Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
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“Lin Ze, look at this manuscript yourself.” Vice Editor-in-Chief said, “This isn’t your previous newspaper! You had better remember that! I’ve already told you on the first day you came! Don’t do the same here as you’ve done in that local media company of yours!”
On top were two manuscripts by Yu Hao, and quite a few sentences had been crossed out. Before National Day, Yu Hao had handed it to Lin Ze, who then gave it to Jin Weicheng. Jin Weicheng hadn’t read through it yet, but Lin Ze thought he had, so he asked Yu Hao if there were any problems. Yu Hao had said “I don’t think there should be any problems”, and Lin Ze didn’t look through it carefully before turning it in. However, what Yu Hao meant was, “I don’t think there’s any problems handing in the manuscript to you” and not that it could be published right away.
“He’s an intern, so he doesn’t understand.” Vice Editor-in-Chief said, “But do you not understand as well?!”
Lin Ze quickly said, “It’s my responsibility, I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Yu Hao was pelted as soon as he came in and was currently in a bewildered state. The vice Editor-in-Chief pointed at him, “You, go outside! Stand in front of the entire editorial department! And read your manuscript! Read it yourself! Do you have the face to read it?! Have you ever studied mass media at all!?”
Lin Ze said, “He studies psychology.”
Vice Editor-in-Chief said, “Then why are you in this profession? I don’t think you’re suited to be an editor, reconsider your choices ba. Looks like you can keep your calm in such an urgent situation, your skin’s probably as thick as the Great Wall. Why don’t you go be a counsellor instead?”
“That……chief,” Lin Ze couldn’t really stand it anymore either, “I’ll supervise and urge him to improve.”
“I think it should be you, Lin Ze! You’re the one in most dire need of improvement!” The vice Editor-in-Chief said, “Lin Ze! What kind of person did you recruit?”
Yu Hao remained silent. Lin Ze gathered the manuscripts, “I’ll get him to fix it now.”
“Your column will be cancelled for now.” Vice Editor-in-Chief said, “You can reapply when your manuscripts pass through group 2’s review, that’ll be it for now.”
Lin Ze closed the door and took Yu Hao out.
His last sentence was fatal. Yu Hao almost couldn’t breathe for a moment. Lin Ze didn’t say a word as he walked in front.
“Want a cig?” Lin Ze took out a pack of cigarettes.
“I don’t smoke.” Yu Hao said, but he still accepted Lin Ze’s cigarette. Lin Ze casually lit it up for him with a vexed expression.
“What does it mean to have our column cancelled?” Yu Hao felt unresigned and wanted to reconfirm, “Did I cause trouble for you?”
“Politics, struggles between factions accounts for 80%.” Lin Ze said, “Quality of the manuscripts accounts for 20%, it was my own negligence.”
Yu Hao said, “Is there any way to salvage it?”
Lin Ze didn’t say anything and smoked for a while. Yu Hao took a puff too and started coughing violently. He looked at the cigarette in his hand and frowned.
“Don’t listen to him.” Lin Ze said, “No one is born to work in a certain profession, it’s all learned. Have a little confidence in yourself, go back and revise the manuscript ba.”
Yu Hao stared at the hazy fog enshrouding Beijing in the distance and remembered Situ Ye’s photo — the beautiful sunrise. He sighed, then got up and went back to revise the manuscripts.
“There’s no need to go that far ba.” After Situ Ye read through the manuscript, he said, “Is he impotent? He has such a bad temper? This manuscript is already really good okay?”
Lin Ze was irritated too, “Don’t talk anymore, work ba. We can’t afford another mistake with the public number, there’s not much traffic coming in yet. Starting from October, the newspaper will introduce a Follow quota, if we can’t hit it, there’ll be someone else waiting to take over.”
Situ Ye released a flurry of fluent Chongqing swear words and called on the vice Editor-in-Chief’s ancestors. Yu Hao said, “I really don’t know how to revise it, I really think this manuscript……”
Lin Ze glanced at Yu Hao. Jin Weicheng had gone out for an interview, Situ Ye said, “Jin Laoshi’s handwriting is really beautiful, and his train of thought is very clear too. But the published text is always a summarised version. If you don’t take some time out to teach Yu Hao, he won’t be able to make head or tail of any lines of reasoning.”
Lin Ze said, “But the key point is that my text is the shortened version as well, you know?!”
Yu Hao said, “Then I’ll ask the chief editor of the general office.”
“I’ll do it first, pay attention.” Lin Ze took the paper manuscript and sat down with Yu Hao, “You need to change your mindset about interview manuscripts. Did you learn about manuscripts from Xiao Mei? It’s barely passable for publishing onto Internet media, but it is sorely lacking for a newspaper publication. I used to work in local media, and the vice Editor-in-Chief was right. I didn’t think that censorship would be so strict here.”
