“Yeah, Mouse, if you go fight with the elites, they would have no pressure.”
A boy with several pimples on his face yelled. The fat boy, who was attacked as soon as he got the form, was known as Mouse. In a dazed manner, he angrily screamed: “Are you elite? You really look like it.”
“Yeah, Mule, who are you kidding? If you lost your meal card after playing cards, this is not the way to get it back, okay?” The one who supported Mouse was Doubao. Not only were they buddies, but they also looked like buddies. The two boys ran over the one called Mule. As if they killed his father and took away his wife, he gritted his teeth and said: “Doubao, don’t joke around. Let’s continue this at night. Once I clean out all your travel expenses, you’ll call me Big Brother Mule.”
The two parties customarily made personal attacks on each other. Mouse, Yan Debiao, and Doubao, Dou Xiaobo, lived in the dormitory. Although the two brothers were often at the bottom in learning and training courses, playing cards were not included. Whether its Fight the Landlord, Zha Jin Hua, or Pao De Kuai, playing one on one, or by teams, not only would others lose money, even their meal cards couldn’t be guaranteed.
It’s a pity that these two buddies’ awesomeness couldn’t be brought to the classroom. As graduation approached, internships and employment prospects were getting worse. Yan Debiao looked at the form and carefully filled it out. It was very simple. Name, gender, hometown, and political affiliation. There’s also a non-objective item that asked why you wanted to be a policeman. Of course, they knew this. It’s to eliminate violence and maintain a harmonious society. When he was just about to fill it in, a hand stretched out from behind and snatched the form away. Without looking at it, that person kneaded and tore it, then put it in his pocket and swaggered away.
It was the one sitting in the back seat and also their buddy. Mouse looked at the leaving Yu Zui dumbfoundedly then glanced at Dou Xiaobo, asking: “Doubao, why do that? Is it a problem with his personality?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong with his personality; that person is just a bit questionable.” Dou Xiaobo said with a smile. Many police cadets used this kind of wordplay in their attacks.
“Ah, then why didn’t he get his own form? For physical fitness tests, Mule can’t even get past him.” Mouse looked back and was startled. Dou Xiaobo said while spreading out his hand: “I don’t get it either. Also, don’t joke around. If there’s the opportunity to stay in the provincial capital, it wouldn’t be our turn.”
“Just, I mean, just in case, I have a straight flush in hand, why not throw it?” Mouse shook his head. With great expectations for the future and with shining eyes, he said: “If I want to be like that, the countryside isn’t enough. It could take several years just to move up a rank in our town, and you might not even be able to get in. And do you know what we’ll do when we go back? Patrol the streets in the middle of the night. We’ll suffer more but still can’t make much money, maybe one or two thousand, the same wage as the cleaners… hey, wait for me, why are you running?”
Seeing that his buddy Doubao got up and left with no regrets, Mouse had to chase him. When they walked down the lecture hall, they inadvertently saw the pair of Jie Bing and An Jialu. Mouse smiled at Beauty An as everyone liked seeing beautiful things, but Beauty An filtered out the smile. She didn’t even see him. It made Mouse depressed as he went out.
After catching up with Dou Xiaobo and Yu Zui, who went ahead, Mouse complained. With such a beautiful woman, although he knew the possibility was unlikely, just in case they might bump into each other, wouldn’t he be noticed? Except for the Provincial Police Academy graduates who lived in the provincial capital, there were few opportunities to work in the capital, and most of those allocations were on the most basic level criminal police teams and police stations. In the case where, just as Chief Xu said, the household registration and housing were taken care of, it would more or less take off years of struggle.
Hearing this made Yu Zui turn around, frightening Mouse. Yu Zui was the youngest of the three but the most mindful. Although the three of them were not in the same room in the dormitory, they have become very good friends ever since Yu Zui figured out the mystery of Doubao and Mouse’s card skills. Then, Yu Zui helped Brother Mouse to adjust his collar, and very maturely and sophisticatedly said: “Brother Mouse, although others call you Mouse, I don’t think you are short-sighted, you know? Do you believe me?”
“It’s not like you’re the Section Chief. Red lips and white teeth deceive, okay?” Yan Debiao didn’t believe him.
“I will also tell you a logic problem… it’s said that in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States period, a princess wanted to marry the monarch of a small vassal country. He was given a dowry of tens of thousands of gold so that the king would be her husband, but the king refused to accept the princess. Why do you think that is?” Yu Zui asked solemnly.
