Chapter 16: Here’s Five Yuan Change
By the time Jiang Zhengkai left Zhang Nan’s office, the sun had already moved to the west. The golden rays of the dusk sun’s afterglow shone on the entire city. It looked as if someone had sprinkled gold flakes all across the city.
Jiang Zhengkai parked his police cruiser in front of the sub-bureau’s barracks. “Get a good night’s rest. Thank you for your hard work today,” Jiang Zhengkai told Wei Xin. “And remember not to tell any of our colleagues that I had you looking for documents related to A-Xiu.”
“Got it, Inspector Jiang.” Wei Xin smiled at him and said softly, “Inspector Jiang, how about… how about joining me for dinner upstairs?”
“Hehe, sorry, can’t today,” Jiang Zhengkai declined. However, when he saw the visible disappointment on Wei Xin’s face, he tactfully added, “But I’ll take a raincheck! Look, I’ve got to go back to the hospital later, and then I have to figure out just what exactly happened to A-Xiu.”
“I understand, Inspector Jiang. Please do take care of yourself, sir,” said Wei Xin as she exited the car. “And don’t forget to eat dinner–”
Jiang Zhengkai waved goodbye to her from inside the car and sped off before Wei Xin could finish her sentence. Shortly thereafter, he arrived in the hospital’s parking lot and parked his car. As he got out of the car, he clutched a file folder with his left arm and held in his right hand a bag of fruits he had purchased from a local supermarket. He then proceeded towards the hospital’s in-patient wing.
“Welcome back, Officer Jiang!” warmly greeted that night’s duty nurse.
“Thank you, nurse,” Jiang Zhengkai politely replied. “Say, how’s my patient doing?”
“Not too bad,” the nurse answered. “Her recovery is going well. I’m sure she can go back to work before too long.” She gave him a thin smile and quickly walked away.
“Go back to work?” Jiang Zhengkai muttered to himself as he shook his head. The nurse’s choice of words was both accurate and interesting. Still, he wasn’t that amused, and so he immediately walked into A-Jiao’s hospital room.
“Well, will you look at that! Aren’t we the industrious worker bee today?” Jiang Zhengkai glanced over at A-Jiao lying on the hospital bed. He saw she had no intention to actively engage him, so all he could do was get in the first word. “Looks like someone tidied this room up today.”
“Hmph! What, you think I’m a slob like you?” A-Jiao glared at him with a crooked mouth that perfectly expressed her disdain. “You stay right there! Don’t come in here and mess up my room!” she warned. Nevertheless, Jiang Zhengkai was right. After she’d woken up in the afternoon, she had in fact cleaned her room, especially the guest bed where Jiang Zhengkai had slept, which she’d made sure was spotless.
Still, Jiang Zhengkai refused to let her take control of the conversation. Instead, he placed the file folder on the guest bed and took out a bunch of bananas from the fruit bag. “Sigh, no good deed goes unpunished. And to think, I even bought you bananas.”
“Ha!” A-Jiao glanced at the bananas in his hand and said, “You can keep those for yourself. I ain’t a monkey.”
“Is that so?” Jiang Zhengkai could pick out the barbs in A-Jiao’s words, but he didn’t get angry. Instead, he launched some barbs of his own. “I really couldn’t tell before, but apparently our busy worker bee paid attention in biology class! Although, monkeys aren’t the only animals that like bananas. Elephants like them, too, am I right?” He then looked up and down her body.
“You…” A-Jiao knew what Jiang Zhengkai was implying with his eyes, so she swiftly picked up a pillow and threw it at him. “How dare you call me fat! You’re the one that’s as big as an elephant!” Having been focused on her recovery for the past month, A-Jiao had spent all of her time at the hospital, where her days revolved around eating and sleeping. She still wasn’t well enough to exercise, and she certainly wasn’t well enough to go back to work in the alley, so naturally, her body had put on some weight. Therefore, Jiang Zhengkai’s taunts were a gentle reminder to her: Baby, you might think you’re hot stuff, but right now, you’re fatter than a pig, almost the size of an elephant.
“Alright, monkey, are you going to eat this banana or not?” Jiang Zhengkai teased her.
“Hand it over!” A-Jiao was still focused on Jiang Zhengkai’s elephant comment and answered him without thinking.
“Look, I’ve always thought you were more like a monkey, so don’t be mad anymore, okay?” he said as he sat down on the side of her bed and offered a peeled banana.
“I hate you!” yelled A-Jiao, although the expression on her face did not match the anger in her words. She snatched the banana from Jiang Zhengkai and ferociously bit into it. “Ha, I’ll bite you to death!” She glanced at him, and another evil thought quickly entered into her mind. She moved her head close to his body and quietly said, “Uncle Policeman, does it hurt when I bite your little pee pee?”
