You Son of a Fu Manchu: A Short Story

You Son of a Fu Manchu
By Chongchen Saelee

My name is Jerry Wu. I am 17 years old. My mother is Hilary Johnson Stantham. My father is Thomas Lei Wu, but you probably know him best as Fu Manchu. I am the biracial son of America’s most controversial political power-couple. You see, I will recall for you, the time my mother and father both ran for office, the highest office, the President of the United States.

It wasn’t easy always being in the public eye, especially being that of Caucasian and Asian descent. The majority of media consumers were Caucasian. But my father was an extroverted Asian, a very rare type of Asian American. He was a showman, a hippy. He wore a beard. He was a rocker in a now defunct, pot-smoking band. And he was a womanizer because he was a smooth talker, although he didn’t speak perfect English, and he was really good-looking. I learned from how he worked the mass media during his Presidential campaign that race really didn’t matter. Sure, the exotic element helped, but it wasn’t the main appeal. It was his personality and charisma. So being in his shadow, and getting the attention that I didn’t want but was something easily took for granted, I learned how to see the media for what it was.

My mother, on the other hand, seemed like the complete opposite of my father. She was raised Catholic from a somewhat well-to-do upper middle class family, and very uptight and conservative. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother with hair longer than her bottom of her earlobes. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in anything feminine either. Or maybe that’s just within my lifetime. I’ve seen photos of her with my father, when they were younger, when she looked like she could possibly pass for a woman who was into men. Now she just wears pant suits all the time. And that’s because she’s always been career-driven. She never spent much time with me when I was growing up. She either had a “function” to go to, or the office called, or whatever. But what I learned from my mother was that if you wanted something, you had to work for it, and you had to work hard for it.

So when both my parents announced they would each be running for President, it was like two trains getting ready for a cross-country race, except there was only one train track, and they’re starting positions were on opposite ends, and the finish line was going to be a glorious head-on collision, the greatest train wreck in American political history. But until then, it was going to be a helluva ride and circus.

Let me get back to my father deciding to run under the name of “Fu Manchu”. The guy was a hippy. He loved the irony of it. “President Fu Manchu, the first Chinaman President of the United States. Take that, Whitey!” And I think the people caught on, and they embrace it, and they loved his showmanship. His tour bus was shaped like a Chinese dragon, but with hotrod stripes and puffed a fire and smoke. The old man was in his early 50’s but built like a thug, and his arms were covered in tattoos. He didn’t even bother to wear sleeves on his dress suits. He actually ripped them off. He carried a pair of drumsticks in his back pocket, connect with a chain. Yes, they were drumstick nunchucks. It was all about the visuals. The young blonde white female demographic swarmed around him like hornets on exposed raw meat, but the marginalized Asian demographics were even more bedazzled by him.

My mother’s campaign strategy was, of course, totally different. Was it creative? Maybe not. She was conservative minded after all. It played out like something you would already see in a political movie, or a satire about political campaigns and the personalities behind them. She recruited me to be in her campaign ad videos, in that, she paid me $200 extra allowance. I never played soccer in my life, but she sure milked that imagery. She had me dressed up in a soccer uniform and herself in a soccer coach uniform, even with a dangerous looking whistle around her neck. They had camera pan after camera pan of us individually and together, in front of a green screen, and ultimately, it was just so they could play the footage back in slow motion in a cliche montage looking like they were selling health insurance or something. But I’ll be damned if it didn’t help me get a lot of attention from girls. Even though I was more introverted, having never been on a date yet, it was a nice perk.

While on the campaign trail, my father took me out to eat. It wasn’t a publicity meal, it was more like, whew, I need a break, son, let’s go get something quick to eat. So my father took me to this small coffee shop for some expresso and sugary pastries. He got rid of the nunchucks, rocker outfit, and tucked his long ponytail into the back of a normal-looking T-Shirt. And then, finally, once the sunglasses disappeared, he looked like a normal Joe… or did he?

We ordered the junk food and hid in one of the corner booths, hoping not to draw attention to ourselves.

Dad was like, “So, son, how’s school? You got a girlfriend?” And he gulped down that hot coffee and chewed the sugar-coated croissant with crumbs falling out of his mouth.

