At noon, the people who had dinner together last night were called back to the farmhouse restaurant. On the table were teapots and melon seeds. The group of people nibbled the melon seeds and smoked cigarettes as they chatted away. The atmosphere was a bit like that of a tea party.
Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue walked in, and Xu Xiaodong briefly explained the situation. Chen Shi nodded and sat down. "I heard that there was some unpleasantness between all of you and the two deceased men last night. Did something like that happen?"
"There was nothing too unpleasant. We were just kidding.", "After we finished filming, everyone was very happy, and we casually talked about the topic of Sino-Japanese relations.", "Those two Japanese people flung dishes and broke bowls. We were originally joyous and harmonious, but they ruined the atmosphere.”
"Okay, okay, okay. Speak one by one. You go first. Others aren’t allowed to interrupt!" Chen Shi pointed to a man on the left.
After a round of questions, everyone had a different story and it was very confusing. Old Wang said, "Officer, we were inebriated at the time and asked the two Japanese to kneel down and apologize to us Chinese. That’s fine right? After all, they had committed wrongdoings first..."
"They had committed wrongdoings first?" Chen Shi looked surprised.
"How many Chinese people have been harmed by the Japanese invasion of China?"
"That’s right. I reckon that these two Japanese devils didn’t die unjustly. They owed it to millions of Chinese lives!"
"If this had happened before the liberation, it’s likely that the Japanese devils would already be waging war with us. Now, they don’t dare to because we’re rich and powerful.”
"Yes, we’re rich and powerful now and we’re no longer afraid of getting bullied!"
The more they talked, the more passions ran high. Chen Shi smacked the table. "Are you guys not sober? Today is September 18th. Two Japanese people died in China. The person who committed such a violent crime was most likely a Chinese person. Yet you guys are still proud of it?”
The pride on everyone's face gradually dissipated and Chen Shi looked around. "If the murderer is among you, no matter how he uses patriotic feelings as an excuse, this was still murder. Don't act too cocky. Please cooperate with the investigation properly."
Old Wang said, "Impossible, how could there be a murderer among us?! I think it must be that someone had taken revenge because the Little Japan toyed with Chinese women."
"What do you mean by toying with Chinese women?"
"It's Fujiwara. He was a player. We often see him going to that kind of place. I heard that he even has a girlfriend here. He can’t even speak Chinese properly. I don't know how he had managed to deceive her."
"It's so hateful. This kind of woman only worships foreigners. Do the Japanese have diamonds inlaid down there?" Someone echoed.
"Stop talking. Old Wang, you elaborate on the situation.”
Old Wang spoke while Lin Dongxue took notes. It was already 12:30. Many of them were starving and asked Chen Shi, "Can we go and have lunch? We haven’t done anything this morning because of all this. There was a new drama recruiting actors today. Haii, what hateful Japanese!"
Chen Shi said, "Okay, I’ll treat you all to lunch!” Everyone cheered, and Chen Shi added, "What food did you order last night? We’ll order it again, including the drinks. None of it can be left out.”
Everyone didn't know what he had got up his sleeve, so they ordered the dishes that they had last night based on their memories. Chen Shi told them to sit where they had sat last night. He and Lin Dongxue sat in the seats of the two Japanese men. Xu Xiaodong stood aside.
Lin Dongxue could tell that he was planning to reenact the scene. Chen Shi said, "Eat as you did last night. You should drink the same amount as you did yesterday and repeat the words that you’ve said.”
Someone looked sullen. "Is this necessary?"
"Aren't you actors? It shouldn't be too difficult? I just want to know what happened last night. Thank you for your cooperation!"
Everyone looked at each other. They ordered wine and dishes, and Old Wang toasted, "Here’s to finishing the filming!"
They acted until the part where the "Japanese" had to kneel and apologize. Chen Shi said to the featured extra who had slapped Fujiwara in the face. "Why did you hit him?"
"I...I didn’t like the look of him."
"What was the cause of it? Because he earns more than you?"
