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The Accident by Murong Xuecun, translated by Harvey Thomlinson

Lawyer Wei is en route to meet his girlfriend when he hits trouble in this short story by Murong
Xuecun, translated by Harvey Thomlinson

 Murong Xuecun, translated by Harvey Thomlinson
, Tuesday 10 April 2012 09.00 BST

'Don't talk rubbish, get your documents out' ... a Chinese paramilitary policeman in Beijing.
Photograph: Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the motorbike clank over and skid a long way. The rider flew into
the air, hitting the ground with a terrible thump and rolling over twice before coming to a halt.

My mind went blank and I stopped the car. The rider lay on the road, not moving. Night was falling
and a hubbub surrounded the scene of the accident. I stared blankly at the blood flowing out from
beneath his helmet, a gorgeous bright red, like Rugosa roses in full May bloom.

The guy was still flat on the road, motionless. I sat in my car thinking, 'Whatever you do my friend,
please don't be dead. Driving after drinking, making an illegal turn. If you are dead then I might as
well be too.' After a bit I got out of my car and slowly went up to him. He suddenly turned over,
sat up, and inside his helmet started to mutter and swear bewilderedly, 'Fuck you. What kind of
driving was that?' Sweet merciful shit – in my thirty-seven years of life, I, Old Wei, have had a few
verbal bouquets tossed in my general direction. None of them were as welcome to my ears as that
'Fuck you.' It was like thunder from heaven. I thought, 'If this guy is still alive enough to swear,
then that is just too fucking excellent.

The road was carpeted with celery and radishes – it looked like he was a poor farmer delivering
vegetables to the city. Feeling calmer, I tried to help him to walk a couple of steps. That went OK,
and he stood up straight. Things were looking good – the only problem I could see was that his
mouth was still bloody. I decided that that I shouldn't show him any weakness. If I was nice to him
he might take advantage, and I had no idea what he might ask for. He slowly removed his helmet,

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