Chapter 31 Traveling Notes

This time, I was very patient. I looked up the information at Agui’s house while waiting for the test results to come back from Beijing. During this time, we also went to the fields to dig up those giant Amazon snails every day. It almost seemed like we’d never finish digging them up since they were everywhere, and each time we went out, we’d come back with two big baskets full of them.

Agui told me that as long as the geese and ducks ate snail meat while growing up, they would be willing to eat giant Amazon snails. But if they ate shrimp and rice, they would never eat snails again. It was obvious to see that these things tasted disgusting, but not only were they really big, they were high in protein and the eggs laid by the geese and ducks after eating them were very good.

We went digging for snails every morning and fed the ducks in the afternoon. There were a few times after digging up the snails when we would soak them in white wine to get the worms out, dig the snails out of the shells, and then wash them. Once that was done, we would take half of the snail meat and some pork and mix them together with lard to form a ball. Then we would stuff the ball back into the snail shell and stir-fry it with scallions, oil, and hot peppers.

I was from south of the Yangtze River, so although many people weren’t used to the taste of snail shells, I actually found them to be quite sweet. I talked with Fatty about possibly adding this dish to Xilaimian’s menu but he disagreed with me. He felt that the snail shells tasted earthy instead of savory. If I could find a way to get rid of the earthy flavor, then the snail meat would definitely taste even more amazing.

But that would turn into a time-consuming research and development project. In any case, I happily ate a bunch, and even Agui seemed fine with them, but Poker-Face and Fatty didn’t eat much.

Agui told me that the snails’ earthy flavor actually depended on where you dug them up from. If you picked them up at a spot where water was flowing, then the earthy flavor wouldn’t be as strong. All you would have to do was clean the inside and outside of the snail shell with a steel wool ball after fishing it out of the water.

I pondered over the idea. The price of this dish would be at least eighty yuan, but the labor cost may be more expensive than the material cost.

The days passed by peacefully, and three days later, A-Mu began to incubate her eggs. Fatty was really looking forward to the arrival of the first wave of chicks. There were three eggs in this clutch, all of which should be fertilized. It seemed that A-Gong was in good health.

On the fourth day, I finally received my test results from Beijing. After looking them over, I found that I really did have a special hallucinogenic compound in my body. It was a kind of psychedelic drug commonly used in Southeast Asia. It was also used as an herbal medicine, but taking too much of it could be harmful to the human body.

Fatty and I looked at each other. Now that we had the evidence, we could finally make a move.

I found a shovel by the door while Fatty went to the kitchen to get a kitchen knife. Then we went all the way to the master’s house, dragged him in front of the shrine, and gave him a lecture on the legality of his actions. After looking at my test results, the master broke out in cold sweat but refused to say anything.

“Either go to jail or tell the truth,” I said to him. “Did you put too much medicine in the food you gave me and almost killed me?”

The master didn’t say a word. I stared at him, watching his body movements, and found that his neck kept tilting towards the idol statue, as if he wanted to see it but didn’t dare to.

I pulled the statue over and set it directly on the ground before saying to him, “If you remain silent, I’ll smash it.”

The master’s body started to tremble, but he looked at me and smiled, “Then you will die.”

That expression of intense fear mixed with coldness gave me pause. “If you desecrate the scaled Buddha, you will surely die,” he continued. “In fact, you will die a very miserable death. I can see it all. When you die, you will be skinned alive and your body will be covered in leeches.”

I looked into the man’s eyes and knew that he wasn’t lying.

I started to think that we should tread a little more carefully, but Fatty suddenly picked up the bench and smashed the Buddha statue into pieces.

A deafening silence filled the space in front of the shrine. I didn’t know if it had been hit by flying fragments of the shattered Buddha statue, but the glass window off to the side suddenly cracked.

The master looked at me with hate-filled eyes and then began kowtowing repeatedly to the broken fragments, all while saying something in Vietnamese.

I suddenly realized that this person wasn’t as normal as he appeared to be on the surface. This man didn’t have the mentality of one trying to swindle others with a Buddha statue, but instead seemed to actually believe in it.

I turned on my cell phone, recorded the Vietnamese he kept chanting, and then sent it to Black Glasses. He had many friends in Southeast Asia, so it would be easy to ask what the general meaning of those words was.

Fatty signaled me with his eyes, silently asking whether we should continue interrogating the master or not, but I shook my head. If he believed in it to this extent, then nothing we said or did could make him talk. Fatty picked him up and said, “Well, let’s go. We’re sending you to jail.”

The master didn’t resist at all and just looked at me with eyes full of hatred. It wasn’t ordinary hatred, but the kind of hatred where he looked like he wanted to swallow me alive.

Later, the police came and found about two hundred kilograms of that herb in his room. As news began to spread throughout the village, everyone was feeling very conflicted. They didn’t know whether to continue worshipping the statue or throw it away. The police informed us that this kind of idol belonged to feudal superstition, but because it was worshipped on such a small scale, the authorities didn’t initiate an extensive education program throughout the region.

I thought the whole incident was over after that, but in fact, the terrible situation had just begun.

Since A-Mu was incubating the eggs, and it took twenty-one days for a clutch of eggs to hatch, we had to stay in Guangxi longer.

Things continued like normal for seven days, but on the eighth day, when we got up and went down to the field, we saw the master hanging from a tree in front of Agui’s house. In Agui’s duck shed, half of the ducks were dead and there were flies everywhere.

<Chapter 30><Table of Contents><Chapter 32>



Pic added 1/3/2023.


3 thoughts on “Chapter 31 Traveling Notes

  1. OMG I didn’t expect this!
    Now I’m dying to know what will happen next
    I just want them to be safe. I was a little scared when fatty smashed the statue


  2. This is strange, the police released him!
    There was a problem with this master. Fatty broke the statue, but he glared at Wu Xie and then he vented his anger out on the poor ducks that were satisfying their hunger by eating those strange and hard snails.
    And where is Xiao Ge?


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