“Why? This is a good thing.” Mouse was a little confused. He turned his head to ask Doubao. Dou Xiaobo thought there was a problem, but he couldn’t tell for a while. He could only scratch his head and said: “That’s right, are you making up stories to deceive us?”
“This is a true story recorded in the history books, you idiots.” Yu Zui said.
“Where is the problem?” The brothers stared at Yu Zui, really not knowing what was wrong.
“Can’t you see it? The discounted ones are not good stock, but is the other side also good? Those who kill pigs and sell meat have all reasoned it out. If I sell fresh meat at a high price, everyone wanted it, but no one would buy if the price of meat is reduced overnight since it’s definitely not good meat… it also applies in this case. The monarch found the princess ugly after meeting.” Yu Zui said, educating the two taller and older people than him and saw their two silly faces scrunching up. “Look, just you two piles of meat, do you think it’s meant for the provincial capital? If you leave, you’ll lose money instead of being paid just for a house. Can’t you use your head to think about this? No, it’s impossible for you two dumbasses to think of it.”
Yu Zui’s suppressed the brothers. The brothers rolled their eyes but weren’t persuaded even after thinking about it. Mouse wanted to ask again but was blocked by Yu Zui, who was looking forward: “It might not be as good as winning the lottery. You might go to the stinking ditch every day to fish out stumps and broken arms and other human organs. In the evening, you’ll have to go to the morgue. If you can’t pick up girls, some female ghosts might appear.”
Then he grinned evilly at Mouse, making him startled. The boy nervously said: “Don’t tell me about it. My taste is not that heavy.”
Yu Zui then turned to Doubao to scare him: “Do you think so, too? What’s the casualty rate for criminal police officers? It’s close to 10%. But for you who can’t run when you want to run and can’t move when you fight, what are you going to do? Increase the disability index of the organization?”
Doubao had goosebumps all over and shook his head furiously, then frankly said: “This crow’s mouth (T/N: a person who makes an inauspicious remark) is guilty. I’m not ready to go.”
“That’s right. Go back to the county or town, be a small policeman, marry a girl, earn a small amount, and drink a little wine. Why don’t you think more of those peaceful days? Provincial capital? As far as we know, how many rich and official families would make their children be part of public security? Good things would come our way when it’s our turn, so let’s go and eat. There won’t be a line up this time.”
Yu Zui turned his head, the brothers behind him unnaturally following and were persuaded.
If you think about it, there’d indeed be no pie in the sky unless someone was making trouble.
The three buddies took advantage of the early morning and only saw their classmates enter the restaurant when they finished eating. They won a lot from Zhang Meng, known as Mule, the day before, so Yu Zui felt a little sorry for him. He grabbed the meal card from Mouse and gave it to Zhang Meng. This buddy seemed to have really lost a lot. He was knocking on his rice bowl while aimlessly walking around, trying to see who he could mooch off of. He took the card unceremoniously and didn’t say any thanks. Mouse was a little unhappy at this and complained for a while.
The dining room was very lively, and everyone was discussing the selection. The three buddies alone were playing Fight the Landlord after eating. Doubao and Mouse were so happy that they laughed loudly when the game was over, but Yu Zui turned green at losing. He took the three rice bowls to wash since he lost the bet.
During lunch, Section Chief Shi gave the registration form to Chief Xu Ping Qiu along with two statistical tables. One was the names of the participants, 108 people, and the 97 people who registered. The other one was the names of the people who didn’t sign up, 11 people. Director Jiang handed over the usual training CD to Chief Xu. The Director from the provincial government pointed out a few more employment indicators, but the policeman vaguely answered even after being asked questions left and right. Chief Xu was steady and didn’t say anything certain.
With a slightly higher grade than standard working meals and a bottle of good wine, Principal Wang Lan poured wine to Chief Xu and Section Chief Shi. Listening to their words, it seemed like he was once Xu Ping Qiu’s teacher. Although this old man was within the system, he had limited access to police matters. After a few cups, he also asked Xu Ping Qiu in surprise: “Ping Qiu, who are you recruiting this time?”
“A front-line criminal police.” Xu Ping Qiu tasted the dishes and casually said.
“Nonsense. The others might not understand, but do you think I don’t? The simpler your expression is, the more difficult it is. Is it necessary for a Deputy Director to personally recruit a front line criminal police officer and also ask for my full cooperation?” Principal Wang was unhappy and seemed to think that it should not be kept from him.
