Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Self-Important Jerk Builds House in front of Every Montana Peak
Sieverts' latest mansion sits directly in front of Elephant-
head Mountain outside of Livingston.  
Area Man Says Quest to Build Homes Soothes Ego and Extends Penis

(KB) BILLINGS, MT - With land prices at a ten-year low, Alan Sieverts has been buying up scenic lots across the state in an on-going effort to build a giant home on each vista for all passers-by to see.
    "I grew up in a middle-class suburban area where every home kind of looked the same," he says.  "What I'm trying to do here is build several homes in front of several different Montana peaks to emphasize my wealth over others'." 
    Sieverts arrived in Montana in 2007, shortly after selling off his marketing company in San Francisco for around seven gazillion dollars.  He came to Montana because he'd seen the state's vast, sweeping scenery in his favorite movie, The Horse Ejaculator.


rejected submissions to the paper:

Monday, August 1, 2011


 “What experience qualifies you for the law offices of Sphincter, Schpass & Succotash?”

“In 2008, I was instrumental as number-two prosecutor in diffusing tribal warfare in the Bamiyan state of Afghanistan.”


“That’s what I said.”

On his way out of the building, Juju Jarabek glances upward at the changing spring weather.  He’s walking through Savignyplatz.  He walks past his hotel apartment, the Aida, without the stomach to go up and spend any time alone in his wooden room.   The neighbor below always complains about his walking across the floor. 

Despite only having a few hundred Euros left to his name, Juju directs himself straight for the Irish pub near LudwigKirchplatz. 

It so happens that the World Cup Finals are going on and the match is being televised on beautiful, wide-screen, plasma displays - live from South Africa.  The pub is stuffed with various sausage-faces cheering on their respective teams.  Slovakia is playing the Netherlands, and it’s somewhat of an east v. west rivalry for the gassed Europeans in the room.  Juju enters without a scarce hint of interest for soccer.  After all, he is of Ohioan descent. 

Shortly after ordering his glass of lager, a Dutch sausage approaches him in full team regalia. 
“Drinking ‘at piss?  Slovak wanker!” he says. 

Juju looks up in mid-sip to see a bendy beanpole-link of a man, staring redly at him with the expectation of a response. 

“I disarmed Babushkas on Lebršnik of Herzgovina while you were sucking horse-milk from your mother in the Oude Kerk,” Juju says.

“What?” the bendy beanpole says.  “American, what?”

His nose was monstrous.  It was like a taco chip on the face of a photograph.  Juju watched the nose as it turned and glided over to its gang of plaster foreheads. 

What Juju really wants to do is tell his story, but it seems that at every opportunity he is met with the suavely disinterested, the utterly confused or just mockery.  He waits gallantly to unveil the lengthy tale of his enlistment into the army at Barberton, Ohio’s Wooster road recruitment center, then his deployments to Bosnia, Kuwait, Fort Stewart in Georgia and then  Afghanistan.  
The Netherlands scores a point against Slovakia.  The room goes wild, except for the east-European portion, who mock the celebration by pouring pitchers of Budweiser over a pretzel effigy of French President Sarkozy and singing Only You

Juju Jarabek finds himself flat-footing outward into the Berlin evening.  There’s a certain place he’s obligated to visit.  It’s a tall cathedral in Kreuzberg, not far from a remnant stretch of the infamous wall.  Juju chooses it for its calm silhouette against the east-German sky, and the fact that there is a secret boulevard walked by central Asian prostitutes around the corner.

Before going underground to the trains, he decides on his favorite evening meal, a bag dinner from the Turkish kebab stand on Uhlandstrasse.  As the Berliners know, your best dinner comes from such a place, and for a reasonable price, too.  As Juju would say, they make a damn good taco.

“I shall break bread with thee,” Juju tells the man serving his kebab platter.  “And a bottle of Erdunkel as well.”  

“No bier, my friend,” says the server.  He then nods toward a yellow-lit shop just a few strides away.
“The Moslem world,” Juju tells the man.  “I know your depravation.  I know your desperation.”
“Frittes with that?”  the man asks.

“I drank camel’s milk from a battery cell when sandstorms swept the bulk of Kuwait for seven months.”  
“No problem, my friend,” says the sweet-breathed Arab.  “Seven Euro, please.”

Feeling rather lit, our man finds his entrance to the subway.  He boards the train without a ticket because the payment for transportation relies one’s honor.   Juju’s honor was exasperated during his heart-wrenching tours of troubled regions.   He has no honor left for providing a fare to travel a mere 2.8 kilometers over to Kreuzburg.  He’d rather suck the poisoned blood out of a black Talibani’s snake bite.
As a U-Bahn official walks by him, Juju shrinks in his seat.  He is afraid to tears that he’ll be caught without a ticket.  But the man beside him is cramming a sandwich down his throat and the official walks by without a tick.   Juju has just felt the adrenaline of a Korean whore approached by a Pakistani dirt-bag on Macao’s Sun-Yat-Sen boulevard.  Or perhaps it was the emptiness of an Indian metrosexual dropping his mobile phone into the biggest rain puddle in central Leicester, England.

