel pretty lonely,” he said with a smile.

“So many of your people around.” She frowned.

“They are all different,” the laowai said. "They just look the same to you. Mine was a small nation, but it gave the world many great men. For example, have you heard about Einstein?”

“Aisidan,” she nodded. “Sure. He's the laowai who invented electricity. The one who said 'I know that I know lots of stuff' to that laowai king, cuz he was blocking the sun or something. I went to school too, you know.”

He didn't reply.

“So,” she tried, “what happened to your people?”

“Not many are left,” he said. “And those who are usually can't agree with each other.”

There was silence again, then his face suddenly lit up, and he said:

“Today is my birthday, you know.”

“Great,” Honey said indifferently. “How old are you?”

“Thirty-three,” he said. He sipped some of the wine and continued: “I thought that would be a good time to start traveling around the world, you know what I mean? It is a bit boring, have to admit that. My parents still talk about the times when there were more than three countries in the world. Now it's hard to imagine, isn't it? USDW, the Caliphate, China ­­Middle Land, as you call it – and there you go. Nothing else. And people are too similar. In USDW they don't talk to each other, everybody minds their own business. There is a new law there now – you can be arrested if you stand too close to somebody. And in the Caliphate people are always angry, don't know why. Can't really talk to them – they only praise their God and say how evil USDW is.”

“What about Middle Land? Like it here?” she asked impatiently, looking at her watch. No, that was really no ordinary laowai. She knew they were weird and had way too much free time, but not to this extent. This guy was probably mental or something.

“Here the people are too busy,” he said thoughtfully, “and they think too much about money. I've been thinking a lot lately... Something must happen. I don't know what yet, but something must happen. It can't go on like this anymore. The world needs a change. Maybe I'm the one who should do something to bring this change.”

He stood up abruptly, called the waitress, and paid the bill.

“What's your name?” he asked Honey.

“Honey,” she said, rising. “And yours?”

He didn't answer. He just smiled at her once again and then went out without saying a word. Outside, the street was decorated with Christmas trees and shiny bells. Cute Christmas music was playing. People rushed about, in a hurry to buy presents. The tops of the skyscrapers were lost in a thick fog. Cold wind was blowing. And Honey suddenly felt something. She couldn't say what it was, but she wanted to cry. Or call the laowai, tell him she wanted to stay with him and listen to his stories.

But the laowai was already far away. She could still see him walk along Huaihai Road, getting smaller with each step. And for a moment it seemed to her that there was a strange golden glow around his head – sort of a transparent circle. But that must have been her imagination.

 

THE END


Submitted: June 12, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Oleg Roschin. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

ThunderousHunter

I enjoyed this story. I had no idea that the man was jesus until I read about the halo over his head, and then reread the story. I thought that the story was well written, and well detailed. My only critic is that the story is a that this could use more tension to keep the reader moving along, which could be due to the pace and having to decipher what all these foreign words mean. However after the reveal at the end, I thought it was an interesting, well constructed depiction of western-culture jesus popping up in an world dominated by eastern culture to help the destitute.

Wed, December 16th, 2015 12:45am

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind comment! This is my first English-language story ever (I wrote it in 2008), and I initially wrote it for Chinese audience and expats living in Shanghai, publishing it as a note on my Facebook page. That is the reason for the abundance of Chinese words - to make the semi-first-person narrative on the part of a local prostitute sound more authentic. Basically, everything in the story is seen through Honey's eyes, and I tried to represent her narrow, materialistic, completely China-centric worldview as faithfully as I could.

Whether the mysterious stranger is Jesus or not is open for discussion. It's never actually confirmed :-)

Thu, December 17th, 2015 6:14pm

ShadaStorm120

This was a very interesting story. I liked the setting in the time and place and how different it was from now. I honestly hope we don’t turn out like this in 2077. This man was interesting though. I liked how he made it his mission to change the world. I hope he does make it better. I also liked this ending, with him walking away and having what may appear to be a halo above his head, or something. It adds even more mystery to him and raises some questions.
I honestly didn’t fun much wrong with this story. You are a good writer and this was very interesting to read. I think I may have to read more of your stories too.

Fri, February 12th, 2016 8:50pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much for your kind comment, Shada! This was my first story in English, I wrote it in 2008. Actually, all my stories since then are interconnected - they are sequels and prequels to each other, so they can be read as a novel when taken together. For example, we return to the futuristic Shanghai in "Ichthys", meet Honey's granddaughter in "Scarlet Beast", etc. Hope you enjoy my other stories as well!

