Big Trouble in Little China

Chinese takeout for dinner. Garlic chicken.

In the cooking area behind the front counter, a Chinese woman and a Chinese man shout at each other in rapid-fire Mandarin.

Steam billowing up from the stir fry woks in into their passionate faces. Salt-and-pepper hair matted against their glistening foreheads.

The teenager behind the counter, likely the son of this mom-and-pop operation, he stops taking the order of a patron to turn around and ask the woman something. Indecipherable.

She shouts back at him in their Asiatic tongue.

He turns back to the man at the counter and continues taking his order, a defeated look on his face. He sighs.

The man at the counter sighs.

At home, I open the Styrofoam container that holds my dinner. There is enough rice to feed a small Ethiopian village.

Only one soy sauce packet.

I sigh.


Author: Joe Stallone

Fiction Writer

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