I was like, “It’s going good. Classes seem too easy. I’m not feeling like I’m learning anything important. It gets boring sometimes.”

“Yeah? Do you have a girlfriend?” He asks, as though that was more important.

“Oh. Uh, no. But there are a lot of beautiful girls. I don’t know how to talk to them.” I say.

“It’s not hard, son.” Dad puts his hand on my shoulder. He then guides my view towards a pretty lady sitting by herself enjoying her drink and looking on her smartphone. “Y’know, your old man was quite the player in his day. When I set my eyes on a piece of tail, I go into tiger mode and I pounce. I was getting poon at least every two weeks.”

“Ugh, gross, Dad, too much information.”

“Haha. My son, you’ll learn to appreciate the company of a woman. But for now, you want to find out what kind of women you like.”

“I like girls, Dad.”

“I know you do. But check this: you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t apply yourself. Talk to any girl. You’ll be surprised you have things in common. And next thing you know, pfurt, you’ve got a girlfriend.”

“I can do it myself, Dad.”

“Well, I want to see something. I want you to go up to that young hottie and get her phone number. I want to see if my son has the Fu Manchu blood in him.”

“Wait, wh-what?”

“Go on, son. Show me what you got.”

“But, Dad…”

“No, no. Go, go” Dad gestures his hands at me like he’s shooing away a fly.

I reluctantly slide out of the booth and head towards my doom. My embarrassment was guaranteed.

I skulk over to the beautiful woman, constantly looking back at my father for any signs of withdrawal from him, nope, and he just watched, sipping at his coffee with a playful smile on his face. It was, like, only 15 steps and I was already standing there next to the poor girl, who was probably going to be offended by what I was about to say rather than my presence.

She didn’t even look up at my, just uttered something about she didn’t want any refills and no thanks. She thought I was a goddamn server!

“Hey, look, I’m not your goddamn server. I’m not here to pour you more coffee.” I accidentally utter out of irritation.

She looks up at me kinda shocked. “Excuse me! What did you just say?!” Uh oh, this one has an attitude.

“Oh, sorry. I, uh, came over here, because I, uh, I thought you were pretty and…” I managed to get out, but the girl looked like she was entitled and wanted me to kiss at her feet or something.

“No. You don’t talk to me like that. Buh-bye.” She shoots me the evil eye and returns back to her smartphone.

I slowly turn back to look at Dad, throwing him a grimacing look on my face. He looked like he was enjoying it, holding back his laughter. I went back and slid back into the booth and finished up my coffee.

My dad cupped the top of my head with his hand, “I’m proud of you, son.”

My mother has her campaign brainstorming sessions with her female sisters and cousins. They are all white. And they are all well-to-do. And for some reason they all love crafts. One of my mother’s campaign advisers was her younger sister, Aunt Barb, who had a thing against men. Her misandry was almost a caricature. She had never been married, and she was going to turn 48 years old, but she’s been with a lot of men. She wasn’t necessarily ugly, but she was a white woman who hated white men. Black men, on the other hand, she always seemed to have her hands on. Another adviser was Mom’s other younger sister, Aunt Ruth, who always looked at me funny. She was a school teacher and married to a tubby older man, Uncle Roland, who was a boy’s baseball coach. Aunt Ruth was never one to complain about anything, and that’s kinda suspicious. But most of all, she looked at me funny, like a hungry cat or something.

And the other white women that made up my mother’s Power Rangers group, I rarely knew them. They never come to our house anyway. But they were Mom’s cousins, this-and-that, twice removed, second or third on his father’s side, whatever-whatever. It just seemed more complex than needed to be. My father’s side of family was full of nothing but “uncles” and “aunts”, related or not. It just seemed easier. Anyway, my mother’s homies got together in their combat suits looking like an army of high school secretaries and librarians over green tea and biscuits and other knick-knak snacks… ugh, celery and carrot sticks and ranch dressing. Ugh, I don’t like how Aunt Ruth eats those in front of me, staring, sucking, licking her fingers.

Anyway, they brainstorm with their construction paper, posterboard, colored markers and whatever, designing all their imagery. Mom is the eldest sister, so she stands there with her arms crossed, or on her hips, or gently stroking her chin as though in heavy thought. She brought me along to be her second, or second-to-final, opinion. Maybe she thought of me as her sidekick.

