It was a cold morning of December 25th, 2077, when Honey Zhang left the Super Communist massage parlor on Huaihai Road in Shanghai. Looking back at the slogan, white characters on red background, saying: “All Together We Shall Try to Achieve a Big Orgasm for Future Prosperity of Our Homeland”, she suddenly noticed a man standing nearby.
A laowai, to be exact. He was probably around thirty, with long brown hair and a full beard. He was dressed very shabbily - the way laowais always do, must be a law in Laowaiguo or something - and looked at her with a queer expression. His gaze was intense but she felt there was also pity in it - or perhaps desire. Just a laowai. She was used to them. And they were much easier to treat than those wackos from Yisilanguo, anyway.
“We’re closed,” Honey said, looking at the laowai from below fake eyelashes.
“I know,” the laowai said, still staring at her. “I didn’t come for that.”
She expected him to say something else, but he was just standing there, his gaze steady on her, sometimes scrolling down to the thin legs nicely clad in furry boots. What a weirdo. If he didn’t want “that”, why the hell was he just standing there? Those laowais had too much spare time, really.
“We open at 3pm,” she tried again. Since there was still no reply, she added awkwardly: “Merry Christmas.”
“You know about Christmas?” The silly laowai looked surprised. Must have been living on Mars lately, really. Who doesn’t know about Christmas? Maybe some Yisilanguo guys or whatever.
“It’s the biggest holiday everywhere, I get good customers usually - Middlelanders, of course, you laowais prefer to stay home – you know, this kind of stuff,” she said impatiently. “Look, if you don’t want anything –”
“But do you know what the ... err ... meaning of Christmas is?” the laowai asked.
She sighed and started walking towards the bus station. The bearded wacko followed her, smiling stupidly.
“I told you, it’s this huge holiday, I get good Middle Land customers, and ... hey, you really don’t know what Christmas is?” she looked at him, slightly amused by his stupidity.
But the guy just smiled.
“Are you hungry?” he asked suddenly. “Let’s eat something. I’d like to talk to you ... just a bit. If you don’t mind.”
She shrugged her shoulders. Free dinner - that was always good. And she was hungry, as a matter of fact.
They entered a small restaurant that claimed to serve “Middle Land’s traditional food cooked in laowai fashion with Yisilanguo flavor”. The restaurant was appropriately named Socks Tasty.
The menu card offered a dish translated into laowai language as Hairy Blood Prosperity. Honey couldn’t really read laowai language, but she knew it was just a usual Sichuan-style spicy dish. She ordered that and a glass of Lemon May Be Happy, the most popular drink in the world.
The strange laowai asked for two cups of water. A dreamy waitress brought the food and the drinks and sat down in the corner, staring at laowai’s neck.
“So,” Honey said, “you’re from Laowaiguo, right?” As if it wasn’t obvious. But she felt she had to say something. The silence began to annoy her.
“From the USDW, yes,” the laowai said. She knew that laowai word, yu-aisi-di-daberyu. Was either the way they called Laowaiguo or the name of a new famous pop band, she wasn’t sure.
“United States of Democratic West,” the laowai continued. “Or, to be exact, a territory it occupies now. The Caliphate claims it’s been a part of it for centuries.”
“The what?” Honey asked.
“The Caliphate. What you call Yisilanguo. The place I come from is the only part in the area that doesn’t belong to the Caliphate. So it’s dangerous there. It’s been dangerous there for many years now.”
She nodded, barely listening. She was bored. Couldn’t he tell her something interesting – like something about that cute new pop singer from the Sun Origin Islands, the one who wears this super-cute furry pink coat, and has this super-cute face with super-cute earrings and super-cute peach-colored hair. What was his name, Mountain-Rice Field-something, those Sun Origin guys always have weird names, kept using them even after the Great Annexion. If he asked her to marry him she would, really. But no sex before marriage, of course.
The laowai took one of the cups with hot water and handed it to Honey. She sipped from it, but the water tasted strange.
“Hey,” she said. “I thought you ordered water.”
“But this is wine,” she said.
“Oh.” He looked puzzled. “That’s weird. Maybe they gave us wine by mistake. Doesn’t matter. Just drink it.”