Kneel, Even if You Don’t Want To
“I can put aside the matter regarding my eyes. I won’t bother him and he won’t bother me either. However, my friend’s serious injuries cannot be overlooked. I want Chen Chuan-Hu to apologise to my friend. Tell him to go to the hospital now and kneel to my friend, and have a photo of it sent to me. Additionally, he should pay fees for my friend’s nutrition, mental health, loss of income and medical fees, which add up to 50,000. Ask your dear nephew to prepare 50,000 in cash and bring it to the hospital. If you do this, we’re even,” said Xia Lei.
Li Qing-Hua laughed coldly. “Boy, you’re still young – you don’t understand the workings of society well. I advise you to be less vicious and leave some wiggle room. Haven’t you heard of the phrase ‘leave a man a way out and you shall meet again on good terms’?”
“I’ve heard of it but I don’t want to see you again.” Xia Lei said, “If you don’t agree, I’ll post the video I just recorded on internet forums.”
“Don’t…” Li Qing-Hua became nervous. “How about this, boy? Money is no problem but can you do without the kneeling? Chuan-Hu has a reputation and image to maintain. He is unlikely to agree to you making him kneel in a place such as a hospital and sending the picture to you.”
“I’ll post it on the forums, then,” Xia Lei unlocked his phone and added, “Oh, I can also call the anti-corruption hotline tomorrow.”
“You fuc–” Li Qing-Hua forced back his curse again. He got to his feet and tried to negotiate. “Don’t be hasty, young man. I’ll call that bastard now and get him to prepare 50,000, kneel before your friend and send the picture to you. Satisfied now?”
Li Qing-Hua’s voice contained barely-controlled hate but Xia Lei was not bothered by it at all. He knew very well that even if Chen Chuan-Hu did not have to kneel before Ma Xiao-An and if he did not ask for 50,000, Li Qing-Hua would not let him off. A vengeful person like Li Qing-Hua could not stand to have someone offend him.
Xia Lei was not a fool either. While Li Qing-Hua was retrieving his phone to call Chen Chuan-Hu, Xia Lei swiftly uploaded the video to the Cloud Drive on his Baidu account. With this backup copy in his possession, he had nothing to fear from Li Qing-Hua!
Li Qing-Hua pressed the digits of Chen Chuan-Hu’s phone number.
Xia Lei spoke. “Put it on speaker mode.”
Li Qing-Hua looked back at Xia Lei with flames in his eyes but he still did as Xia Lei said.
Chen Chuan-Hu’s voice could be heard over the phone. “What is it? Speak, dammit!”
“I am your uncle! You bastard!” Li Qing-Hua’s anger flared and he cursed when he opened his mouth.
“Huh? Uncle… It’s you! I’m driving now so I didn’t see the incoming call screen. What’s up, Uncle?” Chen Chuan-Hu’s attitude quickly took a 180-degree turn.
“Did a worker at your construction site injure his eye from an electric arc?”
“Yeah. Why are you asking me about small matters like this, Uncle?” Chen Chuan-Hu’s voice continued, “That worker’s name is Xia Lei, and he’s an idiot. What – did he run to you to report me?”
It’d have been great if it was just a report.
“Report, my foot!” Li Qing-Hua unleashed his anger on Chen Chuan-Hu. “Did you also beat up his friend, and is that friend now in hospital?”
“I say, Uncle… What’s up with you today? You never used to bother with small things like this before.”
“Bastard! Did you or didn’t you?”
“I did.” Chen Chuan-Hu seemed to sense Li Qing-Hua’s anger and found the situation a little fishy.
“I’ll give you 20 minutes now. Bring 50,000 in cash to the hospital and kneel in apology!”
“Uncle, this…” Chen Chuan-Hu was quite obviously not willing to do so.
“Do as I say if you want to keep doing what you’re doing!” Li Qing-Hua’s words carried a threat, “And send a picture of you kneeling. I want to see it.”
There was silence for about ten seconds on the other end, then Chen Chuan-Hu spoke again, “Did I offend the child of some bigwig, Uncle? Did that guy come to my construction site to work on purpose, to experience normal life?”
“Experience, your ass! Hurry! Twenty minutes!” Li Qing-Hua shouted at the phone.
“I’ll go now, I’ll go now.” Chen Chuan-Hu hung up.
Li Qing-Hua turned to look at Xia Lei, then held out a hand, “Satisfied? Give me your phone.”
Xia Lei gave a short laugh, “Chief Li, I can’t trust you. Let’s just wait till your dear nephew has finished what he should do, then we can talk.”
“You…! Think carefully about what you’re doing!” Li Qing-Hua had never been so angry in his life. Xia Lei was the first to have dared to provoke him like this!
Xia Lei shrugged casually. “I think you should put some clothes on first. I’m not used to seeing naked men.”
Li Qing-Hua stared at Xia Lei icily, his eyes cold as a snake staring at prey.
The woman hid in the blankets with a complicated expression on her face.
Twenty minutes later, Chen Chuan-Hu’s phone rang and he picked up. This time, Li Qing-Hua turned on speaker mode without Xia Lei’s prompting.
“Uncle, I’m at the hospital. I gave the 50,000 to that guy’s friend already, but…,” Chen Chuan-Hu spoke uncertainly, “Do I really have to kneel in apology, Uncle?”