On a slogan one of the Golden Girls came up with, “Vote for Hilary: She’s The Real Applesauce”:

Mom thought it was really chummy, something that could appeal to smalltown folks or simpler folks. She thought she had that kind of appeal, and not that uptight Kennedy vibe.

She would ask me, standing up with her arms crossed, looking down at me, as I was always seated, trying to distance myself from it all, “What do you think, son?”

It felt like Batman trying on batsuits in the batcave while Robin was bored and wanting to go outside and play or something.

“I dunno, Mom. Why applesauce? Why do you want to compare yourself to applesauce?” I would say, as though I actually cared.

“Because she’s the boss, little boy. And don’t you forget it. She’s the boss, applesauce.” Aunt Barb would cut in.

“It’s an old expression from a TV show back in the day, son. It’s an allusion to Judge Judy, a female TV judge who would say things like that. Do you think Mommy is cool?” Mom says.

“I dunno, I’d have to see the show.”

The women laugh it off and go back to doing their thing. Eventually, it seem as though hours went by, and they finally decide on a slogan for their new posters. It was choosing between “Vote for Hilary: Genuine, Powerful, Leader” or, yup, you guessed it, “Vote for Hilary: The Real Applesauce”. Note the refinement.

Well, they decided on the applesauce one. And now it was my time to shine. As is with these “important” events, Mom would entrust with me the source digital files for the poster design to take to their designated printer. They had no idea that you could send these things over the Internet these days. But, because I wanted to get out of there, that’s what I would do. I took the CD and marched out into the vast unknown, like a messenger in a raging war.

Mom gives me some cash. She puts her hand on my shoulder.

“You know you’re special, son. This is a very special project for me. Do you know that?” She says.

“Yeah. I know. I know.” I pocket the cash quickly.

She caresses my face as though I was still a baby. She then pats me on the arm to tell me to leave and I don’t hesitate.

I’m at the mall, sitting on a bench outside the printshop because the manager is currently out, so says the sign on the door, and I’m watching the hot young girls strolling about. There are a lot of beautiful black girls. They have long legs, wearing those short shorts. Some of them have huge tits and wear very revealing tank tops. And those lips. Those eyes. And the hair, like something wild that needs to be tamed.

I see two cute black girls, dressed like typical California bimbos with their sunglasses, chewing bubble gum, flipflops, and boutique bags of material whatevers. One of them turns and looks at me as they walk past. She even lowers her sunglasses to get a better look.

Chewing her bubble gum and playing with her bleach blonde weave, homegirl stops in her tracks and saunters over to me.

“Daaamn, boy, how ya doing?” She axe me.

“Hey.. uh, girl… I’m doing fine?” I tried to volley.

“Mmm-mm-mm, ya looking fine for a whiteboy.” She looks me up and down. I feel like a piece of meat, but it kinda turns me on.

“Thank you? I’m actually half-white. I’m also half-Asian.”

“Mmm. Is that so?”

“Grrrrl, you got a man. Let’s go.” Her homegirls cuts in, tugging at her arm.

“Mmm, mmm-mm. Dayum. Damn shame.” The hot black girl looks me over one more time then reluctantly leaves with her friend. She turns around and blows and kiss and wink at me.

I had a raging erection.

Then she flashes me her right titty.

I was like, whoa. Best moment evar. I’m 17. I don’t work. I’m a virgin. I’m running errands for my mom. And I just had a near sex experience with a hot babe. Winning.

And before I could fall into a sexual daydreaming sequence, sure enough, the manager of the printshop returns.

“Hey, you waiting for me?” He asks as he’s unlocking the door, rustling the keys.

“Uh, yeah.”

“Cool. Come on in.” He opens the door and enters the store, flipping on the lights.

He enters the printshop. I quickly follow him in, erection and all. So stupid.

Three days later, my mom dispatched me back to the printshop to pick up the proofs for their slogan poster. I was really excited. I was wondering if that hot black girl would we at the mall again. But what are the odds? But then again, who knows, these girls do spend a lot of time at the mall, spending money from god knows where. How do they make money if they don’t spend those hours at work?

