All in a Night’s Work

We arrived in China.  It was not like I thought it would be.  The city was enormous.  It was called Chunking.  We went to the hotel.  It was large, modern looking in a Chinese minimalist style.  The room was comfortable, but there was one wall, convex, made of glass blocks, floor to ceiling, a translucent blue meant to reflect and refract the light in all sorts of ways.  It overlooked the bed.  I had a feeling that whoever was on the other side of the glass had an unrefracted and clear view of our room.  The bathroom was very large.  It was bathed in the same shade of blue.  It was rectangular in shape.  No windows and nothing on the walls.  In the very center was a toilet.  That was it.

This is part of a larger trip.  From here, are going to Europe, where we have plans in France and Italy.  E. asks me when we are leaving China, and from what city.  I told her that I had made no plans since I didn’t know where in China we would be.  She looked at me and said that this seemed like a problem.  I agreed.


I had parked my car in front of our house.  The two shrubs near the driveway on the left side had overgrown terribly and were in need of attention.  The cutting garden on the left side of the house was in much better shape.  All sorts of things were in bloom.  But there was some dark plastic paper on top of what should have been a part of the flower garden.  I could not remember why I put it there, or why I left it there.  Then I saw the two large white boxes, with my initials on them, placed next to the side of the house.  I knew that there were flowers from the florist, that they were for my party, and that I was not supposed to see them.

I went into the house.  E told me that “the boys want to talk to you about the hully mully”.  I did not know what she was talking about.  I went into another room.  The elderly man who also lived in the house was there; he was tall, bony, angular.  Maybe he was 80.  One of his two sons came over to me, the one with the four day beard.  He introduced himself, although I couldn’t make out his name.  I wondered why he did that, since I knew him because we shared the house with his family.

I sat down with him and his brother.  They told me that they had invested money of the fund into the hully mully, that things had not worked out well, and they didn’t know if they should sell it, at what price and to whom.  I was confused.  They didn’t tell me what the hully mully was.  They obviously thought I knew.  I couldn’t be too obvious, so I told them that I needed context, and asked what else they were doing with the fund.  With an exasperated look on his face, the brother with the mushed up name went into a long and extraordinarily detailed description of all of the activities of the fund.  I didn’t understand a bit of it.  Their father appeared, as if out of nowhere.  He had a very troubled look, and told me that this was really a big problem.  I asked him what the problem was.  He told me that the boys had lost so much money on the hully mullly.

The boys got up.  Neither had a beard growth now.  They looked like younger identical twins.  Both dressed in black suits, white shirts and ties.  They held hands and walked up the stairs.  Their father asked me what they should do.  I told him that this really wasn’t my field; he said he knew that.

Another elderly man came in.  The old father said:  “Alfred, my friend, good to see you.”  The hully mully seemed forgotten.  I seemed forgotten as well.  I got up and went into the kitchen.  A big kitchen, almost institutional.  E. was cooking.  A man, about my age, walked through singing opera at the top of his lungs.  His voice was good.  Rabbi Miller was there.  She looked at him and then at me and said:  “I bet you hate that, don’t you?”.


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