Cynthia was far from the first flush of youth but she was still a very attractive woman with a magnetic personality.
“Has a lady come up lately?”
“Up to the second floor or anywhere?” Madam Cyn shook her head. ” You’re sure?”
“Certain. No lady’s been beyond my desk for a good two hours. The last was Mary Frith, she’s on the fourth floor. She’d been to the BFI IMAX with the man she brought home. She was the last woman to come in, and that was just after eleven. You may not know her as Mary, everyone calls her Moll.”
“No one else came in?”
“Well I had to chase off a junkie who took a huge shit on our front steps, but she didn’t get through the door. Be careful if you go out coz I haven’t had a chance to clean it up. It’s the biggest turd I’ve ever seen in my life! It’s absolutely massive. All those drugs the junkies take stop their bowels working properly, then when they do manage to defecate it’s such a strain and a monster comes out! It’s utterly disgusting!”
Example of a junkie dump close to where Taylor Wimpey propose to build The Denizen. The scaffolding behind the car marks the northern boundary of The Denizen site. There is a huge problem with human excrement and used needles in the immediate vicinity.
“There are drug addicts around here?”
“A lot of them I’m afraid. It became a problem a little bit before The Denizen was built. There used to be a police section house where your luxury apartment now stands and when that had coppers living in it, the junkies stayed away. But as soon as the old bill went the junkies took over. They use the telephone box just outside The Denizen as a shooting gallery. We’ve been trying to get the phone box removed.”
Phone box on the corner of Golden Lane and Fann Street which is known locally as The Cripplegate Shooting Gallery because of ongoing problems with junkies using it as a place in which to fix and from which to make drug deals. The site of the The Denizen is marked by the scaffolding and hoardings behind the phone box. There is also a massive problem with drug addicts and used needles in Fortune Street Park, which isn’t shown here but is on the other side of the road from The Denizen site.
“But aside from this junkie, no other women came to the door?”
“Just a Vietnamese human trafficking victim who’d escaped from one of the local nail bars.”
“I didn’t know you spoke Vietnamese!”
“Then how do you know she’d been trafficked? Did she speak English?”
“Of course she couldn’t speak English. A trafficked Vietnamese broad from one of the local nail bars stumbles in here every few weeks. I don’t need to understand their lingo to know about that.”
“What do you do with them?”
“I call their boss Mr. Nguyen. He’s a lovely fellah. You’ve probably seen him walking around the neighbourhood with a battery-operated power drill in his hand. When he gets agitated he switches his power tool on and waves it at whoever is annoying him. Some think he’s intimidating and unfriendly but I get on very well with him. He gives me a pony for every girl I return.”
“What do you do with so many horses?”
“Not horses, silly! A pony! Twenty-five quid!”
“Oh I see.” I said. “But no one else came into The Denizen? No Chinese women?”
If my visitor had not come in from the ground floor, how had she gained access to my balcony, which is on the second? I’d told myself she’d probably climbed down from the one above and slightly to the side, which belonged to Tao’s apartment. Then Cynthia volunteered a statement on her own account.
“And the last man who went out was Chiang Tao’s brother.”
I pricked up my ears at this. “Tao’s brother?”
“Well his half-brother, same mother, different father. The brother goes by the name of Chan Wai-Man. He came down not three minutes before you, just after Charles Hitchen came in. Chan was in a right hurry. I said good night as he went past, but he blanked me. He had a big parcel in his arms and was struggling to carry it.”
“Are you sure it was Tao’s brother?”
“It was him right enough. You can’t mistake him. It’s said he was once a cop in Hong Kong but he has Triad tattoos, a really lovely bit of inking. Of course I couldn’t see them tonight as he was wearing a coat; but once when he had a bit of time he let me see them all. He even took down his pants so I could view the tats on his backside. The inking is gorgeous and he’s got very good muscle definition too! He looks a lot like his brother but has a much bigger donger. Chan owns a ghost home in Dance Square and comes to London two or three times a year to meet girls and go shopping. He’s impossibly wealthy. I’m pretty sure he bought Tao’s flat in The Denizen for him.”
“He came down three minutes ago?”
This meant he must have been with his brother some time after my visitor had come to me, so perhaps she wasn’t Tao’s killer. The knowledge left me a little disappointed. Still she’d been covered in blood so it seemed likely she was some kind of murderess. If she ever killed me I wanted her to do it when she was naked. It would be easier to wash down after the crime that way, and much sexier too.
“When did Chan arrive?” I asked.
“He went up about an hour ago. He’d got no parcel then. When I saw how he was struggling with the package when he came down, I thought I should call him a cab. I know he only had to walk up Golden Lane and cross Old Street to get to Central Street, but even so he looked like he needed a ride. I was speaking to Charles Hitchen and Chan was off before I managed to get a word out of him.”
“I have a lady visitor.” I said. I was still wondering if Cynthia would do a lesbian sex show with her for me.
“Very good sir,” Madam Cyn replied. “I hope she’s a nice professional lady. There’s no fun to be had with a drunk amateur who lies back and does nothing for a man.”
“The fact is something very remarkable has taken place. I’ve come down to tell you about it and ask your help.”
“Oh come now sir, I know you’re married but it isn’t as if I hadn’t seen you taking a variety of young ladies to your apartment. If you try to tell me you’ve just lost your virginity then I’ll laugh like a maniac.”
“A young lady has just entered my bedroom through the balcony door.”
“From the balcony! Mr. Feng! At this hour!”
“I’m afraid she’s not quite right in the head.”
“I should think not! Are you?”
“She is quite a lady.”
“Looks can be deceptive. I’ve met thousands of crooks and psychopaths in my time and many of them were extraordinarily beautiful.”
“I thought at first she was sleepwalker. Something strange has happened to her. She doesn’t know her name and can’t remember anything about herself.”
“Is she on crack?”
“Come and speak to her and you’ll see she’s not on drugs, she’s suffering from amnesia.”
“Very good, Mr. Feng. I worry sometimes that you’re too softhearted. Where is this young lady?”
“She is in my apartment.”
“Then she’s probably gone back through the balcony door, taking something valuable with her. If we hope to find her we’d better hurry.”
Urged by Mrs. Payne we hastened to my apartment. My visitor had not gone. She was asleep on the sofa. The spectacle she presented touched the concierge’s heart.
“Now that’s a sight that makes me want to go back into the brothel keeping business. With a girl like that I could make a fortune!” Madam Cyn exclaimed. “Why I’d keep her in a back room and tell dozens of clients they were the first to have her so I could claim a virginity premium from them all!”
“Possession is nine tenths of the law, so she’s mine!”
“How pale and beautiful she is!” Payne said changing the subject. “She came through the balcony door you say? How did she get there? Who is she? Where did she come from?”
“I’ve asked her all those things already and she says she doesn’t know the answers.”
“Let’s try and wake her.”
Our efforts were to no avail. Cynthia was convinced I’d slipped her a date rape drug despite my protestations of innocence. Anyway, she helped me undress the woman and carry her naked from the sofa to my bed. When Madam Cyn left I felt like I was walking on air. It was ridiculous. Why should I be affected by the whims and fancies of an apparently half-witted woman, who had forced her way into my room at dead of night in a cloak soaked with blood? It wasn’t as if I couldn’t afford to hire an overnight companion. But the illicit thrill of undressing the woman and placing her naked and unconscious into my bed left me feeling both horny and hamster-like. I wanted to hibernate for the next six months with this mysterious serial killer.
Falun Gong protest performance to promote the claim the Chinese state is murdering members of this cult so their organs can be harvested and sold; how long will it be until the group make the same claims about the Corporation of London?