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Terracotta Typewriter #3, Fall 2009


  • Terracotta Typewriter

    Issue #3 Fa

    ll 2009

  • Unsolicited manuscripts are welcomed throughout the year.

    Terracotta Typewriter seeks submissions of literary works

    with a connection to China. The definition of connection to

    China can be stretched as much as an author sees fit. For ex-

    ample, expatriate writers living in China or who have lived

    in China, Chinese writers writing in English, translators of

    Chinese writing, works that are set in China, manuscripts

    covered in Chinese food (General Tsos chicken doesnt

    count), or anything else a creative mind can imagine as a con-

    nection to China.

    2009 by Terracotta Typewriter. All rights reserved.

    Cover art by Elrond Burrell 2009

    Visit our Web site at http://www.tctype.com.

    This literary journal is free for distribution.


  • Terracotta Typewriter

    A Cultural Revolution

    of Literature

  • In This Issue

    Letters to the Editor 1

    Genghis and Me 3 Kaiser Kuo

    Poster Boy 6 Karen Hunt

    Letter 20 John Bennett

    Interview with 22

    Gene Ayres

    Review: The Beijing 31

    of Possibilities

    Penjing 33 Rebecca Demarest

    Hello, Good-bye 38 Vivian Liao

    ChiNa 49 William S. Tribell

    Contributor Notes 50

  • Letters to the Editor Dear Sir/Madam,

    We are looking for a trustworthy representative in New Zealand that

    can help as a link between our company and our client over there.we

    would like to know if you are interested to work from home for us and

    earn up to $800 to $1,500 Dollars weekly for your services.

    Our company produces various clothing materials, batiks, assorted

    fabrics and traditional costumes.We have clients we supply goods weekly

    in New Zealand and our clients make payments for our supplies every

    week in form of money orders and Bank Transfar which are not cashable

    here in China,so we need someone in New Zealand to work as our repre-

    sentative to assist us in processing payments from our clients and we will

    pay him/her weekly wage.

    All you need to do is to receive this payment from our clients in

    New Zealand on behalf of our company and get it cashed at your bank

    then deduct your 10% and forward the balance to our company here in


    Thank you as we await your further response.

    In Trust And Good Faith

    Mr.Zheng Choua, Sales Manager,

    Ghangzhou, China

    Mr. Zheng,

    Thank you for your kind offer, but Im having difficulty finding Ghangzhou

    on a map. I also asked the bank and they dont know how to do a transfar.

    Please send me a check and I will see if my bank can transfar it to your non-

    existent city for laundering.

    -The Editor


  • I am suzy,

    I saw your contact , and i was deeply moved.I think that you are a

    very interesting person.So I decided to use the chance to get to know

    you.i dont think that the age appearance is so important. The most impor-

    tant is what is inside you and how do you feel about the life. I know this

    life from many sides and I am rather mature already to know how to

    make a man happy.I think we should use every chance to find our

    happiness. and I am contacting you for obvious reason which you will


    i am sending this mail just to know if this email address is OK,reply

    me so that i will send my photo and more details to you,and i have a very

    important thing to tell you, i still hope for your reply,

    have a pleasant day,



    We appreciate your interest even though you know nothing about us. While

    you may not care about age or appearances, we do. We kindly request that you

    forward a photo of yourself in a bikini, wearing an eye patch, and holding an

    over-sized vodka martini with a parakeet perched on the rim of the glass. We will

    post this photo on our Web site for all interested parties to view and ridicule.

    -The Editor

    If you have any questions or comments for the editor of Terracotta Type-

    writer, please send it in the form of electronic mail to tctype@gmail.com.


  • Kaiser Kuo

    Ghengis and Me

    S o I was just minding my own business, hauling a cartload

    of millet as tribute for the local Jurchen grandee when I

    caught the unmistakable whiff of a Mongol horde. "Oh,

    shit, not again," I thought, and tried to hide in a sack of

    millet. But then the horde and its overpowering stench were

    upon me. Two leathery Mongo bruisers hauled me out by my

    ears and slammed me on the ground before the man himself. I

    made all obsequiousGreat Khan this and O Man of the Millen-

    nium that. I also apologized for soiling myself, something of which

    I'm not proud, but man, I was scared and you would've done the


    "Get your Han ass up off the ground and tell me why I

    shouldnt just let my men use you for target practice," said Genghis

    Khan in a voice that was surprisingly high and tinnynot what

    youd expect from a legendary butcher of men.

