I'm ashamed at how badly I've loused things up. I should have done better than this. I'm in Taipei after all, one of Asia's little El Doradoes.
But things here aren't quite what they used to be. Just look what's happened. Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo--they've all fallen to their knees, faces everywhere with the stunned look of someone who's been slapped \by a hand out of nowhere. Given all that's gone down, I shouldn't be so hard on myself. Maybe I should give myself a break.
Still, global economic factors don't matter much in my case. If Taipei isn't the gold mine it used to be, so what? That has little to do with my own doggy fate. My failure, I'm saying, should be chalked up to my account.
It all goes back to my leaving a red paper folder on a chair at the airport. I'm talking about the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport just outside Taipei. I left a red paper folder there. A pretty simple mistake really. Any of you may have done it, and you've probably made even worse mistakes in your lives. I'm willing to bet you've made worse mistakes than any of mine, if you want the truth.
There I go again--can't ever keep a lid on it. Here I'm just admitting my own guilt and I have to drag you into it too. I need to learn to clip the rant in the bud.
There's something I don't understand though. Even with all the irresponsible, crackpot things you've done, even with all that, you always manage to get by without much trouble. You manage to slip through unscathed. I don't understand it--how you do it I mean. But that's how it is with readers--you're a lucky bunch. And you know very well, you've known it all along, that we writers, writers like me I mean, we're never as lucky as you. You take that for granted.
"It's the way the world is. Anyone who spends so much time scribbling in notebooks deserves what they get." That's how you see it, right?
With an attitude like that it's no wonder you're so ready to get your kicks at our expense. You watch us stumble, and you laugh. That's how it works, am I wrong? You laugh at me or at anyone else foolish enough to work so many months at something and make not a dime off it in the end. You take us writers for idiots or obsessives. Your every remark proves it too. I can see straight through your "interest in contemporary literature." You're interested in literature the same way people in the 19th century were interested in freakshows. You think I don't know what you're after? I do.
Still I'll give you no freakshows here, only the truth. So be prepared not to get what you want. And it you don't like it, too bad. You can fuck off already for all I care.
My mistake, I was saying, was initially pretty innocent. If I hadn't left that red folder behind at the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, everything could have been different. I wouldn't now be telling you such a wayward and depressing story for one thing. And the story I'm telling here--actually it's the most wayward and depressing story I've ever heard. I’d never believe it myself if I hadn’t been stuck in the middle of it.
On to Chapter 2