Yu Hao arduously revised the manuscripts all afternoon, and after going through it over and over, he could barely recognise the words on it anymore.
Lin Ze said, “This should be good enough?”
To play it safe, Yu Hao went to look for the chief editor of the general office. Situ Ye even went out of his way to remind him not to try and take the easy way out by looking for young girls to help, lest he attract peach blossoms. Yu Hao understood his words and specially looked for uncle editors. But everyone has an innate appreciation for beauty, and amiability towards handsome guys is universal. Everyone else was also willing to teach him a little, as long as it wasn’t too annoying.
As a result, Yu Hao realised that the manuscript that Lin Ze had gone through still had a lot of problems. And there were even some opinions that were totally contrary to Lin Ze’s.
Six manuscripts — revising all these manuscripts made Yu Hao thoroughly exhausted. On the first day after the end of the holidays, Yu Hao worked overtime until 4.30am. When he left work, he saw the sanitation workers sweeping leaves along the road. At that moment a sense of helplessness arose in his heart — what was he revising the manuscripts for? Their column had already been abolished, would Lin Ze really take the manuscript over and re-apply for publication?”
But the next day, his manuscript was published onto their public number, and there was even a byline under it — “Intern Editor: Yu Hao”.
When Yu Hao saw those words, he felt like he had come back from the dead.
“Oh, there’s a byline too?” Yu Hao said, unable to hold back, flowers were blooming in his heart.
“Your post was supposed to be a ‘reporter’.” Lin Ze thought Yu Hao was upset about the title of “Intern Editor”. “But we have no editor now, so just make do with it and hold that post first ba. We’re in the midst of recruiting one now.”
“Recruiting your ass.” Situ Ye said, “4,500 a month in Beijing, no establishment, who would come? Even the cleaning aunts get 6,800 a month!”
“The cleaning aunts have six apartments.” Lin Ze said patiently, “How would you know if we won’t be able to recruit good youngsters who have more than ten apartments, have nothing better to do, and are full of ideals?”
Yu Hao was getting used to this sort of roasting and naturally added as he answered, “Then you’ll have to take aim at those like me who are raised by the rich. You’ll have to trick every single one you can catch.”
Situ Ye said, “That’s true, kids raised by the rich are the easiest to trick.”
The investigative reporter department was in unanimous agreement. Yu Hao said, “When will we be going out to investigate?”
“Cherish the time now ba.” Lin Ze said, “Right now the department isn’t considered to be truly established yet. When we have to go out for a project, you’ll know what it feels like.”
Situ Ye said, “You won’t get bitten by dogs while sitting here, I think that’s pretty good.”
Yu Hao, “I think Jin Laoshi is really suited to being an investigative reporter.”
Situ Ye said, “Jin Laoshi used to be in Anbao newspaper’s basketball team, he’s crazy fast when he runs. I just realised that investigative reporters have to be able to run really fast; that’s a fundamental survival skill.”
Yu Hao felt a bit eager to try now; he was really looking forward to conducting interviews soon. After all, his motivation for coming to this newspaper was to conduct interviews. Yet looking at Lin Ze and Situ Ye, they seemed a little fed up with it, and most interview assignments recently had been left to Jin Weicheng since they didn’t want to take a step out of the office.
“Write the manuscripts ba.” After Jin Weicheng returned, he threw his notebook at Yu Hao. A ton of small incidents were in it, then he said to Lin Ze, “Chief, the chief editorial office is looking for you.”
Lin Ze got up and left as he prepared to participate in a palace fight. Situ Ye bought a rice cooker and cooked rice for them in the office. Yu Hao began sorting out Jin Weicheng’s manuscripts. Normally, the manuscript should have been written by the reporter before it was handed to Yu Hao, then after Yu Hao reviewed and corrected it, he would pass it to the general office for publication. But the column that Lin Ze had applied for had been abolished. Everyone was furious, though fortunately they still had a public number.
“You can’t write it like that.” Jin Weicheng watched Yu Hao sort out the manuscript as he sat beside him. Yu Hao typed a sentence before deleting it and changed the style. The initial draft was always really messy, with whatever he thought of just being scribbled down, and Jin Weicheng kept interrupting him as well, which made Yu Hao feel very gloomy. After bumping around here and there to come up with the first draft, he started to revise it. What irritated Yu Hao the most now was revising manuscripts — he could end up revising just one manuscript countless times until he felt like throwing his laptop away.
Every time he thought, “it should be okay this time”, Jin Weicheng would come up with a bunch of suggestions, and the worst was when the suggestions were also really vague.
