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It is said that “you can see who a person will become when they are three years old.” This saying is not a mistake. The first two years of my life, I was no different from the average kid; I cried; I was noisy; and I wet my bed. My idiosyncrasy started to appear the year I was three.
The year I was three, I was enchanted by guns. This isn’t strange; any boy will like guns. It’s an innate nature. What went wrong was those words my mom said one day when I was rolling around on the floor demanding to be bought that toy machine gun. After coercion and threats had all failed, she said, “A good person only has one gun. Only bad people have many guns. Hao Ran, you already have a gun at home, if we buy another one, you’ll become a bad person.”
I thought back to all the tv that I had watched; it seemed like that really was the case. But my thirst for guns exceeded the demands I had for my self quality, so I replied, “I want to become a bad person.”
Then, I received that gun and the direction of my life was determined — I will be a bad person.
Don’t be skeptical or laugh secretly, the so-called ambition is not bound by age. Don’t underestimate the determination of a three year old child. It’s because my mom didn’t take those words of mine to heart and missed the optimal chance to turn the direction of my life around.
After that time, I would pay special attention to the difference between the good and bad people when I watched tv. The more I watched, the more resolute I became on my decision to become a bad person. Look at those bad people on tv — they eat and drink the best and do as they please. Then, contrast them to those good people who are always being bullied by the bad people — hovering between life and death, exhausted and suffering.
I will be a bad person! Starting from when I was three, I tried my best to head towards that direction — putting into practice all the tactics of bad people. I snatched the lollipop of the neighboring little girl; I monopolized the toys at kindergarten, not giving them to other kids to play; I used a slingshot to shoot at people’s glass windows; I tied a cat’s tail to a firecracker…
The people who came to complain at my house every day would have to form a line. My parents were very used to this and would do these things: One, bow; Two, hand over gift; Three, say, “We’re sorry, our son lacks discipline.”
But they couldn’t do anything about me. Just like how Jia Bao Yu had an old ancestor protecting him, my (paternal) grandma was also not prudent with me. I was the only one for the family name to pass onto in these five generations. If she didn’t love me, then who would? Especially since my mom has had miscarriages before. There were two who weren’t saved before me. It’s said the first one was gone because she stretched her hand out to put out clothes to dry; for the second, my mom learned her lesson and didn’t do any work. In the end, one time, when she finished eating plum candy and threw out the pit into a trash can more than a meter away, with a crash, my second brother or sister left. When she got pregnant with me, besides moving her mouth, my mom didn’t dare to move at all. She reclined in bed for seven months. Drinking, eating, and going to the bathroom were all done on the bed. This was how she was able to preserve the one bit of blood of the Li Family.
They finally had me after much challenge. And I was a male, so pampering was, of course, unavoidable. My grandma saw me as dearer than her own heart. She could find a merit in whatever bad thing I did. When I spoke profanity, she would think that my vocabulary was very rich; when I smashed someone’s head, she would see that my strength was great….Even though my mom didn’t blindly pamper me like my grandma, she would say a few words when I did something bad, but it was nothing serious. She had never been willing to smack me. When it came to her, I got whatever I asked for.
The only annoying one was my dad. He would always have a stern fatherly face on and roar at me. Honestly, I was a bit afraid of him but good thing he was a filial son and loves his wife. There were many times, when he raised a stick, I would just hide behind my grandma or my mom and they would just have to say, “If you want to hit him, hit me first” for that stick not to fall on my body. My dad had already attempted to reason with his wife and mother, but my grandma would simply not see sense in it and my mom would understand the wrong but would not change. Several times, when he failed to break through to them, he would give up trying to educate me with a stick and concentrate on dealing with the aftermath of the disasters I caused.
Relying on my grandma and mom for support, plus the tall and strong physique I inherited from my dad, with no doubt at all, I grew up to be a little bully.
The area where my family lived was commonly called Chessboard Street, because many small alleys crisscrossed there like a chessboard. Every day I would do bad things in all alleys of the chessboard, causing pandemonium in that chessboard. An old pedant of Ku Dang (pant crotch) Lane said I was a “fundamentally good person with an evil character” trying to prove myself. The fellow villagers gave me a well known nickname called, “Gui Jian Chou” (someone even ghosts would be scared of.) They all said that I would become a bastard in the future. I also gloriously thought so.
