Fool's Prerogative: A Collection of Tales, Poems, & Essays

       Jesse Wong
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Fool's Prerogative: A Collection of Tales, Poems, & Essays
Published by Jesse Wong at Smashwords
Copyright 2017 Jesse Wong
Fool's Prerogative: A Collection of Tales, Poems, & Essays
By Jesse Wong
License Notes
Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may only be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.
Table of Contents
Introduction
Who You Are
Poetry
Happiness Comes From Within
A Shortcut to Death
Flash Fiction
A Surreal Experience
In Bad Company
Essay
Industrialization’s Impact on China’s Air Pollution
Short Story
Black King
The Struggle of Reading Kafka
In the Department of Magic
Ideals from A Thousand Li Away

"It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak."
— Morpheus, The Sandman "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
June 13, 2017
Dear [Your Name],
By some cosmic whim of fate, you’ve found my book among the great indie authors on Smashwords. You might be wondering who Jesse Wong is and what Fool’s Prerogative is about. After all, your time is precious. I’m a rising senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California, and I’ll be turning seventeen in a few days after this book’s publication. Fool’s Prerogative is a collection of writing assignments I turned in for my English classes from 9th-11th grade. They span various genres, because in curriculum theory, my teachers had to cover California’s Common Core Language Arts standards. That’s why you’ll notice headings on top of my assignments.
For your information, Kate Evard, Jessica Kaufman, and Jireh Tanabe were my English teachers for freshman, sophomore, and junior year respectively. The title, Fool’s Prerogative, comes from a line written by Neil Gaiman. It is a reference to the Shakespearean fool whose dramatic function is to relate the subject of the story to the audience’s reality. I hope you’ll enjoy my first book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Sincerely,

Jesse Wong

Introduction
Who You Are
Requirements (in “Ebonics” English to protect my teacher’s implied copyright):
On yo' 8x10 piece o' whitey paper, illustrate or make uh collage dat details who you be. Dis here should relate ta elements o' yo' culture, personality, an' interests. Additionally, you will attach uh piece o' binder paper wif an MLA formatted paragraph explaining how yo' collage or illustration relates ta who you be!

Jesse Wong
Miss Kaufman
World Core Lit/Writ Period 3
September 3, 2015
Who You Are
Every day, I practice a sense of gratitude. For example, I am grateful for my loving parents who come from Taiwan and Hong Kong and act as my pillars of support. I also found Christianity attending CCIC (Chinese Church in Christ) in Cupertino, California, and the weekly fellowships help ease my academic stress. My current priorities are to study well and get the best grades I can to prepare for a successful future. Outside of academics, I also love playing sports. I used to play volleyball in middle school, but have since moved on to other sports like swimming and badminton. I joined the DACA (De Anza Cupertino Aquatics) varsity swim team two years ago and Monta Vista High School’s badminton team last year. As for my hobbies, I enjoy clothes shopping, accessorizing, and trying new restaurants with my family and friends. At the restaurants, I especially love to order strawberry ice cream sundaes, Japanese ramen, New York strip steak, and gourmet cheeseburgers. When I daydream of dinosaurs, I am reminded of life’s luxuries and feel grateful for this joie de vivre.

My Who You Are Collage


Jesse Wong
Mrs. Evard
Lit/Writ Period 5
January 16, 2015
Happiness Comes From Within
He is a sad, sad man, say his former company peers,
who question why he even lives anymore.
A small man, too, say his ragged clothes
in the closet of his gray corridor.
A penniless man, too, says the eviction notice,
posted on his peeling door.
A weak man, too, says his medication
which he can scarcely afford.

But he is a kind man, say the thank-you letters
sticking out of his P.O. box.
But he is a caring man, too, say the homeless men on the streets,
who no longer think suicidal thoughts.
But he is a hard-working man, too, say the job applications,
piled high on his kitchen table.
But he is a loving dad, too, says his daughter in the corner,
wrapped in her father's blanket.

