Down on his luck, a lonely Hong Kong doorman sees his colleague’s optimism as the ultimate insult.
Wah Ye Gau had had a bad week, a bad couple of years in fact, but he hadn’t expected it to end this way. He didn’t know why he did what he did. Perhaps his name compelled him to. After all, Gau meant dog in Cantonese. His parents, superstitious watercress farmers, had worshipped green skinned, four-faced gods. Afraid these celestials would steal their only son, they named Gau after an animal, believing this would fool those gods into assuming their child a village mongrel, and thus ignore him.
Gau’s colleague and neighbour Fu was now in triage. Seated on a blue plastic chair – part of a three-seater waiting room bench – in Wong Tai Sin Hospital, the anxiety Gau’s face could not express egressed through his maniacal scratching at a piece of scotch tape that sealed a crack in the seat. His dull, droopy eyes and thin, straight lips would not divulge the contents of his mind or heart. He took out his mobile phone and dialed 999. Being arrested would mean losing his job, but at least a jail cell might keep him safe from the loan sharks. Gau tasted iron as his tongue ran over a particle lodged between his incisors. He stopped scratching the tape and started picking at his teeth with the long nail on his little finger instead.Continue reading