Chinese horror story E1: Just forget it

  • What really scares people is not the unknown, but the known evil and the truth that they are trying to cover up. As the saying goes – hell is empty and the devil is on earth. All observations of life are harsh, because life is. I lament that fact, but I cannot change it.

I came out in the wee hours. They pulled me out of the detention center as hard as they pushed me in a few days ago. They asked me to count what was missing. What was missing? A shirt, jeans, a pair of shoelaces, and a cell phone and keys. That was all. But I knew, there was something more. It was in the phone.

It’s routine. It’s what they call location-based surveillance. I know my “level”, but I don’t know how they classify them. It’s said that my “level” is to be strictly monitored. lol, outrageous, I’m just a scribbler, nothing to say a few words on the Internet, how did I become a “major criminal”?

What’s the reason? There’s no reason. “creating a disturbance” is a universal glue that can be attached to anything, especially people’s mouths. Anything can scare you, and no one can stand the detention center, including me.

It is not surprising to say that most of the people around you get into trouble if something happens mostly out of your mouth, as it has been for so many years, and you don’t know what to say to get into trouble. There was a time when we people thought “expression is action,” or hoped that expression would lead to action, but no, nothing, at least until now, only repetitive expression and constant entry into custody. Some people think it’s the government is afraid, so deducing that expression is valuable, hey, it’s just self-consolation. I just don’t know what else to do but express.

The only thing on my mind right now is this: I can’t just let it go. I have to let people know that even though the cops kept nagging before I came out, “Don’t talk nonsense,” it means I’m not allowed to tell people what I’ve been through these days.

But it’s not easy. I can’t get on the Internet, they must be staring at it, maybe find some ‘reason’ to get me back, I can’t go back to those hellish days… cell phones are not working. Who knows what they put in there? It must be the kind of legendary thing that can monitor all operations.

It was obvious that both computers had been tampered with by them and had been fitted with software that could not be removed at all. I had no money to replace my hard drive. How could I tell my grievances? To whom? Who can be trusted? And then?…. Otherwise, what can I do?

I didn’t tie my shoelaces, I kicked my shoes down the street like a homeless cat, and the question marks were like a hook that made my heart crawl.

I have friends. Over the years, I’ve amassed like-minded friends no matter how much I’ve been deleted or how many accounts I’ve been logged off. People talk to each other because of the similarity of views-online, of course. To be safe, everyone calls each other by ID abbreviations. I can’t call them by their real names; of course, they don’t know my real names too, and we just don’t know each other. I can’t figure out right now if there’s any need for this kind of “security,” we’re just not familiar with each other, and the government’s surveillance system is familiar with all of us.

People in this country do not know what is private, do not know the importance of privacy, they just in the endless anxiety without a head to fly like rambling. I am a very dull person, my mother constantly told me from a young age, that I am too straight, to learn to stay a few more eyes, do not blindly trust others. In fact, I understand, I read a lot of books, the more those who look like like-minded people, hot looking for you to communicate, the more careful you should be. But I need friends. I am alone in this bright metropolis for nearly ten years, no relatives, no women, if even no friends I am not likely to live today.

But who can I trust? Many people are kind to me, they seem so kind that I always unconsciously say “you are really a good guy.” This phrase probably never said a few times in my father’s life. He experienced the Cultural Revolution, you understand – all over the reporting, trust is a very expensive and dangerous. But the Gang of Four fell, Mao Zedong also died, why is this society today? People are still so hard to trust each other, the Internet and life is still filled with stealth whistleblowers, the Cultural Revolution is not over?

No, it wasn’t the Cultural Revolution, when women didn’t care so much about money and materials. Over the years I didn’t have the heart to find a girlfriend, knowing that I was barely able to pay my salary to rent and eat, but I wasn’t completely desperate, and I always felt that there would be people in the world who would choose to live with me because they truly valued my knowledge.

I dated a girl last year and probably should have said, “I thought it was a relationship.” I had a little publicity on the Internet, probably because it caught the girl’s eye. I was quite serious about asking one of her sisters to send me a message saying they were “interested” in me and hearing that everyone was in the same city and offering to meet.

My social media ID avatar is me, so I feel confident. The first time I met her, the girl was beautiful, even made me feel ashamed. The bill was paid by her, thanks to her payment, or I had to eat a few instant noodles to make it to the end of the month. I feel lucky to finally meet a less worldly girl this year. I called my mother when I got home in the evening. My mother couldn’t speak clearly when she heard the news. And I finally had a topic that made her happy. For the first time in several years.

What did not expect is that a week later I am full of joy with a girl to my place, she looked at it and said “I’m busy”, turned back. I was confused, then comfort myself that she is really busy, don’t think much of it….. As a result, the next day, her friend to help contact, came to private message, asked me “Can you buy a house?” Buy a house? I even have to tighten my belt for dinner, are you kidding me? She also said, no house is insecure, I’m really dizzy. If a house is a sense of security, you should go to get a real estate agent. Why me?

By all accounts, my salary is not too low among my peers, but the total is a far cry from the rest, because people are willing to take in extra cash. Yes, as you know, the media is a shrewd job, there’s nothing on the payroll, but there’s a big difference in the dark. Simply put, sticking to principle means starving. I told this to a buddy who works as a real estate agent, and he laughed:”Where do you think that’s not the case?”

