Actually, one thing he was worried about: the bungee-jump fall of value to his apartment. For the first time in market history sellers were paying buyers to take property off their hands. Poor people could be seen outside the Deni-zen no longer begging but offering to take apartments in exchange for moderate living expenses, the trick being to do a runner as soon as the next service charge came up.
But success brings no happiness. Of course, he should give up the Deni-zen and move somewhere less blighted, where the air conditioning, as described by an elderly Chinese woman in the lobby, does not smell of the stench of corruption. ‘Bad men build this building,’ she warned Hermann, wagging an admonishing finger, as though he were somehow responsible. But the apartment proved unsellable and worse, unmarketable. However many times it was put on Rightmoves, the details failed to appear. Apparently it was the same with other Deni-zens. By then there was a stampede to offload, yet it was as though they were living in a phantom building. Hamptons. Foxtons. Felicity J. Green. Hermann tried them all and they failed, throwing up their hands. ‘We just can’t get it to upload. It may as well not exist.’