Red Envelopes (Year of the Rat)

(posted Monday, January 21, 2008)

Sun Kai couldn't help whistling softly (very softly!) as he reached into a messenger bag slung to his side. Two more to deliver? Three? Tao'd lost count.

Like a skinnier Santa, with glowing white eyes, he stealthily slipped to the doors of his targets and slid something under each door. He had visited his countrymen Shi Jia-ning, Shen Fai-long and Wu Jin-lan. His friends in the Rebuild Paragon Congress. His family in the CCCP. The orphans at the City of Lost Children. Even the Pocket D bartenders Hreb and Truthseeker.

He stopped at John and Sera's apartment. Bella's office. Thanh Ha's desk. Petro's workshop. Tesla's lab. Vex's bunk.

Everyone whose life had touched Sun Kai's in the past year would wake to find something at their doorstep.

A single red envelope.

Inside - a crisp $20 bill, several hundred yuan RMB, and a note in Mandarin.


在二月七日, 我邀请你来我家去庆祝春节


要是你有空, 我希望你能来. 祝


On the reverse, a translation followed:

Ni hao:

On February 7, you are invited to a celebration of the Chinese New Year at my home.

Please prepare to wash away the past year's ill fortunes and embrace a new year of health,

prosperity, and happiness.

If you have the opportunity, I hope you can come.

Best wishes.

Sun Kai