Friday, October 5, 2007

Mind the gap


It's just after mid-night.
The lift stops at my floor and
the doors slide open.
I reach for the keys.
Murphy sees his chance.
That's the law.
The keys slip out of my fingers.
Sucked right down into the darkness of the gap between the lift and corridor.
Down to the bottom of the lift shack.
Plink-plunk.

Downstairs the doorman is sleeping on the floor.
He didn't even notice that I came in through the main gates a few minutes earlier.
That's security in one of the safest places on earth.
Not that he understands English. But he understands sign language.
I think. He just shakes his head.
And tries to teach me Cantonese.
Midnight crash course.
Instant noodles.

While we try to figure out how to communicate
another night owl enters.
She does speak English.
Helps me call a locksmith.
Lends me HK$ 500 to pay for it.
I didn't have enough cash on me for a locksmith.
Professional burglars don't take American Express.

In thrillers they pick locks in seconds.
My old Chinese door lock takes 45 minutes.
Or maybe the guy just pretends.
To re-negotiate his fee.

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