The small sign read: C T CHANG. Potions, Nostrums and Pills.
A Chinese couple pushed open the door and saw a little old Chinese man dressed in red silk robes. “Are you Mr. Chang?”
“Yes. I Mr. Chang for many years. What you want?”
“Mr. Chang, we need your help to have a baby”
“Chang too old for make baby. Make own baby. Usual way”
“We can’t because were not real. We’re just characters. I am Number One Son Chan, from ‘Charley Chan.’ This is Miss Suzie Wong, from ‘The world of Suzie Wong.’ ”
Mr. Chang said; “In books, Charley Chan is Chinese. In movies, Charley Chan played by Warner Oland, Swedish man in Hollywood makeup. So you only one half Chinese. Suzie Wong played by Nancy Kwan. Both Chinese. So she double Chinese.”
“That’s only in the movies,” said Number One Son. “We are from the books. We were next to each other on a shelf in Cincinnati. We got out because of cracked spines.”
“For cracked spine see chiropractor. Not Chang.”
“No, a crack in the spines of the books. We met and fell in love,” said Number One Son.
“What Chang do for you?”
“ Make us 100% real. We are 20% real, and that’s only because we are in love.”
“You got credit card?”
“No, our books and movies were before the invention of credit cards.”
“How you pay? Chang need cash on barrel head.”
“We will name our first son after you. ‘C T Chang-Chan,’ Will that do it?”
“Sounds like barrel head to me. Get married. Come back in week. Making ‘100% Real Pills,’ hard to do.”
A week later, Mr. and Mrs. Number One Son returned.
“How you get married?” Said Mr. Chang.
“We wrote an extra paragraph into Alice in Wonderland. The Red Queen did the honors. There’s an advantage to being fictional characters.”
“OK. Here are ‘Make 100% Real’ pills. Take and make love. Guaranteed.”
18 months later, the Chans pushed a stroller through the door. “Here’s your Godson, Mr. Chang. C T Chang-Chan. By the way, what does the CT stand for?.”
“I tell people; Chang Tea Chang, and mother crazy. But is Charles Thomas, after famous singer John Charles Thomas. But that not sounding Chinese. Mother was opera lover.
You can call him ‘Charles Thomas’. He Chinese-American baby now.”