Chapter 17

The sandpit boss went completely crazy and tore open the popped collar of his Lacoste polo in order to get the explosives out.

Middle-aged men in China once liked to pop their shirt collars up, which I figured had puzzled many people. They thought that it was aesthetically pleasing, but in fact, it was really just an intermediate state of dress that embodied an “incomplete” feeling.

I heard the boss of a clothing factory say that when a man didn’t button his shirt all the way up, didn’t put his collar down, or didn’t fasten his cuffs, this incomplete feeling had a special charm to it in those first few minutes.

Many men thought that the charm of this incompleteness lasted for much longer and would go out like that, but in fact, it only existed in those first few minutes. If you didn’t put down your collar and button everything up before the end of that short period of time, then you had to be a very good-looking person.

After the sandpit boss tore off his polo, the explosives fell to the ground. The fuse had almost burned to the end, so he turned and ran, but Fatty quickly grabbed his hair and wouldn’t let him go.

“Brother! It’s going to explode!” The sandpit boss shouted. “There’s no need for this! It’s just a few car loads of sand. I’ll give them to you!”

I picked up the explosives, pulled the fuse out, let it burn itself out in my own hand, and said to Fatty, “If it explodes, our kitchen will be gone. Can you not make big moves like this?”

Fatty looked at the kitchen behind him and gave a tut, “This Fat Master hasn’t bullied anyone for a long time. I was eager.”

I handed the explosives to the sandpit boss, who was extremely pale and shivering. “These explosives are worth three hundred yuan,” I said to him. “That should offset the cost of the lock. If you hang the explosives up on the door, no one will dare bust through them in the future.”

The explosives didn’t even touch the sandpit boss’s hands before he dropped them to the ground and started to run away.

I felt a little bad in my heart. It would be perfect to kill him, but we couldn’t do that. This man wasn’t a member of the Nine Gates, so he probably wouldn’t be deterred for long.

Poker-Face had washed his hair and come back out, throwing the clothes he had just worn directly on the ground. This meant that he didn’t want them anymore. “I think that guy may report us for illegally owning explosives,” I said to him.

“I have a license. The most they can do is criticize and educate me,” Fatty said.

I looked at the kid lying on the ground and said to him, “Don’t sleep here. Your boss has already run away, so you should too.” There was blood running down his nose as he quickly got up and started to run.

“Even though we’re at fault, let’s file a complaint first,” I said to Fatty, who nodded. We headed to the village to borrow a motorcycle and then went to the police station first, falsely accusing the sandpit boss of threatening us with explosives.

But even so, we now had a feud between us. I knew that when it came to the matter of building my house, the sandpit boss was the main villain. He seemed to know a lot about my farmhouse, so maybe he’d end up uniting with Li Dahu.

When we came back, Poker-Face asked us to follow him to the top of the village. I was a little puzzled by this sudden request.

There were a bunch of ancient houses above the village, along with a few waterfalls. It was the dry season now, so there wasn’t as much water and you could see a lot of water weeds on the roofs of these ancient village houses.

Rain Village was a particularly beautiful place, and as we looked down at it, we could see the big tree at the village entrance.

Poker-Face put his hands in his pockets and looked at the waterfalls. Although the water volume wasn’t as high as normal, the sound of water was still amazing and I felt my anger start to subside. These waterfalls were the very reason why I chose to stay in this village. I had been so busy with the farmhouse that when I came back here, the waterfalls became just as amazing as when I had first seen them.

I had almost forgotten what a special place this was. Maybe Poker-Face had realized that.

Rain Village was a place outside of the real world. It was different from everything in that it seemed to be frozen in a past time and space.

What we did in this outside place was actually a substitute for our previous worldly adventures.

Compared with the possibility of death we experienced every time before, our adventures now were very mundane and warm. Maybe they were too mundane and warm, but this was also the life we had fantasized about every time we almost died.

What would an extremely ordinary life even be like? Every time I thought about it in the past, I never put it into action, but now we were really doing it. And when we really started to do it, maybe there would be some changes in our hearts.

Poker-Face had brought us here, so I copied him and looked down at the village. I found that I could really see a dividing line between the outside and inside worlds. It used to be fuzzy, but now it was particularly clear.

Poker-Face stood at a higher position than Fatty and I. In his line of site, there was us, Rain Village, and the town and county seat.

In my eyes, I saw a version of myself at the village entrance, at the county seat, and also in Hangzhou.

In Poker-Face’s eyes, he saw a version of himself among us, in Rain Village, and also in the county seat. No matter how far away it was, he probably had countless versions of himself in every time and space. But his present self was just above us, looking at all the countless versions of himself in countless past lives. We were the closest to him right now, but I also knew that we were only the most recent.

There were about six or seven steps separating us from him, but these six or seven steps were the difference between being otherworldly and transcendent. These thoughts of mine were pure conjecture, but it always felt like he did things in a different time and space. It didn’t matter whether he was brushing his teeth, bathing, exercising, sleeping, eating and resting together with us, or listening to the wind and insects in a daze.

Those who described Poker-Face would use words like “worldly aura”, but the real him looked at me with extremely indifferent eyes, which instantly reminded me of the time when I had first met him.

When Fatty and I discussed this, he said that I was also special because I could feel this indifference. Although I had only lived for a few years in comparison, I was becoming more and more like Poker-Face.

But I knew that my empathy could never reach such a high level, so I could only imitate it.

Poker-Face was coming towards us, one step, two steps, three steps….

After those six or seven steps, he finally reached us. I looked back at where he had been standing just now and saw that he was no longer there.

Don’t worry about it, I said to myself. We couldn’t go up, so he came down.

<Chapter 16><Table of Contents><Chapter 18>


5 thoughts on “Chapter 17

  1. Don’t worry about it, I said to myself. We couldn’t go up, so he came down. I like it, makes me feel like he really wants to be with them because he chooses to 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Poker face doing his way of conveying something without talking again. Like what he do in stagnan water dragon adventure. Looks like Wu Xie able to somehow partly get it, but i wonder, what fatty think in this kind of occasion.


  3. Okay, I realized this just now. Sanshu’s novels was embraced by a melodramatic aura that I’ve been trying to have on my own novels. That melodramatic aura that will make you feel like your heart is forever at ease. The relax feeling, that will make you think of not ending reading… Seriously, I feel at home and completed when reading his novels


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