It’s hot; I’m weary from the heat, my colleague Jason is ready to pass out. When we arrive at the building with the hottest loft, I’m looking around for an attendant station where I am to meet the mysterious Mr. Wong, who will guide my colleague Jason and I to the loft apartment. Yet, try as we might, we see neither a proper attendant station, nor Mr. Wong. In fact, we see a dearth of evidence that any sort of human society exists at the address we’ve been given–rather it is the remnants of failed lamp store. Yes, the loft building is two doors down, but no Mr. Wong.
We try the lamp store next to the lamp store–everywhere there are lamp stores. A random man appears to us and announces, upon being questioned, that he has never heard of Mr. Wong. In fact, we learn that no one has ever heard of Mr. Wong. It is as if he is a figment of the listing department’s imagination, or some sort of metaphor for non-existence. My colleague Jason as I will not relent in our quest to access this hot listing, so we stand on the street and look around.
Suddenly a gaunt figure appears out of nowhere. He is tanned from an eternity of sunlight, and seems to hover as he gets closer. He is dressed as a 19th century train conductor might dress. He must be the famous Mr. Wong, I reckoned. Because if he is not, we are fuc*ed.
“You know,” I said, “is there some way to reach you?”
Mr. Wong stares back at me.
“Do you have a cell phone? I’d like to take down your number for the future,” I ask cordially.
“No I no have,” he says blankly, pulling his twenty pound cell phone from his pocket as it had just began to ring. “Apartment?” he asks us a moment later.
He is not the friendliest bloke, but he doesn’t seem particularly unfair either. My subsequent questions are answered with a no or yes, but the tone remains the same.
The apartment itself is sick; it’s almost as big as a military barracks bay. I bet one could create a roller rink in this place.
I give Mr. Wong a warm smile and inform him of what a pleasure it was to meet him and see such a wonderful loft. But Mr. Wong is not impressed. I quickly realize that Mr. Wong has laughed every laugh, seen every sight and lived every emotion, and no longer relates to fools like us.
But just as Joyce ends The Dead with a run of surprisingly evocative prose, Mr. Wong is determined to strike us. He produces a top hat, cane, rain jacket and motions Jason and myself to be silent, and then he breaks into “Singing in the Rain.” And the skies above darken, rain begins to fall, and Mr. Wong is twirling about, singing and singing.