THE FALL OF A GREY WHALE— In Memory of the 20th Century 灰鯨落海──悼二十世紀
   By Hsia Ching 夏菁
   Translated by C. W. WANG 王季文
   By Duo Sui 朵思
   Translated by John J. S. BALCOM 陶忘機

   By Bai Ling 白靈
   Translated by John J. S. BALCOM 陶忘機
   By Jiao Tong 焦桐
   Translated by David van der Peet 范德培
   By SUN Wei-min 孫維民
   Translated by the poet
   By Ko-Hua CHEN 陳克華
   Translated by Patrick CARR 柯英華
  A TREE’S NAME 一棵樹的名字
   By Ko-Hua CHEN 陳克華
   Translated by Patrick CARR 柯英華
   By Lu Pin 鹿苹
   Translated by Zona Yi-ping TSOU 鄒怡平
   By Lu Pin 鹿苹
   Translated by Zona Yi-ping TSOU 鄒怡平
   By CHEN Wan-Chien 陳宛茜
   Translated by John J. S. BALCOM 陶忘機

   By Ah Sheng 阿盛
   Translated by Darryl STERK 石岱崙

   By Yi-Ting LEE 李儀婷
   Translated by Patty Pei-Jung LEE 李佩蓉
   By LIN Tai Man 林黛嫚
   Translated by Danny Hsin-yueh LIN 林心嶽
  NANA 娜娜
   By YUAN Chiung-chiung 袁瓊瓊
   Translated by Michelle M. WU 吳敏嘉
   By Kun-liang CHIU 邱坤良
   Translated by Chris Wen-Chao LI 李文肇
  TEMPER AND METAMORPHOSIS— A Painter’s True Colors 淬鍊與蛻變──畫者的真容
   By TU Chung-Kao 杜忠誥
   Translated by Gen-sheng DONG 董更生
  STANDSTILL AND OBSERVE THE UNIVERSE— On Mei-Yu’s Bamboo and Sparrows and The Lotus
靜觀萬物─ 談簡美育的《竹雀圖》與《芙蕖圖》

   By Shou-chien SHIH 石守謙
   Translated by Gen-sheng DONG 董更生
  NEWS & EVENTS 文化活動
   Compiled by Sarah Jen-hui HSIANG 項人慧
color on silk, 38 × 40 cm, 1999 .........................Cover

BELL FLOWER 鐘花, color on silk, 40 × 38 cm, 1999 .............................................................Back Cover
   By CHIEN Mei-Yu 簡美育


