這故事是接上一個故事40天。腦海中記得以前寫過一個似關事又似唔關事的故事。叫日記。50 years 完後，就會希望找到時間執番那故事，修修佢，變成我想寫關於我生長的地方的未來的三部曲。再要大家放心的是，介時不會再是英文。
那為何今次是英文呢？why English when we all know I am not that good at English communication? 答案一是，我真是想參加故事寫作比賽。學你們說，要找個會認真屌你的人屌你的故事才會有進步。而我找不到比賽評審以外更願屌我的人。無奈，我知的比賽，都只收英文故事，逼於無奈。
答案二是。why not? 我聽book podcast 的作者。很多都不是英文first language 照樣用英文寫。那為什麼我不試先？反正到頭來中文又好，英文又好，我寫的都是1999，那又怎樣分別？三幾年後回眸感不堪，總比三幾年後回眸唔敢試好一點。so just give it a go!
Bang Bang Bang. It should be the sound of my head being banged on the wall by those special agents of the Government. But I am not sure. I did feel ferocious pain a sudden ago, but since then I feel nothing. Just the sound. Bang Bang Bang. The raucous cursing and shouting of those special agents, against me I guess but not certain, in my home. The home that June left last evening. I made her do that. “You must go." This is what I said then. My brain is now tuning my audio frequency to the sound made yesterday, that I can hear it now, once again. “You must go. There’s no other way now I can think of." Not only sound, but now my vision is also tuned to that dimension. A dimension where I tell her to leave when I am looking out of that only window in my home to the evening sun glaze on the dull black sea. I glance aslant to where she is. To my right with her back to me, packing up her leafy green bag on the table. Silence. The dimension where she is wearing her turquoise sleeveless dress that covers her till her ankles. Her black straight glowing hair neatly cut to 1 inch above her neck end. The dress armpit line smoothly cuts out her left arm, and the area around her armpit, white under the glowing sun, and the shaded little bulge where her left breast is supposed to be, days ago bare to my eyes, now covered, seductively but splendidly covered.
Clack Clack Clack. What’s left of my nerve and sense of pain brings my audio and vision back to the real now. Being kicked by the special agents. Shit. I still feel pain. Lots of it. Unbearable. It should be the sound of my rib bones breaking by the fierce kicking and stomping. Now I should be on the floor enduring the violence. Yeah violence. A correct word to describe the situation. A correct action to any terrorist. The Government always say. But this now doesn’t take long, as my pain is now catching me unconscious again, leading me back to the sound, and vision, of the yesterday now. “Take the Sony PCM with you." I tell me, lest she forgets. “This is the only thing that will make you remember my being, a being that will be gone forever." “I won’t forget" she retorts, not with anger. I guess, from her pitch, as I still cannot see her face. Followed by a minute silence, followed by her “even without the Blackbox". I can’t still see her face. Just the hair, the turquoise dress, the while armpit, and the tempting shade inches under her armpit, so beautiful but so out of my grasp. That my meeting Mr. Sony has left everything, which used to so close to me, out of my grasp.
Plack Plack Plack. Even my consciousness is now out of my grasp. My nerve and sense are once again brought back from that bluesy now to the tormented now. Holy shit. It should be the sound of my arms and legs being crushed and twisted to angles unendurable to any human being. But luckily, the pain, the unscalable pain, has subsided. I have been fucking anesthetized by my pain. To die should be the next step. But I have lost my grasp of everything. Death is one of these everything. They won’t let me die. Not here. They should resuscitate me a while after, so that I can be brought to fucking something where my evil face can be taken by their devices, so that they can announce to people living in here, and the North, and the Globe, that they successfully, again, to foil a terrorist plot. I will be taken to IFC, a symbol of their determination to crush any attempt to destabilise the regime, and jeopardise the lives and prosperity of their fellow countrymen. A symbol. I am a symbol. A fucking symbol of they win we lose, every time, no exclusion, to ensure the happiness of every decent man and woman. A fucking symbol, which was also what I done to those special agents awhile ago, when they stormed into my house, saying like, where is the Joshua now. Loud, like howling. An evening, when the sun glow stroke right to the black uniforms of the special agents in front of me. Ha….a little bit of pain, but it doesn’t matter now. Now, the howling dark uniform men. The sun was so strong that I could not see their complexion. Face I couldn’t see. Nose I couldn’t see. Mustache or clean I couldn’t see. Mouth I couldn’t see. Eyes, I couldn’t, except the dead fish eye white glowing. That made them look and sound like howling dog. Yeah…in Chinese mythology, there are dogs in the heaven that howl so loud as tearing the heart of spirit in the hell. They are called 哮天犬, meaning dogs whose howling reaches the heaven. A complete opposite. I stood by my table. Silence. Smiled smugly. Or ugly to them the howling dogs. I lifted my arms mid air, palms open to the ceiling. One of the palms had a coin. Then I clenched and turned my fists leaving them still mid air. I said, Puff. I opened my palms facing the floor. Mid air. But no coin. Disappeared. I made a symbol that what they wanted disappeared. And it’s me who done the magic. Puff. And then Bang Bang Bang. And then Clack Clack Clack. And then Plack Plack Plack. And then.