"No... no, because he’s Japanese and owes blood debt to Chinese people. Can you smile while looking at the Japanese?"
Chen Shi sighed. "Don't do this kind of thing next time. You could get sued for that slap. A court case is one thing, but there would be a stain on your record. Who would want to hire you for a film in the future?”
The man knew that he didn’t have reason on his side and lowered his head in shame.
"What happened afterwards?" Chen Shi asked the others.
Old Wang said, "Then we told the Japanese to kneel and kowtow three times."
"Did they do as you asked?"
"They were probably afraid of being beaten, so they kneeled down. Tamura was quite compliant, but Fujiwara was a little reluctant. The two of them pressed down Fujiwara's shoulders to make him kneel..." Old Wang pointed out the two involved. The team leader who had been "sold out" looked embarrassed.
"Let's do it again!" Chen Shi moved the chairs and freed up some space. He was about to kneel down.
"Aiya, Officer, that’s unacceptable." Old Wang tried to stop him.
Chen Shi still "kneeled" down. As a compromise, he just sat cross-legged on the ground and told the two to come over and press on his shoulders.
After reenacting the scene, Chen Shi asked, "Did you use violence against Fujiwara?"
"No!" The two shook their heads like pellet drums.
"Don't lie. The body is in the bureau, and injuries can be detected."
A youngster admitted awkwardly, "I kicked him once at the time because I had drunk too much."
"Where did you kick him?"
"On the calf..." The youngster’s face was red, mostly due to drinking.
"Then they left, and we... We continued to drink."
"Come and continue pouring and drinking!"
Old Wang said, "Officer, can we not? If we drink any more, we’ll get drunk again! How can we cooperate with your investigation like that!"
Lin Dongxue also reminded Chen Shi in a low voice, "You shouldn’t go too far!"
This group of people had already drunk three bottles of Erguotou. Their faces showed that they were drunk, and the dishes on the table were also almost finished. Although they were exactly the same dishes as last night, they didn’t have the mood. It felt as though they were chewing wax.
"What time did you guys go home?"
"At 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening."
"Be more specific."
"At 8:45!" Old Wang said, "I have a WeChat bill record on my phone."
After verifying it through his mobile phone, Chen Shi asked, "Did anyone leave the table midway?"
Several people claimed to have left the table, but they had only gone to the toilet or answered a call. The time was only a few minutes to just over a dozen minutes. It was completely impossible to have run out and commited the crime in that time.
Chen Shi again asked everyone when they had gone back and with whom. If it was just based on their own statements, then they all had alibis verified by one another. After the questioning, Chen Shi said, "Thank you for your cooperation. You can go back now."
"Officer, this matter wouldn’t affect our acting, right?" Old Wang asked.
Another person said, "The two people who died are Japanese. What’s there to worry about? In my opinion, this murderer is a national hero! A big hero!"
Chen Shi's eyes fell on the speaker's face. The person lowered his head after realizing that he had said the wrong thing. Chen Shi said, "Do you still think that what happened last night was a patriotic act?"
"Wasn’t it?" The man asked.
"I evaluate your behavior in a few words – Taking advantage of your position and bullying people! I hope you’ll all reflect on it and don't do such disgraceful things in the future! All of you aren’t even ashamed, but proud of yourselves."
After Chen Shi and the others left, the quiet room exploded, "There’s something wrong with this policeman. He’s defending the Japanese.”
"I think his mother’s probably Japanese, that’s why he’s so upset."
"This kind of policeman is not worthy of defending the people. Look at his cocky face. I bet he has never solved any cases before.”
Everyone got more fired up as they spoke and they recovered their patriotic pride. But there was one person whose smile slowly vanished…
1. The author actually wrote “four characters” and then inserted a proverb, but I’ve changed it to “a few words” and inserted the general meaning
2. The author had written “二五八万” which refers to the mahjong tiles 二萬, 五萬, 八萬, which play an important role in winning the game. The metaphor is used to describe someone who is doing well(holds the winning mahjong tiles in the game) and acting cocky, arrogant and annoying, or like a pompous ass.
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