’Tis a reprieve at eventide: the earth from spinning, the sun from shining. A homeless urchin finds squalor deprecatory in China, like the lines of the sand castle unto the watery grave. Some merchants sell liquor by the side of the fence, hoping to rape a stray traveller. The victors drive by us, hoping for a glimpse of tomorrow in advance, hunting the thrill ride only some enjoy or aspire to. These titans come and go whenever, as they please, entering slapdash speakeasies for a drink or a hustle every now and then.
But in the daytime, these are only a few men. Out of doors, out of work. Noon is a truce; again, go the fumes and life turns up the heat a notch. Everything is humid. We just call it torture though, because our clothes! Some of our nicest vacation-clothes can get ruined from the soot in the fog. Everything’s a mess. A man peeing in a cup and drinking it. Bright lights throughout the murky purviews. People making waves and handstands on the suburbs, but that part they don’t mention in the textbook China.
I was walking towards a minibar with some friends to get something like a sherry or a cranberry juice when I spotted two men drinking piss and booze. They smelled so strongly that we all retched and gagged my way into the minibar. As I walked over them, I saw chunks of shit in their plastic cups, both wrapped in Neo-plastic.
We were talking about just heading for a meal when a short man in boxer briefs almost hugged us upon introduction. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to bump us out of the place at first or not, but he began speaking to us.
"This way in, this way out," he said to me. “That-a-way you get on your best pill for the evening. This first one, no charge. Say yes or no.”
My friend Jena thanked him and speculated on a cup of coffee within reach of the barkeep instead.
Suddenly, strange fingers put me in severe jeopardy of losing my belongings, my valuable Gucci handbag, stuck in my neck and back, drawing me away from the bar line and into a featherbrained-looking woman’s attention.
“Opium is such the ultimate best,” she crooned. “Here, my name is Seres. You can try it if you like.”
I blushed from her heavily decayed breath. The smell was absolutely terrible. I backed away immediately, even though I was tempted by her offer for some reason. As were my friends.
“Why? Want some?” She snickered knowingly, as if she could read minds. “I’ll bring you guys some.” She fished in her bra and got out teabags. “For the drinking pleasure!” she added.
Her accent was smoothly Dutch, but her face was dark with heavy eyebrows and a missing tooth to fill in a mental picture.
I thanked her and agreed to try opium for the first time.
It was a little round pill in a teacup filled with rice and barley tea. It tasted really good at first until you’d get halfway thru it and started drowning in opium.
Michelle blurted out, “I’m so happy we’re all safe. Those guys back there were scary.”
Seres nodded, “They don’t mean no trouble. Just lousy with customers today. If you want more, you know now where to find it.” And she walked away from all the sleeping and moaning men, some white, mostly Japanese, just laying there moaning and groaning in their bunkbeds.
“Should we find a bed?” I wondered aloud.
Max mentioned on an aside, "I don’t think we can do much else. I’m about to collapse with laughter. This is sorta fun!”
We got five beds for us all lined up and we sank into them. I felt hilarious. Everything was hilarious. Dying was hilarious. The smog was hilarious.The stench of tea was the funniest joke to me.
Max crawled into my bed all of a sudden and someone yelped at us, looking right into my eyes with those guilty, wounded eyes that no one should’ve seen. They looked bloodthirsty over the high, beryl-dyed eyes almost popping out of their joints.
“What are you doing?” I inquired graciously.
“Some guy just threw up near my bed. Sorry, can the two of us share yours?”
“Fine. That’s so cute. You’re so funny, Maxpet.” I giggled. “Maxpet. Can I call you that?”
“Sure, but as long as that throw-up-guy doesn’t follow me here or I’m gonna go complain. Who’s in charge here?”
“The devil!” I said, boredly. “And who cares?! I’m getting dizzy. This is opium! Hurrah for our vacation in China!”
“Three cheers for the gang,” Jenna yelled.
“Shut up!” barked some Chinese guy in English even though another man was busy sucking his dick under the rugged carpet they used for a cover.
Later, when dawn came and went, we decided to ditch China and travel to Europe to meet Kate Middleton, the princess of Britain. I kept wondering when my boyfriend would stop whining for me to come home on the phone and I had the chance to calm him down briefly. Max decided to ask me to ditch the phone and be his wife. Erica and the others went, ooh and ah, so I rolled my eyes and fell asleep on the flight, a cool comforter under my head.
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