“Ah you grew up in Soc Trang. I did not know that. Quite a nice place, they drink very much there.” Trung spoke and put the two New Rice bottles on the only table still resting in the plaza. He opened one and cleaned the small cup with a tissue that I did not know where he found, filled the cup with the spirit and gave it to me.
“Thank you. We drink a lot tonight here also. We drink all a lot in this country.”
“No, Soc Trang is quite different. I have been there a few times, drink from morning to night for many days. The food is good, rat meat is very delicious, grilled or roasted with garlic. Do you come back there often?”
“Not as I wish to. I miss Soc Trang very much.” I finished the cup, filled another one and gave it to Trung. Trong was still sitting but now sleeping, his chin pointed to the chest. He breathed steadily.
“I see. There are lot of developments there. The country is changing. You will not recognise when you come back there.”
“What I hear about is there is a lot of corruption. Few years ago is in billions, now it is hundreds of billions, thousands of billions.”
“Yeah. It is very bad. You see, a few corrupted officers that spoil, and there are also self-changing officers.” Trung said robotically and finished his round.
“Not that a few. Stop kidding to me.”
“Since the Politburo published last year the Central Decree number four the situation is very much improved. The General Secretary has well defined the weak points in every officer, the degradation of moral, bad way of life. It helps to…”
“If you continue to speak like that, we had better go home and sleep. Stop it, it’s enough.”
“Stop lying. You can say anything, anything, but not lying. There is no use, no point to stay here telling me these stuffs.”
“Keep calm guy. You drink too much.” Trung somehow astonished.
“I am perfectly OK.” I replied calmly. “If you continue likewise, it is a waste of our time and spirit. We can always go home now.”
Trung looked away a while, silent. He then took the bottle, filled the cup, raised it to his nose, smelled it as carefully as it was his first time drinking. He then rose his head, that I could saw his throat, raised the cup and finished it in one go. He then put the cup gently back on the table. We were still silent.