four fables by an gang

translation by xi nan

Nameless and Sexy Creature

This is a scene with no time, no past, no present or future: a defeated team of people are hurrying along a stream on the edge of the city under the moonlight; a girl in jeans is lying on her belly on an inflatable float bag and floating along the stream, and I'm on the bank just behind her. The girl's slightly curved butt looks very sexy. Green water plants are everywhere in the stream. I rush along the stream bank and try to catch up with her  in order to strike up a conversation. She seems to have known this, and looks back at me indifferently. I see that her face is a horse face, but its color is the same as a human face, white, delicate and smooth.

Spring is Here, Let’s Plant a Child

In the spring when everything revives, I see a young couple who look like my neighbors in the grass next to a path in the garden. They've put their son, who's just turned one year old, into a rectangular hole they've just dug in the grass. When I see them, they've already filled it with earth and are jumping and stepping on it. Seeing me passing by, the female says to me, still panting: "Going out for a trip, so we hide him. He'll grow taller when we come back." 

The woman still wants to say something to me, but the man says to her, "Hurry up, we'll have to water him after we compact the earth!" 

I walk past them, look back five or six meters away, and see them holding hands like a pair of children jumping happily on their son's new home.

The Door of Heaven is Made of Wood

In the twilight, I'm following my dad, and it seems like we are on our way to heaven. Dad is carrying a door on his shoulder, and it has a brass frame with an inlay of red patterned wood, very delicate.

We are crossing the small river of our hometown.

But I don't know what happened – suddenly all that’s left of the door is the brass frame. The wooden boards of the door are somehow turned into a pile of wood strips, as if they had just been chopped down with an axe by someone. But there is no one around.

I think it's okay to throw these wood strips away. As I'm thinking, my dad says to me: "Quickly pick up these wood strips. We're taking them with us." And he says, "These things are all from heaven, we can't just throw them away!"

I Couldn't Clearly Tell What Our Relationship Was

She was sleeping on a single bed next to me.

In the hazy morning light I saw her pressing her bleeding tooth with her forefinger, and almost subconsciously, my tooth started to bleed, too. I secretly rejoiced, and also pressed my bleeding tooth with my forefinger. When I looked at her, she was also looking at me, and I said, "What a coincidence, we both have a bleeding tooth."

She smiled at me, and I felt sweet inside. Her smile was so charming.

I quickly rolled over and got up from bed, went to the washroom. And then, like in a station waiting hall, I went to two washrooms in a row but both were occupied. It was only when I went to the third one that there was no one inside. In the washroom, I looked in the mirror while I washed the blood from my teeth with a handful of water. I felt sweet in my heart – just like the same accidental thing that happened to two lovers at the same time would be given a magical meaning.

But I still couldn't clearly tell what our relationship was.

(A poetry and creative hybrid text collection by several contemporary Chinese authors will be published and available in 2022.)

AN GANG (安綱, original name安剛), is of Xibo ethnicity (錫伯族), China. He was born in 1970, and currently lives in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province (浙江寧波). He started writing in 2012 and is the author of one poetry collection, one short story collection and one non-traditional novel (詩集《誤入空山》、中短篇小說集《不安》和非傳統長篇小說《生活》), and so forth.

XI NAN (西楠), writes and translates, indie publisher of Xi Nan & Fish Lu STUDIO, London. She was born in China and now lives in London.
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