Coming above ground, our man is greeted with a boisterous crowd of young, god-speaking youth.  Actually, they are speaking about the absence of god.

 Juju’s church looms on the near horizon.  Without breaking step, he directs himself toward the shadow and within minutes finds himself on the dark avenue leading up to the cathedral’s vacant thigh-span.   
It’s the church-scape that Juju has frequently placed himself before since arriving by train from Hamburg.  It is his bi-weekly climax.   He does not enter, but kneels on the lawn and faces the southern tower.  He then proceeds to repeat his single confession of a lifetime:  the confused killing of a young man in Afghanistan.

“We went on normal patrol through the village.  It was early morning and I had skipped my coffee.  Private Hedgebend was buggin’ the hell outta me with his Jay Leno impressions.  We came around this corner and saw a family or something getting water out of a well.  Hedgebend started talking in his stupid accent about how fuck-worthy the daughter was.   It was pissing me right off.  This kid comes out of a door with a god-damned tree-trunk in his hands and I just pull my trigger.  I shot the kid down and he hits the ground all bleeding everywhere.  The tree-trunk is on top of him.  Hedgebend starts saying ‘what the f-, what the f-?!’ and so we took off running.”

“Before I ran, I looked at the mother and she made eye-contact with me.   She looked at me like I was a god or something.   Yes, like I was a god.  But she was crying.”

“Lord, have mercy on my soul,” Juju says.  “I am not you.  Lord, have mercy on my soul.”
Having taken care of his bi-weekly confession, our man sets out into the colorful Kreuzberg nightfall.  The smell of Lebanese folk is everywhere.  The aforementioned ‘whore alley’ is right around the corner, but Juju doesn’t like to go straight into it.  He prefers to lumber about the neighborhood an hour or so before pretending to stumble across it accidentally.

“Why are the Russian girls taking everything over?” He thinks to himself.  “Would it kill ‘em to put an Uzbek, or a Turk, or an Iraqi girl out here?”  (Juju really wants to have sex with a Muslim fairy) 
It’s true, the alley is full of Russians again.  When Juju was in Budapest he got a Russian girl.  The only thing she could say in English was: “I don’t give a fuck.”  If he asked her name, she replied “I don’t give a fuck.”  If he asked her what she liked to do, it was “I don’t give a fuck.”  If he asked her what the capital of Russia was, it was “I don’t give a fuck.”

Not having a choice, really, Juju takes another Russian girl to an hourly-room off Arndtstrasse.  The room is small and bare, but there is a crucifix and small print of a beachscape in Phuket or someplace hanging over the bed. 

As the girl sleeps in her underwear, Juju takes photos of her with his digital camera.  And he sets the timer and hangs the camera from a nail, as to take a photo of them lying together.  When she wakes up, she sees the camera hanging on the wall and takes it, erasing the photos.

“When I was stationed in Fort Stewart,” Juju says to her, “we used to go to the tattoo parlor and get tattoos of each other’s girlfriends.   It was-“

“I don’t give a fuck,” she says.

After paying the girl, Juju finds himself with very little cash at all.  But he was sure to save enough to buy a phone card, so that he can phone his mother back in Barberton, Ohio.

“We were up in the Jhorgal valley, Ma,” he tells her.  “We were up and down all day every day.  The further in we’d go, the heavier fire we’d come under.  It was like a finger trap.  We kept asking ourselves why we were there, and what we were doing there.  One of the guys in B Company told us that the reason we went hard on that valley was because the Taliban were protecting the real Garden of Eden up above.  The actual Garden of Eden, ma!  They would do anything to keep us from reaching it.  It was sacred to them too, you know?  All we kept telling ourselves was that we were doing this for the Garden of Eden.  We were going to save the Garden of Eden.”

“I know Juju,” his mother says.  “I know.”  




Finally, after seven years of working as a luncheonette delivery driver all over the town of Whitesville, Indiana - delivering sandwiches, salads and diet cokes to small office buildings - and dividing his paycheck into a separate savings account, all the while attending Mandarin Chinese night courses at the local community college, our 33-year-old hero Donald “no duck” Rodriguez has afforded a plane ticket, a time-off request and a one-month journey through the culture, the mystery and the landmass of the People’s Republic of China.  Congratulations, Donald, you’ve done your country proud.

