Thursday, May 17, 2012

China Daze...


I don't know how long this story will be, or if anything else will be added to it at all. I just had the idea and began writing. Hope you like it.


            “I’ll never get used to that smell,” Max said to himself as he made his way from the darkened bedroom to the small bathroom he and his wife shared with another American couple employed by the Chin Do Corporation. Max and his wife had only been in China for three weeks but already the stench of the city they shared with 10 million other humans was proving the toughest thing for the 28-year old former computer programmer from Boise, Idaho. And considering his situation, that’s saying a lot.
            As Max entered the bathroom he hit his head on the low doorframe. A dull thud echoed in the musty air. Max swore through gritted teeth being careful not to wake his sleeping wife. Lisa Thompson, Max’s wife, worked the swing shift at Chin Do and Max was assigned graves. The couple had hoped they would at least get to work together on the same shift when their contracts were called up three months ago. They knew working together would be a pipe dream, but they still hoped, that is, until they arrived in China and were given their assignments, the work schedules they were guaranteed to work for the next six months with no chance of any change.
            Max entered the bathroom and turned on the small, yellow incandescent bulb that hung under the stained and faded ceiling tiles while he rubbed the rapidly rising bump forming on his forehead. He quickly looked in the mirror to see the extent of the damage caused by the low frame. With any luck his hair would cover up any bruises. One of Max’s co-workers showed up the week before with a black eye and the company cut his pay almost in half. Any signs of violence—no matter the reason—were highly discouraged by management. And though they almost never fired an employee, the company could make working for the Chin Do Corporation so bad, an employee would welcome immediate dismissal. Luckily Max’s thick black hair hid well the mark on his head.
            The lukewarm shower failed to lift Max’s spirits as he looked into the mirror and wondered how on earth he ended up in China. Life back in Boise seemed like decades ago, but really it was only months. He and Lisa were living the American dream since they got married three years earlier. Neither of them followed the news and if someone told them that America’s dependence on foreign investment was undermining the foundation of the country’s economy, they wouldn’t have cared. What did it have to do with them? They each had college degrees and good jobs (and student loans in the hundreds of thousands…). So what if China was owed literally trillions of American dollars? Max stared at his tired face, his blue eyes piercing his soul and wondered if he had to do it all over again, would he have done anything different? Probably not, Max admitted to himself, and this knowledge hurt worst than the throbbing pain in his head caused by the low doorframe in the dank bathroom on the 15th floor apartment he and his wife shared with two other helpless debtors and 10 million other people all trapped in the city of Chongqing, China.

*Chinese Picture used without permission from:

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