In tribute to an old friend returning to Hanoi, I’ll post the below flash-fiction story which is actually more accurately described as a flash-non-fiction piece as it’s pretty much a highly exaggerated and slightly embellished “true” account of how he ended up stalking his own stalker when he was living here back in 2004-5.
None of the actual people’s names have been changed to protect their identity.
Daniel closed the menu after ordering his beefsteak, and looked up, only to see that man again, the one that kept turning up in the same places that Daniel did. He was staring at Daniel with a lascivious smile and a gamey air, as though, Daniel felt, he was trying to say, “I want you like I know you want me, anytime, anywhere, right now if you like, in the toilets or in the cheap hotel across the road, I’m yours”. Daniel had a strong suspicion this oddball was following him and found his presence completely off-putting. He cursed himself for not bringing a book, or anything to divert his attention, as he waited for his lunch. Between fiddling with his napkin and cutlery, stirring his coke with a straw and smoking cigarettes, no matter how hard he tried not to, he kept catching the man’s eyes, no doubt giving the wrong impression every time, as if he were replying, “Yes, me too, I want you like I know you want me, right after I finish my beefsteak.” Eventually he became so unsettled he stood up, thinking he’d have a leak, wash his hands and kill a few more minutes before his food arrived. He bounded across the restaurant towards the restroom, making sure this time he didn’t catch the man’s eyes, or even glance in his direction, as one more mixed message might end in some embarrassing scene.
Inside the toilets, when he pushed the cubicle door open, there, once again, was that man, sitting on the cistern in the middle of having a number two, with his hands covering his balls. Daniel froze for a moment with his hand on the door, staring in horror, until the man shrieked – “Stop following me you freak!”
2006 or 2007 Hanoi
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Tags: flash fiction, hanoi, stalker