Upon arriving at the Beijing airport, our hero was nimble and quick to put his language skills to immediate and practical use when he instructed the taxi driver; “dào yŏuhăo bīnguăn zài xīshōu lù.”  What followed this chattered command was a tense moment, but then a nod of understanding and an affirmative “ok” by the driver.  The fare flag was dropped and a private inward gush of adrenaline flooded our tax-paying patriot.  Congratulations, Donald, you now speak Mandarin Chinese. 

Five days in Beijing, what an exercise!  The Great Wall of China is greater, longer and more confining than ever imagined!  The Forbidden city is much too secret for words!  The hutongs lining the old northside could have been ripped directly from their Ming Dynasty scrolls!  There remains one note of regret, however; our hero was late and unsuccessful in finding and tapping his tongue to the much spoken-of Beijing Roast Duck.  Consequently, his most shameful moment followed, when he visited the Hooter’s restaurant in the Chaoyang embassy area.   It can only be explained as a quick burst of cultural fatigue and like a Lockhart Road cocksucker, Donald needed some sort of familiar comfort.  He apologizes profusely to himself for allowing it to happen, as the food was of nearly Whitesville, Indiana standard and the lack of Chinese busties itself was a bit depressing.  He felt his expectations were so shallow and lewd for such a far, profound people.  Congratulations, Donald, you’ve now conquered the initial stage of culture shock.

We shall not spoil the reader’s appetite for China by debriefing Donald’s indescribable first weeks in the country.  After all, how would one adequately put a lone American’s brush with stinking humanity in such eloquence and truth as it were experienced?  It simply cannot be done.  I can merely describe Donald’s route, leaving the stiff-making sights, sounds and smells for our reader’s imagination, or their memory, or perhaps their oncoming visit in person.  Let it be understood that from Beijing, our hero so predictably traveled by train to Xi’an.  Xi’an: the former home of several ancient dynasties and situated beside the vertically rugged Huashan, a famed mountain of Chinese lore and tradition that makes a mockery of those who so zealously cling to its loins and cleavage in an effort to “mount” it.   Not before taking a rented bicycle a single lap around the Xi’an city wall and quoting Li Bai at specific yet inappropriate sights from its battlements, Donald continued south by bus to the Yangzi port city of Chongqing.  The rawness, wetness and the stank, liquid shit on the streets of Chongqing simply frightened him, and so without stepping out of the port area called Chaotianmen, he swiftly jumped onto the next cruise heading downriver through the Three Gorges to whitewashed and franchised Yichang, Hubei.   Congratulations, Donald, you’ve thus far avoided traveler’s discomfort with tactful and logic-minded decisionry.  You’re flying high enough to avoid the nasty grit of portside hotel rooms, yet hanging low enough to accept a massage from a sixteen-year-old prostitute.

From Yichang to Wuhan, from Wuhan to Changsha, then to fantastically black and corrupt Guangzhou, the villages of Guizhou, the gay bars and washed up ex-pat community of Chengdu and finally to Yunnan Province, the destination where this treatise finds it’s crux.  Yes, Yunnan, relatively high in it’s HIV count, drug trade and countercultural activity.  Make no mistake, our hero was there.  And, for the sake of all history professors, I shall place a date on Donald’s arrival to Kunming, the provincial capital.  Let’s call it June 22, 2007.  At such a declaration you may be falling from your seat, as you were assured somehow that this be a fictional work.  Au contraire, this is not a fictional work, everything is true.  I watched it all happen from a safe distance averaging about ten meters away at any given point.  Our man scarcely ever looked back.

Before charging ahead into Donald’s newfound affirmations of Yunnan, let’s transport backwards in time to an alcohol-fueled discussion as it was had by Donald and a coworker in the Old Chicago bar and grill of Whitesville two months prior.  Donald spoke of the Everett Ruess’ and Chris McCandless’ of the world:  

“These people are simply fed up with the illusion of modern comfort.  That’s right, the illusion of modern comfort.  Do you find bills and automobiles and taxes for war and corporate dictatorships and the general pollution of the entire world comforting?”

The other guy took a chug of his Hamm’s and continued to watch the Badgers slam the Gophers on the big screen.

“It’s simple,” he says.  “We, the intelligent species, have far surpassed our technological requirements, and that any further progress will drive us out of human civilization and into sexless automation.  We are traveling at high speeds, far from our hearts and isolating ourselves from our true, god-fearing nature.  We are seeking an existence planned out by the sickly sober mega-machine!”

When Donald starts drinking, his tongue starts flapping in any general direction toward any lame ear and his rhetoric performs acrobatic stunts from one high ideal to the next.

