Chapter 29: What is Your Most Expensive Dish Here?
A week later.
Zhang Ye had been forcefully given leave by a Deputy Director for the Literature Channel. The Leader nearly pleaded with him to take a break for two days with a confused expression of being at a loss over whether to laugh or cry. Why? This was because Zhang Ye was playing with his life for the entire week. Every day, he would reserve the recording studio during the day. If he could not get a long time slot, he would reserve a time slot at night. He would obtain the key from the relevant personnel to work overtime throughout the night. He had completely recorded the fifty episodes of “Ghost Blows Out the Light”. Together with the episodes recorded before, he had finished recording more than 60 episodes. The book was almost done.
In between, the episodes that were periodically broadcast gave Zhang Ye a total of 200,000 Reputation points. The few poems that spread online also kept contributing to his Reputation score. All of them added up to about 300,000 points. Zhang Ye used those points to buy three “Memory Search Capsules”. They allowed Zhang Ye to reinforce the text in “Ghost Blows Out the Light”. Without a missing word, he could naturally record without a hitch. As usual, he went off-script during the entire process. In seven days, everyone in the station was used to this “warped” existence.
From shock to amazement, from amazement to surprise, and from surprise to numbness!
In the end, everyone took Zhang Ye’s stunning performance for granted!
There were only a few episodes left before Zhang Ye finished recording. In Zhang Ye’s original world, a radio station had recorded the audio version of “Ghost Blows Out the Light” after its crazy sales. It was done in 400-500 episodes, so how did he finish recording in less than 100 episodes? This was because, in his previous world, the ghost story segment was called “Midnight Strange Files”. It was half an hour long. Only about 20 minutes, or even less, of the novel was narrated during the segment. However, in this world, “Late-night Ghost Stories” was a segment that was an hour long. Furthermore, Zhang Ye’s narrative speed was much faster than the average person’s. As a result, the number of episodes were naturally reduced.
In the morning.
Zhang Ye was washing up. The seven days of continuous work and disruptive working schedule had affected his mental state. Even while smoking to refresh himself, he would keep yawning.
There was actually no need for him to work so hard.
But why did Zhang Ye work so hard? There were four reasons.
Firstly, he needed to be worthy of the Leader’s appreciation!
Secondly, he needed to be worthy of the audience’s love!
Thirdly, if he finished recording the program early, he could get a bonus!
As for the fourth reason…Well, the fourth reason is that the first and second reasons were not important at all!
After checking his salary and bonus online, Zhang Ye immediately cheered up. After realizing that he had not been home for a long while, he went down to take the subway as he headed to his parents’ home.
His parents lived in Caishikou, a small neighborhood in Beijing that was neither young or old.
Just as he arrived, Zhang Ye met a few of his old neighbors.
“Eh, isn’t this Little Ye? You are back? I haven’t seen you in a long while.” an auntie said.
Zhang Ye greeted, “Good morning, Auntie Zhou. I moved out to stay alone a month ago. I’ve been busy working recently, so I didn’t come back.”
“I heard from your parents that you are working at a radio station?” Another old uncle flapped a paper fan as he said, “That is a good place. It’s paid by the public, so do well.”
“Okay. Sure.” Zhang Ye went up after making some idle chat.
After pressing the doorbell, it was his mother who opened the door. She did not look happy, “It’s been a month. Now you know to return home?”
Zhang Ye gave a glance and gave an obsequious smile, “I was waiting to return only after having some success. Where’s dad? He isn’t working today, right?”
“Him? He’s reading the papers.” Mom kicked a pair of slippers to her son.
Zhang Ye bent over and wore them. Upon entering the living room, he saw his dad sitting on the sofa, reading Beijing Times. “Dad, I’m back. How’s your and Mom’s health?”
Dad never said much, “It’s good. How’s work?”
Zhang Ye seemed happy, “It’s good. This month’s salary has been paid. Together with the bonus, it’s a total of 18,000.”