Anyway, there always seems to be somekind of time imbalance because when I get to the shop, the manager’s always out. So I have to wait out there on the bench. Most young people will have a smart phone to pass their time with, but I don’t think it’s worth anything if you’re not doing anything with the smartphone other than staring at it or doing trivial things. It’s no different than staring into blank space. Why are you trying to look busy when you’re not? No one’s going to blame you if you’re not busy.

So I’m sitting there, watching the other toolbags around me staring and pretending to be busy with their smartphones, watching all the hot girls around me.

And wouldn’t you know it? There in the distance, the same blonde weave popping up through the surface of the crowd, approaching me like a shark’s fin out of water! But this time, she was with her man. And he was a big, scary looking dude.

As they walked past me, she turned and acknowledged me with a wink. Of course, homeboy noticed.

“Yo yo yo yo yo, hold up. HOLD. UP.” Homeboy pulls homegirl by the arm. “Whatchu doin’ winkin at whiteboy over there?”

“Nuffin, baby, nuffin.” She says.

“You know him? Babe. Babe. You know him?” Homeboy interrogates her.

“No. He’s just a whiteboy. I saw him here last week. That’s all.”

“Enough to wink at him? You for real, girl? You lying to me.”

“No, baby, I ain’t.”

“Naw, man, there’s more to it than that. You don’t just wink at no whiteboy u don’t know.”

“I don’t know him.”

“But you winkin’ at him. Like u know him. Like u like him.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Then what is it? Tell me the troof, girl.”

Homegirl is busted. She can’t hide her attraction to me. And homeboy catches on. Yikes.

“Yo yo yo yo yo. Hey, little nigga. Imma holler at ya for a bit.” Homeboy says, or more like barks at me, trying to sound friendly. He approaches like a speed walker who stepped in some dog poo and needs to find some water.

I, being the typical white boy mentality, was scared. The Asian in me wishes I did know martial arts. What’s a guy to do?

“Hey, white boy, I’m talking to you!” He says towering over me.

“Me? You’re talking to me?” I said nervously.

“Eh. Eh. You macking on my girl?”

“Uh, no, sir, no.”

“You lying to me? You better not be lying to me, white boy.”

“No. You’re girl is pretty, but I haven’t been macking on her. No.”

“What??!! My girl is fine, but she ain’t good enough to mack on? You out of yo damn mind?”

“Wait. What? That’s not what I said.”

“Listen here, white boy. You ever come near or talk to my dime again, I’ll fuck ya up. Feel me?” Homeboy is in full peacock mode now.

I see the girl out the corner of my eye, rushing up behind him, wedging herself between him and me.

“Babe. Baby. Stop it. Leave him alone. Stop being an asshole.” She says. She pushes homeboy away hard.

Homeboy is taken aback a bit, as though reading through the tough guy’s manual in his head. Oh, there it is. Chapter X: How to regain your thug face.

“Oh. I see. Oh. Dat how it is. You lying little bitch.” Homie says, regaining his thug face.

“WHAT?!!” Homegirl is almost in tears.

“Yeah. You heard me. You ain’t nuffin but a lying. Little. Bitch.”

“Fuck you! You just called me a bitch? You never called me a bitch.”

“Yeah. BITCH.”

“Yeah? You fucking poser wannabe thug.”

“Man. Forget this.” Homeboy starts strutting off.

“Babe! Where ya going?!” Homegirl calls after him.

“I’m be in da car! Ya coming??” Homeboy calls back in return, still strutting away, his voice cracking already trying to hold back his tears.

“Look. I’m sorry about him. He don’t mean it, white boy. But he’s my boyfriend. Understand?” Homegirl says to me really quick. And we both nod at each other. And she goes after her boyfriend.

I felt like I was just on an episode of Jerry Springer.

My parents had been campaigning hard, each with their own unique approach and appeal, and it was going to be a test of their commitment to their marriage. They were going to have to decide how much strain went onto their personal and professional lives.

Slowly, as months went by, it was friendly competition, and Mom and Dad were treating it as though it was something trifling like prom king and queen. They didn’t stand a chance. But months of public appearances and actually winning over the hearts of people, months became years. And years meant it was serious and they now had to follow through. They didn’t see themselves as husband and wife anymore, they were going to come out on top, whoever’s ego thought deserved the accolades the most.