“Eventually, one finds themself in a situation where they demand the simplicity, the happiness and the intoxication of a distant paradise, naked and invisible to the automatic transmission.  Who hasn’t searched mentally or physically?  Who hasn’t heard the names?  Shangri-la, Shambala, Utopia, Oahu?   Legions of people go in search of it!  Take Ian Baker or Joseph Rock: unyielding seekers of spiritual and biological stupefication!  Take the millions of luxury hotel patrons ingesting Conde Naste and other such propaganda!   Strip down on the beach and show off those mutated bodies that our feeding machine has produced!” 

Touchdown, Badgers.  Kick is good.  Another swig of Hamm’s.

Donald is not fooled.  He knows that true paradise is riddle-wrapped, evasive and lined with mirrors.  It’s not something one can photograph or advertise.  It cannot be accessed by jet airplane, or Dodge Caravan, or even hallucinogen.  And it’s certainly not something a corporation or government can manufacture.  God knows they’ve tried.  In 2001, the Chinese government renamed the unassuming mountainside town of Zhongdian to Xiāng gé lǐ lā.  That is the Mandarin translation of the English word, Shangri-la. 

“The name Shangri-la makes me want to puke,” Donald says.  He’s been thoroughly irked since reading the internet-news article from the safety of his lunch-break one day. “The city’s former name, Zhongdian, just meant something nondescript and normal, something like central county.”

If you haven’t heard, the name Shangri-la was first invented by James Hilton in his book, Lost Horizon.  It is described as a remote, high-mountain monastery, isolated from contemporary civilization, where people live to be two-hundred years old and angel-faced, virgin know-nothings roam a wistful, gurgling valley.  The book is obviously fictional and Hilton had never even traveled to Asia. 

“Besides, Mr. Hilton is quite vague in placing it anywhere particular on the map,” Donald declares, “other than it was most likely somewhere in the Kunlun mountains of Central Asia - certainly not central county, Yunnan, Province.”

The Chinese party, so eager these days to turn pristine wilderness or honest little countryside into tourism cash (half of the time failing, leaving massive concrete cadavers all over the place) realized the pop-awareness of Hilton’s Shangri-la as it sent exotic and erotic chills up the limp spine of the spiritually-starved west.  As Donald might say, “Bada-bing bada-boom”, they grabbed Zhongdian by the neck, gave it a tourist-friendly face-lift, a finance injection and a fictional name which had previously no connection whatsoever to the town.

And so, coincidentally, we also find our hero, Donald “no duck” Rodriguez in Yunnan province, home of the official Shangri-la.  He just happens to be passing through, as he is mimicking the cloudy path of Danny “boy” Snydon.  Danny “boy” was a smart, multilingual traveler on break from Brigham Young University (god save him) who traveled the area and disappeared without a trace in 2004.  He had come up through the Tiger Leaping Gorge, a massive canyon that cradles the young Yangzi River; a marvelous wonder for anyone to see. How possible could it be that our “boy” met his fate sadly jerking off the ledge of the treacherous canyon trail? Then again, Snydon was said to be spotted in upriver by some restaurant owners at the time he would have already finished trekking the gorge.  His whereabouts remain unknown, yet his legendary latter-day sainthood shines clear and bright.   Donald “no duck” Rodriguez’s thoughts are that Snydon hit northwestern Yunnan and decided to cut lose from the glossed promises of western society, lose the stinky coat of Mormonism and marry a young, plump, dark skinned, red-cheeked local and vanish from the deception of western romanticism of the orient, as opposed to milking it.  Did I mention the local girl had large, yak-milk breasts?

I was there, at least ten meters back.  I saw Snydon from afar.  I thought he looked happy enough, so I didn’t bother him.  So often a person who looks happy is bothered by other people who aren’t happy, because those unhappy people are wanting to suck the happiness out of the happy one and horde it for themselves, consume it ‘til it’s gone, then go off to find another unassuming suck. 

If you want to find him, check the evergreen forests northwest of Lugu lake.  I only say that because his father has been looking for him since 2005.  If you are just looking to sap off his happiness, then you can go search for him due west of the Tibetan village of Deqen, right over the edge of the two-thousand-foot cliff you’ll also find there. 

Donald is not looking for Snydon – per say.  He is simply intrigued by the glorious outcome for such an intrepid, young Billy goat.  If there is a paradise, Danny “boy” Billy-goat Snydon must have found it.

One morning at about 6 am Donald was standing in the loading lot of the Zhongdian bus station.  He’d just met another American guy standing there, getting on the same bus.  That boy’s name was Winston.  They stood on the pavement seeing their own breath coming out before themselves and the great mountainous panorama of Northern Yunnan, and Winston said, “Man, you smell that?  Like a truck-stop at dawn?”  They gazed outward to the fleshy line of mountain.  “Feels fuckin’ great!”  he said.  Donald liked him a lot.  Donald liked his apparent comfort with discomfort and openness with oncoming uncertainty.  Winston gave him the feeling that they’d both been stuck at the same desolate rest area outside of Akron, Ohio. They both were eager in breathing the air before them. Winston was really tall and handsome and Donald really respected the fact that he didn’t have Chinese girls hanging all over him.  The man was somehow smart enough to resist the deluge of life-ending temptations that a young, intelligent and healthy white dude in China would face at that time.  Winston was somewhat rare.  