Yu Hao, “I think these are all small news; it won’t be easy to develop.”
Jin Weicheng said, “Small news, big feelings. You need to dig out something from it that would move people, don’t always think about working on big news.”
After Yu Hao finished revising the last manuscript and thought that he had satisfied Jin Laoshi’s requests, the other party said, “Leave it for a night and come back to it again tomorrow, then you’ll think that it won’t do anymore.”
Situ Ye finished braising sausages in the rice cooker, “It’s time to eat, so get off work after eating ba. Why doesn’t the hit count on this public number ever go up? It’s so depressing.”
Yu Hao could feel like he was flaring up again. He had to finish revising this manuscript today, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep at night. After exchanging a few words with Zhou Sheng, Zhou Sheng asked if he wanted to hire a ghostwriter. Of course Yu Hao would insist on doing it himself, so Zhou Sheng went to his meeting. He had to listen to financial reports that day until 10pm.
【Before my meeting ends, you have to get off work and go home.】Zhou Sheng left him a message,【Otherwise you’ll never finish.】
Yu Hao:【Okay, I got it.】And thought that’s impossible, I don’t believe I won’t be able to finish this today.
Zhou Sheng:【If you don’t go back, I won’t go to work.】
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng always uses the action of ‘won’t go to work’ to threaten him, and Yu Hao could only answer:【I’ll go back at 8pm, keep going to work properly, behave yourself.】
After coming to Beijing, Yu Hao hardly complained about his work to his friends. After all, no matter how tough or irritating or tiring it was, it was still his own choice in the end. But Yu Hao’s friends were almost all guys, and between good bros, as soon as they heard each other’s complaints, the signal they would get was never that of needing comfort and instead one of, “this is a cry for help”, so everyone would start offering solutions or intervene as much as they could.
Just like how Yu Hao told Zhou Sheng that his guiding mentor was too demanding, he often felt like he was at a loss for what to do. If he had gotten a girlfriend, the other party would listen to him and calm his agitated mood. But with a boyfriend, what he got was “I’ll outsource someone to write it for you?” or “I’ll get someone to beat that teacher up” and other such solutions. Of course, in the end all problems would be resolved with “forget it just quit, don’t work there anymore, I’ll support you”.
At 7pm, there was a knock on the door. Lin Ze came in, “Your friend’s here to see you, Yu Hao.”
Yu Hao had his earphones on and looked up impatiently. He saw Chen Yekai standing outside the door with a potted plant in his hand.
“Chen Laoshi!” Yu Hao immediately took his earphones out and got up.
Chen Yekai nodded at Lin Ze. Lin Ze said to Yu Hao, “Get off work and go back first?”
“Let’s have dinner together?” Chen Yekai said, “I came over today to report to the college, so I came to visit you too.”
When Yu Hao saw Chen Yekai, he suddenly felt like the whole world calmed down without any forewarning.
Chen Yekai’s Porsche was parked on the road outside, “Get in, what do you want to eat?”
Yu Hao, “You bought a new car again? Where did you get the license plate from?”
Chen Yekai, “The college lent me the license plate, I bought the car myself.”
Yu Hao suddenly didn’t really want to see Chen Yekai again.
“What do you want to eat?” Chen Yekai asked Yu Hao again.
“Anything ba.” Yu Hao said feebly, “I won’t AA with you, I can’t afford to A.”
Chen Yekai said, “A? What A? Do we still need to AA between us? Is home cuisine okay?”
Chen Yekai took Yu Hao to a private club. It was in a siheyuan and was extremely quiet. One table, two sets of tableware, and there was a small pond outside with koi swimming around in it. Chen Yekai wiped his hands with a towel, “You should be so busy that you haven’t been able to eat anything good ba? I’m guessing you’ve barely gone out for a stroll in your first month.”
Yu Hao looked at Chen Yekai. This guy was always so handsome wherever he went and always carried with him a kind of calmness as if his countenance wouldn’t change even if Mt. Tai collapsed. Today, he had only eaten a small bowl of sausage claypot rice that Situ Ye had made, while most of the pot had been resolved by Jin Weicheng. Now he just felt even more hungry.
“Are you out on a business trip?” Yu Hao asked.
“A job transfer.” Chen Yekai said, “Our college established an exchange program with a college here, and young lecturers will be on exchange for a year.”
Yu Hao said, “The students in our college must be heartbroken then.”
Chen Yekai laughed reluctantly, “Well, I can’t help that. Have a drink?”
Yu Hao quickly waved his hand, “I still have to go back and write manuscripts later.”
Chen Yekai looked displeased. “Why are you so much thinner now?”
