Another Vulgar Story
Nguyễn Khắc Phước dịch
“Lại Một Chuyện Thô Tục”,
truyện ngắn của Nguyễn Quang Lập.
Doan left his elementary school when he finished his fifth year and started learning how to drive tractors. He was my elder brother’s friend so he used to let me sit on his tractor several hours a day and I was very proud of it.
One day I asked him whether driving a tractor was difficult, he said “Not at all. It needs the knowledge of a first year school student but I have finished my fifth year so I am wasting my knowledge”. At noon he asked me to run home to fetch his lunch food. If I did so he would show me a ‘butterfly’(1). Of course I did what he told me.
I thought he would show me a true ‘butterfly’ but he only drew an up-side-down triangle and a dot in the middle and said “This is a ‘butterfly’. I asked him why he drew a dot in the middle and he said the dot made the picture look like a butterfly. I didn’t agree and asked him what the dot was about. He burst out laughing and told me to wait for the answer until he married. It turned out that at the age of 21, he had never seen a true ‘butterfly’ before. He didn’t know it was horizontal or vertical. He just lied to me after all.
From that time on I took for granted that a ‘butterfly’ was an up-side-down triangle.
A year later probably in in the first month of the summer, the militiamen of Dong Duong Village, where I was avacuated to, captured a foreign woman pilot whose nationality was unknown. She was said to be an Australian. At that time, a pilot prisoner was much more precious than gold. As soon as the district armed forces heard the news, they promised to award the militiamen with a cow.
While a militiaman was sent to the district armed forces to report the news, the woman pilot was brought to a warehouse and was watched carefully. Of course, I hang about the warehouse all day to ‘watch’ the woman pilot without neglect and tiredness.
The militiamen waited and waited till late in the afternoon but the men from the district armed forces didn’t turn up. They yawned and yawned. One militiaman said “ This woman is big so her vulva must be big too. Let’s strip her to see it”. Without hesitation, all the others agreed. They all tried to force her to lie down. The pilot was so frightened that her face went white. She turned around and around to avoid them. Probably she thought the natives were going to kill her. One militiaman pointed his gun to her and shouted “Stay still or I’ll kill you. Let me examine how dangerous the invaders are” . Of course he spoke in Vietnamese but I thought she understood so she lay still. They stripped her trousers. Then they slowly went around watching her attentively.
I didn’t see anything nor the up-side-down triangle. I saw only a patch of fair pubic hair up to her navel. One militiaman took a branch of casuarina tree to raise the hair patch but found nothing.
From that time on till I was in the seventh grade, I kept wondering why the butterfly which I saw was drawn as an up-side-down triangle and a dot.
Once again I found out that they all lied.
Last night Su argued with Tra that literature must reflect reality. I used to believe Su was right so I did everything he told me. But now I remember the old story and find out that Su is wrong.
You have been decieving me Su. The triangle is the triangle; the hair patch is the hair patch; they are not the same. Hooohooohooo.
(1) butterfly: pussy, vulva.
(1) butterfly: pussy, vulva.