They got on the bus; it was going eight hours north into western Sichuan, or, the Tibetan region traditionally called Kham.  There was even another white guy from England sitting in back there with them who we’ll call Alastair the Red, and then another big-nosed couple in the very front seats: a curly black-haired dude with his greatly figured girlfriend who were both from Argentina.  Donald admits to producing a few fantasies about that female in particular, even as far along as last weekend at his apartment in Whitesville, Indiana.

Donald “no duck” Rodriguez has learned not to sit in the front seats of a bus, despite how beautiful the view is through the wall-sized windshield.  Just one week earlier, on a bus going from Guangzhou to Guilin, the driver entered a dark tunnel and rear-ended a slow moving, full-sized semi trailer full of dirt.  The rear end of the trailer instantaneously appeared where the front two seats of the bus had previously been.  It crushed a guy where he sat.  Everyone else was running around bloody kicking out windows and such, as the emergency escape got blocked by a metal rail which had fallen downward into “default” mode.  Donald “no duck” Rodriguez and the young, lovely seatmate beside him were quite far back and wearing danger-repellent crystals on their wrists which they had bought in Zhuhai.  The lovely seatmate ricocheted off of the seat in front of her and ended up in the aisle.  Donald valiantly helped her to her feet.  Her Chinese head was square and enormous, therefore making her somewhat top-heavy, and she benefited much from Donald’s guiding arm.  At any rate, the two got out unscathed.  The companion of the poor, dead soul in the front seat was in such a state of shock and disbelief that she didn’t realize her man was crushed until about forty-five minutes later when they pulled his body out of the wreckage and dirt.  They were college students from Jiangxi.  

So, back in Zhongdian, the Argentineans were sitting front-and-center in the glory seat, Donald was sort of middle-right, Winston was behind Donald, then the Englishman had arrived late so he was in the back seat.  The rest of the seats were populated by the locals.  The bus was a twice-a-week deal that had to go over about two different mountain passes and traverse three river valleys.  For the passenger’s sake, Chinese buses enjoy playing kung-fu movies and music videos on a television attached above the driver’s head.  On this particular journey, the driver chose a selection of pop-Tibetan style ballads of which the climactic spots were all mostly screeching cries of Sakyamuni herself for minutes at a time in high, flowery meadows.  These sweat-inducing climaxes became increasingly touching when the rig was cruising within pebbles of losing traction and catapulting over thousand-foot precipices into bouldered rivers far below.  A wife sitting cliff-side captured the entire trip on her videocamera.

There were a couple stops along the bus journey, the most interesting being a flat tire in a small un-named town where most of the passengers got out and pissed on a pile of garbage.  I don’t think anyone bought anything.  The funny thing about this stop was that, after everyone got back on the bus and the tire had been repaired, the driver came around asking for an extra twenty kuai from everyone.  The locals willingly pulled out their cash and paid, but the foreigners, of course, were conflicted.  They all initially thought that it was a scam.  After some interpretations by Winston (whose Chinese skills were remarkably fresh) and some consultations back and forth between the pussy-foots, the two white guys and Donald dished out their twenty RMB each.  The Argentinean couple, however, refused to pay.  They had their tickets in hand and their big noses, saying, “we paid for this ticket, we pay no more.  We go to Xiangcheng with this ticket.”  Etc.  Donald watched the tan-skinned South American as she used her lips and shoulders with an authoritative air.  Nevertheless, in such a situation, a Chinese driver will camp out with his legs on the wheel, open up a new pack of cigarettes and just start smoking.  He will play games on his cell phone.  It was a sort of ‘pit-the-passengers-against-themselves’ move; which works, because when the bus isn’t moving, people start arguing.  The local Chinese weren’t shy in vocalizing their impatience.  But luckily, the wise-butt character, Winston, explained the situation to the Argentinean base in such a way that Larry McMurtry might admire, hence convincing them that paying the extra 20 RMB was worth it.  

The official reason for the surcharge, as explained to Winston by the driver, was that the main road was closed due to a rockslide, and he was forced now to drive around the obstacle up a separate canyon, therefore raising the fuel price.   Donald’s personal opinion was that the driver was saving his own ass, as he had blown a tire on the trip.  Donald is no duck.  He, to this day, argues at car repair garages and Chinese buffet restaurants across Indiana that he and the other passenger’s donations went straight to the tire cost, not a fuel surcharge.  And when he gave this opinion to his fellow passengers on the bus, there wasn’t much argument.  Congratulations Donald, you’ve cracked the code to rare, manipulative, transportation practice.  Then again, what does it really matter?