My audio and vision are tuned to another now. Now, I hear the calm black sea. The rotary waves are pushing a lonely boat. Up and down. Up and down. The lonely boat covered by an arch roof made of wood, tin, foam board, and bedding cloth covering where the openings are. Up and down. Up and down. June, alone in the boat, with her turquoise sleeveless dress, leaving the Islet for somewhere. The same lonely girl who came to our Islet decades ago from nowhere. From nowhere to nowhere. Alone. No, not alone anymore. She now has the Blackbox in carrying the music 50 years, carrying Mr. Sony’s messages, his inheritance, and our memory of being closely but briefly together. She may even begin to carry my baby now. Or Mr. Sony’s. I just don’t know. Maybe no baby. Prostitute doesn’t carry no baby. But who cares if she has baby. She has some inheritance from me anyhow, which she may lose it when she lands somewhere, just like she lost all her memory when she landed on our Islet. But she should be sent from somewhere. She should have inheritance at the time. Inheritance doesn’t last. It will be consumed until nothing is left, like candle. Candlelight. Now I see candle light on the boat. Its nighttime in the sea. Ah….it’s beautiful. The moon. The full bright moon. Yeah. It’s mid autumn now. The Blackbox is playing a Chinese song.
Bright moon appears time to time. I, holding my wine, ask the sky:
What’s the year now in the heaven palace?
I want to take a wind back to the heaven, but I am afraid however delicate the buildings there,
Cold up high. Alone, even the dancing shadow.
How better it would be in the heath with people.
I have not asked Mr. Sony why a Gweilo listen to Chinese songs. And there are so many in the Blackbox. I miss it. Now, whatever, whenever, wherever it means, I cannot know where he is. Nor can I know where I am, and where I will be. Except the last moment, when I was dropped the IFC. My clairvoyance now brings me to another dimension, when I am standing at the edge of one of the floors in IFC. So high. So windy. So prosperous and vibrant when I see the southern most city of the North. I jump off and find myself gliding through the air, like a bird, free, descending. The wood. The most beautiful forest in the world. Its view is getting bigger and bigger. Nearer and nearer. I see myself land finally. The wonderful forest. Slowly I find myself turn brown into humus, and blend with the soil surrounding me. The becalming sea and wave washing up the beach. And then I don’t see anything. I can’t hear anything. Feel anything. Complete peace. A farewell to everyone, including myself, I haven’t expected before. But now. That now. I finally feel peaceful with what I have found. Finally found. But my brain still works. In complete dark do I still remember what Mr. Sony said happened here 50 years ago. A scum. A plot. He didn’t tell me that. Maybe he stored a sound record in the Blackbox, in which all the evidence would be revealed. Clear as sky. A shaz …… sound comes out when we press play, then a man or woman I don’t know clearing all our doubt in one go. That may be the reason why Mr. Sony was chased and shot by those howling dogs. Without weapon. Just the Blackbox. Maybe it’s the case. But June and I didn’t run through the whole memory of the Blackbox when we were together. But now, from now on, only June can get it out, if she is not dead on here way to somewhere. Hope she can be lucky enough to land somewhere, and pass the Blackbox to another one, who will then become one of us Joshuas, and pass our message, our weapon, our terror, our fate, on and on.
