The Chins' First Days in America
by William C. Thompson
Mr. Chin looked at his kids. He looked at his wife. He took
a deep breath. His family looked at him with anticipation. Then
he spoke. "Kids, we going to America!"
It was a hard decision for Mr. Chin to make, but it had to be
made. There wasn't much call for a cat chef these days, with dogs
regaining popularity, so he decided it was time to head for the
land of opportunity, the land of the free, the home of the brave,
the country where almost family has a dog.
The Chins gathered all of their belongings and boarded a boat
bound for the states. The wind blew through their hair as they
stood smiling on the deck waiting for their first glimpse of
America. The father licked his lips for he knew what to expect,
but little did he know what adventure lay in wait for him and his
Shortly after they got off the boat, they were all pretty
hungry. Mr. Chin quickly spotted a possible food prospect, Carlos'
hot dog stand. He wasn't sure what to think, but he led his family
up to the stand.
"You sell hot dog, huh?" They exchanged glances of
puzzlement. They had never met with so little resistance before.
"O.K. We try one."
"You want any mustard on that?"
"You put mustard on dog? Sick! I never here of such a thing!
No, no mustard on my dog!" Carlos handed him his hot dog. Chin
looked at it and said, "This is no dog. It no smell like dog,
either." He gave it a quick taste test. "Hey, this is no dog. I
have had my share of dog. I know dog when I taste it, and this is
"What are you talking about?" Carlos was obviously confused.
"What kind of business you running here? This some kind of
joke? If it is, I no think it's funny!" The Chins huffed away
The Chins had no trouble finding a home in the suburbs. They
had no trouble making friends, either. They were welcomed by the
Joneses, their good-intentioned, wall-mannered average American
neighbors. They invited the Chins over for dinner the next
evening, an invitation the Chins couldn't pass up.
The Chins and the Joneses are sitting around having some
conversation after dinner. Not fulfilled by the small meal and
feeling pangs of hunger, the Chins are eyeing the family dog,
"Say, that's a good looking dog you got there. He got a long
tail, though. I no like long tails, too bony."
"He's been with us for quite a while now. He's just like one
of the family."
"Yes, we also love a good dog. Don't we kids?" The children
"Do you have a dog?"
"Every now and then." The Joneses weren't sure what to make
of that, but they smiled anyway.
"You let him out a lot?"
It seemed a strange question, but Mrs. Jones wanted to be
polite, so she answered. "Yes, we do every so often."
"You leave him out at night?"
"When it's hot we do."
Chin smiled. "Very interesting, indeed." They quickly stood
up. "Well, we must be going. Nice to meet you. Bye bye, Sparky.
We see you later, too. Say, that remind me. Why don't you come
over to our house tomorrow for supper. My wife a very good cook."
he said, one foot out the door, still looking at little Sparky.
"Bye, bye! Gotta go!" With that they were gone.
Mr. Jones turned to his loving wife. "I don't know about
those people, honey."
"They seemed nice enough."
"They sure were curious. They asked enough questions about
"They were just being polite, I'm sure."
"Yes, maybe you're right."
Later that evening at the Chin house....
"Some people very careless. They could leave gate open and
Sparky could run away." He grinned an evil grin. "Who know what
happen to Sparky if he get out." He called his children into the
room. "Kids, I got a job for you. I want you to pay little Sparky
Much later at the Chin house....
The phone rings and Mr. Chin answers. "What you want calling
at this time of night? We trying to get some sleep!"
"I'm terribly sorry to wake you at this time of the evening,
Mr. Chin, but our little Sparky's run away. You haven't seem him
"No, no see Sparky. O.K.?"
"Thank you, sorry to wake you."
At the Chin family barbecue....
"I'm sorry to wake you like that the other night, but little
Timmy was upset, and I thought you might have seen our dog."
"No, that's O.K. I got kids of my own. You find Sparky,
yet?" Mrs. Chin brought out the main course.
"No, but we're still looking," he said as he began to eat.
"Say, this is good! What is it?"
"Uh, old family recipe. Yes, that's it. It's a secret."
"Well, I guess everyone has to keep a few secrets." He
motioned for Mr. Chin to come closer. "Speaking of secrets and
Sparky, I didn't want to tell the wife this, but I suspect... foul
"You mean birds got Sparky? Must have been big birds to carry
dog that size."
"No, I mean someone took Sparky."
Mr. Chin remained calm. "Who would do such a thing? I can't
imagine. Too bad for Sparky, huh?" Next time get one not so bony.
Bony dogs nothing but trouble."
"What makes you say that?"
"Lots of experience. Every bony dog we ever had was too much
Mr. Jones just smiled. There is nothing more pathetic than a
schmuck who doesn't have a clue what a schmuck he really is. He
motioned for Mr. Chin to come closer once more. "I tell you this,
though, I'm going to get to the bottom of this, and when I do..."
[currently under construction]
This story reminds me of a joke my dad used to tell
These two foreigners are walking up the streets of New York. They just got
off the boat and are really hungry. As they are walking up the street, one
of them spots a sign that says 'hot dogs'. He looks at his buddy and says,
"I did not know they eat dogs here in America". They go into the restaurant
and tell the waiter, "Two dogs please". The waiter brings them their hot dogs
and upon seeing the wiener the one pokes his buddy and asks, "What part did
I know it's cornball but you'll be telling it to all your friends.