The Audience? Or the Pitcher?
I decided to put up a poster on the notice board around the corner of the stairway on the first floor.
“Hello everyone, is everything to everyone’s liking? I lost my key chain today which has all of our reserve keys. Unfortunately I don’t have another spare set, so please put it on the table in the drawing room or bring it to my room if you manage to find it. Thank you.
PS: In order to prevent someone from getting locked out of their room due to losing their keys, I want everyone to get a duplicate made and give it to me, otherwise you will have to pay for the locksmith yourself when you find yourself locked out – Landlord”
I smirked. This way, even if Ying Ru suspected someone sneaking into her room earlier, she wouldn’t suspect me.
Instead she would suspect the “infiltrator” who found the set of keys.
As to who that “infiltrator” might be…
Well, it won’t be me, and I won’t be shifting the blame onto someone else.
“Here, it’s yours.”
I put the old key chain inside Old Man Zhang’s shoe in front of his door, purposely exposing a corner of the metal without being too obvious.
You guessed right; I went to the locksmiths straight after I left McDonalds and had another set of keys made.
Why did I choose Old Man Zhang? Well, he is the perfect candidate. I doubt he ever expected to have the same kind of power I have, the highest kind in this apartment building.
But it is the exact kind of superpower a peeping tom like him has always dreamed of.
I witnessed the whole thing through the pin-hole camera in the hallway. Old man Zhang was putting on his shoes when he discovered this mysterious gift.
“You won’t return it to me; you won’t return it to me.” I kept murmuring to myself while staring nervously as old man Zhang walked back into his room, frowning at the key chain.
But the way the corner of his mouth twitched was nothing short of evil.
“Accept it, and begin your adventure.” I said.
After old man Zhang put the key chain inside a drawer, he raised an arm and muttered a soft “Yes.”
While I was happy for old man Zhang, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for that stranger still tied to the chair.
It was the third day in a row he was stuffed with sleeping-pills. Ying Ru would feed him the pills once every three or four hours, and a larger dose before she went to bed.
Larger, but not lethal, even though I couldn’t tell how she knew the exact dose to give.
“Even if you don’t die in your sleep, you are pretty fucked.” I watched at the screen.
The last time the man lost control of his bladder was 27 hours ago, but other than the little bit of water that was forced down his throat together with the pills, he wasn’t given anything else to drink. If you force liquid down an unconscious man’s throat, most of it will simply enter the windpipe and not the gullet, which means a quicker death, with much less suffering.
Ying Ru was obviously aware of this fact.
As I said before, committing a crime is a very complex state of mind, and also a profession.
When Ying Ru retrieved the big fat syringe from her closet, I thought she was trying to inject a saline solution or glucose into his veins in order to cruelly prolong his suffering. Instead, she took out the small wooden box, and from it, the bottle of long expired milk she had prepared long ago.
“What is that crazy woman up to?” I was taken by surprise.
Ying Ru attached the not so hygienic needle to the syringe and filled it with milk. She then carefully inserted the needle into the veins of the man’s forearm and injected him with the yellow, tainted milk.
I wanted to throw up.
Ying Ru continuously injected roughly five hundred milligrams of milk. As expected, that man had another bout of urinary incontinence that night. It turned my stomach upside down.
Next, Ying Ru took out a manual siphon pump. She slowly pushed the discharge tube into his throat; squeezing the air handle on the other end and pumping the water from a bucket into the man’s stomach.
The water slowly drained from the bucket and, a while later, Ying Ru pulled out the discharge tube. She felt the man’s forehead and placed a thermometer under his tongue.
I couldn’t see the display of the thermometer clearly from my screen, but based on her actions, the man had to be running a fever. I never had much health care education, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the white blood cells inside his body fighting against the bacteria from the expired milk…
Ying Ru started typing on her laptop, lying on the bed. Whenever she got tired, she would read, feed, clean or sleep. Like a full-time nurse taking care of a patient, a patient she created.
