Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Season One, Episode Thirteen: Taipei 101

‘What's that building there?’ Charlo' asked.
‘Taipei 101. The tallest building in the world.’
‘What's the view like?’
‘I don't know. The last time I was here, they were still building it. Some cranes fell off it during an earthquake. People got killed. It was Easter, I remember. I was in church.’
‘You don't strike me as the religious type.’
‘I must be getting old.’
‘Are you going to take me up there?’
‘Unlikely. Remember our deal. I only go out at night, you take care of the rest, you can go out as much as you like, day or night, unless I need you,’ Markus Bentley said.
They were staying at a Brother Hotel on the eastside of Taipei. Just like home. They had sat separately on the 12-hour flight. Wandered separately around Osaka Airport during the stopover. Gone separately through customs, but sat on the same bus into town. He had told her beforehand what to ask for.
The cab ride from the bus stop to the hotel had been quite an eye opener for her. She had never seen swarms of motorcycles fighting it out with yellow cabs and buses for the space closest to the traffic light.
‘That's funny,’ she had said of the green numbers counting down the seconds left to the red light for the pedestrians.
Charlo' had picked up some brochures at the airport, so she now had a vague idea of where to spend her days.
‘Are you going to creep out while I'm sightseeing?’ she asked, her back turned toward him as she contemplated Taipei 101.
‘Not a chance. I don't want to bump into someone I know.’
‘You must be a charmer, so many enemies in so many places.’
‘I need to stay in during the day. That's why you're with me. To represent me outdoors during daylight hours. We're fortunate things get dark early round here, at five o'clock,’ Markus said.
‘Anything else? Do you need me to do your laundry as well?’
He motioned her to go out.
She pursed her lips and looked away.
‘Sorry, I didn't mean it like that,’ he said as she passed by. Out she went.
He waited another twenty minutes before putting aside the Cormac McCarthy novel he had brought.
‘Am I going to be safe coming to your place?’ he asked on the cell phone he had picked up on the way into the hotel.
‘You know you'll always be welcome, as the son of your father,’ a gruff man's voice said on the other end.’
‘Would 9 o'clock be alright, in that spirit?’ Markus asked as he was wandering around his room.
‘Any time, any spirit,’ the man said.
Markus went to fetch his bag and produced the statuette of the three elders.
‘So here you are,’ he told the inanimate object.

Charlo' was strolling past the much too expensive fashion houses inside the mall at the foot of Taipei 101. She wasn't really focusing on the French and Italian brand names, but was juggling a green tea doughnut with a Blackberry. It worked in Taiwan, she was happy to find out.
‘Can you guess where I'm calling from?’
She didn't wait for the reply.
‘From Taiwan. He took me here, he's paying for everything, so he really trusts me.’
She stopped at Prada.
‘What do you mean I shouldn't be taking any measures against him? Of course, not, I'm just following him. I'm just worried he'll do something behind my back, but I can't stay with him all day long without him getting suspicious.’
A crumb fell from the doughnut on to the polished marble floor. She felt guilty not picking it up.
‘He says he's doing it for his sister. We'll see whether he ends up where we think he will,’ Charlo' said.
She giggled.
‘I'd better go up Taipei 101 because he will quiz me about the view. He's like that.’

NEXT: Markus Bentley meets the first elder in Taiwan in Season One, Episode Fourteen before February 3.

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Blogger Leon Basin said...

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11:21 AM  
Blogger Leon Basin said...

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9:41 AM  

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