“Is there ever a time when you act normal?” Jiang Zhengkai said as he pinched her nose with all his strength and then gave it a strong tug. Since A-Jiao was in no condition to resist his strength, her body immediately lurched forward. Instantly aware of what was about to happen, Jiang Zhengkai used his arm to block A-Jiao’s body, his hand grabbed onto something round and soft. Fortunately, his quick reflexes were able to keep her from falling headfirst onto the floor.
“Ahem! Ahem! If you wanted to suffocate me with a banana, you should’ve just said so,” A-Jiao coughed as she lay on top of Jiang Zhengkai. “Next time, you can just drown me with a cup of water from the bathroom. No need to spend money buying bananas.”
“I swear I’m not trying to kill you!” Jiang Zhengkai knew he’d screwed up, but he still protested A-Jiao’s accusations. Suddenly, he realized his hand was in a place where it should not have been. He immediately removed his hand from her chest with an awkward chuckle.
“What are you laughing at?” Just as suddenly, A-Jiao also realized Jiang Zhengkai’s hand had been in the wrong place. She sat up straight, gave Jiang Zhengkai a proper evil eye, and then said without expression, “Boob touches are ten yuan a touch! You touched the left one, so how about the right one? You want to touch that one, too?” She shot out a hand towards him. “Are you going to keep touching my boobs or what? If not, fork over the money right now!”
“You…” Jiang Zhengkai had originally felt kind of guilty for what he had done, but after hearing what A-Jiao had just said, he was now at a loss for words. She’s a prostitute, all right! He actually pulled out a ten-yuan bill from his pocket and slapped it onto A-Jiao’s waiting palm. “Here, take it!”
“Great!” A-Jiao said, smiling sweetly. “Thank you, Uncle Policeman!” She grabbed the small bag where she kept her loose change from underneath her pillow, pulled out a five-yuan bill, and offered it to Jiang Zhengkai. “Here’s your change.”
“You…” Jiang Zhengkai looked at her while remaining just as speechless as before.
“When it comes to business, this beauty here is all about maintaining her professional reputation as an honest businesswoman!” A-Jiao said condescendingly as she looked at Jiang Zhengkai’s dumbstruck face. “It’s just five yuan! It’s your change, so just take it! Seriously, there’s no need for that long face. It’s actually kind of scary looking.” She then shoved the money into his hand.
Jiang Zhengkai’s hand idly gripped the five-yuan bill that A-Jiao had placed there. He had a sudden urge to slap someone. A-Jiao laboriously moved her body backwards so she could prop herself up on the headboard. “Hey, is anybody home? How about take pity on the fact that I haven’t had business in a while, so why don’t you touch my boobs again and give me back the five yuan?”
“You…!” Jiang Zhengkai threw the money in his hand right at A-Jiao’s face. He lept out of the bed and stood up, all the while pointing at her with his finger. He wanted to curse her, call her a bitch, a whore, but when he turned around and saw the frank expression on A-Jiao’s face, he decided against using such harsh language.
“What are you doing?” A-Jiao bit down on her lip and then stiffened her neck, her two eyes practically boring holes into Jiang Zhengkai’s head as she said, “What are you getting so worked up over? I’m a prostitute. That’s what I do for a living. Do you have a problem with that?”
“You… you bitch!” Jiang Zhengkai wasn’t able to hold back and cursed at A-Jiao.
“Ha! I always knew you despised me! Fucking cop, you think you’re better than me?” retorted A-Jiao as she sat there with an irate expression on her face. She placed her hands on her hips as her verbal assault continued. “What would you call that just now if you didn’t pay me? I think it’s called molestation. So guess what? I’m going to call the cops. Oh right, you are a cop. So why don’t you just fucking arrest yourself then!” After she had unloaded, A-Jiao plopped down on her bed, still fuming in anger. She turned her body away from Jiang Zhengkai, not wanting to look at him anymore.
Jiang Zhengkai just stood there. That verbal scolding from A-Jiao actually dissipated all of his pent up anger. A-Jiao was right. He was the one who touched her breasts without permission, and now he was the one getting mad at her? If A-Jiao weren’t a prostitute, then he would’ve been in a lot more trouble than he was in right now. Still, she can forget about receiving an apology. Have you ever seen a police officer apologizing to a prostitute?
He stood there blankly for a while, until he rubbed his nose, sat down on the guest bed, and started reading the documents he’d brought. Whatever, if A-Jiao doesn’t want to talk to me, then I’m not going to talk to her either.