“Got air roots, man. Air. Roots. Nicky-boy. No home needed.” Alec laughs. “The world is my living room. Not like you, everything planned, everything calculated…” He yawns. “Hey, Nicky! How long till we get there?”
“Thirty minutes. And that’s an excuse. You know that, don’t you?” I raise an eyebrow. Alec’s being silly again. Don’t make me laugh- air roots. My travel companion is a smart guy, sometimes clumsy on purpose. Three years younger than me, and he is the human simile to a bag full with cats. A bit crazy, if you ask me… But I’m not the usual kind of normal either.
We stick together, since – Tung Chung, I guess. We first met on Lantau Island, by the Giant Buddha. He caught a pickpocket, and gave me my decoy-wallet back. We traveled back together, discovered that we lived in the same hotel and had some other things in common too. Like our affinity to booze and ignorance. Which already brought us in hell’s kitchen. Well, not exactly… It was Wang’s kitchen. And we had great time, washing and crushing dishes, emptying some bottles of vodka, shattering some more, till police showed up.
No vodka for them. Those guys have absolutely no sense of humor. It took me lots of effort to get us out. And my diplomatic abilities are not exactly what you call…persuasive. But where words fail, money talks. We left an hour later for Macau, with almost no money left.
Macau is good. Specially for me, or us. We need money and for that, it is- perfect. The magic word is: CASINO.
“Hey.” I jog him with my elbow. “What you’ve got left? I’ve got thousand HK-Dollars.”
“Thirty bucks.” He yawns. “Everything is replaceable… That’s a promise, Nick. I’ll get you the bail back, and then…”
“… You know that guy?” Alec asks, voice tensed. Looking sleep drunken, I know he’s alert. “The one with the tiger tattoo on the lower arm. Two rows to the left, observing the reflections on the windows.” I stretch to get a better look. I try to eyeball him.
“I bet it’s a fine sleeve. Good art. I saw that earlier today before we had that nice little chat about the bill…” His low voice and closed eyes make this whole scene surreal. “Did you manage to piss someone off, on you own, Nicky-boy?” Relaxing in these blue seats of the ferry, pretending to be asleep, thinking…
“Not that I recall…” I can’t tell.
“Could be coincidence… But only idiots would believe that. Wake me up, when we arrive.”
“You honestly want to sleep?! Alec you’re crazy.”
“No. Nick. We aren’t going to get sleep in – dunno- two or three days. Whatever happens, happens. Relax. There is nothing to be done for now. Why not recharge? If you are concerned, then be on guard – only thirty minutes left, anyway.” Alec’s words bubble up from his slumber. He’s already dozed off…
“Right…” I guess. Still… Tsk, admirable… This is going to be interesting-
“Don’t worry. Tiger-guy must be hunting for money. Nothing else makes sense.”