The Tuna Can


The subway system in Beijing boasts the nickname: tuna can. There are men, tuna-packers. They stand, in yellow vests, shoving every last bit of flesh into each compartment.

Once, a friend explained it to me rather well, he said,

“You know when you’re in the subway and you are so packed in that you know it is not possible to fit another person?

“Yeah,” I told him.

“Well, the Chinese can fit twenty.”

I started having nightmares a couple days ago. I wake up in a dream and I look out to see a city filled with blood thirsty, frothing, flesh eating Chinese zombies. They are ripping people to shreds right out on the streets. Terrified, I lock my door.

They come through it anyways. I leap from the window and run into the main plaza. The pandemonium is pungent. I can’t tell the difference between zombie and live flesh they are so interwoven in a mess of gore. I find a small group huddled in the crotch of two angular buildings.

I run up to them and start yelling the only things I know in Chinese.


They look at me with rising terror, then a small woman pulls out a shotgun and blows open my chest. I wake in a cold sweat and look out the window. It is exactly like my dreams, minus the gore.

When I fell asleep last night I had the same dream except I didn’t go to the main plaza. I ran to a store down the street that sells wheel chairs and fire extinguishers. High on a shelf is a massive sword. I am the only one in the viscidity tall enough to reach it. I take it down and hack my way through the main plaza onto the subway platform just as a subway rolls in.

The doors slide open and the scene inside is a monumental horror. There are Chinese zombies packed in so tight they cannot bend their necks to get a good bite, so they’ve been chewing the face off of their neighbors.

The bodies are untouched, covered in bits of eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose. They all stop chomping each other as the doors open. They turn.

I lift up the massive sword and begin swinging. I make sweeping nipple-height blows, decapitating ten zombies at a time. I move further and further into the subway. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, flying every which way as I flail like a madman.

When I finally stop I am standing among mounds of unidentifiable body parts and bits of face. I take a deep breath and wake up.

It takes a minute to figure out the sound echoing around my apartment. Then, I realize,

I’m laughing.


4 replies to “The Tuna Can

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