I really wouldn’t know why she chose him, a man whom she met for the first time. Perhaps it was just random bad luck.
This made me realize something.
Bad luck. Is it really the result of a random encounter? If God is a crazy pitcher, who decides to pitch a wild ball at a stadium filled with spectators, and whoever gets hit becomes the unlucky one.
Then, even though the chance you will get hit in the head is very slim; if it does, you are pretty much dead, and everyone has a chance to get hit. Just like that guy on the chair who came for a one night stand but now has a fever running.
So what can you do about it?
Do you just let the God pitch the ball at you and hope you are not the unlucky one?
No, perhaps there is something you can do.
What if the God isn’t the pitcher?
What if I can climb out of the bleachers and step onto the field as a pitcher?
I have to take the time to consider this possibility.
On the other hand, I believe it is time for old man Zhang to start paying attention to other tenant's daily schedules; when they come in and when they go out. After all, in order to successfully commit a crime, you need more than just naturally gifted keenness. You also have to put in the hours to do the research, and finally professionalism.
Anyway, old man Zhang began to traverse the stairs more frequently, purposely or otherwise. Every time he went past Miss Chen's room he would always look down and pay attention to the number of shoes sitting on her doorstep, and if there were any men's shoes among them.
Just like me, old man Zhang was very interested in the pretty and seductive Miss. Chen. He had to have discovered the fact that Miss Chen never brought any of her boyfriends on Thursdays.
Though Ying Ru was quite pretty in her own way, she lived above old man Zhang, which made it more challenging to come up with an excuse to go up to the fifth floor or the rooftop in order to spy on her.
I watched in anticipation, waiting for the day old man Zhang would creep into Miss Chen's room, either to steal her undergarments or try out her bed, but old man Zhang turned out to be very patient. His "imaginary consequence of getting caught" had most likely put a halt to his plans, or perhaps he had something else in mind.
It's alright, I don't mind the wait.
Because my mind is still a shambles, afraid of not being able to make it onto the field to become the pitcher.
Ying Ru caught me by surprise; she gave me way too many shocking revelations at the same time.
Back to planning.
My notebook is filled with loosely written thoughts, but I lacked the inspiration to connect them into a good story. Mostly, I lacked the ability to fully control the "flow of time" and the art of "spatial manipulation".
Sure, my statistic model does not have all the inputs, but the lesson Ying Ru taught me with the unexpected arrival of her soon-to-be corpse, is that everyone is capable of a sudden transformation.
If I can't fully comprehend the possibilities of everyone's potential transformation, then I may very well end up as the loser throughout this sudden exchange. And when that happens, even if it turns out to be a good movie by sheer luck, it wouldn't have been of my design; it would have been just dumb luck, thus it would only be an interesting occurrence at most.
Even so, I'm fully aware that some nut job like Ying Ru whom you couldn't spot the slightest hint of craziness from the outside, is rarer than rare. Therefore, I believe that as long as I can predict the time when this time-bomb will detonate, I can connect every tenant and every turn of event together, in a surprising way and into a good movie.
"The ability to show the design talent of a good director and screenwriter" has been the hallmark of several good movies aired over recent years. These movies often start with all kinds of unrelated and hard to understand plot lines, but in the few minutes before the climax, all the separate plot lines would merge together through a series of coincidences, and finally come to an end in a sea of applause.
Such movies are: “Snatch”, “Better than Sex” and “Trainspotting”.
But movies are in the end, just movies. The coincidences used to link all the separate plots together are designed entirely by the director; the actors cannot affect the outcome.
What I'm facing is the real world.
First I need to figure out which "Key Scenes" I have to be able to accomplish, and then find a way to make it a reality.
I went and retrieved the chocolate ice-cream Guo Li brought for us from the fridge downstairs. While enjoying it, I turned on all six screens at the same time, hoping to find some sort of inspiration. However, I'm mostly focusing my attention on old man Zhang and Ying Ru.
