"Thank you and I hope you enjoyed the ride, please make sure you have all your baggage before leaving" parrots the cab driver as I get out of the cab. I've got 106 RMB worth of DVD's and it's a Monday night. There is something so sincere in his voice, like he wants, no, like he needs to understand exactly what he's saying back to me - the machine voice of the computer attached to the cab mimicking every mouthed vowel and constant of his happy tired face.
"Mei Guo Ren" I say, as he stops at my place. The only shared language we speak is the turgid version of Chinese taxi language that I can utter out behind whiskey stained lips.
We've drank 3 bottles of Jameson, import only, the real stuff - not the fake, burn your eyes out and singe your nose hairs style fake booze that is so common place.
I take a deep inhale of the cigarette, fake smoke enters the mouth, through my lungs, burns like newspaper burns, fast and toxic, exhaled in a poorly constructed, 'O' and it's all I have to show for the evening.
The blinding white screen of the laptop in front of me, not truly transcribing the events, like a phonograph - eerily recording the sounds.
Oh, what sounds they are, vapid splashes of color playing on the LG TV to a '60's style groove as 'Our Man Flynn' plays on the flat screen in the rented apartment on Xing Guo Lu.
James Coburn is practicing his karate as languid trails of off white smoke hang lazily in my cramped two bedroom.
It's a cold night, silent and empty, alone to the warm embrace of almond eyed Chinese girls, skin brown and soft in the moonlight. Lights are scarce as I sit alone, a modern cave man, the only fire burning is in electrodes and diodes.
A lost refugee of the night, struggling against the enormity of the situation.
We've followed the words of Tyler Durden, we've reached rock bottom and started to dig.
On the other side though is a world we never could have imagined.
Close your eyes as I take you with me...
The street I live on is lined with trees, oaks or maples I'm not sure which but the former French concession is sick with them. A block down, past the piles of dead amber leaves and shaved tree trunks lies the C store with steamed buns and DVD salesmen outside.
I'm trying to paint a portrait in prose about the world outside of me and all I can capture is the blank, never ending promise of the white screen in front of me