Wang Yiren couldn’t wait until their business license was finally granted.

Well, he certainly hoped it would be granted. He’d been plastering appropriately respectful rictus grins across his face for months now, toasting various government officials at banquets with that nasty toddler-face brand of baijiu, his glass held at precisely the right angle so as not to offend,  and quietly gagging down polite mouthfuls of braised bear paw, cold offal plates, and shark fin soup.

Shark fin soup! Seriously. Especially after a few hours of doing shots.  He shook his head. Hell, even Yao Ming was doing ads played on the back of taxi seats against the evils of shark fin. It tasted of vaguely gelatinous chicken broth.Why would that impress anyone?

He groaned, a shudder coming from somewhere deep inside, from maybe as far down as his toes. Even his toes felt nauseous. He tasted bear paw. Again. It was worse the second time around.

He’d already downed a half litre of baijiu with the buttoned-down and frankly intimidating director of  the Regulation Department for Market Circulation of Food. She was a tough cookie, she was. Sensible heels, thick tights, knee grazing skirt and a stunning constitution for alcohol and animal cartilage.

He was starting to wonder if he really wanted to open that jianbing stand after all. Or at least whether it was worth going the legitimate licensing route.  He was starting to think about investing in a quickly-folding portable stand. One that might be easily packed up when the chengguan called ’round.

Yes, that might be a good idea.

His head throbbed.

Fabulous Shandong mop portrait courtesy of Mr Spike. 

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