Observe, analyze, question, practice.
“You have something for me?” JZ asked Xiao Li, entering the control room for editing music and music videos.
“Yeah! This bright one,” Xiao Li said smiling, patting her hand on Shen’s shoulder, “has something he wants to show you.”
Shen pressed “Play,” and the music video he made began on the monitor. Xiao Li was smiling while watching the video, but JZ’s face did not change. When it was over, Xiao Li asked, “What do you think?”
“He’s rapping free-style poetry, very different. The lyrics definitely fit Elle’s situation,” JZ replied.
“The poem is partially in her style,” added Shen.
“How did you get to that?” asked JZ.
“When Buzzy was critiquing her Peach Blossom poem, he said that her poem sounded like she threw all the words together,” answered Shen. “He also said that she was going close and going far at the same time, something that I cannot seem to do. I think it’s because her situation is still progressing and time related, so all I can do is go in one direction.“
“Good observation on the part about time,” said JZ, “but you’re wrong. Her entire poem is based on time. You are born. You marry. You have children. You die. You are reborn. She summed it up in two lines if you didn’t catch it. Did you see the addition she made?”
“She added, ‘In the home / Lure the / Living and deceased.’ What does this part tell you?”
“Somebody has to place the peach blossoms in the home in order to draw both the living and dead.”
“What does the ‘Living and deceased’ line tell you?”
Shen thought about it for a moment. “I don’t know Mr. JZ.”
“It’s time-related. You understand that those living would be drawn to the aroma of peach blossoms. But she stops time by having your dead relatives smell the same flowers that draw your living relatives. You can also interpret it as time doesn’t stop, because time has to pass for your relatives to die and other relatives to be born. So time is not an excuse for you to go in one direction.”
“What else do you know about her poetry style that could help me write another one for you to give to her?” inquired Shen.
“You don’t think I can write my own poems to give to her?” he asked in a very serious tone.
“Of course I think you can. Her intern said that she is always mad. If you do something nice for her, like give her a meaningful and thoughtful poem, she would be happy, and since this one is already written, you can give it to her and she’ll think you’re a really thoughtful and meaningful guy,” Shen blurted.
“How would she think I was super thoughtful and meaningful with this?” scrutinizing the pipsqueak with his slightly maddening face.
“You’re thoughtful by writing a poem about her unfortunate situation and because you wrote this, you show her that you’ve thought about her. You’re meaningful by writing this poem in her style, even though you’re not successful in her style yet. If you’re thoughtful and meaningful, you’re super wonderful,” he blurted again.
JZ’s face was still serious, then he laughed. “I’m just messing with you! I think you’re in the right direction on trying to make it in her style, which is obviously very different than my own, and trying to marry the two of us by writing poetry to represent her and rapping with music and a music video to represent me. You still need to work on the poetry.”
“Do you have any advice to make future poems, songs, and MV better?” Shen nervously asked.
“For future poems, you need to study both of her poems and find some commonalities besides comparing nature to human life to adapt to her style. Write me another one and I can tell you what you need to work on. That’s it.” JZ was walking away when Shen said something.
“Mr. JZ, although this rapped poem isn’t completely her style, I think she would like it if you gave it to her,” he slowly said nervously.
Turning his head back, “Why would you say she would like it, like you already know she would like it?” [See “Uncover (3/9)]
“Because CeeCee said she would like it. If she likes it, she’s happy.”
“Xiao Li, what do you think? Was what he said true?”
“I agree with him that if you show her you’re meaningful and thoughtful, she would be happy. We’re complicated but we don’t ask for much. If we ask for a lot, those are the ones you should stay away from,” said Xiao Li.
“Then I’ll take it,” said JZ.
“Why are you helping your rival?” Xiao Li asked Shen in her spacious work room, decorated with quaint red paper lanterns and Chinese paper dragons.
“If she likes the version he gives her, she stays here longer,” he quietly replied, looking at the floor.
“CeeCee said you showed her JZ’s version. Why did you do that?”
“I’m not ready to reveal how I really think about her directly to her,” he answered glumly.
“This is not what happens during war. One side generally doesn’t help the other side, despite short-term agreements and common ground. If he knew you had strong feelings for her, he wouldn’t help you; he would crush you.”
“I’d take any punishment to have any form of contact with her.”
“Why do you even like her? I understand that JZ thinks she’s hot, and he goes after girls he thinks are hot. Why do you feel that way about her? Both of you barely know her.”
“I think she’s hot, too!” he said in self-defense. “She blew me away with her Peach Blossom poem and I can’t stop thinking about her and that poem. It’s feminine and not feminine, both of which describe her. I can’t figure out how and why she’s both one thing and its opposite.”
“So you think she’s special because you can’t figure her out.”
“I wouldn’t put it so bluntly. Like my poem states, she has values, she’s smart, hardworking, and mysterious. All of those qualities draw me to her. By the way, who’s side are you on?”
“I’m on JZ’s side. But just because I’m on his side, doesn’t mean that I don’t want what’s best for you and your future. Elle is his. If he decides to toss her once he’s done with her, you can pick her up…if you have the courage to.”
“I have plenty of courage. I spoke to her all by myself on JZ’s birthday. I’m much better than the rest of my friends. They never confront the girls they like.”
