Archived entries for Groupthink

HAL’s Mad Tea Party: Two Lumps

That’s right folks, time for more tea, check out these lovely little crumpets from our gals D and K below!

Dena Rash Guzman – All the Tea in China

Katrina Hamlin – New Home


All the Tea in China

By Dena Rash Guzman

The man in the tea shop glances up at us, opening his yellow smile like smog. My hands are hovering over sliced dried lemons. Hovering. A month later, after consumption of those lemons, my mouth will hover over my American toilet.  The lemons were poisonous. So much in China is poisonous. So much anywhere is poisonous. Poisoned. I don’t know yet about the lemons. I’m in the tea shop, wanting them, knowing how long it takes to make them at home in my oven. In my head I hear “Suzanne.”

I am going to bring home tea and lemons all the way from China. I will feed people these things. No oranges. No need. They are too heavy whole and I like California oranges. I like tangerines.
Continue reading…


The Policy

By Lindsay Redifer

Lee is sitting on the newest HP Inkjet in a just a blouse and heels. I frame the shot one more time — the logo has to be nice and clear.

“Lee, move your feet a bit. I need to see those ink cartridges on the desk.”


God, that voice. It’s like a cat whining into a garbage disposal. I try not to think. Just work. Just do. “Action!”

The printer starts spitting out glossy pictures of female eyes, crystal clear and beautiful on double-bond off-white paper. Lee moans and begins to masturbate wildly.

“Urrrhhhhnnnnoooohhhh!!!! The quality! Oooaarrggghhhh!!!” I shudder, but I seem to be the only one.

Ang, our script girl, stands watching without expression. Ang is Burmese and therefore banished to behind the scenes while Lee moans and grunts in the spotlight. Ang’s big, soft eyes are the same as those spewing out of the printer, over and over and over.
“And cut! Okay, let’s set for scene 8. Someone get Fat Man.”

Continue reading…


New Home

By Katrina Hamlin

The small blond girl opens the door, and steps out onto the landing. She drags a big suitcase with broken handles. She’s late.
A Chinese man – timid stance, mid-50s – is standing at the top of the stairs.
He is shocked to see a small blond girl on the landing. He spills a “Hello” before he can stop himself.
“Nihao,” she replies, and turns to rattle the keys into the lock. She’s used to her own novelty, and those looks, which come with a reflex “Hello”.
“You live here?” he asks, watching.
“Wo zhu zai zheli. Wo de jia.” She zips the keys into a hand bag, and moves to push past, to the stairs. The plastic wheels rumble on the concrete floor. Continue reading…


HAL’s Mad Tea Party: One Lump


The British love it, the Americans throw it into harbours, Canadians put maple syrup in it, and the Chinese most likely invented it. Whether you serve it with one lump or two, tea has always been “steeped” in history. It is mysterious, sexy, dangerous, and deadly. A lot of people seem to have a lot to say about tea, which is why we here at H.A.L. have devoted an entire groupthink to this most noble beverage.

Sit back, relax,  pour yourself a spot, and enjoy…

Danielle LeClerc – Chinese Tea and the Bone Cup

Ginger wRong Chen – A Perfect Cup of Tea


A Cup of Perfect Tea

by Ginger wRong Chen

I am pacing around the house and constantly telling myself “Settle down!” “Easy!” Yet instead, I only feel my throat grows drier; a knot is growing bigger in my stomach, and I check my look over and over again in the mirror for, God knows, how many times already.
Have I got anything right? I’ve tidied up the sofa, the table, the vases on the shelves. I’ve sprayed the mixed aroma of rose and ylang-ylang in every corner of the house, all the places where I suppose me and him will stand, sit, or lie down. And I’ve put on my favorite outfit, the silky one-shoulder draped dress in light blue, if I remember it correctly, he once said light blue is his favorite color.
And the tea I am going to serve is this year’s King of Anxi Tieguanyin. It should be the real deal since it came directly from a wholesome tea farmer in some village in Anxi, Fujian. I remember yesterday how proudly my father told me and my mother that he was finally able to obtain a piece of “the King” and he told the story in such a manner that it is doomed to be awarded “Adventure of the Year” in this family. However, today both my parents are out of town for some colleague’s, can’t remember his or hers, wedding and they are going to be away for the whole weekend. I sure can imagine, when they come home after the wedding, my father is going to be real mad about the missing King, but I don’t care. Every father makes sacrifices on the road of his daughter’s pursuit of romance. Continue reading…


Chinese Tea and the Bone Cup


by Danielle LeClerc

Within the seed of every apricot lies a small, soft kernel. Just a few of these pack enough cyanide to stop your heart in minutes.
Jasmine flowers, a popular Chinese tea ingredient, benefit the immune system and lower cholesterol. Jasmine berries, however contain a powerful neurotoxin.
Goji berry, known in China as gou qi zi and in Europe as wolfberry, has recently gained much attention in the West as a naturopathic herb. In small doses it improves circulation and aides the kidneys and spleen. Higher concentrations were used by Germany to poison Nazi bullets, stopping the hearts of victims with remarkable efficiency. Continue reading…


The Box

by W.M. Butler

This place is horrible. I can’t have my baby here. Please don’t let me have my baby here! John! Please! — It’s OK. It’s OK. — No, you’re right, you’re right she makes it more beautiful here. Look at her eyes John they’re so brown and her hair, it’s black just like yours. Her fingers and toes John, all there and so wonderfully pink — John.

“Mr. Mori?”
“Wake up.” Continue reading…


The Third Chopstick


The Third Chopstick
A short story by Danielle LeClerc

Thursday, May 13, 3:22am
Subject: 489 Wanping Street

Dear Mom,

Here’s some pics of the new place, not bad eh? A 2 bedroom downtown for
$700, you wouldn’t even get half this in Prince Albert.

And how about that view? Pretty great, eh? I’m not saying I don’t miss
seeing the Esso station across the schoolyard from my bedroom window, but
this is Shanghai. The stove’s a bit weird, the only setting it seems to
have is “inferno”; unlike the shower, which has 2 settings: inferno and
arctic, but I’ll figure it out.

 Turns out it was a piece of cake getting the place, the agent set
everything up and sent a really nice girl named Jenny to help me out.
She’s really sweet, you’d like her. Anyway, I’m officially settled now, so
you don’t have anything to worry about. And yes, I’m eating well, they’ve got
this thing here called “Sherpa’s” where they deliver really good healthy food
to your house pretty much any time of day.

Don’t worry about me. I’m 34, I’ll be fine.

Say hi to Dad.


* * * Continue reading…


The Family Business

By Lindsay Redifer

Nana doesn’t like it here. She hates the apartment, the toys I bought her, the decorations, the DVDs. I’ve tried to talk to her, to coax her out of her corner, but she just screams and kicks. Those shiny black shoes I bought her can do some real damage.

I really thought this would be a special time for her. My own kidnapping started just like hers, but it went so smoothly. How did Big John do it?

I leave her alone with some crayons and paper near her corner and I wander through the penthouse. It’s not mine, it’s my dad’s. The security system installed in each room is my own design, right down to the logo. It blinks and beeps at me now with little red eyes.

Maybe I should call big John. Not that he’d answer his phone. He’s too busy running his empire. He has over one thousand employees now, each specially trained to make a person disappear, to negotiate for a huge ransom and then carefully disperse the small fortune. He has no time for self-trained amateurs. Continue reading…


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