A Hollow Ball Back and Forth

Amy Ping wanted to kill herself. Lily Pong wanted to get born again. Such were the disparities in life; that they were touring China together was not a convenience. In Szechwan, Amy choked on some tripe, confirming all the more exactly what she wanted to do at 3:00 PM.

“I’m so going to kill myself at 3:00 PM,” said Amy. “They said there would be Christians here,” said Lily.

Ping and Pong finished their soup, texted their respective bffs, and waited around nervously. China in no way resembled the ‘world’s next super- power.’ Men in sandals rode rusty bikes; women tied babies to their backs.

“I smell dried tiger penis,” said Amy.

“That’s because we’re sitting next to a store that sells dried tiger penis,” replied Lily, who had decided at this point that her friend could not be saved.

The moon rose early that afternoon. The dim dome of the sky blinked twice, and a film of cloud rolled across, absorbing what little pale shadows were left. A standing person has no roots, only shadows that grip the ground.

“It’s 2:56 PM,” said Amy, taking out her pill bottle. “Those are laxatives,” Lily warned.

“I’ll shit to dea—”

But before Amy could finish, a panda came over and sneezed. Life too was an irritated sinus cavity, always about to blow. America was falling but China still had the allergies. It was hard to break the rules: the moon chased the earth which chased the sun, around and around. The universe was chasing itself, expanding relentlessly into nothingness.

Amy sneezed, causing Lily to sneeze as well. It was too hot to smile. Life would be okay.

Jimmy Chen lives in San Francisco, California. He maintains a blog and archive of his writing at http://jimmychenchen.com.