China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Competition: a fable


“Gourds for sale! Gourds for sale!”

The man in green Mao gear walks slowly through the crowds, peddling his wares.

“Traditional Chinese instrument!”
The people, dodging his stick device, eye him queerly.

“It’s 2008, chump,” says one particularly smart-ass passerby.

The man in green is immune to such jibes, having sold cheap tourist goods for most of his life. Soon, he comes upon a strange building, of bizarre, clashing colors and very non-traditional shapes. Lured by the sight of cleverly orchestrated water jets, he moves closer. He encounters a bright orange statue with a purple base.

“Oh, what a cute large-scale diagram of a molar,” the man in green says.

“That’s not a tooth, bozo,” a nearby man remarks.

“Oh, then what is it?”

The man shakes his head and walks away. The man in green studies the object more closely, discovering a list of odd names and images: Donald something, a mermaid, some old man named John. Aha! The keen merchant in him senses the odor of commerce.

“So these are new competitors,” he says aloud. “Ha! I have sold gourd flutes for over twenty years. Let them try and muscle me out of my territory.”

Energized from the spirit of contest, the man in green raises his voice proudly.

“Gourds for sale! Gourds for sale! My gourds are far superior to the wares of Donald!”

“Hey, buddy,” shouts a hunched old woman carrying a Nike shopping bag. “This ain’t no competition. This is annihilation.”

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