The appetizer arrived, and Yu Hao finished it in two or three bites. The two of them continued idly chatting. Chen Yekai only asked if he was up to the task, and Yu Hao didn’t really answer truthfully when he said that everything was going well. Chen Yekai could tell that he was putting on a brave face, so he didn’t say anything else. The waiters continued serving food. Yu Hao hadn’t eaten normal food in a very long time. Although there was still a huge difference between the food here and what Zhou Sheng made, it was still better than the canteen’s. Yu Hao was also starving like crazy, so he was like a whirlwind that made a clean sweep of scattered clouds. Chen Yekai poured him some water and asked him to drink it slowly.
“Are you in a bad mood?” Yu Hao observed Chen Yekai’s expression, he barely talked today. Yet when he came to the office with the potted plant, he was still obviously quite happy when he talked to Lin Ze.
“No.” Chen Yekai answered, “Just thought of some things. Right now I don’t have any classes, and I’m not familiar with Beijing either. I’ll come find you for dinner again tomorrow?”
Yu Hao said, “I have to go out with Laoshi for an interview tomorrow?”
Chen Yekai thought about it for a bit, “Then, I’ll come find you when you don’t have to work overtime.”
Chen Yekai drove Yu Hao home. When they arrived at his apartment, Chen Yekai said, “Aren’t you going to invite me up for a cup of coffee?”
“Next time ba.” Yu Hao said, “I haven’t tidied up the apartment yet, it’s too messy.”
Chen Yekai looked like he wanted to say something but didn’t in the end. Yu Hao hurried back with his laptop and continued revising his manuscripts. Late at night, Zhou Sheng seemed drunk and video called Yu Hao again. Yu Hao said, “Your face is as red as a monkey’s, how much did you drink?”
“I miss you, wifey.” Zhou Sheng collapsed onto the bed and undid his tie a little. His shirt was messy, and he hadn’t taken off his shoes yet. He laid down on his side, his handsome face still a little flushed after being drunk while he stared at Yu Hao in a daze.
At that moment, Yu Hao’s heart ached so much he could barely endure it, and he almost cried.
“I……” Yu Hao looked at the manuscript on his laptop, then looked at Zhou Sheng.
“Continue with your work, don’t mind me.” Zhou Sheng muttered to himself, “I just want to look at you……this is fine, this is pretty good. Un, it’s really good.”
Yu Hao remained silent, and the two of them gazed at each other quietly.
“Did Kaikai go see you today?” Zhou Sheng fiddled with the Golden Crow Wheel between his fingers, twirling it around like a coin, still quite nimble with his movements.
“You know he’s here?”
“I asked him to go.” Zhou Sheng said, “I was afraid that you’d work overtime and not eat, did he take you out to eat something good?”
Yu Hao wore a gloomy expression on his face and looked at Zhou Sheng.
“When will you come?” Yu Hao asked, “I miss you.”
“Next week ba —— ai.” Zhou Sheng turned over and faced the ceiling. He closed his eyes, rubbed his eyebrows a few times to get his spirits up, then rolled back and faced Yu Hao with an encouraging smile, “Hubby’s gonna go take a bath now, it’s almost 12. Take good care of yourself and sleep earlier, behave.”
As he spoke, Zhou Sheng ended the video call. Yu Hao let out a long sigh. After the holidays, Beijing’s weather was gradually cooling down.
Yu Hao didn’t even take a bath or tidy up anything. He even forgot to wear his earplugs and fell asleep just like that.
Another few days passed, and Yu Hao faced the revised manuscripts in his office.
Situ Ye watered his potted plant, then watered Lin Ze’s head. Lin Ze shouted and tried to snatch it away, but Situ Ye quickly dodged. Lin Ze was extremely distressed as he said, “The hit count on this public number never goes up, is there any way to promote it?”
Yu Hao had been thinking about something else, and this thought had been whirling around his mind for several days.
“Ah Ze.” Yu Hao suddenly said.
Lin Ze, “?”
Yu Hao saw Situ Ye and Lin Ze’s relationship, but when his words reached his mouth, he couldn’t spit them out. He said, “Shall I ask my friend for help?”
“Is that okay?” Lin Ze wasn’t too sure. He looked at Situ Ye.
Situ Ye, “The one who drives the Porsche?”
“How did you know?” Yu Hao thought that Lin Ze was probably the one who told him. His two superiors must have discussed it in private before.
Situ Ye said with a stern expression, “I even know his heart aches for you because of how exhausted you are.”
“There’s no such thing.” Yu Hao said.
Situ Ye continued, “Otherwise why would he be fine when he walked through the door but immediately pull a long face as soon as he saw you?”
Juurensha: Poor overworked and tired Haohao. Hopefully he can get a better apartment and ZS can visit him soon.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), kee.