    "Mighty Khan, the Empire may be conquered on horseback,

    but cannot be ruled on horseback," I said, my voice cracking. I was

    in the throes of puberty, you see. It occurred to me the horde

    thought I was mocking the Khans girly voice. Some drew their

    swords andsnarled. But then this effete-looking Khitan dude with

    a braided forelock pushes forward and says, all indignant,

    "Excuse me, kid, but the horseback bit? that's my line,

    okay? And besides, it was a total non sequitur." It was Yel Chu-

    cai: I recognized him from his campaign posters from when he ran

    for mayor of Beijing. "Your mama!" I shot back, and for some rea-

    son that cracked all the Mongols up, and Genghis Khan most of all.

    After that the Khan's horsemen chased me around whipping my

    buttocks for a couple of hours, but in the end Genghis suf-

    fered me to live and let me clean up.

    Turns out that it really was Yel Chucai first said that thing


  • about ruling on horseback, and I reckon he was right about it being

    a non sequitur too. I told him so, explaining that I was

    scared and it was the first thing that popped out, it being so quot-

    able. Later, he sent his thugs for me, had them pull out a couple of

    my fingernails and torture my feet with a red-hot poker for a cou-

    ple of days, and after that Chucai and I were coolfriends,

    even, and we would privately snigger together at the Mongols

    when they would leave camp to "go among the sheep."

    The Khan had some real hotties for daughters, and in a bid to

    get close to one, I figured Id make friends with his sons. The eld-

    est, Jochi croaked earlyhe went among the sheep and caught

    something, Im toldbut I was tight with Ogodei and Tolui, the

    youngest boy. Chagatai was a nasty bugger and even his brothers

    shunned him. He would hot-box the lot of us in his yurthed seal

    up the flapsand the smoke hole up top, and fart nasty mutton farts.

    Then hed wave his scimitar around and threaten to behead any-

    one he thought was breathing through their mouth.

    Genghis Khan had the dopest of yurts. Whether we were chill-

    ing in Karakorum or out in the field on campaign, the mans deco-

    rator knew how to pimp a yurt: the finest wool carpets of Per-

    sia and the Caucuses, silk from the lands south of the Yangtze,

    copper andbrass wares from the smiths of Anatolia, the grinning

    skulls of princes and satraps foolish enough to oppose him. I

    taught Genghis to play the board game Risk and we often stayed

    up playing all night in that stylin yurt, me and Genghis, Og-

    gie and Tolui, sometimes Chucai and the general Subotai too. We

    regulars always let the Khan win. But one night, after imbibing a

    bit too much of single-mare, this general named Jogdach (who was

    a nice enough guy when he wasn't catapulting rotting corpses into

    recalcitrant Chinese cities he happened to be laying siege to) at-

    tacked the Khan in Kamchatka from Alaska. He rolled a bunch of

    sixes and took him out. Genghis kicked the board over, and while

    Tolui and me sorted the armies and put away the game, poor Jog-

    dach was trussed up, rolled into a carpet, and dragged behind


  • horses until he was tenderized to death.

    The years went by. We wiped the floor with the Jurchen,

    whod gone soft from a high-carb Northern Chinese diet, took out

    Western Xia, conquered Khwarezmia, and laid waste to the great

    Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Merv. I started to get

    the hang of the looting and pillaging. I wasnt the best rider in the

    horde, but pretty soon I was as surly and bow-legged as the next

    guy. I developed a taste for fine, single-mare kumiss, which Id

    loot from duty-free shops.

    The daughter I was keen on, Magda, seemed to take a shine

    to me, too, and so after some deliberation I asked her out to view

    the Mountain of Skulls wed made after the sack of Samarkand.

    When I went to pick her up, the Khan was there, and while she got

    dressed, I had to endure the third degree from her old man. "What

    is best in life?" he asked in his weird falsetto. Ordinari