“Apartments for Rent”
Chapter 1 – Admitted Tenants
Everyone has a dark side.
If you claim that you don’t have one, then you are simply not being forthcoming, or perhaps you have yet to encounter what will bring out your dark side.
Three years ago, I inherited this old apartment house from my heirless uncle. The building is over thirty years old, not including the rooftop it has five floors, and it also has an old but simple lift installed since my uncle became a cripple after the car accident.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t happy inheriting this apartment house without so much as lifting a finger. Even though its location is a bit far away from the bustling eastern sea villa district, it is only three minute walking distance from the cheap dining district, and five minute on bike will get you to the high-class restaurants at the international street.
Getting an apartment house without effort is always a good thing. At the very least, it lets a lazy middle-aged guy like me appear to have achieved something, no longer a useless bum.
So I sold my uncle’s old Mercedes and borrowed a couple hundred thousands from the bank in order to renovate the house. I added toilet and bathroom to couple of the apartments, put in some more beds and painted the walls etc.
I decided that no matter what, I have to rent out my apartments, that way I will be able to live out the rest of my life on the rent I collect. I have always envied those who lived a care-free life collecting rent, now it is finally my turn.
After the renovation, I managed to clear out several bathroom suites, two on the second floor, two on the third and two on the fourth, leaving the fifth floor to myself. First floor is the drawing room and the public kitchen, on the rooftop we have a wash machine and place for people to dry their laundries. If I can get five thousand a month for each apartment, my monthly income will be thirty thousand, which is more than enough. The thing is though that I don’t want to be doing anything at all. At most I will help out with some repairs, changing some light bulbs and perhaps learn a trick or two on how to press the tenants for rent.
Unfortunately, not sure if it is the apartment house looks too old or nobody out there needs an apartment right now, no matter how many rental posters I put up, I wasn’t getting any replies. I even got fined for the ones I put up on the electric poles. In the end I ended up paying for an ad in the newspaper, but still no one showed any interest.
Other than being disappointed, I could only try to lower the rent, from five thousand to four thousand, then from four thousand to three thousand five hundred, but still, nobody replied.
Is this old apartment house cursed or something?
I sighed in defeat, perhaps it wasn’t the right place, or perhaps the economy was really as bad as the opposition claimed. Either way I decided to lower the rent to three thousand.
However, these greedy tenants will have to sacrifise a little bit of their personal life as compromise.
The peep-hole cameras have cost me a fortune, in the corridors, in the lift, every room has one. I connected the cameras to the TV in my room, facing my bed. I plan to use their private performance as my bed time entertainment program, all part of the rent.
If you ask me if I feel guilty about it, I’ll have to admit yes, perhaps a little, but my inspiration came from my uncle.
When I first inherited this building, I found a hidden camera embedded in the walls inside the room of the maid working for my crippled uncle, and its signal goes straight to the little TV hanging on top of his bathtub.
Perhaps it is all genetic; uncle’s choice of entertainment has piqued my interest. I blame it on our family genes.
So I put up the new ad on the electric poles, waiting to interview the potential tenants.
As expected, many came for the interview; I carefully examined each and every one of them, weighing the degree of interest of their lives and their potential for putting up a good performance. I took each of them into the room and explained to them the rules for living here, evaluating the way they talk, and the way they act.
I rejected a prostitute.
The more she tried to hide the scent of her powder, the more certain I was.
I didn’t want to peep on some mechanical, shallow love-making. The kind of sex you can buy with money should just be bought with money. That is all it is worth. There is no need to waste time digging a hole in the wall.
To put it bluntly, I can get more kicks out of an adult film; I can even pay for an escort myself.
I also rejected several students wearing huge glasses. They reminded me of something I hated most. I have no intention at all of finding out what kind of dark secrets these supposedly hard working, hoping one day to become the pillar of our society type of kids, would have when nobody else is watching.
Because I know all too well, how boring they are from head to toe, the only change to their lives is the change of their roster, and occasionally the change of assignments. I do not want to waste one out of six opportunities hoping to prove myself wrong.
Can’t have those who look like an addict either, sooner or later they will cause problems.
If they have a seizure and die on my bed, the whole neighbourhood will talk. It will make it even harder for me to rent out the apartments. And if the police decide to search my apartments for drugs and shit, who knows, they might even find my peep-holes. I will definitely go to jail for that, or even get accused for being a drug dealer.
Most importantly, those drug addicts would make other tenants feel uneasy, I can’t let them affect other people’s performance.
The first one I accepted was a performer, a single parent father with a six year old girl, Mr. Wang. He and his daughter live on the second floor, most likely it has something to do with the existence of paedophilic tendencies in my genes, or perhaps out of sympathy, plus Mr. Wang was willing to pay off half year’s worth of rent.
Miss. Chen was the second tenant I accepted. She is a thirty year old office worker. I decided to accept her the moment I saw her, because she was very pretty, having the right curves in the front and back, just talking to her makes me hard. I hope she would take her boyfriend home on a regular basis.
She chose to be Mr. Wang’s neighbour on the second floor, claiming that she didn’t want to have to climb the stairs, also being closer to the kitchen on the first floor was nice too.
Old man Zhang has quite a humour, and that is why I accepted him. He is a forty year old bachelor, a two time divorcee who is currently working as the PE teacher for the nearby national elementary school. We seemed to get along really well, and I even let him treat me to a meal on the day of the interview. I can’t wait to know his other side.
Old man Zhang lives on the third floor, on top of Miss. Chen.
Two homosexual guys live on the opposite end of Old man Zhang.
They came to the interview together; they didn’t try to hide their sexual preferences, probably because they knew that even if they managed to fool me, it would only make me angrier when I find out and kick them out later, so might as well tell the truth.
Their worries were unfounded, I don’t discriminate when it comes to that, and in fact I’m intrigued as to how a homosexual couple live. I have watched some gay porn videos before, but there wasn’t any plot what so ever, just two sticks poking at each other, it wasn’t very interesting.
Perhaps they can expand my horizons.
Fourth floor, right below me, lives a soft beauty.
Why did I choose soft to describe her you ask? Because she speaks softly, she walks softly and even when she laughs she does it softly, giving me a faded feeling, as if this girl is made of water.
I found her to be very plain when I first saw her on the day of the interview; no make-up on her face, her skin was so pale I could see the arteries underneath. I kind of liked her, so I let her stay.
A second year student from the nearby TungHai University lives opposite to the soft beauty, his name is Bo Yan, currently studying business management.
I can tell that he is not the serious type, a little bit crazy even. On the day of the interview he did his self-introduction in rap with his headphone on, all the while shaking his loose pants non-stop. He is definitely the type who will become a burden on society.
Even though I can’t imagine a trash like him would suddenly become a hard working boring book-worm in private, I didn’t find him interesting, so I declined. He was so shocked that he immediately took off his headphone and pled, saying that he would pay me five hundred more every month.
Given how cheap the rent was.
I thought about it, and I took the deal.
 Original wording means “their involuntary reactions”.
 Original wording means “change of study plans”.