New Arabian Nights (Corrupted)

Everybody knows the 1,001 night story of an Arab King.

According to legend, the king was extremely smart and capable. But he has a terrifying hobby. It is terrifying to women, not to men.

His terrifying hobby is every night he goes out to seduce a young woman, has sex with her, and cuts off her head the following morning.

Until one day he captures a particular young woman. The poor creature wants to avoid having her head chopped off, so she devises a plan and starts to tell him stories. She always remember to pause when the story hooks him.

The king’s curiosity is piqued up. He wants to listen to how the story will develop. So he keeps her for another day.

The next day, she again pauses the story when things reach a critical moment.

So he has to keep her for still another day.

Finally the legend goes, after 1,001 nights of stories, the king finally decides not to chop her head off.

The lesson is the young woman uses her brain to save her life.

Many people forget to mention since he captured her in the first place, her heart has played a very significant role in sustaining her life.

Still no one has ever imagined how it feels to live under a sword which will fall down at any moment. And it stressful it is to have to think of stories when death is always crunching at your door on a broken heart.

What I can tell is fear of death will inspire one to reach unimaginable creativity.

One wonders if a president of a country, dissatisfied with all the literary works of his citizens and subjects, can order them to write a ground-breaking novel, or an epic, or a masterpiece of painting in an impossibly short period of time. “You will kiss your head good-bye if you cannot fulfill my demands!”

Then all the authors, poets, and painters will surely produce masterpieces of everlasting beauty, like the great Shakespeare.

But Shakespeare had never faced threat of death when he wrote his plays. I would venture to suggest he quite enjoyed his creative process.

During China’s long history, it is usually the case that rulers did not like scholars and artists to create. There had never occurred a period when the emperor was dissatisfied with the artistic blooming in his empire and ordered scholars either create or face sure death.

Once I had a student from an island which might be under the control of the Unite States. She opened her first paper with a quote from a professor from that island. The gist of it is, “In your country, if you are a scholar and you do not write you die; In my country if you are a scholar and you write you die.” This is not the exact words of course. It was two or three years ago. And I have suffered Permanent Head Damage due to my phd study.

The first half refers to the United States, I think. The second half refers to the island country.

Therefore, my understanding is I am allowed to write extensively on any subject I can handle since I am writing in the Unites States. If I do not write, I die.

One thing I have learned about life is the distance between two small things can be so vastly distant that I cannot imagine its logical possibility.

I do not need to mention my hellish existence while working in the language program.

Even while in my blissful existence at the English Department, I still have every word written down closely watched and examined, especially when I was writing the dissertation.

Let’s see it is an exceptional dissertation. I know its value because the dissertation director tells me it sets the University record in 14 years. I did not know which aspect he referred to. I did see some longer bindings in the cabinet outside the Director’s Office. But let me bask, for a fleeting moment, in the warmth of his words.

I so need it nowadays.

By the way, the immigration counselor seemed to have a good opinion about the work, too. He said someday I should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh, don’t comment I am being too vain and take people’s niceties as my cloak. Let me at least stay there for a short while and enjoy people being nice.

It is much more better than what I have received in my close quarters where the currents of jealousy surge dangerously in waves.

If I do not pay attention, one thing, or one aspect in my life gets wrecked. Those nasty details are hard to catch, but they render the most severe damage.

That I do not complain against. It has become the usual state of my existence.

What I cannot understand is the only one who has a high stake in the project has acted. I cannot figure out between the dissertation and me who wrote the dissertation, which one worth more money?

Or let me phrase it this way. How much money is my dissertation is going to make for me, for him? How much I am projected to make for him? Suppose he regards me as his “property.” Legally I am not his property, and I am trying my best not to become one, although my heart tells me different things.

I am afraid of his head, and of his heart, too.

Since technically and legally I am the author and it is copyrighted accordingly, the only way to make sure any money it will generate will not flow out is ironically to take me as his private property. I do not particularly like the way I have been treated. Therefore, I am not particularly happy about that prospect.

For a time, I guessed both the project and I were treated as “risk investment projects.” At first I looked very promising, but when knowledge became known that I seemed to command little social capital, my project and I were immediately thrown out as toxic stocks, quite like the sub-prime mortgage loans that had crumbled Wall Street lately.

Not only that I was treated as a charlatan who pretended to be somebody I was not. I had wasted precious investment. Accordingly I was executed. If I was not wrong, I received a gun shot at the back of my head.

I had always insisted the hellish experience was inflicted by the Chinese. It was only 60% or 70% of the truth. The all powerful director authorized the main operations, if not all of them. The Chinese only added and innovated when they could to suit their own despicable purposes.

Therefore, I do not particularly buy the other party’s victim posture, claiming they were duped by the whores who professed love where love did not exist, or the whores who had designs on his life.

I had suspected so at first. I even risked my own life to warn the other party. What I saw was yes those women were punished for their ill intentions.