“You think I’m joking around?” Li Qing-Hua roared at the phone, “DO AS I SAY!”
“Okay, I… Dammit, I’ll kneel!” Chen Chuan-Hu got on his knees very unwillingly, and his voice could be heard over the phone apologising to Ma Xiao-An. “Brother, I, Chen Chuan-Hu and a sightless man, I beg your forgiveness for the wrongs I have committed. This is 50,000 for your medical fees. Please, accept it.”
Ma Xiao-An’s voice could be heard faintly over the phone, “This… You…”
He wasn’t in the hospital room but Xia Lei could guess what Ma Xiao-An’s reaction was like. He must be so astonished that he couldn’t believe the situation unfolding in front of him.
A minute later, Li Qing-Hua received an MMS.
“This is what you wanted. Look. Happy now?” Li Qing-Hua showed his mobile phone to Xia Lei.
On the phone screen was Chen Chuan-Hu kneeling by the hospital bed of Ma Xiao-An. Five bundles of money sat by his pillow.
Ma Xiao-An had a strange expression on his face – he was surprised but happy and trying not to show it. He did not dare express his emotions. Chen Chuan-Hu’s expression was spectacular too – he was reluctant and seething but kneeling.
Xia Lei laughed, “Okay, this settles it.”
“Give me your phone!” Li Qing-Hua demanded coldly.
“Sure.” Xia Lei shrugged and gave his phone to Li Qing-Hua.
Li Qing-Hua deleted the video but his anger was not sated. After deleting the video, he smashed the phone to the ground and stomped on it. Xia Lei’s phone was stomped to bits and there was no way any repair service could recover anything from it again.
Xia Lei walked over.
Li Qing-Hua subconsciously took a step backwards. “What do you want?”
Xia Lei bent and picked up his SIM card, then smiled. “Don’t be nervous, I’m just getting my SIM card. I won’t hold it against you for breaking my phone. Goodbye, Chief Li.”
“You have guts, you little twerp. We’ll see,” said Li Qing-Hua ominously.
Xia Lei paused at the door and looked back at him with a smirk, “Chief Li, if you want revenge on me I advise you to give up on that idea. If I can get you once, I can get you a second time. You got through it the first time but it won’t be so easy next time – I’ll crush you!”
Li Qing-Hua stared back expressionlessly till he opened the door and left the room. When he disappeared from sight, Li Qing-Hua spoke, “You’re finished if you dare go up against me, twerp! I’m not a Li if I don’t destroy you!”
Li Qing-Hua picked up his mobile phone and called a number…
Once out of the hotel, Xia Lei’s anger and resentment dissipated and his body relaxed.
An hour later, Xia Lei walked into Ma Xiao-An’s hospital ward with a mobile phone box in his hand. He’d wanted to buy an iPhone 6 Plus for Ma Xiao-An on his way back from Macau and he did.
When he saw Xia Lei, Ma Xiao-An was excited, “Lei, guess what…”
Xia Lei smiled and cut him short, “I know. Was it exhilarating?”
“Yes!” Ma Xiao-An laughed, “If you’d seen how that Chen Chuan-Hu guy was kneeling before me in apology… Wait, was… was this your doing?”
Xia Lei patted Ma Xiao-An on the shoulder. “Don’t ask. It’s good enough for you to know the result. Here’s a mobile phone for you. Take a look – it’s gold. Didn’t you always want one? It’s yours.”
Only then did Ma Xiao-An notice the Apple box in Xia Lei’s hand. He stared blankly for a while, then shook his head and said, “Are you crazy? Why buy me a phone when you haven’t settled your sister’s school fees yet? I was just about to call you to give you some money. Right, I’ll keep 20,000 of this 50,000 and you can take the rest for Xia Xue’s school fees.” He took three bundles of money from his bedside and reached to press them into Xia Lei’s hands.
Xia Lei stopped him and smiled as he said, “Would I buy a phone for you if I had no money? I didn’t just buy one for you – I got one myself.” He took out a brand new XiaoMi 4 and waved it about in Ma Xiao-An’s face. “See this? I got a new one too. I don’t like Apple phones since I find them troublesome or I would’ve got one too.”
Ma Xiao-An was gobsmacked and he was quiet for a beat. “Lei, you… How did you suddenly get all that money?”
Xia Lei smiled. “Don’t bother about it – just focus on recuperating. Keep this money and buy what you want with it. I’ve given my sister her school fees so don’t worry.”
“You robbed someone?” Ma Xiao-An stared at Xia Lei with wide eyes.
Xia Lei smacked him on the head. “What rubbish are you spouting?”
“Ow…” It hurt so much that Ma Xiao-An groaned but he was happy.
At that moment, Xia Lei’s phone suddenly rang. He looked at the screen but it said ‘unknown number’. The phone rang for the third time and he rejected the call.
“Who was that? Why didn’t you pick up?” asked Ma Xiao-An.
“It’s an unknown number – probably insurance or whatnot. I’m not going to bother. All right, it’s late so I’ll go home and come visit you tomorrow.”
“Lei, I can’t accept this phone. Take it back with you and give it to Xia Xue,” said Ma Xiao-An.
Xia Lei glared at him. “You want me to smack you again?”
Ma Xiao-An shut up but thought to himself, “Wait till I get discharged. I’ll buy Xia Xue an Apple Notebook for her studies at Jing-Du University! Ha!”