WHITE PEOPLE SHOULD NOT SING
Normally I cut short my listening when the garbage trucks come nearer, but when the downpour happened there seemed no point in sticking around, and I wandered off early. The streets of Chinatown are beautiful in the darkness when it rains.
Empty, drenched, and glowing.
At the hamburger joint the entire counter was occupied by bright young Cantonese gentlemen. There was, in consequence, none of the sleazoid disturbance factor that the local residential hotel occupants bring, nor were there any of the drunken suburbians that usually infest the place.
From the mezzanine of the corner bar we looked out over a nearly deserted intersection, over an hour and a pint drinking in the distant fleshy gams of a young lady wearing hotpants, the elderly man wrestling with his bicycle, a severely reduced perp line in front of a long-closed nightclub ("smoke and mirrors"), and the very rare stumbling soggy drunk.
As well as the woman with the shiny hair.
She always goes past at night.
While I was outside smoking, I heard a man hollering from one of the cheap hotels on Broadway "you are not my real father, my real father loves me".
It seemed appropriate; I shall not speculate about the relationship.
There used to be a four hundred pound tranny who whore a greasy leather diaper and swanned about the halls with cocktails in one of those hotels. Long ago.
"Why do people cross the road?"
At the karaoke bar a bearded Caucasian was extremely impressed with his own singing, as were the two blonde dingbats hanging on his shoulders.
The Cantonese ignored the misbehaving white people and concentrated on loud happy argumentation and playing liar's dice.
When the songbird and his friends left, and most of the dice players had floated away also, the remaining dice player engaged in conversation with the three gentlemen further down the bar. It was food-related (Cantonese conversation often is), described a dinner with two women (somewhat less common), and he punctuated it with "pok gai" as much as Irish Dave uses the 'F' word.
When the bookseller and I departed it had stopped raining.
At Powell Street we analyzed the sign on a local emporium. 'Hundred merchandise'. 'Sugar fruit smoke wine'. 'House & courtyard use product'. 'Canister head freeze food'. Plus something about literary objects, which is a conventional phrase referring to paper goods and pens.
Normally we encounter inebriated strangers wandering the streets.
Or hear birds from the spaces behind the buildings.
Once even an insane mocking bird.
Not this time.
Over the years I have only sung once at the karaoke bar. It was a romantic ballad originally made famous by Teresa Teng. Very sweet.
I massacred it. Totally.
There was nobody there with a cellphone.
I consider myself lucky.
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