The children on Chessboard Street who could be bullied has pretty much all been bullied by me before. The only one who hadn’t was the little Chen girl on Lantern Lane.
The Chen family was often the subject of discussion by the people of Chessboard Street. The family’s mistress was an extremely disagreeable woman. Everyone loathed her, even more than they loathed me. It is said that that woman used to be a chicken that couldn’t lay an egg. Before I understood this analogy, I always thought that that woman was a chicken demon shapeshifter. Thus, Lantern Lane narrowly and luckily escaped from my harassment for many years. Of course, once I understood the implied meaning, Lantern Lane was incorporated into the scope of my power. But this isn’t what I want to talk about right now, let us get back to the main point.
It is said that since that hen couldn’t hatch an egg for many years, she went and picked up an egg; it was that little girl. At first, it was still alright. Who could have known that after two years, that hen was actually able to hatch an egg? And it was even a male egg. The one that was picked up became unnecessary. Since then, she lived through suffering hard times where “younger brother gets the noodles while I drink the soup.”
When I passed through Lantern Lane, at least 9 times out of 10, I would see that woman beating and scolding the little girl.She couldn’t even go to school until the subdistrict and local police came to enforce the education law. There was also once a neighbor who couldn’t stand it anymore and tried to persuade that family not to be so harsh. That woman only placed her hands on her waist and said, “If you’re so kindhearted, why don’t you lead this idiot home to raise?!” No one wanted to take this burden, so they could only comment about it secretly.
That woman always called the little girl, “Idiot.” Everyone also suspected that she had become a fool from the mistreatment. Earlier on, when she was hit, she would still know to cry. Later on, she made no noise. She would cower against the foot of the wall anywhere she went. If anyone came close to her, they would scare her. With worn out and dirty clothes, messy hair and a dirty face, no one wanted to see what she looked like. The feeling she gave people was one of an ash cloud; one that would fall apart if the wind blew any stronger.
Comparing me with her was like comparing a lion and a grasshopper. The disparity in our strengths was too great that I didn’t even bother to bully her.
In addition, my grandma specifically told me, “That little Chen girl is already pitiful enough, you must not cause her problems.”
My mom also always said she was pitiful, that she couldn’t eat enough nor wear enough clothes for warmth. When other people gave her some old clothes, they incurred the wrath of that shrew. Over time, no one dared to help her anymore.
Whether that girl lived well or not had nothing to do with me. But at that time I had just turned 12, the aggressive nature of a male animal started to awaken. Even if it was to be a bad person, one would desire for oneself to be the most villainous. So I felt extremely displeased that that woman was actually even more villainous than me. What made me even more angry was that she had even given birth to a sinister son, Chen Yong Kang. Chen Yong Kang was younger than me by three years, but was nipping me on the heels in the leaderboard for the most horrid person. When a person analyzing the history of me and Cheng Yong Kang, the belief is that: My evil constitution was acquired, while Cheng Yong Kang’s evil constitution was his nature. The speed and level at which Cheng Yong Kang become worse was much greater than mine. The space for him to grow also surpassed mine. He just needed a bit of time to grow and the inevitable outcome would be him overtaking me at a fork in the road.
How can this do? I can acknowledge not being able to be worse than his mom for the time being, since she has had thirty plus more years of practice than me. When I started to learn to be bad, she was already experienced. But this youngster was three years younger than me. I didn’t want to be a minion for him in the future. I must strangle this embryo in it’s cradle.
I led the bandits under me to start guiding Cheng Yong Kong back onto the right path. The method used was fighting evil with evil. When he threw snot onto another person, a ball of dung would fall onto him; when he lifted the skirt of a girl, he would be seized into some blind alley and come out with a bare bottom; when he threw trash into another person’s courtyard, all of the trash on Chessboard Street would be gathered in front of his house the next day…as soon as he did something bad, he would receive a punishment.
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