“It was my dream sometimes," spoke June one night before we slept, or in the middle of the night I can’t remember. Spoke to me, or to herself I was not sure, and she didn’t seem to care. It was one of the nights when Mr. Sony was still with us.
“My dream….I sit on a small boat, dark inside, alone. I know it is daytime, but it doesn’t look sunny outside. I don’t see any shadow of myself, or the boat I am on. Alone. It would be still dark even there is sunshine, as my small boat is covered by an arch built of wood, rusty sticks and foam boards. The arch completely shield me from every view outside except my frontview and rearview. What should be cracks are filled by bedding cloth. It’s a tunnel of which I am in the middle. Alone. No, I am not alone, as I can see tens and tens of, hundreds and hundreds of, small boats like the one I am in, when I look at my front and my back, through that arh tunnel. Tens and tens of, hundreds and hundreds of, small boats moving in synchronous rhythm in the black sea, ups and downs with the rotary waves. Like pulse. Expand this inch of vein, contract the next. Complete and complementing contradiction in every beat. Moving in synchronous speed, and direction, like there is a chain linking the boats that submerges. I don’t know the direction, nor where the boat is heading for. I don’t know if someone on one of those sychronising boats know where we are going. There is no way my voice can reach even the boats next to mine even at the limit of my shouting. They are too far away. Just floating in synchronous ups and downs. Ups and downs, ups and downs, tens and tens of, hundreds and hundreds of boats, from infinity to infinity. And then I wake up, lying here."
Mr Sony was gone finally. Took one of the dinghies on our islets and gone. Terrorists are always in motion, Mr Sony said, like working bees always move back and forth, always ready to take risk, to protect something fragile, inert, but so divine that defines a collective fate of all working bees. What terror you are going to pose to our government, I asked, as I did not ever find out any weapon or accomplice of his. Maybe his Sony Linear PCM was his weapon, I thought at the time, to explode something. But I was proven wrong right away, as he left it with us. And he said he was going to meet his acomplices. Where, I asked. It was my last question to him, which made him give me the last indoctrination speech. He said, “my accomplices are right at the heart of where everything started 50 years ago. The Island, where all my accomplices are jailed and die. They do not have alternative but get killed. But like working bees, it is exactly the time they pose the most terror. You know why the Island becomes one of the most luxurious forests in the region? It’s because the soil is the most fertile in the world. Working bees like us are the continuous fertilizers. The Government in the North has never stopped hunting Joshuas since the Event, taking us to the IFC where we embrace the worst of our fate. The most advanced torture and interrogation in human civilization, perfected by complete automation and Artificial Intelligence, to make sure we give out the best of our information about our comrades. And we then get killed for sure, and dropped on the forest 200m below. The parts of bodies, the flesh and blood, the organs, the bones, the calcium, the nitrate, the carbon. Digested by the largest worms and flies you can’t even imagine. And defecated to be part of the base. Those worms and flies are not easy to be found, as there live also the most efficient predatory frogs, and the most efficient bats and fowls which feed on them in turn. At last, you don’t see anything macabre, but the wood, the shrubs, the epiphytes, the leech and moses, the most embellished ecosystem in the world. But it is the best time of us as well. Joshuas all write diaries of what we believe, and what we saw. The materials we use as ink and paper are neither biodegradable or excretable, so we can tear what we wrote into pieces and put in our digestive system where they stay for life. When we are dropped on the forest, we believe some of our comrades will be swift enough to stealth on the Island and disinter the pieces of diary we wrote before our bodies completely decompose. The belief, the truth, the what happened 50 years ago, are true weapons of us Joshuas; the terror to the leaders here and in the North. In every epoch in human history, true terrorists are never those who hold spears, or swords, or bows, or bombs. True terrorists are those who believe in truth, and hold the truth. Isiah, Jesus, Socrates, Copernicus, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, now the Joshuas, or a nickname I rather, evidence hunters. Now I’m going to hunt for the pieces, to be a working bee again."
Then gone. June and I sitting on that table next to the window, to catch the last glimpse of the dinghy he stole. The two lines of waves getting farther and farther apart from the motor of the dinghy, farther and farther apart from us. June and I were linked together again by that earphone line, converging at that black box, playing this tune.
