Current Issue Excerpts


My Night with
   the Generals

     The room lights dim, stage lights brighten, and an older trio in plain military uniforms takes the stage, two men and one woman. Judging by the excited reception, this trio is famous. Their uniforms are unadorned, no braid or decorations, as if they were still in the hills fighting with Mao's guerrillas. The trio has everyone's rapt attention; no one touches a drink.

     Dr Li tells me that they are retired People’s Liberation Army singers who will sing us patriotic anthems. Ah, so maybe it’s not a brothel. When they sing Dr Li is entranced; his energetic eyes slow down, and my friend forgets I am there. We are so close to the stage I could touch the sleeve of one aged singer, close enough to see that all three singers wear heavy stage makeup in the spotlights.

MARK ANTHONY JARMAN is the author of Knife Party at the Hotel Europa, My White Planet, 19 Knives, Ireland's Eye, the hockey novel Salvage King, Ya!, and other books. He has taught at the University of Victoria, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the University of New Brunswick where he is a fiction editor of the Fiddlehead.

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