Monday, 13 October 2008

tea house

The smell of wine rots the air. on the balcony above the plucked noise of a lute smacks like rain falling on tin through the laughs and conversations. Ah Wei stands outside the door, scared to step through. his fear surprises him. he has been preparing and training for months, eating only a few grains of rice each day to keep himself pure as he meditated and practised the secret moves he stole. -Now, he tells himself but he doesn't move. From behind him someone knocks, drunken, into his side. -Apologies, brother, the drunk says before walking on through the door. finally Ah Wei places one foot in front of the other. He knows he is ready. The door opens easily. Inside the noise is even louder, causing him to pause. No-one looks up at his entry. He looks around but does not see the one he is looking for, or any of his men. They will be upstairs in their private room. He spies an empty chair at a table and moves to sit down. It's hot. He decides to have a drink, to give himself time to become familiar with the inside of the place. A waiter places a cup of tea and a plate of duck heads on the table next to him before turning to give him a look of disgust. Ah Wei realises, for the first time, that his appearance is that of a beggar and quickly reaches for his purse to show that he has money to pay before the waiter calls for a bouncer. He knows that the bouncer would not be too much trouble for him, he just wants to be sure that the bastard Black Nose Zhang is inside before he starts his fight.
Old town, Shanghai

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