Mr. Sony is what we called him. But it surely wasn’t his name, which he did not ever disclose. “There are not many gweilo here on the islet are there? You call gweilo and I come. That’s much easier," groaned he when I pursued.
That white guy kept staying with us for several weeks before he left, for his recuperation. He recuperated fast though. One evening, when I came back from my dinghy business, 20 steps to the door did I hear his low-pitch grunting and puffing, that I had no doubt he was fucking June. No agony or rage. What for? As I have said, everyone on the Islet fucked June. She was nurtured for fuck sake after all. Stepping into the house, I saw the back of him planting his leg wider than his shoulder a bit, stuttering violently by my table next to the window. His left hand fiercely latching on the table corner. His right stretching further to clutch June’s left breast, I guessed while I couldn’t see clearly because of the evening sun glow blazing the fuck. His jeans were full down, laying him bare except a pair of woman legs shielding his bum. But the loose denim jacket was still cladded on top. The floor around was dropped with bowl shards and sticky ChaGuo (dessert made with steam rice pudding filled with black bean and wrapped in leaves) I always put on that table. Irritating evening sun glow surrounded that gave this fucking god in denim jacket an aura. The low-pitch grunting and puffing did stop after I came, of course I had no doubt not because of me standing behind. He just laid June’s legs back on the table and dressed up and turned, glaze snapping my eyes not without a slit of guilt and walked his way out. Then saw I June who sat up, tugging her blue one piece wrap hanging on her nipples to where it should be, glaze snapping my eyes showing exhaustion and nothing else, and walked her way to the stove. There left the table like those butcher benches that beasty lust just laid June on like a pig how long ago and how often I never know, and did his thing. No agony or rage. What for?
Step by step he told me what an evidence hunter was. “Do you know who started the destruction?" he carelessly breathed out the question, eyes fixed on his PCM-M10. Destruction? I asked, trying to get some clarification. A minute without a word from Mr. Sony, me and June by the stove. Letting the silence filled by crickets. “What you people call the Event, was actually the most catastrophic destruction in human history by nuclear attack. Funny is what started it was nothing but a prank. Your government called the military from the North to exterminate a fleet of intruders that wasn’t even exist!" Those old people who was there then say it’s a tragic accident I said. “In line with the North government. No conspiracy. Just an heroic tragedy that hints at nothing but pure remembrance. Earning your leaders take a boat trip to that big hole every year to throw those fucking wreaths for solemnity." My English was not good. But still I knew he was mocking us. You think it’s not true I asked. He gave in to cricket chirping again, head up tracing the moth around the light on the wall for another minute. “True or not isn’t what I care. I care about keeping my belief and passing it on. My job done." His eyes attuned back to his PCM-M10 after his soliloquy.
The always listener June stirred up at that point, “You are Joshuas. You are those terrorists who try to ruin our country." “Your leaders air it all day long yeah? You knew it the first day yeah? So why rescued me? Why, you know my wound was down to no one but your government’s agent yeah? Why didn’t you kick me out now yeah? You know you need terrorists. You need it badly. Yeah, I’m to ruin your country if Almighty allowed it yeah. To tear your country apart yeah. To put your people into peril of chaos. It’s all true. It’s my duty. But let’s face it you aren’t happy here are you yeah? Having peace here yeah? Why? Because you don’t satisfy deep in your heart. Rage in your heart. Grieve in your heart. Desperation in your heart. You know you are right in the middle of the hell here peaceful in eternity yeah. The torment. The fire. The fuck. The eternity. The stability. You crave for a crack. A crack that lets someone break in, to give you that change yeah? That’s what Rahab craved. That’s why she lied to those Jericho Kingsmen for those two foreigners like me now yeah? Let them scarlet cord to climb through the window to plant their bomb. To fucking bomb her own country, her own very fucking dam. To let her Joshua in that she didn’t even know is there. Joshua, the terrorist! The first terrorist ever in human history! And she let him fuck her the first day they met. And fucking marry him Did Joshua then bring anything that make life better? No. Did she know that Joshua the terrorist wouldn’t bring anything better to her yeah? Absolutely. But Rahab was satisfied then, by what she craved for, that something finally clenched her desperation. That something finally answered her prayer! Yeah? That crack of getting out of her hell!"