Our hero and his comrades were up and running again, channeling down straightaways, railing around corners with the huge drop-offs and such.  After a couple harrowing passes, they had reached the highest pass which stood before the final descent into the Xiangcheng valley.  The driver stopped the bus and they all got out, looking down on the remote town.  Tibetan stupas and homes were here and there about the hillsides.  A big triangle of blue sky shifted betwixt the white, white clouds.  It was very picturesque and such. It was what you might expect in Western Sichuan, anyways.  From that point on there was no use for fuel, as they speedily coasted all the way down the mountainside down into the foothills and right through downtown Xiangcheng, stopping at an empty lot on the east end of town. This lot happened to be the bus station.  The bus driver told Winston that they could catch the next 8-hour bus to Litang the next morning at 6 am.  Soon after, he and his bus vanished. 

At this point, a new passenger caught Donald “no duck” Rodriguez’s eye.  This passenger didn’t speak to anyone, he was just there.  He was a lone guy, who had been staring unnoticably out the window the entire journey.  He could have been Chinese, but Donald’s own ‘procedure of identifying Asian nationalities’ assumed he was Japanese.  This was also because the man didn’t really communicate with the locals very readily, and, he was wearing cowboy boots under his well-fitted jeans.  The young man was very sharp and silent and comfortable with himself.   The other foreigners asked him his plan, such as if he was catching the bus the next morning. In fact, he wanted to catch a car onward to Daocheng right then and there. It was uncertain what language he naturally spoke between his rough English, Chinese and chickenish body language.  The crowd swiftly discovered from a passing monk that there was no car to Daocheng until the next day.  It broke up the party and the unknown man took off up the road to find his own accommodation.  The rest of the travelers were pained at his unsociability and even went as far as to self-assess their own conduct.  Eventually, they forgot it and all followed a buxom tout across the empty lot to an advertised guest house in an old Tibetan mansion where livestock were still wallowing in the dirt of the first floor. 

Contrary to what Donald “no duck” Rodriguez and the red-headed Brit would have thought, Winston the marvelous was not so interested in going out to sample the Xiangcheng nightlife, despite his happy-go-lucky attitude and all that nonsense.  No, Winston chose the early night, while Donald and his newfound Derbeyshire friend, Alistair, took to the village streets in search of hot dinner and a good time.  They dithered around in an evening vegetable market, where Alistair was greatly pleased with the vegetable selection, their plumpness and their quality.   Donald, on the other hand, had eyes wandering outward, toward the streets, where high-booted local females were clicking along the cement in short coats and skin-wrapped pants –in another sort of plumpness.  The duo found a Sichuan style eatery, scarfed down the two plates of food and left, both alight and greatly satisfied.

They headed toward a monastery on a hill, but shortly cancelled their walk when darkness came and the night chill thwarted them.  Had they been gay, it would have been a very romantic turn of events.  However, they weren’t.  Instead, a neon-lit, second floor disco took their attention.  Although Donald “no duck” Rodriguez was somewhat the expedition leader, he felt an ounce of fear from the sight, and it was Alistair who eventually persuaded him that they go around back of the building and find the stairwell up.  They walked onto an empty dance floor, with disco lights and music and lasers at full intensity.  The local staff greeted them with an almost stupefied conduct yet managed to find a table with two chairs among the emptiness for them to drink beer.  The beer was called Blue Sword.   Within a half hour, phone calls had been made and the place was channeling people in, all with the intent to catch a glimpse of the two big-noses sitting against the wall.  Soon enough, an entire production was underway where the local Tibetans, male and female, were in a giant circle on the dance-floor doing all traditional-like and entreating the guests into joining.  A swarm of older liquor-drinking gents approached our duo’s table first, courting the two to drink with them, which was a successful campaign. Before long, our two heroes were in active joy amongst the Tibetan dancers, hand in hand, with white sashes swinging from their necks and all.  It was brilliant.  Of course, as narrator, I was condemned to a 10-yard separation and therefore only witnessed the crowd’s collective ecstasy from my corner-trap table and warm bottle of beer.  

It may have been the happiest day of Donald’s life.  He was loved, he was appreciated, and his long-practiced dance moves were admired –even copied.  Furthermore, within the hour, a young and plump Tibetan girl, much like Danny “boy” Snydon’s large-titted Lugu dominatrix, came knocking at Donald’s proverbial door.  She was lush and shy and gushing all at the same time.  She was a Lala.  Donald was mystified.  He, in his 33 years, had never been approached, ever.  His mystification was only complicated by the girl’s forwardness and the encouragement of the liquor-drinking gents behind her.   The drunk men were signaling to him with closed palms on their cheeks, in a sense, the “sleeping” gesture.  They pointed to the Lala and re-emphasized their forecast.  They expected him to go home with her.  It was rather obvious.  It was the natural course.  It was like watching a team of half-naked joggers lolly into a park where police dogs were in training. 

