by Melissa Yuan-Innes
Mui Mui was born in 1980, which was too late for most things, including lava lamps, pet rocks, and most importantly, the Fairy Godfather.
Her brother, Trenton, was seven years old when he defeated the Fairy Godfather who’d threatened their parents at Guandong Barbecue, their Toronto family restaurant. Mui Mui, who’d been only three months old at the time, didn’t remember one second of the showdown
“It was a long time ago,” Trenton said, stuffing paper napkins into the steel container on the counter next to the cash.
“It was six years ago!” Mui Mui wiped down the display counter that would soon be filled with crispy pork and fresh vegetables. “You have to remember!”
Thanks for reading the opening. This story was eligible for the Aurora Award. It was originally published in FOOD OF MY PEOPLE, edited by edited by Candas Jane Doresey and Ursula Pflug.The Bao Queen will also be available in my forthcoming fantasy and science fiction anthology, tentatively titled CHINESE CINDERELLA, ANOREXIC ZOMBIES, AND GRANDMA OTHELLO IN SPACE.
Oh, wow. Aside from the nostalgia — it’s been almost two decades since I lived on the periphery of Scarborough, and on Spadina before that, and the cultural nuances are like travelling back in time — I love that magic is both delight and darkness. I guess you could say family is too. (Trenton is going to haunt me.) Thanks for sharing!
Wonderful, Robin! I wish I lived there now for the fresh produce and excellent food and community.
You can see Trenton’s story here: https://firesidefiction.com/issue30/chapter/fairy-tales-are-for-white-people/ (Fireside is closing down, but I hope this will live on). It’s also available as an ebook with the gorgeous art from Galen Dara and an essay explaining how I came up with the story.
Someday I may pick up the Lo family again, especially to explain the parents’ back story. I was inspired by a review where a reader wanted to read a whole novel about them! 😉
I could totally see a book told from the perspectives of Trenton and Mui Mui as serious and very practical Adult Children of Immigrants (TM), re-learning how to channel the magic each took to so effortlessly as children, so that the family can come together to drive off (Something). Baba and those nails would feature at a key point, of course, and maybe it comes full circle with a flashback memory of Mama and the first fateful encounter that started it all, complete with her heading off to a new life with youthful dreams of children and hot kitchen mornings and carefully not thinking about what she’s leaving behind.
LOL, or something altogether different. Point is,your other reader was right. So much potential for storytelling here, and I hope you never completely let this family go. 🙂
Wow! I hadn’t even considered Trenton and Mui Muia as adults! I like how your mind works. Mine is still with Baba and Mama.
Thank you for the huge compliment. Long live the Lo family!