Commie Consulting

Art by Yue Minjun

‘Commie Consulting’ was what I suggested when Mike Sun — ardent Daoist and clandestine Christian who took pride in sharing a surname with Zhou dynasty war (now business) strategist, Sun Zi — asked what we should call our company that helped foreigners do business in China.

“I like it.”

Thus, as conceal-carry attracts violence in the hope of playing hero, so it was there, packing heated wallets while Americans marketed their Chopstix® to the Chinese and garishly joked while downing and drowning in sorghum wine and braised Sichuan pork butt from the shared ‘iron rice bowl’, that it was considered “unpatriotic to eat this stuff in the States.” 

But as the hot peppers made their way into the blood and the Chinese got to prophesying about a worldwide LIBOR scandal (it did happen, not more than two years later) and they wanted us to get across to the high-nosers that it wasn’t a conspiracy or the ‘Ancient Chinese Secret’ but more like ‘Corruption is in the eye of the beholder’. Yet, perhaps there was a secret to which only the mercurial middle men in amaranthine Middle Kingdom had access…

Before I could happily lose myself in pondering my good fortune, out of the corner of my eye I saw a dumpling fly across the table from east to west (or vice versa?) like ethnocentric invective gone tangible. And finger-lickin’ good. But do you know what that savvy businessman did to save face even with minced meat sliding off his own? He took his pair of sample Chopstix®, retrieved that broken dumpling from his lap, and stuffed it in his mouth, maintaining eye contact with his foe all along. When the adversary, not to be outdone, threw his 100 yuan bills into the hot pot, fished them out, and ate the dripping, soggy, spicy money… well. That’s when I had an intimation that perhaps business was not my game.

Legend has it (okay, my former business partner told me) that a deal did come of this flamboyant show of “Who Kowtows the Lowest?” but, clearly, the product’s success in China quickly fizzled.


©2017, Amaya Engleking



  1. qbit · July 31

    Really great. Chopstix®!! Was that true,or did you do such a good job making fiction real that I even have to ask?

    • Gospel Isosceles · July 31

      Haha, that was an expressionist vignette of ‘doing business in China.’ There was some truth to it, but I’ll leave you to guess which parts.

      By the way, it seems by one of your recent poems that you too have experienced China. Are you familiar with the ‘iron rice bowl’ reference? I wonder whether or not I should edit in a footnote…

      • qbit · July 31

        Might be worth footnoting, not common knowledge. But a strong image as is, so does not suffer. Kudos on this. Very tight.

        • Gospel Isosceles · July 31

          Thanks. It took me awhile to make it feel right, the humor, the culture bastardizations, etc. And to be clear, I’m not favoring one culture over another. Just kind of slamming the absurdities of business. Still, I bet this poem wouldn’t make it over the Internet Great Wall;)

          • qbit · July 31

            You did a good job of that. Nobody seemed crazier than the other. Throwing money in the soup and eating it was great. I don’t think too controversial for the current standards.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s