Indeed, the literati is always able to give people a sense of not having seen the world. I’m not what literati, but to do some writing work. By the way, it occurred to me that there was a guy at work who usually took care of me. My language is blunt, not in line with the Internet age hype style, so always look at the editor of the poker face, he took the initiative to help me polish. What if I ask him for help? Maybe he can help me say it online and vent my anger…

By this time, it was already light. I have no money in my pocket, I had to walk to the door of my workplace and wait for my colleague. There are about ten stops, and I can’t walk anymore. I still have good physical strength, running and exercising every day, and just after this week of detention, I feel as if my whole body has been drained. Strange to say, usually when I walk down the street, I get a free cab, but not today, perhaps because they can see that I can’t afford to pay the fare with my disheveled appearance? Well, I don’t have much to say about the grievances without money, and I’m sure you can understand that.

I have one obvious shortcoming: I am particularly unaccustomed to being taken care of, and I always find it impossible to pay my debts, which is probably because I am not living well and I know myself to be inferior.

I lived in the countryside when I was a child. Then I came to this big city to study undergraduate, and when I graduated, the knowledge futility theory once again prevailed. I was lucky enough to finally apply for the editorial job of this newspaper after more than a year as a car cleaner. I worked hard, but so far I’ve never learned to please the leader, I don’t get my share of anything. I have never really learned the subject of human relations in half my life. The big cities are obviously more complicated in this respect, and there is an indescribable gulf between people.

My colleague is very kind, you know, in the office politics of intrigue dig out a friend can be called kind, it is really not easy. He just got married last year, his wife is also a good man, and intends to introduce me to girls. How could I trouble them, I was satisfied that they could utter these words. If it goes well, I’ll double it when I get ahead. I promise.

What else could have gone wrong? Just a post. For me, no matter who comes to me with something like this, I’ll unconditionally say yes. I’ve made several friends out of this temper, but this time I can’t turn to them. They’re hard enough, they don’t even have a job, they’re worse off than me. I just hate myself for not having the strength to help them more. How can I cause any more trouble.

By the time I got to the front door of the editorial office, I didn’t know how many hours had passed. I didn’t have a watch, my cell phone was dead, I had nothing but sweat all over my body, my T-shirt was wet, it was like an iron slab on my back. There was a lot of traffic around, but it had nothing to do with me at all. All these years, I haven’t really been able to fit into this bustling metropolis. It’s like a movie, beautiful and sentimental, but it always makes me feel like there’s going to be a finale. I’m waiting, but I don’t know what I’m waiting for.

He came, I saw. I still as always close to the wall slowly walk. He is too similar to me. He is also from the countryside, such a child can be seen at a glance. I meet up, he saw me with a very surprised look, pressed a voice “shouting”:”You’re out?!”… Strange, I did not say a word, how did he know I was into the detention center? I got nervous.

He pulled me under an abandoned arbor on the corner, next to a stout tree that just covered his body. Even if someone had opened a window and looked out from the opposite newsroom building, they wouldn’t have noticed us.

He was silent for a moment after confirming “security,” but before I could speak, he said, “I think you’d better hide … The day before yesterday the office came to a few uniformed men, asking people about you, and I’ve been called in for questioning … They said you are dangerous people, undermine national security…………” “Fuck!” “You listen to me,” he said, holding on to my temper as I was about to explode. “You know what I mean? Hiding… is… well…. It’s not easy for everybody…. Just to survive….. Hey, you…… Hide.”

To be honest, I don’t have the first time to understand the meaning of “hiding”. I think I have come out, the authorities are just to scare me, everything is over, what else to worry about?? It took me a long time to realize that he wanted me to resign. He told me that several people were “very unhappy”, including the editor-in-chief. They thought I was “causing trouble” to the newspaper’s reputation. The leader asked everyone not to mention me. They wanted to block the news of my persecution.

In the end I couldn’t say what I wanted. He looked at me like a stray dog who hadn’t eaten in days. He said, “My son is only five months old and my wife has lost her job… I want to support my family, please”… God! I’m going crazy!

I just stood there and watched him cross the road with great care. Like many people I met, he lived with great care. They have a family, a career, and a sense of timidity. “Forget it, everyone was just trying to make a living.” It became a killer of all principles. I thought of Eichmann’s “Everything is ordered”… Tell me what the difference is? Tell me Pls!

Three days later I received an email, no sign, presumably from the editor in chief. He said the letter of resignation had been printed out and he wanted me to sign it, take my things and “kindly” say he could write a letter of recommendation if needed.

I sat at the table and smoked about half a box of cigarettes before slowly picking up the keyboard and knocking out an “Okay.” Nothing else. I still can’t figure out why. And what to do in the future.

On the day I went to sign, I chose to go at the end of the shift, which was the least crowded. The editor didn’t come out, and a new female reporter helped me find an oil-leaking ballpoint pen. Just like that, I came out with my luggage. I met a few familiar faces in the hallway, all looking busy, and no one said hello to me.

I went back to the abandoned gazebo on the corner and stopped this time. I suddenly remembered that a few years ago it used to be a newsstand, and there were magazines and drinks for sale. It was a time when the internet was not so well developed and paper media was doing so well. When many cities started tearing down their kiosks, not many people felt they had lost something. People look down at their phones and stop looking around. Maybe people think the world is in their phones? Maybe there’s no one left in the real world.

I have walked through this shabby arbor countless times. But only today, when I want to talk to someone, I do remember what it used to be.