“What?” Mom’s ears immediately perked up. She turned from sorrow to joy, “Why is there so much? Aren’t you in your probation period? You shouldn’t have established yourself, right?”
Zhang Ye smiled, “The wage isn’t a lot, but the bonus is quite a lot. There is a 5,000 contribution reward and another 8,000 performance award. With my wage and benefits added together, that’s why I was paid so much.”
“My son sure is good.” Mom beamed, “I already said my son will amount to something!”
Dad said squarely, “Don’t be arrogant. This little bit of results isn’t anything.”
Mom squinted at Zhang Ye and pursed her lips, “Hear what your Dad is saying. Every night, he will listen to your program in front of the radio. Sometimes he would not even agree to lowering the volume when I find it noisy. That episode where you used a modern poem to save a girl? He also listened to it. He even praised your modern poem’s standard. He even recorded those few poems down. Heh. Anyway, I didn’t understand that poem of yours.”
Dad’s expression changed, “Must you say so much?”
Mom snorted, “I’m just speaking the truth. What are you staring for? Do you think only your staring eyes are the biggest?”
Zhang Ye chuckled. The approval of his family was his greatest encouragement. He said, “It’s almost noon. Mom, Dad. There’s no need to cook today. Let’s go out and eat. Since this is my first hard-earned wage, I must treat you to a good meal. Let’s go!”
Mom said happily, “Alright. I want to enjoy my son’s treat.”
Dad was about to say something, such as don’t be a spendthrift, as their living conditions were not that great. However, with Zhang Ye and Mom pulling him, Dad eventually went to change.
Mom pulled out her cellphone like an avant-garde. “Let me check what good restaurants there are nearby.”
Zhang Ye asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’m checking the reviews online. I just learned about it from my colleagues.” Mom began to clumsily maneuver through her cellphone’s functionality.
Zhang Ye scoffed and looked down on Mom, “Online reviews? You are too passe. What year is it now? What you are doing isn’t scientific nor precise. Look at me!” Zhang Ye took out a signing pen that he always brought along and threw it into the air. After the pen dropped to the ground, he pointed along the direction of the pen tip to a street diagonally across. “That restaurant has delicious food!”
Dad said, “As a college graduate, can you not be so superstitious?”
Zhang Ye stubbornly said, “Believe me. That restaurant definitely is good. I’ve never been wrong with throwing stuff – or else, how do you think I scored such a high score during my English college entrance exams?”
The restaurant was not small and there were quite a number of people.
The trio were led to a table in the back by a waiter.
A waitress politely said, “What do the three of you want to eat?”
Mom said casually, “Son, you do the ordering, but don’t order things that are too expensive. It is unnecessary.”
Zhang Ye acknowledged. With almost 20,000, he was now a little tycoon. What was the use in having so much money? Isn’t it meant to be used? Furthermore, he was now a public figure. He needed to maintain his reputation, so he said with confidence, “What is your most expensive dish here?”
The waitress said with a surprise, “The most expensive?”
Zhang Ye nodded, “Right. Feel free and say it boldly!”
The waitress answered, “Deep-Fried Mandarin Fish is quite expensive. And depending on the portion, a fish can cost about 300 after preparation. Right, we also have abalone. One portion is 120. How many portions do you want?”
Zhang Ye snapped his fingers, “Good, very good. Give me…a plate of Kung Pao chicken, a plate of Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce and three bowls of rice. That would be all!”
The waitress nearly vomited out blood. After all that she said, he did not want any of that?
After the waitress left, Mom embarrassingly said, “Why did you ask about all of that!?”
Zhang Ye coughed, “I never expected it to be so expensive. Also, didn’t you say not to order stuff that’s too expensive? We still need to live. So we shouldn’t be too extravagant.”
Mom said angrily, “You are too cheap!”
Dad interjected, “Isn’t that something he learned from you? You mother-son duo were born money-faced!”