Basically, every character has their own unique features, and as a director, it's my job to highlight them, strengthen them, or give them some other feature that is even better suited to their character.
Old man Zhang likes to spy on other people having sex, thus I'm giving him the "Peeping power" and "Invasive ability", waiting for him to transform.
Ying Ru is like two people fused together; one quiet as a mouse, the other a crazy nurse.
What should I give her? Or avoid giving to her?
Should I actively encourage her and turn her into the explosive spark of the movie, or should I discourage her in order to prevent her from causing any more damage?
Both are equally difficult.
Bo Yan is either sleeping or jerking off, what should I give him?
Should I find a way to fuck with him, and turn him into the comedic relief of the movie?
Hmm, that seems like a good idea.
Guo Li is mature and socially adept. He is also the master of Lin Hu.
Lin Hu is the exact polar opposite. Hmm…
I need to think a way to make use of this unique feature that is their homosexual relationship.
Even considering Miss. Chen's lewd appearance, why does she have two boyfriends?
Miss. Chen obviously won't talk about it in the open without a reason so I can overhear it.
Do I need to find a way to make one of her boyfriends uncover the scandal?
What about Mr. Wang?
Other than his continuing suppression of his desire to violate his daughter, he has proved to be even more boring than Bo Yan.
But he still has a daughter.
That is good.
I glanced at the screen. Ying Ru just woke up.
Today is the fifth day since the kidnapping. He is slowly withering away on that chair, with no possibility of putting up any kind of resistance.
Meanwhile, Ying Ru had greatly reduced the dosage of sleeping pills she administered. The continued high fever alone was enough to paralyze just about anyone. Besides, the only nutrition he had received for the last few days was the milk that was injected into his veins. I didn't know how Ying Ru knew the right amount of milk to inject, but then I realized, she didn't know that at all. She just randomly injected him with an arbitrary amount.
Surely, death can only be his salvation. My job is limited to observe, and lament.
I found myself outside of Ying Ru's door. Four days and still, I couldn't figure out why she knocked on my door that day. I had couple suspicious, but no way to proof them, because Yin Ru never came to see me again.
I found myself outside of Ying Ru's door. Four days and I still couldn't figure out why she knocked on my door that day. I had a couple of suspicions, but no way to prove them because Yin Ru never came to see me again.
Inhaling deeply, I opened Bo Yan's door in secret with my spare key. He left for school an hour ago.
I took out the liquid sleeping agent I had prepared earlier and poured it into the half empty coke can that he had left behind. He is gross that way, even though the bubbles had long escaped from the half filled can of sugary water, he would still empty it.
I gave him a high dosage, just to make sure that he will fall asleep.
"I'm giving you an incredible power, this is your beginning." I couldn't help but reveal a smirk. After making sure that no one was in the hallway by looking through the door gap, I snuck my way back to my room.
Bo Yan came home around half past seven in the evening, just about when Ying Ru left the house. After that man was dragged onto the toilet seat inside her bathroom and the door locked.
I lay on top of my bed eating steam buns, and then I saw Bo Yan chatting in front of his pc while finishing his coke.
“Hurry, go to sleep.” I said. I don’t want to run into Ying Ru on her way back.
Bo Yan kept hammering at the keyboard. Several minutes later, the intervals he spent spacing out staring at the screen became closer and closer together, and the times he pressed the “Del” key became more and more frequent, but he just wouldn’t go to sleep.
Finally, Bo Yan closed the chat window and let out a yawn. The screen switched to that online FPS war game, he coldly rushed against his enemies with a machine gun in hand. Even though he still swayed his real body left and right trying to dodge the incoming bullet from inside the screen, the usual excitement was absent.
Slowly, Bo Yan rubbed his eyes and his neck began to wobble, but the addicted Bo Yan wouldn’t give up, he kept shooting with his face almost planted against the screen.
“You just won’t cooperate.” I wasn’t amused.
Just as the words fell, I noticed Bo Yan’s jaw on top of his keyboard, and his face stuck against the screen, not moving a muscle.