And I was set on going off to college. I hadn’t decided which university yet. But I would have loved my parents’ input. It’s not that I needed their approval, I just wanted them to share in my achievements for a change.

I had found a part time job, at the mall of all places, selling video games and video game merchandise. The shop was literally across the way from Mom’s favorite printshop. And fortunately, my part-time job kept me busy, so I wasn’t playing gopher for Mom anymore. But that doesn’t stop her from guilt-tripping me into doing errands for her campaign every now and then.

Eventually, I had saved enough money from my job to do something about my own liberation (it’s sounds worse than it actually is). I was singling out which university to go to. It was a very positive time in my early adult life. But my parents were cutthroat with their campaigning. And they were distancing themselves more and more. By the time I was ready to leave for college, they had unofficially separated. Yay. College for me. Woo-hoo. Wind and tumbleweeds.

The clear public favorite was obvious. It looked like they want Fu Manchu for their next President. He was hip, he was cool, he was handsome, and he was wise. Mom had a strong start, but that’s just not how you win the Presidency these days. You needed to have control of the superficial aspects of society. And Dad was just way better at that. He was always cool. Mom never was.

I went along with Dad on what must have been the most wild tour yet. It was like a rock concert tour. He was the lead rockstar. And his merry men of strategists, advisers, and general booknerds were his groupies. But they looked the part of rockstars themselves. These were educated men, and my dad’s closest friends. They looked like wrestlers, but clean shaven and all wearing suits. It was like something out of a comedy movie or something, unreal.

So I was on tour with the Justice League, and they started brainstorming. I’ve never actually sat down at their brainstorming sessions. But now was a good time to see how Dad worked. They huddled around a small table with yellow pads and looked like they were preparing to launch nuclear weapons or something. Dad never welcomed me into his round table of knights, but he did acknowledge me sitting back there, listening in. It was as though he acknowledged me as a man now.

And then one of his knights blurted out, “OK. Let’s play dirty then.”

“Right on! Cool! Wicked! Awesome.” They erupted with glee. Then they disbanded and continued with their individual tasks.

Dad picks up a yellow pad, which has now been scribbled with all sorts of ugly sketches and chicken scratch, and walks it over to me. He slaps it in front of me and tells me, “Study this. This is how you become a rockstar.” And he walked away.

I looked over the notes and it wasn’t even anything technical. It was a bunch of designs looking like tattoos, dragons, skulls, women with big tits, cool cars, etc. My god, it was as though they were doing the same thing Mom was doing with her sisterhood. It was all stage show theatrics.

But what did they mean by playing dirty?

Dad knew Mom’s henchwomen very well. He knew their weaknesses. And he knew Aunt Barb very well. And her weakness for chocolate men. And one of Dad’s staff members was a built chocolate tank.

The goal was to send him over to Mom’s camp every now and then, under the premise that it was not political, to run family errands. However, it was his mission to go chat up a storm with Aunt Barb, seduce her, keep her distracted, cloud her thoughts on the campaign. And that, he did.

And this cat was cool. He would take me to stripclubs. He would show me how to dress cool to attract women. He also taught me how to talk smooth.

Unfortunately, eventually Mom caught on. She wasn’t stupid. And she banned any of Dad’s “thugs” from infiltrating her camp anymore. And it’s not like any of them were strangers. Everyone knew everyone.

So Mom needed to get her top adviser Aunt Barb back into tiptop feminist shape. That meant keeping her off the D.

The problem with Aunt Barb when she’s off the D is she gets extra militant. And when she gets militant, things get covered in red paint. Expensive things. So Mom had to make sure that stuff got covered up. She can’t have the press associating her loony sister with her while she’s running for office. And because Mom has nothing but friends in media, they do just that, turning a blind eye everytime Aunt Barb ends up topless in the townsquare, chucking flaming bras at police. She attracts a lot of college women followers who do the same. And I usually have to bare Aunt Barb’s droopy titties before I get to see young, supple college tits with lipstick written on their bodies. Too bad they want to lynch me.

Because my Mom gets personally offended by her weak sister who talks big, she decides to get revenge on my Dad.

Being that my Mom has access to more wealth, she could actually just hire out all my Dad’s staff members, but she doesn’t believe in playing “dirty”. She thinks it would be a waste of time, let alone money. However, she still feels she should get revenge.

