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Synopsis – Pan slipped up.

Mrs Yu recoiled and screamed: You stink! Get a bath! And clean up this awful mess! She slammed the door, swearing fiercely. Dragons would cower and hide. Oh, and the rent! Pay up! The assault had silenced Pan. For a young man, Pan was truly an advanced hoarder of cartons, bottles, boxes, papers, plastics, food scraps, clothes and the rest. It smelled. He had got used to it. 

His last paying “investment” at Happy Valley Racing Club had been a month ago; funds were low now. He headed off to the Golden Horse bathhouse in Causeway Bay. Popular, cheerful, and large. 

A dutiful manager in Hong Kong should work until at least 7pm. Gordon, Joseph and Johnson had sneaked away at 6pm. Laughing, they too headed to the Golden Horse. A crowd preceded them. Johnson changed and shut his locker, but it swung open; his watch and wallet peeped out.

Minutes later, the changing room was empty, except for Pan. He slipped and landed just under Johnson’s locker. Too tempting. Pan took the wallet, showered quickly and left. 

At home, he bagged and binned the rubbish. Amazing all that new space and freshness!  Then emptied the wallet. Money, cards, ID, drivers’ licence, address - everything. And a spare door key. Johnson Ho described himself as a Waste Engineer, an uncommon occupation. His day job was as an electronics engineer.

A cryptic SMS came that evening. He checked his private mailbox. The envelope contained the photo of a young pretty girl, a whistleblower, and her office address. As well as a torn dollar note. The usual.     

 Next few days, he followed her on and off. Took some snaps. Learned her routine. Friday Happy Hour was dark and rainy: folk scurried home. Perfect. He walked behind her then gagged her and pushed her into his car. She was too beautiful to kill like the others.  

He decided to keep her prisoner in a large glass-walled room. Mrs Mak would feed her. She could do yoga and dance to music. For now.

A smile and some dollars later, Johnson learnt Pan had followed him into the bathhouse. His tiny apartment was empty. He made a key.

Pan decided to visit his new benefactor. Johnson was on his way home. Pan was amazed by the luxuries of all kinds he found - watches, whiskey, money, clothes and more. He was awed by Cinderella in the glass cage. How to rescue her? 

Pan did not see or hear Johnson behind him; Dead in a second. Johnson was an expert at waste disposal. The girl too? Was he getting soft?


A man’s a man wrote Berthold Brecht. That covers it for Peter Wright, writer now.


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