Slack Slacker Meets Dragon Lady, The Ghost Hunter of Chinatown
Despite the fact that our office manager KLB remains heavily sedated, restrained and under 24 hour observation in Bellevue Hospital’s mental ward due to her violent reaction to me, Slack Slacker, being appointed to ferret out underperforming employees with unacceptable attendance issues, I want everyone to know, I don’t take KLB’s efforts to strangle and bludgeon me personally. In fact, I was at my desk contemplating what I could’ve done to contribute to her sudden loss of sanity, when an unbelievable set of circumstances unfolded that prevented my presence in the office today. That said, considering my new responsibilities, I feel compelled to offer a detailed account of those circumstances in order to set an example for others to follow. Please Read.
It was 3:49 PM when I got a call from my best bud Slick Slimy with an offer to hook up with a couple of chaps we’d lost touch with years ago. Dingy Dong and Chop Chewy had just returned from Beijing with a shit load of bootlegged movies, software and knockoff acupuncture needles, wanted to meet in Chinatown for a little chit chat and a lot of Dim Sum. Slick always had an eye out for fast buck opportunities, so I thought I’D tag along and agreed to meet the three of them in the lobby at 4:30 PM sharp. They were late. But it was cool. Chop struck up a friendly conversation with our Chinese cabby in Mandarin and we not only got a free ride to Chinatown, but the cabby took us to where he said was the best Dim Sum to be found in New York.
When we arrived at Hot Wang’s Chinese Soul Food, he told us to tell the head waiter, Li Lo sent us. Dingy was starving and Chop wanted a cocktail asap. Entering Hot Wang’s we had high expectations. The joint was lit up with aromas from Jiangsu, an eastern-central coastal provence of the People’s Republic of China. The atmosphere alone taunted and teased one’s senses. We told the waiter a guy named Li recommended this spot and with a big welcoming smile, he directed us to a quiet booth in the back. “Great”, Slick said, “we can talk over old times and new deals without bothering others too much after a few Zombies.” Besides, both Slick and I thought the joint had a little extra class the way the room completely illuminated with odd looking lotus lanterns and the chinese writings on them. But when Dingy and Chop saw similar lanterns floating in a small garden-like pond centered in the middle of the room, they suddenly became nervous and wanted to leave. “Yo, what’s up?” Slick wanted to know. “You two look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”
“Not yet”, Chop said, “but it might not be long before we all do.” “Shut up,” says Dingy, “they don’t need to know this, we should just get out of here right now.” “It may be too late for that says Chop.” “They need to be prepared.” Chop looked us both in the eyes and said, “this ain’t no Dim Sum joint, this is the House of Dragon Lady, the ghost hunter of Chinatown.” “Get the Fu@k outta here” Slick says, and yells for a round of Zombies to be sent over to our table. “That was a big mistake,” Dingy said and he was right, because just then, patrons from other parts of the restaurant began slowly rising from their seats and dragging themselves toward us. Glassy-eyed and mindless, some staggered a bit, but their destination was obvious and their intentions were dubious at best. “Dingy, you’re right let’s blow this joint” I say. “No” Dingy says, “Chop was right, it’s too late.”
Fu@k that, before they could advance much further, Slick saw an opening and I spotted the kitchen door left ajar. We bolted past the zombie-like mob gathering closer, dragging Chop along. Dingy Dong wasn’t quick enough.Rather than haul ass with us, he hesitated. And it took only a touch of the hand from one of these walking nightmares with wet noodles dripping from their chins to turn Dingy into one of them. He too wanted to touch somebody.
Not looking back, we made our way past an angry cook staff and found ourselves heading down a spiraling staircase into a sub sub basement which led us to a long dark corridor of locked rooms filled with screams of pain and agony. But under the circumstances, none of us had any inclination to investigate. We had to move fast because the last door at the end of this long dark corridor looked like a dead end. We thought we’d had a stroke of luck when the door opened with the first turn of the knob, but as you’d imagine, we were wrong. Horribly wrong.
Standing next to a life sized jade statue of herself – which had to be worth a fortune – was an aging but eerily beautiful Chinese woman with a long smoldering cigarette dangling from her lips. She glared at Chop and asked him if he’d told us the truth? When Chop responded, he did so respectfully, saying no, there wasn’t time. Hearing the sobs and cries of the poor souls trapped behind all those locked doors growing louder by the moment and having no plan of escape, Slick and I figured an explanation would be helpful right now. Wrong again. Horribly wrong.
Chop apologized saying his Mandarin wasn’t as good as he’d pretended it to be. He told us he realized our Chinese cabby Li Lo was actually working for the Dragon Lady when he and Dingy read the names of the dead on the odd lotus lanterns. The cabby was to steer unsuspecting strangers to the House of Dragon Lady for the purpose of using their bodies to temporarily host the ghosts of Chinese ancestors. These ghosts were the ones who refused to return to Hell after being released on the 15th of the seventh lunar month every year. According to Chinese mythology, the ghosts of ancestors are allowed to roam the earth during Chinese Ghost Month. While doing so, ghosts with families will visit and receive sacrifices, ghosts alone will wander the streets seeking food, entertainment and other things they may desire. But no matter what, they must return to Hell or be returned. If not, they’ll possess any body they can to continue enjoying the world of the living. Possession is always painful for the possessed. The ghosts feel nothing but the pleasures of being alive.
It’s the Dragon Lady’s mission to hunt the wayward ghosts down and subdue them in another’s body until the gates of Hell reopened again. If innocents must be used to capture the ghosts, the Dragon Lady tries to use only the useless. They wouldn’t be missed. So, when we came in for Dim Sum, the waiter who seated us in the back knew we’d been selected to host a ghost ancestor. Apparently, unsuspecting strangers go missing in Chinatown all the time, only to reappear some day, dazed, confused and hungry for some good Lo Mein. And as fate would have it, this was to be our fates, because when the Dragon Lady walked over and flicked the ashes from her long unfiltered cigarette in our faces, she’d placed the ghost of a Chinese ancestor from Hell into all three of us.
Instantly, we were no longer alone in our own skins. We began to have memories of lives we’d never lived. Slick and Chop were like the other patrons, glassy-eyed, mindless and beginning to scream like those we’d heard behind all those locked doors in the log dark corridor. Luckily, I wasn’t affected that way. I didn’t think it was all that bad. I actually felt smarter. I understood math. I just wanted to play some ping pong. However, I couldn’t leave. The Dragon Lady said the gates of Hell wouldn’t reopen until the summer of 2017 and I’d have to remain with the others until then. So, I’m hoping for your prayers and a lot of luck to help me find a solution to this dilemma before Monday morning. Otherwise, who knows.
Sincerely Slack Slacker