PodCastle 182: 起狮,行礼 (Rising Lion — The Lion Bows)

by Zen Cho.
Read by Tracey Yuen.
Originally appeared in Strange Horizons.

Coco had been with the troupe for six years. She had never been their official president because she preferred not to deal with technicalities; it gave her more time to actually lead the troupe.

“Are Mr. and Mrs. Yu around?” she said.

It was Mr. Yu who had emailed them to ask if they would perform at a Christmas party that was being held at his hotel. It was a new hotel and this was the first big event they were hosting, so he was willing to pay them a generous fee. They had agreed that the troupe would perform before and after dinner. There were also going to be fireworks, and a disco.

Sensibly, Mr. Yu and Mrs. Yu had stayed indoors, but they were very hospitable when the cold dishevelled troupe poured into the lobby.

“We’ve got Chinese food, Chinese decorations, lanterns, fireworks,” said Nick. “It’s all been done up to theme. The company does a lot of business out in China, so they were very keen when we suggested a China night. When we heard about you we thought, well, that’s ideal! We’re so pleased you could make it all the way out here.”

“Very pleased,” said Mr. Yu in English. In Cantonese, he said: “_The ghost is in the upstairs cupboard._”

“Thank you, we’re looking forward to it,” said Coco to Nick. To Mr. Yu: “_What kind of ghost is it?_”

Mr. Yu hesitated.

Rated PG.