Unfortunately, the prospect was so foreign to our hero, so strange and unheard of, that he was frightened out of his wits.  Donald “no duck” Rodriguez was instantly transported back to the only girlfriend he’d ever had, in Whitesville, Indiana.  A red-headed cancerian who’d taken pity on our hero and taken him in.  She’d loved him and guided him and taken his fat chubby many times over, until one day she felt wasted and took off to Los Angeles to write for television dramas.  She was never seen again. 

Donald was so flustered and afraid of the advances that he had to summon his Chinese skills and tell the plump Lala that he already had a girlfriend, and could not talk to a woman anymore.  It’s sad, because Donald did not have a girlfriend, and hadn’t had one for years.   Despite her single tug of disbelief, Donald maintained his resistance until the young girl tore away, almost in tears.  She was so fond of his dancing and singing and facial hair that she could hardly take no as an answer.  It was an attraction of traditional values for her.  It was a nonsensical knee-jerk fright of his.  And the girl fled the disco, and Donald was vexed for perhaps his entire lifetime because of that single three-minute episode.  The liquor-drinking gents were saddened as well.  Congratulations Donald, you’ve managed to solidify your stalwart American indifference toward the naked humanity of the rest of the world. 

In fact, there was one instance during Donald’s journey that I have been ignorant to not mention.  It was during his trek of the Tiger Leaping Gorge of Yunnan Province.  Perhaps it will shed light on the previous, tragic outcome.  

Foreign travelers, such as Americans, Europeans, Israelis and fuck knows who else prefer to survey the Tiger Leaping Gorge by way of the high trail.  It is a horse trail carved into the cliffside of the gorge, high above the commercially exploited tourist road far below.  Along this trail, there are small merchants from point to point selling snacks and water.  At midway, you’ll find a grouping of guesthouses and cabins for overnight stay, food and beer.  Quite a nice setup, I’ll say, and Donald “no duck” Rodriguez never felt so engaged in his “discovery” than he did there.  On the other hand, Chinese tourists much prefer the lower road, where massive bus routes, campouts, concrete steps, kebab stands and even a Karaoke tent populate the route.  Either way, the massive stone lodged into the Jinsha jiang from which the tiger had apparently leaped is easily visible.  The greatest advantage of the high road is, in fact, the view and proximity of the 5,500 meter peaks just adjacent to the river gorge.  They are frozen and sharp and absolutely magnificent.  The high road is where we find Donald, hiking with a cheap umbrella to protect his french skin from the scorching sun striking straight through the thin atmosphere. 

The guesthouses at midway are family run places with the parents dodgily hording the massive income and sending their pre-teen daughters to take orders from the travelers all benched out on the large deck which overlooks the aforementioned icy peaks and the river canyon below.  The Americans and Europeans who frequent the deck party late and drink hard – as they are in some sort of “paradise”.  But pity not, the young sisters running beers and dry chicken dishes back and forth are wise to the situation.  They have learned for years to treat the party members like absolute garbage, as the members act it on a nightly basis.  It’s not like there’s an institution of tipping in place, thank god.   When 1 or 2 am rolls around, the youngsters are not shy in batting the wasted party out and into their rooms, easily discarding any possible drunken, pedophilic marriage vow or queer invite. 

But Donald had no interest in the pre-teen daughters.  He found them genius and quite amazing, but his eyes were fixed firmly on the shapes and handles of a Norwegian-Korean woman of about 26 sitting across the table.  Remember, this deck of paradise was filled to capacity with cheapskate Italians, door-frame Norwegians, Germans, Polish Chicks, confident American dipshits, Canadian clairvoyants and even your odd clown of Korean or Japanese descent.  It was joyous, happy and fun and laughter was had by all, except for a certain British couple who had decided early-on to not take part in the festivities, but watch from their table.  Even I, the spook in a dark corner, pitied them.  

The Nor-Kor woman was sitting there chatting it up with one of the Italians, named PooPoo.  She was gushing uncontrollably much like Danny “boy” Snydon’s busty dominatrix and much like Donald “no duck” Rodriguez’s red-cheeked Tibetan lush had done before in this narrative.  Italians have their ways, you know.  But I knew an Italian once who kissed a Uygher girl in a bar and we had the whole Uyghur separatist movement after us within minutes.  Those separatist dudes are all fuckers anyways.  “Separate from what?  Humanity?”

