When I barbacked in Soho Manse, I could always count on unsnorted coke on the toilet seat lids. Five or six times a night I’d go there, blub my finger, rub the powder, and dub my gums. Sometimes I’d discover money too. Rolled twenties, forgotten or discarded by those too rich and high to care. It got so I’d spend more time in the bogs than on the floor. In the end, though, I lost that job because somebody’s girlfriend tried to stick her tongue all up in my palate. Dude, said my friend. Don’t you know who she is? She’s the future Mrs Me, I intoned, grand enough. Except she wasn’t, of course. I got a job in another club, one with the acrid plastic smell of crack in the toilets and forgotten, discarded bic tubes on the floor, and I saw her there too, looking less fancy. Again, she wanted to kiss, but I’d learnt my lesson. Dude, said my colleague. Don’t you know who she was? No, I told him, but I know who I am.

Christopher James
The Vagrants
Yiyun Li