YUAN Chiung-chiung 袁瓊瓊


Translated by Michelle M. WU 吳敏嘉

  Nana doesn’t look like a forty-year-old woman. She takes good care of herself. She goes to the gym twice a week. She swims on Mondays and does step aerobics on Thursdays. She has a tight tummy and toned thighs. People have asked her whether she is a bodybuilder. Nana doesn’t answer directly. She merely puts her hands on her hips, thrusts out her breasts, and asks, “Do you think I look like one?”
  It is common knowledge that if you train as a bodybuilder, your breasts will shrink. In her line of work, it is insulting not to have big breasts. She would not allow that to happen to her. She used to be a C-cup, but now she is a G-cup, and she credits it to her swimming. She found this out when she went to shop for a bra. The salesgirl said, “You have been wearing the wrong size.” She told Nana that she should wear a G-cup bra. This made Nana very happy. She saw five clients that day. She took very good care of every one of them. She was pleased, so she wanted all her clients to be pleased too.
  She started this line of work when she was thirty-six. In the beginning, she worked in a breakfast joint. She had to get to work at the crack of dawn. Then A-de fell off the scaffolding at the construction site and ended up in the hospital, foul tempered. He was paralyzed, and could not move. He cursed and cussed endlessly. Nana was grateful, though. Before he was hurt, he used to beat her up.
  She took care of A-de in the hospital at night. A-de slept all day and when she arrived in the evenings, he would be full of energy. He cried, threw tantrums and cursed Nana all through the night. Nana did not get upset.
  Nana had a good temperament. She had been like this since she was a child. She did not know why. The people in her family called her a “ninny.” So let it be, thought Nana. This was by no means a compliment, but since everyone called her a ninny, she got used to it. And in time, it became a habit with no particular significance. At home, they called her “Ninny Nana,” and she responded to this namesake with alacrity. Gradually, it became nothing but a form of address. That’s what people called her.
  She worked during the day. The breakfast joint opened until noon. By the time the cleaning was done, it would be two o’clock in the afternoon. She would pick up the children, make dinner, tuck them into bed, then rush to the hospital to be with A-de. She stayed with him until five o’clock in the morning then left for work. A-de often yelled at her, and the nurses on the night shift would come to stop him because they couldn’t stand it anymore. But Nana often fell asleep. She slept like a pig; she could sleep through a thunderstorm. This made A-de very angry. He would start swearing and cursing the moment she woke up, flinging profane words at her. But since Nana was exhausted, she would just sink into drowsy oblivion.
  One of her clients once said, the reason why she was able to accept other men with no qualms at all was because A-de had hypnotized her. He wasn’t joking at all when he made this comment. He was dead serious when he said that while Nana watched A-de in the hospital, half-asleep, his ferocious jeers of “Fuck!” and “Cunt!” served the purpose of hypnotizing Nana. Nana’s client further elaborated. When A-de was saying these words, he might not be aware of it, but he subconsciously wanted his wife to become a prostitute. Nana’s client concluded amicably, “How else are you going to support yourself and your children?”
  This client was a college professor. Nana often saw him on television, speaking at political talk shows. She didn’t like his comments. She did not support the political party that he endorsed. But she did agree with his hypothesis on the hypnosis. Later, when clients asked her why she started doing this line of work, she would quote the professor’s name and his hypothesis. She would say solemnly: I am obeying the wishes of my husband. This made every single client laugh. Since it pleased her clients, Nana stuck to this story.
  She worked for eight months at the breakfast joint. It was too exhausting for her. So she started to switch jobs. She worked regular hours at a Chinese restaurant. Nana wore a white blouse and tight black skirt as uniform. Every one wore the same outfit, but the restaurant manager’s eyes fell on Nana, only Nana. Whenever Nana went into the kitchen to fetch the dishes, the chef would block the entrance, forcing Nana to hold her breath and try to squeeze through. The chef’s arm would graze her breasts.
  The chef often wrapped up the leftovers for Nana to take home. Roast duck, hairy crab, and lobster. Sometimes even abalone. While working at the Chinese restaurant, Nana grew fair and plump. One day, while in the kitchen, the chef pinched her left breast through her white shirt when no one was watching. Since the chef was good to her, Nana didn’t move. Later the chef summoned her back into the kitchen, and in a dark corner, he pinched her right breast and grabbed her ass.
  That day, after work, the chef told Nana to wait for him. Nana said she had to go to the hospital. The chef didn’t say anything, but wore a pained expression on his face. Nana told him to pick her up at the hospital.
  The chef did not seek her out at the hospital after work that day. But in the middle of the night, her cell phone started to ring. She was asleep and did not hear the ringing at all. A-de started to holler and curse. The nurse on duty woke her up.
  Nana answered the phone. It was the chef. He said that there was some business. So Nana told A-de that there was some business with the chef. A-de hollered. He lay like a tree stump across his bed. He could only move his head. He yelled, “Fuck!” His voice reverberated along the tubes connected to his body.
  Nana eventually left. A-de’s curse became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The chef took Nana to a hotel, and pinched her nipples through her shirt until they started to ache. She told him to stop, and took off her shirt. The chef pinched her, slapped her, and kneaded her like the dough in his kitchen. When it was over, he gave her a thousand NT dollars.
  Later, the restaurant manager sought Nana out to do the same thing. He was more generous, and gave her two thousand. But since the chef often gave Nana extra food to take home, she did not feel that he was taking advantage of her.
  One day, the two men wanted to see her at the same time. Nana couldn’t be in two places at once, so she explained her predicament to the restaurant manager. The restaurant manager decided to postpone his date with Nana to the next day. But later he started to introduce other men to Nana. They paid her two thousand NT dollars each time. It wasn’t until a long time later, when Nana started to work on her own,. . .

From INK Literary Monthly 《印刻文學生活誌》, No. 52, December 2007: 126-129.

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