Friday, April 6, 2012
SHARK STORY by Alex, age 9
Clink, Clink, Clink, Shuffle, Shuffle, Shuffle. Mr. Liang dumps bottles and papers into the recycling bin. “Why did people elect me?” asks Mr. Liang. “And who is supposed to empty the recycling?”
“You are, Bill,” says Mrs. Liang, his secretary, twin sister and wife. “Did you know the area was restricted?”
“Do you mean the sixth Floor? We have a key to there.”
They take the elevator to the sixth floor of City Hall. There is a green army tank in the middle of the hallway, the sun gleaming off its armor. Dust flies through the air.
Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. “Does the tank work?” asks the mayor.
Mrs. Liang says, “I think there’s a way we can use it to solve the unemployment problem.”
“Will it fit in the elevator?”
“Sure! Why not?”
They get in and drive the tank into the elevator, down to the first floor, out of City Hall, right past the metal detector, and out to Union Square.
“Why are we doing this?” Mr. Liang says.
“I’ll tell you later.”
“Okay,” Mrs. Liang says. “I want to get rid of adults. They are blaming you because the employment rate is sky high, and this is the only way.”
“What is the ‘only way’?”
“We have to kill them off.”
“You’re kidding. With this tank?”
“Well, not exactly. Just watch.”
“This tank looks like it’s from the Korean War or World War II. Do think it’s still any good?”
BOOM, CRACK! The Victory Statue tilts diagonally, pointing its trident at the sun. It creaks loudly as it crashes down onto Macy’s. Everybody gasps.
“Someone get help!” yells a tourist.
“I’ll call 911,” says a woman in purple velvet.
Everyone stops shopping and stares at the Victory Statue.
“Well, no one looks dead,” says Mr. Liang. “I think we need to try something else.”
The next morning Mrs. Liang picks up the phone.
“This is Dow Chemical Lab, San Francisco Bay Area Branch. May I help you?”
“Yes,” says Mrs. Liang. “Do you sell hexazylenadultium? Can you tell me about it, too?”
“Yes.” Tap. Tap. Tap. “Just a minute. Hexazylenadultium is a nonmetal chemical poisonous to adults. Why do you need this anyway?”
Mrs. Liang flips through her notepad. Not enough jobs, too many budget cuts. Kids keep turning eighteen year after year. I want to commit suicide, and kill my husband. She twirls the telephone cord. She kicks her chair. She bangs on the stapler. “I’d like to order one thousand gallons. Send it to City Hall in San Francisco, Federal Express, next-day air.”
“Gallons? What? This chemical is only sold in milligrams.”
“If you need a lot, use shark fins. They contain high levels of this carcinogen.”
The fax machine beeps. Mrs. Liang pulls out the page and reads it then hands it to Mr. Liang. “Look at this,” she says. “It’s about a campaign to ban shark fin soup.”
“Perfect idea,” Mayor Liang says. “Let’s save sharks!”
“Are you out of your mind?”
“It’s Chinese tradition.”
“It’s bad for the environment.”
Mr. Liang takes his place in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers next to all the other board members.
“What about AB 376?” Supervisor Sherman says.
“Where’s the agenda?” Supervisor Wu says.
“What about our budget problem?” Supervisor Lewis says.
“What about Occupy San Francisco?” Supervisor Lau says.
“Eureka!” Mr. Liang yells. “I have the agenda.”
Supervisor Mirkarimi rushes into the chambers, waving his cell phone. “Look at this!”
Mr. Liang and the other supervisors look at the screen. “Isn’t time for North Park?” Mayor Liang says.
“No!” Supervisor Mirkarimi says. “Watch.”
“Jenny Jang here,” says a reporter on screen, “Live in Vacaville.” Behind her crowds of people are marching. “I have one of the protest leaders here with me. Mrs. Liang.” The reporter turns to the mayor’s wife. “So, tell us, why are you against AB 376?”
“It’s racist!” Mrs. Liang yells. “This is a protest against racism.”
Mrs. Liang walks into the mayor’s office, holding two bowls of soup.
“What is that?”
“Shark fin soup!”
“We’ve been to tons of banquets this year and you never ate any shark fin soup. Why do you love it so much, all of the sudden?”
“Look, I called Dow Chemical.” Mrs. Liang tells the mayor about her phone conversation. “It could be the solution to the unemployment problem.”
“Okay, let’s eat.”
“Yeah, why don’t have mine, too, honey?”
About the Author
Hi, my name is Alex. I’m nine years old and I live in San Francisco with my three sisters, my mom, and my dad. I like democracy. I am interested in voting and protesting. I’m different from other kids because I’m into bureaucracy. For example, I really like learning about rules and filling out forms. My favorite book is Journey to Topaz because it is set during World War II. If I could go back in time, I would go to the time during the Chinese Civil War because I would like to ask Mao Zedong about his ideas. My parents come from Vietnam, which is country I never been to. I would like to go because I want to see how they deal with their economy. If I could ask everyone on Earth a question, I would ask, “Do you like communism?” I wish everyone had the right to free speech in China. I’m also the author of Don’t Worry About It And Other Stories.