Success. I just have to hurry, and I won’t run into the elusive Ying Ru.
“Knock knock, knock knock.” I knocked at the door, confirming Bo Yan was really asleep.
“Bo Yan, open the door, I need to talk to you.” I said. But still, not even a sound.
I carefully pushed the door open, it wasn’t locked.
Bo Yan’s mouth was wide open, drool trickling from its corner.
“Bo Yan, Bo Yan?” I pushed against his shoulder, but Bo Yan slept like a log. I put on my latex gloves, just in case I gave him a too high dosage and he never woke up again. I would rather not leave my finger prints on a dead body.
I took off his shoes and shirt then carried him to his bed.
Next, I used his right hand to pull his shirt, shorts, and pants down to his knees, exposing his penis and placed the left hand he usually uses over it.
While looking down at his embarrassing and buffoonish visage, I sneered at him mercilessly.
Turning around, I opened the drawer where he hid all his adult videos and retrieved one he didn’t often watch, it was from a Japanese porn star called Anna Ohura. I inserted it into his PC and played it.
Something suddenly hit me, if that was the plan, what about the sperm?
Am I supposed to touch his junk and jerk him off? The thought of it disgusted me.
“Never mind, I doubt an idiot like you will die so easily.” I kneeled next to Bo Yan and found his breathing to be steady. So I took off my gloves and sat in front of his PC.
As I began to jerk off watching Anna Ohura’s gigantic and soft breasts, I couldn’t help but find the comedy in the situation.
Was I really not afraid of Bo Yan dying from overdose? Of course not, I was honestly afraid.
But this is just too much fun; I simply can’t resist the temptation.
I’m cumming! I could feel my abdominal muscles tightening.
I stood up in a hurry and kneeled down next to Bo Yan, aiming directly at his exposed penis, painting both his glans and pubes with a layer of milk white.
Even then he was still sound asleep; I almost died from laughter!
I grabbed a piece of tissue and wiped myself clean. After I made sure that no one was outside by peeking through the gap in the door, I casually went down to the drawing room on the first floor and started reading the latest newspaper.
“What will be on his mind once he wakes up, I wonder.” I laughed uncontrollably. All the pointless worrying was taken away by the sound of laughter as well.
“What is so funny?” Old man Zhang asked nonchalantly while opening the fridge.
“Some funny article in the news, haha.” I answered while laughing, without giving it much thought. Just then Miss. Chen happened to come back work. She gave me an acknowledging nod.
Holding Miss. Chen’s hand, her shorter boyfriend also smiled in my direction.
I did notice old man Zhang staring at Miss. Chen’s rear the whole time he followed them upstairs.
“Go fuck her if you have the balls! Or hide in her closet and watch her get fucked!” I murmured under my breath. So far, old man Zhang has proven to be a fucking pussy.
I kept on reading for two more hours; I almost read every single article in the paper. The tiredness from shooting my load earlier made me want to sleep.
But I couldn’t go to sleep, because I wanted to disturb that time-bomb first.
Ying Ru had been gone for a while now, much longer than she usually needs to buy some books. So what was she trying to get? Or do?
Either way, I want to fight back.
You are not the only one who knows how to scare people!
I kept waiting for Ying Ru; I wanted to tell her something that would scare the living shit out of her, but she still hadn’t returned.
“Could she have run away? Never to come back?” I began to doubt, but the disappointment greatly surpassed the uneasiness.
Perhaps I was too curious to find out what kind of new tricks she had up her sleeve?
By the time I looked up at the clock, it was already half past eleven.
“This late already?” I thought.
Just then, the lift started to make that grinding noise again.
Suddenly I realized, but was too late to change my idiotic plans.
So stupid! If she went up using the old lift at the back of the house, how could I have run into her? Besides…
“Ying Ru must have brought someone home!” Startled, I ran upstairs as fast as I could.