After his oratory, he plugged his earphone into our ears, and played the music. Along he quoted the lyric. That I thought was indoctrination. That I thought it sort of worked.
The birds they sang
at the break of day
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.
No border No chaos No annexation Hence peace Long lasting peace Long fucking hell of peace
It was two days since the white man felt almost dead in front of June’s boat. Two days we were together, taking care of that half-dead man, from wiping his blood that soaked his whole body under the wrap of his oversized denim jacket, to calling one of our folks who knew a little bit of medicine to plug his bleeding hole, to changing the bed sheets constantly drenched with his blood and sweat and urine, to pouring water on his face and chest sunburnt and drained by dehydration. In his complete unconsciousness throughout. Two days I could even have sex with June that I usually can’t. Even I always wanted to have sex with her. June, who usually did nothing except sleeping after coming home from her boat. “I am not even sure if you won’t dip in your folks’ stuff. But you can just come in when I sleep if you really want it." She usually told her joke every time I needed sex so bad. A wry joke. Those two days the caring job got her out of her boat, that we could do it.
June. Always that mysterious girl whom no one knew where she came from and why she was here. All we knew was that, one day, a boat, without anyone driving it, appeared on top of the mangrove on the western side at one solar eclipse. Folks found on board no one but a girl an eight years old, 9 years old we guessed and never know. Because she could not speak a word then. That was the month of June and we found her. Our leaders’ committee on the Islet decided her eponym, and let one of the leaders’ families take her home, there she grew up to a mature, captivatingly handsome woman every man here wanted to fuck, and did fuck. She learned to speak fast. But she did not seem to have any memory of her parents, her home and what happened before she came here. She was as if she was born an eight or nine year-old on that boat as the womb. Also, she did not seem to have any interest in talking. What we called fate that came her way, which should have triggered her emotion, like her family raped her, dumped her out as boat girl, she didn’t seem to be able to show it. She didn’t yell; didn’t laugh; didn’t rant; didn’t crave or groan or moan or howl for anything. Always smile. That wry and dry smile. I love her. And she loved me the time we stayed together. I guess but never be sure, because she didn’t speak or showed her emotion on anything.
The first word that came out of the white man waking up after his two-day coma was not “where am I", but “my black box".
“Black box?" asked I, not a clue of what he meant.
“My black box" repeated he. Perhaps he finally sensed the futility of his repeat from the fogginess mine and June’s faces showed, he ordered, “my coat". In an inside pocket of that blood stained denim jacket did he fetch,
A black box, and a string with a needle or latch at one end and a pair of bud-like devices at the other. He told me later that was a old device called earphone. The while man plugged the needle into one hole of the black box, and then plugged the pair of buds into his ears. He didn’t speak anything, just closing his eyes once again for a long while, but we knew it was an expression of relief.
“Sony Linear PCM," said the white man, indecipherable that we thought he told us his name. So I replied, “Mr. Sony." “No" shunned he me blunt, an expression of impatience because of my interruption. “Sony Linear PCM – M10. The best recorder and player in year 2000."
Year 2000. That was 50 years ago.
He continued, “it was made in Japan."
Japan. A country that didn’t exist at the time. Nor a country anyone here heard of. Heard from those very old folks, it was now called New Liuchiu, which was under Yian prefecture of our country.
The Blackbox, he kept on, human never needed it so bad as now, a time he said we could not even trust the air we breathe. Even the air was connected with the surveillance system he said. This box, the only thing that was in complete oblivion he said, the only freedom in its purity he said.
June and I could not make any sense of what he said at the time. I didn’t challenge the prowess of his Blackbox. But it was definitely not the only thing in complete oblivion. At least, where we lived then at the time, was as forgotten and ignored as that Blackbox. So I thought at the time. Later he told me I was wrong. Much later after his death I inherited his everything, even his name Mr. Sony, his Sony Linear PCM, his earphone, his career as evidence hunter, and his fate –taken to the IFC and die with a hint of evidence to be hunted by another evidence hunter.