So he is a strong man, says his resolute will,
that willpower which comes from above.
So he is a rich man, says his warm heart,
now spoiled in the riches of love.
So he is a big man, says his fiery soul,
burning hotter than any pyre.
And so he is a happy man, says the man,
for he has been freed from material desire.

January 21, 2015

A Shortcut To Death
A man who lived on a rolling green hill,
finished his dinner, and went for a walk
to the river lined with pink daffodils.
He looked down at his watch. Seven o’ clock.

Along the way, he strays off of the trail.
And surrounded by darkness, he cannot see.
The man grows impatient as the wind wails
and wanders into an ocean of trees.

Bam! he slams into a huge rock and falls.
A bear approaches with drool on its face,
Chomp! It bit the man with razor sharp jaws,
and all the man saw was a deep black space.

The bear ate well, and continues to thrive.
The man’s shortcut got him eaten alive.


Jesse Wong
Mrs. Evard
Lit/Writ Period 5
April 24, 2015
A Surreal Experience
As the floor rumbles, things start to shake wildly. It is hard to keep my balance. My spacesuit is already sealed, pressurized, and ready to go. When the rumbling stops, I press the button to open the reinforced steel door. Gas hisses, the door swings open, and I step out of the airlock onto the rocky gray earth.
Our shuttle lands in the center of a small crater on the ground. I report our safe landing back to mission control. I take a thorough look around. This mission had been highly publicized, but being here in person is a surreal experience. All the aspects of the moon’s environment, including its imperfections had never been observed this closely. I look down at the ground and study its texture. It is white and sandy with craters of varying sizes and depths ranging for miles in every direction. Then I look up at the magnificent stars scattered across the sky and admire their beauty from my berth.
I grab the American flag to claim new territory. I hop about ten yards to the east. According to Mission Control, this spot is a vacuum, meaning it has no air resistance. The gravitational force on this entire place is so weak that it slows my egress to walking speed, and I feel like a bouncing ball in slow motion. With every step I take, white dust flies upwards and floats in mid-air. I come to a stop, raise our flag, and drive it proudly into the ground.
I look at the flag in all its glory. Every single star and stripe, every minute detail of the flag radiate pride for this accomplishment. I turn to my teammates, Buzz and Michael, and I face them with pride on this fine day in July 1969. “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”


October 11, 2016
In Bad Company
On a clear day in the metropolitan commercial district, President Johnson lounges on his snake leather chair in his 75th floor office. He wears fur slippers and a burgundy silk bathrobe. A report lies open on his executive desk.
Felicity, his personal assistant, enters.
“Sir, Ardent Brown, our liaison with the Small Farmers’ Association, is here to see you, Sir.”
“I’m reviewing the quarterly earnings report. Have him wait.” Johnson dismisses Felicity with a haughty wave of his hand that has a gold ring on every other finger.
Twenty minutes later, Johnson hears a knock on the door.
“Enter!”
Brown walks in. Without looking up from his paperwork, Johnson motions for Brown to sit down, but Brown does not sit.
“Sir, I’m here to deliver--”
“Wait.” Johnson hisses. He shuffles some papers and then looks up. “Now you may speak.”
Brown clears his throat. “The Small Farmers’ Association has reported that the monthly potato quota places an unsustainable burden on their land and that the poultry production system is inhumane. They’ve asked me to change their contracts so they can stop overproducing food that no one’s going to eat.”
“Have we reached 100% compliance from farmers using our patented potato seedling and chicken raising operation?
“Yes, Sir.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“Some of them have broken their nondisclosure agreement by talking to independent journalists.” Brown withdraws a portfolio from his briefcase. “These articles report how our seedlings exhaust soil fecundity. Not to mention the chickens’ antibiotic levels are--”
Johnson has already speed-read each headline in the blink of an eye.
“Have the defectors terminated. Then have our best scientists produce the research reaffirming our commitment to food safety and environmental sustainability and submit it to Congressman Hinkel on the House Appropriations
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