So what does Mom do? She hires a bunch of graffiti artists to raid Dad’s camp and “redecorate”. By the time Dad’s goons discover their wicked cool dragon bus, it had become a fluffy pink flowery mermaid. These were some talented graffiti artists.

You see, Dad couldn’t afford to fix that. His campaign budget was tight. So he rolled with it. And because his rockstar reputation was so strong, and forgivable, the public thought it was part of his act, and loved it even more. Go figure.

But Dad retaliated. Mom was throwing a big get together with a bunch of upper-crust peoples at some rich Joe’s mansion in his fancy borderless backyard. Dad crashed the party with his buddies on bikes.

Mom retaliated. Dad flew overseas to meet up with his elderly uncle for some superstitious blessings and stuff. Dad is completely dressed down and normal looking. Mom rigged their DVD player with footage of Dad in his youth rocking out in his band, hair uncut, tattoos all over, cursing, etc. Dad was so embarrassed. His uncle scolded him, a grown man, for living like a sinner in America. Whatever that meant.

And they continued fighting. Very petty, too.

Finally, near the eve of announcing the President-Elect, conveniently it was a tight race between presidential nominees Fu Manchu vs. Hilary Stantham. It couldn’t get more storybook than that. And by then, my parents had secretly started the process of divorce. They wanted to make it official.

I was enjoying my first time in college. The freedom of being on my own, making my own living. It was a new and exciting experience for me. I didn’t know my parents were divorcing.

Whoever won the election, the loser would still have to be by the winner’s side at the celebration. And knowing their two egos, I wonder if they’d show up. Would they take away the victory from the other?

So I flew back home to be with them. Now when they needed me most.

I was traveling back and forth between their two camps, hours before the President-Elect was to be announced.

And then the dam burst.

I was at my mother’s camp, and they were sure they would win this election. Aunt Barb was her cocky self. Aunt Ruth was, well, still being her lustful self. And Mom was relaxed. Until she received a gift box. From Dad.

Mom opened the box in front of her gang.

It was applesauce in a diaper. And a scribbled not on yellow pad paper saying “Har-har. You suck.”

Mom was so embarrassed… and angry. How childish. So she gave control of the camp to Aunt Barb and she personally wanted to go confront Dad face-to-face.

I had just returned from an errand Mom sent me on, only to learn that she had left camp to pursue Dad. And Aunt Ruth, finally slurping up the drama and never having any complaints about anything, bursted out that Mom and Dad were getting a divorce… and that she and Uncle Roland were done too… and that she wanted to ravage me in the towel closet sometime. She wanted to be THAT aunt.

So I raced to Dad’s camp, which was in a high tower hotel where he had booked a fancy ballroom for his bethren and he had himself the penthouse office.

I sure hope those two don’t rip each other apart. It was a volatile time. And the last thing I wanted was my parents divorcing, let alone killing each other.

On the long elevator ride up the hotel, I had thoughts of what I would do if those negative scenarios did happen. You got these two Presidential nominees, and on the eve of the announcement who would be President-Elect, they kill each other off. One, it would be quite hilarious because they are husband and wife. But two, now we don’t have any nominees. Or, what if one offed the other. They the survivor would be known as the killer President, and definitely would go to jail. Oh, man, and my name would be dragged through the mud for being their son!!! Oh, jeez.

So those kinds of thoughts ran through my mind. In that long elevator ride. And I had in my hand was a photo album of our best times together as a happy friggin family. They weren’t many moments, but I’m sure I could do something positive.

I approach Dad’s penthouse suite office slowly, and I could hear them screaming shortly, then silence.

I bust through the office doors, hoping I could mediate, but…

Dad was hitting up Mom from the back, both of them pants off, over the desk overlooking skyscrapers as fireworks blasted in the night sky. They were going at it like a couple of dogs.

I almost went blind. But they were stunned only for a brief second when they realized it was me.

Dad looked at me like it was nothing. “Hey, son, how do you think you came into this world?”

Mom gestured with her hand to turn around and walk away. And they carried on.

Stunned, disgusted, and just outright shocked, I backed out of the office and closed the door behind me. I walked off with the most fucked up face on me.

And that was a long elevator ride down.

THE END.

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