But my understanding was those women went forward only when they were asked. Of course they actively worked for such opportunities by pretending to be my friend. For a time I was deliberately befriended. Later I discovered I was used as a knocking brick. Through me many women have knocked their way to a better life, better treatment, maybe a better career.

I did not know I possessed that magic capability.

In three years, many women have successfully gained access to the things they wanted by simply walking with me across campus once or twice. I figure I must have been under constant watch.

The one thing I do not understand is if I am regarded as a door to a better life, why I have been receiving so poor treatment myself?

It does seem not many women were killed. But some did lose one eye, or some form of mutilation. Till today I do not understand who cut off my feet, my wings. By the way, my heart has been punctured, too.

Now after three years of telling story non-stop, it seems I still could not avoid having my head cut off.

That is why I say the stories are new Arabian nights. But the ending so far is corrupted. No young woman can keep her head on her shoulders, even if she could tell stories nonstop for 1,001 nights.

The one thing I do not understand is why the king did what he did in Arabian nights. That is why he had to kill all the women after he conquered them. Why did he hate women so much? Did he hate his mother? If he did, why? Were there any women who had cheated him before he commenced on this terrifying journey? What has poisoned his mind so?

One thing I was dissatisfied with these stories was they only told what happened. They did not tell you why. Such were not good stories.

One male scholar offered an explanation I had been looking for. He declared that the king did what he did simply because he was bored. None of my deep questions would apply then.

At first I thought the explanation quite reasonable. The young king had everything he could ever desire. Everything in his kingdom belonged to him. There was nothing he could desire but did not get. Therefore, to have everything and nothing to desire is perhaps not as blissful as people have made it out to be.

But that still could not explain why he had to have a new woman every night and chop her head off the following morning.

He could have them and discard them. But he did not need to chop their heads off.

It must be a symbolic act. Cutting somebody’s head is to prevent them from speaking or thinking, or as a punishment for their stupidity. Women were not allowed to think, perhaps, in Muslim cultures. In fact, women were not allowed to think in ancient China, either. It might also be true for other cultures, like the exodus. However, this contradicts the free will in Genesis. So it does not work.

Speaking of free will, I once told directly what it was. God gracious, I even went forward almost proposing, very much like a man proposing to a woman, without the ring of course. I had to make sure somebody was technically available. The answer was no.

The more I think about it, the more funnier things become.

It looked like the other party has been acting like a coquettish woman, who not only does not act faithfully, but also markets herself to multiple buyers at the same time.

Now things are becoming more and more funnier. I am afraid I am getting into a trap like what James has laid down in Portrait of a Lady. The only difference is I do not have the equivalent of 100,000 pounds in today’s market value in my bank accounts.

Therefore I consider myself pretty safe. No one has mysteriously deposited one million dollars into my account yet.

Maybe I shall try some lottery some day. I do not buy lotteries. There might be a few pancakes out there.

However, since the women were marching forward heroically into their target, there must be something each of them wanted.

There were also other women who might not have marched, or who had marched but still got nothing.

One classmate still remains a student. I was under the impression that she was quite liked originally. She might have done what was asked, for once she gave me something to use on my face. It was in Spanish and I regret today I did not know Spanish. I applied it onto my face and it burned the skin off my entire face. Later I came to understand it was not meant for facial use. Most probably it was meant to treat yeast infections, like athelete’s feet or infection in private parts.

For a whole week, the skin kept falling off my face, layers and layers.

I could not understand anybody could act like this. Even applying egg white could not help.

Fortunately I have good skin. By and by it healed itself.

Later on acts more horrendous than this one also happened. Compared to them, even this act does not appear so horrible. Not any more.

I am telling this today to say somebody could not protect me, although they think they could. I face more dangers daily than I probably ever had in my life. Secondly, as I have always pleaded, they should declare I am not the especially favored one. All the women acted the way they did was because they all imagined I had tons of money in my bank account, I had got the green card or citizenship, or a big house somewhere. Even the Chinese man was offering the big house version. I had former male classmates strangely appeared and disappeared, indicating their regret of not knowing something before. And I had tons of people asking me for money.

What all this is about? How come so many people are suddenly so interested in me?  Have I suddenly become famous?

Anyway, things are very strange. I did receive many publishing catalogues from leading academic and university presses. My understanding is perhaps I should consider publishing my dissertation in one of the best university presses. They must have got wind of something.

Right now I am too busy, and too tired. Let me deal with what is in front of me first. Right at this moment, I am very hungry. I should eat something.

Please do not tell me nobody wants me. You know it is not true. And I really should be treated very nicely.

Do not appear when times are bad. Hunker down and get the job done.

Why was I treated so badly? When I went, I got beaten. When I did not go, I still got beaten. Life is hard.

When I did not want to focus only on academics, I was ordered to focus. When I wanted to focus, the order is again not to focus, or focus. I have lost contact.

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