Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shanghai the Bourgeoisie

Shanghai was a bourgeois couple walking down the street. Their clothes were oh-so fashionable: Bright colors jumped out from the stitching that held together their coats, dark like the light in a coalmine. Their hair was cropped in strange angles, coming to a point like daggers assaulting passersby. Their canvas shoes were cheap, ironically-so, but still they were spotless, as if they had been bought just hours before. His were gray with yellow laces; hers white with orange. They walked arm in arm leering into the shops and eateries of the city with a distant interest, like a sated junkie just begining to contemplate her next fix.

They beckoned me to follow them, and I walked with them in silence. As we traversed through dark, narrow lanes where the canopies of the trees grew together, I couldn’t see the neon lights from the skyscrapers in the distance. I felt nervous walking with them – both of them beautiful and stylish. I was their third wheel, an accessory that would steady them in the face of some desire or psychic crisis. I asked no questions. I did it willingly; I was so intrigued by their radience.

We pushed through the creaky door of an old lanehouse and made our way up to the third floor, passing by an old crone hunched over a gas-stove. She gave me a look of caution and surprise. I returned her gaze with a blank expression.

When I entered their flat, I was amazed by the squallor. Everything was falling apart. The windows were caked in dust, obscuring the outside.  A great mold had taken over part of one wall, turning it black. A mound of trash was piled in the corner, wrappings and stickers and tags and take-out containers full of rancid food. The only thing well-kept in the den was a tremendous, ancient wardrobe in faded red lacquer. Its doors were wide open and the garments inside radiated with a rainbow of color. The two of them looked at me as I took in the spectacle.

When I turned to face them, their faces, smooth and angelic scruntched into smiles. Their lips parted to reveal the stumps of black rotting teeth.

posted by ferret at 4:56 pm  

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