A Word of Advice from Blue Moon Rising

—Yantai, Shandong Province, 1999

The thing is, I’ve never considered
myself a businesswoman, just a tippler
of human emotion, a player of the
immaculate order, who knows how to
ply her hand at things that swell the tongue:
deep fried squid in fresh, iced batter;
diced chicken with roasted cashews,
steamed turtle, cooked in its own shell—
anything can taste good with only
a marginal investment. And my clientele,
well, they’re not what you call discerning,
I’ve tried all kinds of tests—watering down
the soup, substituting fresh onions with
only the skin, and you know, no one
notices a bloody thing; so, my pockets
are heavier than I dare say, or show,
and the will to please is less
than a bare necessity. I’ve studied
TV shows where emotions are on call
and listened to the trembling inflections
of old wives complaining about their
daughters on the radio, and I’ve mastered
the whole bing, bang and kaboodle.
So eat, and be merry, sip and slurp
my service with a smile, and
know one thing: it’s all about how
you ply your trade, rather than how
it tastes. The basic rule is threefold:
cut, cut, cut, and when in doubt, cut again.

About the author

Marc Vincenz was born in Hong Kong and has lived in the UK, Switzerland, Spain, China and Brazil. He now lives in rural Iceland,…

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Issue 06 · August 2009

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