Truth is stranger than fiction. That is what I keep telling myself tonight. This is a bit of a story, so bear with me.
My wife and I live in a three level village house in the New Territories of HK. Our house is on the outskirts of one of the nicer, more secure villages in NT. However, being on the outskirts of the village, some of our neighbors still live in older shack-like houses.
Just across the path from our house is a beat up old shack where a man and a woman live. The guy is about 40; the woman looks about 60. He’s a local with land rights but not enough sense to capitalize on those rights like most locals do. We’re pretty sure that they were never married. None of the older families in the village ever really talked to them. They are simple country people, or rednecks if you will. Other than the daily hello, we didn’t really speak to them much until this past week.
About six months ago, they brought home an extremely handsome dog. He’s a mutt, but he has a pretty large, firm build compared to the average mixed-breed. His fur is light brown with a red sheen on the tips. He’s very calm and gentle, but a bit shy with humans. These neighbors don’t really have a yard and so they pretty much kept the dog, Lucky, as a semi-stray. They didn’t feed him well. I don’t think they ever gave him proper dog food and I’m sure that he didn’t get enough protein. He has lost a lot of muscle over the past six months and just doesn’t have the same energy as when we first saw him. We started feeding him fresh meat a few months ago and he started to let his guard down with us.
About 10 days ago, Lucky was hit by a car. His back right femur was badly broken. As dogs often do when they’re hurt, he tried to avoid humans for a few days. It was hard for us to get close enough to examine his wound. It wasn’t a compound fracture, but his back leg was clearly fucked up. The neighbor didn’t do anything. Finally, we asked him on Saturday if he would mind if we took the dog to the vet and looked after him. We didn’t really get a chance to ask him straight away if we could have the dog because he started rambling on about all kinds of nonsense. This was the first lengthy conversation we had ever had with the guy, and it quickly became clear that he was as nutty as a Mars bar. He told us that he has just seen the Virgin Mary that day. He asked my wife to tell Bishop Joseph Zen about that. Then he told my wife that he had been involved in the triads 20 years ago but had left; 14k was still looking for him and wanted to do him in. Yeah, right. Then he told us that he had escaped from a mental hospital about two years ago and that Lee Kaishing wanted to kill him or something. To top it all off, he told us that even though he loved the woman he lived with, he had to be very careful around her because she was a communist spy sent to HK by the central government. Absolutely fucking schizo. It was easier living next to the guy when we didn’t know just how crazy he was.
So we took Lucky to the vet and were referred to an orthopedic surgeon. We decided that no matter what, we’re adopting this dog. His femur was badly broken and had to be shortened. They used plates to put it back together. The vet called this evening and said that Lucky was just waking up from surgery and that we should be able to bring him home tomorrow.
When I got back to the village this evening, there was a police van, fire truck and ambulance in the parking lot just up the hill from our house. At first I thought there was a hillside fire since there were a few firemen. Then I walked down the path toward our house. The path goes by the nutty neighbors house. There were about half a dozen cops and 4 or 5 EMTs at the entrance of the guys little house (it’s right on the path). They wore masks as they went in and out of the house. I knew right away that the guy must have killed himself. Two hours later, after they had finished their scene investigation, they wheeled him out in a white vinyl bag. I’ve seen a few corpses before, a couple uncovered, but this was the first time I’d ever seen the body of a person who had committed suicide. The feeling, the lump in my throat, was colder than any feeling I’ve had before.
Just after they wheeled the guy out, I noticed his companion standing with the police on the path. She must have been there for a few minutes and had probably been up at the police van when I had walked down to my house. Once they had packed this guy up, the cops left the scene and this poor lady was left all alone to lock up the house and leave. I felt sorry for her when I saw her walking up to the bus stop alone. I figured she was going to stay with relatives for the night.
My wife had been out for the evening. She called to tell me that she was on the bus back to the village just after the old lady had locked up and left her house. I thought the ambulance and body might still be up the hill, so I went up to the bus stop to walk with my wife back down to our house. I knew she would be uncomfortable if she saw a corpse. When I got to the bus stop, the old lady was there. She came over to talk to me. At first I didn’t understand what she was saying but eventually caught on that she was asking if she could stay at our place for the night. I had never really spoken to this lady before. I asked her if she had any family to go to and she said no. I figured that the Christian thing to do would be to put her up for the night, but I was a little unsettled since I knew she’s pretty nutty herself. I told her that I’d have to wait for my wife to arrive and then ask if it was ok with her. Actually, I had pretty well decided to let her stay unless the wife strongly objected. The way I saw it, I’d be losing a night of sleep no matter what. If I turned her away, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. If I took her in, I’d be uncomfortable with her being in my house. This lady is at least half as crazy as her companion, but it seemed to me that if she had to ask a stranger for a place to sleep, then she must be pretty desperate.
My wife agreed to let her stay, but it is extremely awkward. My wife was probably one of the last people to speak to the guy who killed himself, and it makes her pretty uncomfortable to now have this woman sleeping on our floor. There’s not necessarily anything rational about the way my wife felt, but I can still understand why she was really uncomfortable. This lady has bruises all over her face from where her companion beat her. He had kicked her out on Saturday. She doesn’t seem at all sad that the guy is dead and she said that she saw it coming. I don’t know what to think of that. The lady is also really inconsistent. One minute she says she has a daughter or sister or friend that she stayed with the previous night, but then she says she has nowhere to stay. She woke up a while ago and asked us if she could stay until APRIL 28! We politely said no. I realize that she is problaby under a good bit of emotional strain, but one night is all my wife and I can give this lady.
That’s about the most fucked up story I’ve ever told, much less ever been involved in. My nerves are a bit tense right now. Maybe I’ll feel better after getting some sleep.