Mr. Sony showed us the beauty of what was in Sony Linear PCM. He plugged out his earphone and plugged each of those into one of our ears. Now June and I was linked by string that converged into that Blackbox. Sound came to us so strange and so delicate that we never heard of. Mr. Sony told us later it was called music. Like Japan, a thing that disappeared already with not a sign to human beings now.
「叫雞？」You hear people yelling this to whoever disembarks on one of our over a thousand islets, together being the most extravagant pearl necklace covering the most gorgeous neckline and collarbones of our Country’s lady-like blue body, the South China Sea, if viewed from the outer space. That is what our Country always tells us. The question literally means, you wanna call a chick? It used to be a cheeky and not-so-subtle way of soliciting prostitution services on the streets in old times. Now it only means, do you need a motorboat trip around our islets, which is one of the main income sources of ours, apart from fishing. In Cantonese, 雞 is pronounced “ghie", an higher pitch intonation of 偈/機, meaning the Motor, what we now call those motorboats.
Yeah we do have some foreigners joining our motorboat trip time to time. But those old folks say they cannot compare with the Island’s heyday, that used to attract millions and millions of foreigners for visit and business long time ago, guess before the Event. They say there are some evidences still remaining on the Island where those villains go as their last journey, where if one dares to go. Those huge sundered flyovers along the northern coast of the Island that should be designed for traffic volume we cannot even imagine ever happened in this place. That prison we call IFC whose architectural design hints not a bit at its existing function, that they say used to be one of the tallest commercial buildings in Asia, that they say used to be the most spectacular and luxurious symbol of the vivacity of the Island at that times. Those much shorter concrete remnants surrounding IFC, dot-spreading the middle of the Peak, the abandoned southern coast of the Island, spared but guess not for long by the rampage of the tropical forest re-colonisation since the Event. They say those remnants are the evidences of what a forgone and forgotten place called Hong Kong represented once upon a time. Big government and bureaucracy, astronomical riches, capitalism to the prime, advanced culture to the fore, utmost greed and corruption rotten to the marrow. They say, one Chief Executive, the leader of the place-used-to-be, whose name they scantily remember as Wong, gave a powerful speech to the people-used-to-be, that “this place, and with her what we preciously hold and proudly show, our core values, our virtues, our pursuit of the most pristine form of civilisation, will withstand and thrive, against however great the challenges, crises and damages, from Nature or Human or Other Species." Huh, they say, but this place could not withstand the Event, a mistake or conspiracy no one can tell still, a damage beyond any kind of heal for sure, a sword struck right through this vampire where his heart is with the tip blade coming out the other side. All the spell and ghoulish blood that used to make it so powerful got sucked out violently off this creature. Those greed and corruption. Those bureaucracy. Those riches. Those which they used to call civilisation. Those prime quickly decayed into putrescence, reclaimed bit by more and faster bit by what it had been much earlier. Tropical forest. where here should be, at the Northern latitude 22.3 degree. To tell what that Wong said was such a romantic joke.
「叫雞？」I kept yelling in that afternoon I met him, at the end of the jetty of the Islet I lived. That white guy with goaty mustache and was wrapped in a blue denim jacket that obviously too big to him. He stepped off his ferry from the North, the land which they say used to be part of that Hong Kong, walked at such a slow pace that told me something should have happened to him. Sick or other things I did not know then. Even more odd, that slow walker wrapped his jacket in a way that I could not even see his arms and hands. No hint. Not even a piece of shoulder joint. 「要艇?」I pursued my asking. A Cantonese that now means do you want a prostitute. Prostitution is also one of the pillars of this place, even though no one wants to speak out this fact. Not even our Country. Prostitution service is provided on a small rowing boat, on which a prostitute handles the oars. One calls I want a boat, that is what 「要艇?」literally means, we arrange him to get on the small boat he chooses. The girl then rows the boat out with him to the water we don’t care to watch, where she lets the man control the boat, and everything on board.
That white guy did not answer. But did he not seem he got nothing of what I said. He seemed to use up what was still left of his might to nod. It is not a custom to touch your customers. So I just stand at a distance in his front, to guide him to those boats while attending him. When we walked, at that snail speed, to the boat where June (六月) rode, that white man fell. Fell like dead.