Rocking Rock By George Jiang

Rocking Rock

By George Jiang

Yellowish coarse sand and strange rocks stood in the Kulangsu’s washing waves from the Pacific for millions of years. One rock on its northeast beach funnily rocked when someone pushed it. The locals called it the Rocking Rock.

One beautiful autumn day in 1908, Thomas Silverman, a sailor from USS Arkansas warship moored at the entrance of Amoy harbour, came with twelve of his mates to the Kulangsu islet after a welcome lunch. People on sampans and junks with brown sails gazed at and waved to these Caucasians. Thomas and his mates waved back.

‘Tom, we can find some drinks and girls here,’ Jimmy said.

‘I’m not sure’, Thomas answered. They landed on a long granite jetty, and Ah Min, a local man in dark brown silk dress with a pigtail braid, was there. He took a paper fan with calligraphy in his hand, speaking Pidgin English to them, ‘Hello!’

‘Hello! Drink?’ Thomas said, putting his thumb towards his mouth.

‘OK! Follow me,’ the guy said, taking them to a Mediterranean style house, a club for westerners. Thomas and the other twelve drank lots of local rice spirits.

‘Why are you still here?’ Thomas said.

‘I have no pay from you!’ The pigtail said. Some British policemen stared at them scornfully, drinking Oolong tea from their tiny cups. A piano played ‘Green Sleeves’.

‘Can you find me some girls,’ Thomas gave Ah Min one dollar note, waving another in his hand.

‘No, sir,’ the man said quietly, ‘no girls here,’ peeping at those British policemen.

‘What’s fun here on this islet?’

‘If you give me dat, I’ll take you see deh Rocking Rock!’

‘Rocking Rock? Let’s go now!’ They followed the guy and saw it not long later.

‘Ha! I am Hercules!’ Thomas rocked the rock, and his fellows took turn rocking it. Suddenly, he said, ‘I am gonna rock it to the sea!’ He tried but couldn’t. Very angry.

‘I’m gonna rock – this – shit – to – the – water!’ His face, neck and chest went red!

All laughed! Some seagulls were frightened, flying toward Amoy island.

‘I pay you ten bucks, go to get some ropes for me!’ He told the local guy, who took the money and ran to get some huge jute ropes back for them.

The sailors tied the Rocking Rock and pulled it, hard and persistently. Splash! It rolled into the sea water. The sailors cheered!

Suddenly, the hole where the rock had been exploded with a strong lash of air, and dark clouds emerged, spreading into the horizon, and a dark dragon flew out from the sandy hole, gnashing its teeth toward the sailors. They cried and run, toward their boat. People in sampans and junks all held their heads and cried for help.

The dragon almost caught Thomas, and a Taoist Master came to his rescue. He invoked a secret incantation, waving a peach-wood sword to it. The dragon became a dark air. The Master took out a bottle gourd, and put the dark air into it. The earth was shaking, dark clouds covering the whole islet, with big rain pouring down.

Thomas and his mates rushed to row back into their USS Arkansas warship, all wet, shivering on the deck. But since then, the Rocking Rock had gone deep into the bottom of water, without witnessing the revolution of China, or the changes of Kulangsu.

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