“Great, you’re describing 99% of Chinese guys, and you’re on the border between that 99% and the 1% that actually does something about it. You know how easily you could fall into the 99%, right?”
Fast footsteps were approaching. “Hey Elle,” said JZ whispering with a slight smile, “I have something to show you.”
“What is it?” she whispered, looking up at him from her dictionaries.
“Come with me,” he whispered, extending his hand.
She got up and went with him, clasping her hands together. She followed him to the room with the grand piano and saw a false wall was taken down to expose the technology behind. There was a touch-screen TV mounted with CD and DVD player, and a few USB ports. The piano chair was placed against the wall opposite of the TV. With a USB plugged in, he showed her the same music video she saw earlier, only it was him rapping with his spin on it instead.
When it was over, he asked her with cool in his voice, “Do you like it?”
She nodded her head and smiled. She asked him in her naturally calm voice, “Can I use that MV?”
“How do you want to use it?”
“Phone,” she said, sticking her hand out. “I want to make a statement to the paparazzi. I want to have that play first, then have literal statements, and then have you or your crew record me smashing all the cameras and listening devices that were in my apartment.”
He smiled and asked, “Really?”
She nodded her head eagerly. She took back the phone and typed, “It’s like a boxing match. It’s only the first round but they keep hitting me. I see my opportunity to hit back.”
With a bigger smile he typed, “Where are you going to put it?”
“On your website,” she answered.
“What materials do you need?”
“I need a room or really big box where I can smash those things but those things can’t get out and hit others nearby. An intimidating hammer, maybe two, in case I accidentally break one. Armor, like pillows or something, and safety goggles.”
He chuckled. “When do you want to do this?”
“An hour or two after lunch. I’ll make up loss time by staying late.”
“Why don’t I take you to the hardware and furniture stores after lunch? Want to have lunch now?”
Elle nodded her head eagerly, grabbed his wrist, and sped to the cafeteria.
Bzzz, bzzz. Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring! “Special viewing in the lounge in five minutes.”
“It’s already 4:30,” said Xiao Li, “maybe he really liked your MV, New Guy. Let’s go.”
On the screen was New Guy’s music video and JZ rapping. After that, Elle was on, standing with her expressionless eyes and a whiteboard that said, “I have 213 of these black boxes,” with a handful in her hand, “I would not be here without the people who put them in my residence.” She dropped the black boxes down and flung the whiteboard like a Frisbee. She lifted the first box upside down and shook all the black boxes out, then did the same with the second box.
With the door in the two meter cubed plastic box with air holes, closed, she slipped a paintball mask over her face and paintball chest protector over her Kevlar infused liquid gel armor body suit, covering her from head to toe. Elle picked up the sledge-hammer with great ease and pounded the black boxes. Shrapnel was flying everywhere in the cube and she kept pounding away. When she thought she almost got all of them, she flipped the hammer upside down and smashed individual cameras and listening devices.
After that, she held up the hammer sideways and pressed the flat side against the box with a question, “Who wants to be next?” written on the handle.
“What do you think guys?” JZ asked, looking to get some honest reviews.
“Where did you get that body suit?” asked a young guy.
“That’s a secret.”
“You really stood up for your woman,” said another young guy.
“Anything else?” replied JZ, dissatisfied with what he got so far.
“I like the lyrics in the MV,” said Buzzy.
“Because first, it was describing what happened to her, to be so invaded that she had to fall off that roof. Then, there were misconceptions about who she was without even knowing her. Finally, you had her characteristics that all Chinese people have to connect her to regular people. In other words, she’s like everybody else but she’s treated so much more differently than everybody else, so, it’s not really you who don’t deserve her but the public doesn’t deserve her,” explained Buzzy.
“That wasn’t what I had in mind, but definitely a view I had not considered but now admire. What else about the lyrics?”
“The lyrics are sort of her style,” Buzzy added, “because it doesn’t rhyme. It’s not a song because there’s no repetition, so it’s more like a poem. But since you’re rapping instead of reading, you’re either exploring a new genre or you’re trying something new to impress her.”
“Great ending Buzzy, but I didn’t write those lyrics. The old New Guy wrote them, so I’m not exploring a new genre just yet. She was more impressed with everything you all saw after the MV. Would you like to say a few things about your rapped poem or MV?” he asked, looking at the old New Guy.
“Yeah, sure. I would like to thank Xiao Li for supporting me in this strange project. I would like to thank CeeCee for translating the MV so JZ’s girl can enjoy the message. I would like to thank the tech crew for helping me find all the footage and for perfectly timing the MV. Finally, I would like to thank JZ for telling me that there’s always room for improvement and perfection.”
Everyone clapped. “Speaking of your girl, JZ,” said One Word, “where is she?”
“She’s still in the box smashing those things,” answered JZ. “There’s a truck waiting to crush them, but she insisted on personally destroying every individual one herself before they go in the truck.”
Everyone laughed. “You’re free to leave, everyone,” announced JZ, “after I post this on my website.” He did it on the touch screen TV in the lounge, “and…there you go!”
“We should have a party!” shouted a young guy.
“We can have a party tomorrow if the reviews go well. If not, I might have to launch another counterattack,” replied JZ.