Flash Fiction #114
“When my grandfather was forty years old, a psychic told him that one day Kai, who’s his youngest daughter and my youngest aunt, would kill him.” Lulan says.
“Wow, tell us. That’s an interesting story.” Lulan’s friends Pammy and Armei say to her.
“My grandfather was born in a fishing village in Southeast Asia, married my grandmother from a nearby fishing village, when they were both 18. Ten years and four children later, they moved to the biggest city, the capital of the country, where they had five more children. Grandpa has relatives in the city who were in two different trades and they helped Grandpa get a job as an accountant. Since his salary was only sufficient to feed a family with one or two children, he and my Grandma couldn’t make ends meet with nine children clamoring for food and other essentials. The problem with my grandparents was that they didn’t …” Lulan says.
“Lulan, I have to say you don’t know how to tell a story. You are detouring around and adding too much unnecessary information. By the time you come to the point, your audience would have already lost interest. When was Kai going to kill your grandpa? Is it true that she killed him?” Pammy says.
“Pammy, let Lulan tell the story. Be patient” Armai says.
“The problem with my grandparents was that they didn’t adapt after they moved to the big city. People in their fishing village were extremely superstitious since in the old time fishing was a dangerous occupation. Bad weather and stormy sea could capsize a boat and perish many lives without warning. The numerous superstitious rules were enacted to placate angry gods and preserve lives. The rules were so minute as to dictate what people eat, how they mend their fishing net, what women should or should not do. Even the exact date and month of the year that they should pickle eggs in salty mud was dictated by the tradition. Anyway, Grandpa was a staunch believer of all these rules. Also in the fishing village, the more children one had, the more prosperous one became since children could help with catching fish etc. My grandparents held all these rules, superstitions and prejudices of the village all their life. The problem is that in the big city, all these beliefs they held worked against them. In the big city, the more children they had, the poorer they became. In the big city, one had to be enterprising and flexible in order to find ways to make more money, but my grandparents had so many old prejudices and superstitions to restrict their thoughts and actions that they became ossified like stones that they could not change.” Lulan says.
“What are you aiming at? You have this aimless story here…” Pammy complains. “When will you ever come to the point? I want to know how Kai …”
“OK, I am coming to the point now.” Lulan says, “Their youngest daughter, my aunt Kai, had always been a problem. She’s very clever and a little awkward. My grandparents always said that Kai was too clever for her own good. When she was very young, she could remember what adults said at home and weave her own stories to tell neighbors and school teachers, often to the utter embarrassment of my grandparents. One day, just after one of such an episode, my grandparents went to see a psychic. And even if my grandparents were so poor, they still kept their tradition of going to this psychic each year, just like in their fishing village. So the psychic, after listening to the stories my grandparents recited, said to Grandpa, among other things, that he was going to be killed by a woman who’s very close to him. When Grandpa enumerated all the female family members and relatives and repeated his belief, ‘Kai is too clever for her own good,’ the psychic nodded her head and said, ‘very likely it is Kai. Anyway be careful.'”
“OK, can we jump to the end when Kai killed your grandpa?” Pammy says.
“No, Pammy, let Lulan tell her story. Don’t rush her.” Armei says.
“So my grandparents did their best to ‘correct’ Kai’s behavior so that the terrible result could be prevented. And Kai had a very unfortunate life. She was too good in school that all the boys were afraid of her. And of course only the most unpromising boys had the audacity to endure her and she finally married one of the unpromising boys in the neighborhood that my grandparents really disliked. She’s equally unfortunate in her job. She’s too able and too talkative that nobody dared to promote her. For a decade, she’s in the lowest position and earned the worst pay. Her marriage fell apart two years after her wedding, just as my grandparents predicted they would. However, they couldn’t afford a divorce and had to live under the same roof just to save money. Also Kai was afraid of telling my grandparents the truth, so the two pretended that they were still together. They lived in this awkward situation for five to six years and my aunt Kai finally caught a break. You know, in those days Japanese and South Korean companies came to establish their factories. And the corporate cultures of the two countries are quite different.”
“Are you diverging into another topic now? I am going to die an old woman before you come to your point. How did Kai kill your grandpa?” Pammy demands.
“OK, I am almost there. I only want to talk a little bit about Korean companies since that’s an essential part of the story, which leads to the end–my grandpa’s death.” Lulan says.
(To Be Continued In The Next Post here)