When the daughters were actively kicking the crowd out of the deck area and into the rooms, Donald watched in sadness as the Nor-Kor chick went off with the Italian, PooPoo.  Donald felt bad, because early in the night, he had had quite a flirtatious and heart-warming conversation with the woman and her massive pal, Thor.  That was before nightfall of course, and before the Italians had come out of their tortellini and started mashing against anything that resembled tomato sauce.   Donald and a bearded German did not heed the call of the daughters, and instead sat in the darkness of the deck with one of the polish chicks.  It was a marvelous evening.   The moon was blasting its knowledge upon a single peak of the range, icy-white and shimmering.  The sound of the Jinsha Jiang rushing below was like a toilet running during your make-out session in Whitesville, Indiana.  Sad, but marvelous it was.  I was there in my dark corner sucking on a bottle of Maotai, eyeing Donald with the most scrutinous eye, serving you, dear reader. 

Just at the point of most doubt, blackest darkness and latest hour, some kind of electric shock will come and blast you.  Or I’ve also heard, a shade of red will affect your vision, and signal your cue to act, to act on your deepest desire.  In our case, Daniel was sitting out alone on the deck, possibly at 4 am, when even the moon was obliterated by a south Asian cloud system and our hero was drunkenly babbling to himself.   He was reciting possible alternative realities he could have possibly manifested, just hours earlier.  He was interrupted by someone approaching, stepping up onto the magnificent deck.  Though he expected it to be one of the daughters of the house, kicking him back to his room, he was in all kismet and destiny incorrect.  It was the Nor-Kor, drunk and seeking to empty her bladder.  Needless to say, romance was high at the moment.  She instantly recognized the dark loner’s short-in-front-long-in-back haircut profile which sat uprightly on the far bench, and she said “hey”, nearly falling over.

Donald was confused.  He did not understand what was happening to him.  He felt like he was being teased or mocked.  He was instantly transported to his high school football days when he could say screw off, and would be unconditionally backed by his team-mates.  But he could not say that now, for it was Nor-Kor, the object he had been lusting over all evening.  The low cut shirt and black shorts were just asking for a drunken feel-up. 

“What’s up?”  the woman said. 
“Hey, nothing.”  Two answers disguised as one. ”You going down to the toilet?”
“Yeah,” she said, partly stumbling down a wooden-trap staircase. 

Now was Donald’s moment.  He had a minute or so to strategize and compile his “play”.  What would he say?  What would he perform when she returned?  He concerned this over and over as she pissed into the plumbing that sent urine down the mountainside. 

“Hey,” she said, falling up the staircase. “What are you doing out here?” 


“Do you need a room?” 

This question confused our hero.  It may have been a trick.

“No, I have one.”


That was the end of the conversation.  It took another 5 seconds or so for the drunk lass to trip up the next staircase, but there was no more conversation.  Donald responded, “Do you?” but he was about 6 seconds too late.   The woman went wavily en route toward her good pal Thor’s room.  Congratulations Donald, you’ve failed to entreat a sexual encounter with a gushing Norwegian of Korean blood, yet allowed me, your evil shadow, to indulge in it. 

Nevertheless, Donald “no Duck” Rodriguez finally finds love on the tea-horse trail.  Far down the highway, twenty-two more bus hours down into the foothill town of Ya’an, Sichuan, this story and its hero reach their culmination and consummation respectively.

He goes to a bar with the most neon-lights attached to it and orders a few beers.  A couple of young tarts come near his table to shout English phrases at him and giggle.  He gets the courage to later approach them and then utilize his Chinese to ask them to eat hot-pot after the bar.  It was the first time Donald had two women hanging off his shoulders.  They even fought over him, with Donald saying in his most reiterated Chinese, “don’t worry, my room has two beds!”.  After a short trip to an internet hall with them, the cuter girl managed to win the battle, returning with him to his hotel room, where they slept and had sex and looked over his Chinese-English dictionary to explain things to each other including her larger-than-your-average-Chinese girl breasts.  He pointed to the word AIDS, and the girl told him, “wŏ yŏu” (I have), though he didn’t believe her.  They romped around in the bed before going out to eat at a McDonald’s knockoff called USA #1 Burger or something where she would not allow him to apply his ketchup to the paper placemat “because”, she said, “dirty”.  And all of this finished achingly too soon for our friend.  The last Donald saw of the girl was her backside running across the night square in tears, away from him.  He then found himself on the river’s bank with a small, red Chinese-braided necklace in his hand.  It was bought for him by the girl in the nearby town of Luding.  He threw the necklace into the river as not to strike suspicion in the girlfriend he doesn’t have back in Whitesville, Indiana.  He left town the next day.  Congratulations, Donald, you’ve cheated nobody and succeeded in fortifying yourself to fit the prescription of insensitivity as required by the New World Order.