In the first morning hours, he rose from his comfortable bed in his Denizen apartment and looked out of his window at the awakening activities on Golden Lane—at the street-cleaners, bin men, and the other dingy workers flitting hurriedly by through the sallow winter light. Oh, to be one of them—any of them—to take his chance in any of their skins! They were the toilers—the men whose lot was pitied—the victims wept over and ranted about by altruists and economists; and how gladly he would have taken up the load of any one of them, if only he might have shaken off his own! But, no—the iron circle of consciousness held them too: each one was chained to his own hideous ego. Why wish to be any one man rather than another? The only absolute good was not to be.
Category: The Denizen
It was after midnight when Yao left Zhang’s Denizen apartment in Golden Lane. His hand on his friend’s shoulder, as he turned to go—“Criminal justice be hanged! See a doctor, see a doctor!” he had cried and with an exaggerated laugh had pulled on his coat and departed. Zhang turned back into his Taylor Wimpey investment property. It had never occurred to him that Yao would not believe his story. For three hours he had explained, elucidated, patiently and painfully gone over every detail—but without once breaking down the iron incredulity of the lawyer’s eye. At first Yao had feigned to be convinced—but that, as Zhang now perceived, was simply to get him to expose himself, to entrap him into contradictions.
To the guest in his Denizen apartment, Zhang told his story simply, connectedly. It was the perfect tale to recount on the benighted site of Taylor Wimpey’s Golden Lane luxury apartment development. The foundations of the new building had disturbed an old plague pit, and The Denizen had been constructed right opposite the old city mortuary. He began with a quick survey of his early years—the years of drudgery and emotional privation. If he’d been 15 years older he could have had fun with the Red Guards. He’d always liked girls but they didn’t like him. He was incapable of a romantic relationship. That’s why sex toys had become his master-passion.
In exactly three minutes Mr. Yao Wenyuan, of the eminent legal firm of Yao and Lee, would have his punctual hand on the doorbell of the Taylor Wimpey flat in Golden Lane. It was a comfort to reflect that Yao was so punctual—the suspense was beginning to make his host nervous. And the sound of the doorbell would be the beginning of the end—after that there’d be no going back, by Chairman Mao—no going back!
May all your investments fail! May whispering sounds keep you from sleep! May unease dog your every step! May ominous darkness envelope you! May ghastly shadows menace you! May dreadful loneliness befall you! May spine tingling shrieks terrify you! May the living dead pursue you! May your skin crawl for no reason at all! May eerie silences unnerve you! Cower in fear as the curses the Cripplegate Coven come true!
Not a window was broken/ And the paint wasn’t peeling,/No balcony sagged -/And yet there was the feeling/ Once past reception/And out of the hall/These were the homes of/No one at all/ No one who breathed/Nor laughed, nor ate/Nor said “I love,”/Nor said “I hate.”/Yes something walked/Along the stair/Something that was/And wasn’t there./And that is why keys/Wait at reception/For apartment owners/Who’ll never collect them/For something walks/Along the stair –/Something that is/And isn’t there.
It is the strangest yellow our wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper—the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the flat. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here. It creeps all over Taylor Wimpey’s luxury ghost home development The Denizen. I find lying in wait for me on the stairs and in the lift. It gets into my hair.