He has been to Tianhsiang, but feels there are too many tourists and the place too boisterous. He carries his backpack and walks further uphill
Tiers of mountains surround the valley. The Liwu River can
be seen from a long way above, winding through hills like a silver-
white ribbon. It also resembles a silver-white snake wriggling
intensely, seeming to be looking for some way out.
It has just cleared up after raining for a day. Mist patches
rise from the valley. With the wind blowing, the mist moves
rapidly, like layer upon layer of sheer fabrics covering the mountains,
creating rich shades of green.
The sky is very blue and bright, having just been washed by
the rain. Several patches of white clouds are floating on the
expansive blue sky.
White clouds are different from the mist, despite both being
water vapor. Clouds group together like thick cotton, dense
enough to block the sunlight, casting a cloud-shaped shadow
over the entire green mountain range.
The mist is so thin that the light is able to go through it. It
roams around the mountains, making their shapes and colors
vaguely visible, creating a kind of lighthearted beauty.
He lays the backpack on the roadside. This section of the
mountain road is particularly steep. His forehead feels slightly
burnt under the sun. He undoes the upper buttons by the collar to
let the cool wind enter, sweeping through his chest, armpits and
around the sides to his back. His shirt bulges out like a fullblown
sail. He stretches his arms as if he were flying. The wind
sneaks out quietly from the cuffs while the sleeves flap vigorously
against his dark strong arms.
He likes the mountains in this region. Winds from all directions
seem to converge here.
Right at this hillside terrace where the mountain road turns,
one can overlook Tianhsiang down below, where there are too
many tourists gathering and making too much noise. One can
also command the view of the valley deeper down, look straight
at the interconnecting mountain ridges, or up towards the clear
“360-degree view, —” He recalls the awkward plebeian
wording of a real estate advertisement.
After graduating from university, he took an odd job in a
real estate company for a short period of time. He would hear
strange depictive words every day but never understood why it
was necessary to use such flashy untruthful language to describe
“This island of ours is a place selling cheap dreams....” Hearing his complaint, Fu-mei, who has been in the real estate
business for a long time, said with a sigh, “What can you do?
Consumers want cheap dreams!”
He didn’t say anything. He was nibbling at her nipples,
sucking them gently. He looked at her breast which was shaped
like a yellow peach. The nipple resembled a fruit pedicel and the
areola around it was dotted with tiny brown buds.
He turned around, staring into Fu-mei’s big bright eyes, and
asked, “Are you really from the Taroko tribe?”
“Yes!” said Fu-mei while caressing her sturdy kneecaps.
“My family lives in Sibao. Have you ever heard of the place?”
“Sibao...” he shook his head and smiled while removing
Fu-mei’s hand from his groin.
(His manhood wet with semen was shrinking and falling
asleep. He moved the woman’s flirtatious fingers away perhaps
because he didn’t want to wake it up so soon.)
“Sibao,” she climbed onto him while he lay face up with
hands behind his head. Seeing the thick black hair under his
armpit showing, Fu-mei started to fondle it.
“I’ll call you Sibao. Doesn’t it sound good? It sounds better
than all the names I’ve given to those ugly real estate
She chortled with mirth, as if she couldn’t help it once the
real estate ads she had been peddling for years entered her mind.
He had read Fu-mei’s sales record before. She made promotional
advertisements for quite a few large buildings at a
riverside community. The apartments there sold very well. Every
time she made a sale, her boss would open champagne to celebrate.
(Champagne in paper cups, that is. Her superior would
congratulate Fu-mei while holding a piece of crispy salty chicken
in one hand and a paper cup of champagne in the other. They would call her by her English name and say, “Congratulations,
Amy! You’re very creative!”)
“Creative,” he rolled on his sides with laughter. Fu-mei
glared at him, pretending to be angry.
“Am I not creative? What are you laughing about?” Fu-mei
started hitting his groin.
The young man quickly protected it with his hands while
shaking with laughter.
Afterwards, he sat up and held Fu-mei in his arms. Flipping
through her sales record, he commented seriously, “Where’s the
creativity?” He flipped one page. “Just because it’s at the riverside,
so you call it ‘Mediterranean’?”
He flipped another page and said, “See, another riverside
location, so it’s called ‘Caribbean’?”
Then he flipped another page. “Wow, it’s absolutely amazing!
Riverside location again, so you named it ‘Po-Shi Bay’.”
He couldn’t help bursting into laughter again, while holding
a pillow in his chest to escape Fu-mei’s wild fist attack.
“Why isn’t it creativity? I’ve changed ‘Persian Gulf’ to
‘Po-shi Bay’ (Waves and Poetry Bay). Why is it not creativity!
When the fighting in the Persian Gulf was extremely intense,...