When he became angry, Xu Ping Qiu’s usual hippie smile came, and he brought vegetables to his teacher’s bowl while comfortingly saying: “Yo, Teacher Wang, why are you still the same as when you were a training instructor? I think I stole a few corn cobs back then. You were so angry that you made me write several self-introspection letters. There are just some things that you can’t ask.”
“Don’t give me that hippie smile. I’ll just ask you, is it a special task?” Principal Wang politely said with a straight face. Hearing this, Director Jiang’s face sank. Frightened, he looked at Xu Ping Qiu and Section Chief Shi, but their faces were also solemn. He might have guessed it.
Special had a well-known meaning in this group. Putting on a police uniform with live ammunition was called doing things according to the rules, not special. Mentioning the word special meant contact with vicious crimes such as drug trafficking, homicide, and cross-border criminals and was called the profession with the highest mortality rate: undercover.
Criminals do everything they wanted, and the police’s investigation and combat methods were also changing with each passing day. The principal knew some things should never see the light. He put down his chopsticks, feeling melancholic for some reason. With that long sigh, Xu Ping Qiu and Section Chief Shi glanced at each other, knowing that it’s not easy to hide from a fellow police officer, but they couldn’t state their mission. The dinner table suddenly fell into silence, and no one wanted to talk.
“Since it’s a mission, I won’t ask.”
After a long time, Principal Wang sighed and said: “Don’t laugh, ah. As people grow old, their worldview also grows old and can’t keep up with the situation. No one is studying our history here. 30 years after its establishment, 29 generations of graduates were sent away, totaling 4,427 students. The injured have not been specifically counted. Those who died in the line of duty were a total of 212, including your buddy, Shao Bingshan, who stole corn from fellow villagers with you. He hugged the suspect and died with him… now they’re saying that being a principal or instructor in a police academy is a cushy job. Every year, tens and tens of thousands of people want to send their children to the police academy. Sometimes, I feel very at a loss, sometimes even thinking that this is natural and feel like holding a sinecure (T/N: a position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit), or a bit like mass-producing people who seek honor and glory…”
As if reflecting the desolate state of the old principal’s deteriorating mood, Xu Ping Qiu gently said: “Teacher, as you said when we graduated, someone in this society should always be responsible. If the first person to stand up in the face of crimes is not the police, then it’s the shame of the police. While sacrificing their lives, my classmates, your students, should make you proud, not sad… here, let’s toast to them.”
When he got up, Xu Ping Qiu spilled half of the wine and drank the rest. Principal Wang Lan also made a toast, and when he was seated again, he didn’t mention the selection this time.
The rest of the meal ended dully. When they left after the meal, even Director Jiang, who was thinking of making Xiao Jiujiu use the back door, shut his mouth. This kind of police work didn’t need someone to go through the back door. Afraid that after knowing the truth, ordinary people wouldn’t dare to go.
Once the situation was wrapped up, Chief Xu, who was resting in the police academy’s guest house at noon, carefully looked at the filled-in forms. He assigned a task to Section Chief Shi, who came with him and focused on those who did not sign up. The task was to talk to those students and find out the reason. Of course, they had to first look at their family background. If it’s a child from a rich or official family, there’s no need to ask. They expect their children to go there to do some light missions, not special missions.
Xu Ping Qiu thought that public morals were degenerating with each passing day when looking at the form. These youngsters wrote a lot in the registration form, and a lot were nonsense. He smiled when he saw why they wanted to be a policeman. Some wrote that they wanted to catch bad guys and protect the world’s peace, which was too idealistic; others wrote about maintaining a harmonious society and protecting people’s property and lives, which was nonsense; others wrote that they wanted to find stable career development and that being a policeman was the best choice which was realistic.
Xu Ping Qiu did not find an answer that could persuade him. When a police officer gets older, he knew that one couldn’t be a good policeman when he only had passion, ideals, and knowledge. In fact, he didn’t know exactly what answer he wanted. When he was digging, he saw a certain page. He snorted and laughed very hard and fiercely until he laid down on his back.
When Section Chief Shi looked up at his strange state, Xu Ping Qiu handed him the form. Section Chief Shi also laughed when he saw it. There were only a few lines on it, stating that his ideal was to be a successful businessman. The best case was to be wealthy like Bill Gates. As for being a policeman, he had no intention. The reason was:
My mother. Forced me!