The first guy who came to apply for the job was called Lin Liuren.
I thought it was a screen name, but he explained that it wasn’t. When his father gave him this name, it happened to be the year when people all over the country liked to come up with unrealistic names. It was a trend to be special, so those strange names on the internet were all made at that time. It wasn’t like the kids could control their parents.
The meaning behind Lin Liuren’s name was very simple. It was said that one out of every six people in Fujian was surnamed Lin, so his father decided to call him Lin Liuren (1).
I couldn’t really understand the logic, but it sounded like he had a lot of brothers. He also said that no one dared to bully him too much ever since he was a child.
Lin Liuren came to apply for a job as a dish washer. We settled on giving him three thousand yuan a month and agreed to let him live in the shop for the first week while he looked for a house to rent nearby. He had a college degree, but I didn’t know which diploma mill (2) he had gotten it from. He apparently studied literature, so when he moved into the farmhouse, he brought a lot of books.
There were probably about six boxes of books in total.
It wasn’t very convenient to buy books in Rain Village, so we only had a few in our village house. On the first night, Lin Liuren reportedly spent the whole night sorting out his books. The next day, I noticed that all of the books were placed in various spots around the farmhouse.
Truthfully, things like books suddenly made this place look more like a study in a noble’s manor.
Lin Liuren also had a particularly good hobby in which he liked to collect jars and cans. On the third day, he had already collected a lot of them and painted them with the paint I had originally intended to use on the furniture.
He also planted all kinds of wildflowers, weeds, and thistles in the jars.
But his aesthetics were very good, so all of these seemingly messy weeds and shrubs became like a small flower garden once he was done with them. I looked at the jars and flowers and felt that they were worth about a hundred thousand yuan.
Fatty and I started trying to figure out what Lin Liuren’s background was. I tried to ask him if he wanted to change jobs and be the art director of our farmhouse, but he refused and kept insisting on washing the dishes.
Fatty and I were both puzzled, but Fatty eventually said that such people were generally considered gods in folk tales. He was probably here to reward us.
“Then why couldn’t they send the God of Wealth instead of the God of Dish Washing?” I asked.
“Maybe it’s like all of those novels about strange tales where there’s a monster nearby that asks for less and does more,” Fatty said. “In fact, maybe his true form in the middle of the night is a dishwasher.”
I touched my chin, looked at Lin Liuren’s arms and figure, and began to strongly suspect that this man was either Zhang Haiyan or Zhang Haike in disguise.
What’s going on? I asked myself. Are you doubting me and came to check on your patriarch to see if he’s lost weight or being forced to work?
I looked at Lin Liuren carefully, feeling very upset.
Later, on the fourth day, I couldn’t help but ask him if he had any problem with my aesthetics.
He shook his head, “No, I think it’s very beautiful here. It’s just that I’m addicted to decorating things.”
Later, I tried several times to see if he was wearing a human skin mask, but all of my attempts failed.
I didn’t have time to keep checking whether he was a spy from the Zhang family because I became very busy with work later and had to go to town to buy more wood.
Business was also particularly good today, so even if he was here to monitor us, he would be too busy washing dishes and would feel like he was stuck in a pit.
Fine, I said to myself, wash the dishes here for a year first. It’s cheap labor anyways.
But when the second employee came a week later, I found that my thinking had been wrong.
(1) Lin (林)=woods/forest, Liu (六)=six, Ren (人)= people
(2) A diploma mill is a company or organization that claims to be a higher education institution but provides illegitimate academic degrees and diplomas for a fee. The degrees can be fabricated, falsified, or misrepresented. Info here.