Ying Ru would never use the lift if she was alone. Besides, she had to have dragged the unconscious guy to her bathroom before she left for a reason; clearly she was up to no good!
As I listened to the spinning gears of the lift, I regretfully returned to my room and turned on the TV.
Ying Ru opened the door, and a man with childlike face followed closely behind her. Based on what he was wearing, he was definitely a teenager.
He smiled happily. He probably expected tonight to be his lucky night, the night to lose his virginity.
“Idiot.” I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
And what came next was the exact same script.
Coffee or water.
Tell me about yourself.
Ying Ru takes the cup from the stupid kid.
Stupid kid faints.
And gets tied up.
The problem lies probably with the water, and not with the coffee beans, but neither is important. The only thing that matters is what Ying Ru is going to do next.
She started reading on top of the bed, a book about astronomy, and she went on for two hours straight.
That was the hardest part to stomach, and my curiosity kept growing stronger to the point where I started talking suggestively to myself in front of the screen.
“Stuff that dead mouse in his mouth! Teach that smart-ass brat a lesson!”
“Put the viper venom on his dick!”
“Didn’t people say that injecting a small air bubble into the bloodstream could lead to death? Try it! Show me how it is done!”
“Or are we going to play the game of dissecting a live specimen? Feed him some more sleeping pills, dying while asleep isn’t the worst way to go.”
My imagination almost drove me mad but Ying Ru kept on doing nothing but reading. She even yawned. My mood started to spiral down, to the point where I wasn’t even interested in seeing Miss. Chen making love with her boyfriend in the bath any more.
Two hours past midnight, Ying Ru finally decided to put down her book, and I found myself awake.
First, Ying Ru went into the bathroom and took a warm shower, right next to the guy sitting on top of the toilet seat. The strangeness of the image made it impossible for me to become aroused. After the shower, still wrapped in a towel, she filled the syringe with milk and stabbed it into the leg of the toilet guy without even bothering to aim for the arteries, all the way to the base. Even I squinted my eyes feeling his pain.
That man must be truly miserable. I’m guessing his fever is still running. Even after the shower, Ying Ru had no intention of wiping that sweat-soaked man dry; she just left him there half-dead, rotting away on the toilet seat.
In contrast, she was a lot gentler with her new prey, the young boy. She dispensed few more sleeping pills, crushed them into a pulp, then carefully fed them to him. She then grabbed the syringe she just used to inject the milk, but this time she filled it with the black soya sauce while eyeing the sleeping boy closely.
What could she be thinking?
Ying Ru caressed the boy’s arm; she seemed to be looking for any obvious veins.
“You are so hard to predict, if you really inject him with that, you would have messed up the order… Aren’t you supposed to wait for dehydration to set in first before you start randomly injecting stuff?” I was mightily intrigued, because this time I had to approve of Ying Ru’s swift and merciless style. Just like her, I can’t wait either.
Ying Ru smiled, and as expected, she inserted the non-sterilized needle into the boy’s arm, slowly allowing the soya sauce to seep into his bloodstream. My mouth opened wider and wider as more of the soya sauce was injected into his blood.
“So much salt.” I almost died from laughing again. Even though I didn’t think he would die from having so much soya sauce in his blood, it was definitely not going to be a pleasant experience. Just the severe change in the osmotic pressure alone was probably enough to make his red blood cells explode or deteriorate.
The boy was too deep in sleep. He just accepted it and let Ying Ru continuously inject him with roughly three hundred milligrams of soya sauce. I think a few days at most before he ends up in the bathroom as well.
Ying Ru went to sleep.
I closed my eyes too.
I wonder if she just randomly likes to fuck someone up? Or if she has different plans prepared? Either way she is too unpredictable, but I no longer feel the situation to be tragically one-sided.
Unpredictable sure, but not tragic.
Both her unpredictability and the hidden craziness which she has yet to reveal, made me curious and excited.
Of course, I’m not planning to admit defeat, nor will I lose.
Because I can see more than she does.