Warnings: well, it's like one of those inkblot tests…we'll see how you do.
By popular request (meaning one person), I give you…the eggroll story.
Sometimes an eggroll is just an eggroll. (And sometimes it isn't.)
My tribute to Freud
Ping was sitting off by himself, as usual, miserably hunched over a bowl of rice and a few eggrolls. Shang snorted at the sight of the skinny little figure. Ping was eager to learn, but hopeless at anything useful. The boy would never learn how to properly handle a sword, or a staff, or be able to climb that tall pole standing up firmly in the middle of the little grassy clearing. He would be better off if Shang told him to leave the camp right now.
Decided, Shang headed forcefully in Ping's direction but froze as Ping picked up one of his eggrolls in one of his delicate hands and dipped one end of into what might have been plum sauce. Then he lightly dipped it into the pile of steaming sticky rice, so that just a few grains rested in the sauce. A moment later Ping's tongue flicked out, tasting the rich sauce before his pink lips closed around the tip of the eggroll. Ping's eyes closed briefly and a tiny sound of pleasure escaped from his mouth before he finally took a nibble from the treat and swallowed it. A single tiny white grain of rice lingered just on the edge of the boy's mouth.
Shang felt himself swallow roughly as Ping licked the traces of plum sauce from his lips with soft exclamations of enjoyment. Despite the boy's efforts, that single grain of rice remained just at corner of his lush, rosy mouth. Shang felt his eyes focus there and tried to look away.
Pulling at his collar uncomfortably, Shang cleared his throat.
Ping opened his eyes and stood up with a start when he apparently realized who was in front of him.
"Sir?" he asked
curiously. The eggroll fell to the ground and Shang had to suppress a
"Ping..." Shang started to say firmly and stopped. His eyes drifted to the remaining eggrolls resting on the bed of rice in the bowl in Ping's other hand. "I..." Shang struggled to remember his purpose in coming over here. He shook his head nervously and shrugged. "Nevermind. As you were."
He waited until Ping had sat down again before turning and walking away. A moment later he came back and swiftly, before he could stop himself, brushed the grain of rice from the boy's mouth with the tip of his finger. Then he walked away from Ping without a word, ignoring the little soldier's startled expression.
When he was sure he couldn't be seen, Shang, almost curiously, brought his finger to his mouth and popped in that single grain of rice. The delicate flavor of the plum sauce made him smile before he swallowed it, and he wondered if tomorrow he could convince the cook to make spring rolls.