Fri, February 12th, 2016 10:24pm

Serge Wlodarski

When you started off talking about big orgasms, I had some hope for your dystopian world. But the more I read the more it sounded like America in 2016. I guess some things are universal. Nice story.

Sun, February 21st, 2016 10:39pm

Author
Reply

Haha!.. Thank you for your comment, Serge :-) This is the first thing I ever wrote in English, and it's been a while (2008). For scary orgasms, please check out my short story "Scarlet Beast"! :-/

Sun, February 21st, 2016 11:22pm

Tzivya Wolpertinger

Well, well, well. I see a man who knows how to describe the average woman quite well. It's funny yet sad. This is by far the second work I read from you and I noticed that you have one hell of a signature. The ending always has this magical feeling to it. Good job!

Thu, March 3rd, 2016 2:14pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much for your comment! I do like writing from a female protagonist's point of view, but I'm not sure I'm good at it... In my story "Love Bytes" this becomes particularly important...

Thu, March 3rd, 2016 8:32am

Amy R. Beckett

Thanks for the invite - I liked this a lot. With the concept and the messages you were going for it could have been way too obvious or overdone, but you kept it subtle and thought provoking. Really nice. I'll certainly check out some more of your work!

Wed, April 20th, 2016 5:37pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your kind comment, Amy! This is actually the first thing I've ever written in English (back in 2008). Glad you liked it, I have a soft spot for it myself :-)

Wed, April 20th, 2016 10:15pm

D. Thurmond aka JEF

A good story, well written as always.

Mon, December 12th, 2016 7:48pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much!

Tue, December 13th, 2016 10:11pm

Renard Sarcastique

You certainly have a knack for writing witty short stories! You always find a way to write a unique tale, and it's a pleasure to read. I found this quite humorous, especially the water turning to wine and the halo reference. Fantastic job! Definitely going to look for more to read!

Tue, January 10th, 2017 6:11am

Author
Reply

Thank you very much! This was my very first story in English. I wasn't a Christian when I wrote this.

Tue, January 10th, 2017 12:19am

A. K.Taylor

Nice, quick little short story to start your series off with, Oleg. Very creative and interesting without being to overbearing. Your setting is rather unique , but also on point for your style and eventual continuation of the series. A very nice read. I'll be continuing my adventure with your written adventures. One more fan on the way.

Thu, July 6th, 2017 10:10pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for your kind support, my friend!

Thu, July 6th, 2017 9:40pm

Reagle

Always been a little curious to see how Western myths would work in an Eastern culture. I liked how the interaction with Jesus went down. It's like religion in general - a little boring and plain on the outside, but more meaningful and deep when you absorb the words and feelings. Well done, mate

Wed, July 19th, 2017 5:28pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for your feedback, sir :) Actually, it's more of a "how impenetrably ignorant young Chinese people are" kind of story ;) But it's a satire, so of course I'm exaggerating... a little bit.

Also, this man is not Jesus. He is just a weird wandering Jewish guy who feels at odds with the world. But his words have affected Honey, and she experiences a miraculous change thanks to that.

Wed, July 19th, 2017 11:16am

Mark Reece Healey

Very good story, I enjoyed that! I think your vision of the future is quite realistic. This story can easily be made into a movie. Hey , you never know!

Wed, August 2nd, 2017 12:20pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for the kind words, Mark! :)

Wed, August 2nd, 2017 6:18am

Spyguy

A very interesting tale, frought with symbolism, a true parable of epic proportions, & one that will have the head-scrachers busy for awhile!

Wed, December 27th, 2017 12:57am

Author
Reply

Thank you, my friend! It was my first English-language story, I wrote it nine years ago... But it started the whole futuristic setting all my stories take place in :)

Tue, December 26th, 2017 7:56pm

Blankly-Dreaming

That was beautiful. I'm really glad I decided to check out your works. (To be honest, I'm not a big fan of short stories, but maybe your works could change my mind). It's short yet it leaves me satisfied and the message and depictions you put here really gets to me. I can't explain it! But I love it haha. Just a nice story to read and kinda made me realize some things...

Sat, January 6th, 2018 4:10pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much, my friend! I'm glad you think this way :)) This was the very first story I ever wrote in English!

Sat, January 6th, 2018 8:29am

Facebook Comments

More Science Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by Oleg Roschin

Short Story / Science Fiction

Short Story / Science Fiction

Short Story / Science Fiction