The old tailor was stripped and tied to a telephone pole with an iron chain. Under the gazes of the crowd, his old face was flushed with shame. He was already speechless. He just clasped his hands together as he begged, but the "Impressionist" wasn’t fazed. He was fiddling with the combination lock seriously.
The "Impressionist" said, "This is a combination lock with six digits. If you have the ability, try to open it yourself, or if you pay the money, we’ll open it for you..." Then he looked around at everyone. "No one is allowed to give him food or drinks. Otherwise, you’ll be locked with this old thing, understood?"
The "Impressionist" sniffed hard and took out a list of creditors from his pocket. "Who is the other cunt named XX?"
The crowd pointed to a man. "That’s him!"
The man was so scared that he fled back to his house. The "Impressionist" sneered, "He dares to run?" Then he and his subordinates went straight to the man's house. Passing by the residents, he said to a grinning face, "You poor people owe so many debts. I might as well simply move to this broken alley so that I don’t have to come all the way to collect debts every day."
Then, he kicked the door down to the second creditor’s house and the subordinates rushed in. There were sounds of rough movement inside.
A portion of the onlookers rushed over and continued to watch the live show.
Ms. Zhang's mouth was dry from deshelling the melon seeds. She began to head back home to make some chrysanthemum tea to drink. She had picked some chrysanthemums in the park in September and it was right about time to drink now that they had dried.
The moment she turned her head, she saw a face tightly wrapped in bandages in the attic of Kaowei's house. The person was very alert and retracted as soon as they were seen.
Ms. Zhang was taken aback for a moment and went home suspiciously.
Kaowei didn’t get off work until late at night. When she walked to the alley, she was shocked. She saw a naked man sitting on the ground with an iron chain around his neck, like some kind of weird performance art. He had his head lowered as if doing something.
"Who are you?!" Kovi exclaimed.
The old tailor looked up. He could hardly hold on after not eating or drinking for the day. He pointed to his chapped lips. "Water..."
"Old tailor? Who tied you here? Was it a debt collector? They’re too much. They should just collect debts, but they bully people every time. Are those who owe debts inferior to others?"
Kaowei gritted her teeth, thinking that she was dragged away by a bunch of debt collectors not long ago who said that she was going to be sent to be a prostitute. Kaowei had no choice but to take out the few gold jewellery that Wang Xi had given her. No matter how poor she was, she couldn't bear to take them out. In order to save herself, she had to take them out to pay a little interest to avoid her miserable end.
Once a person is poor, there are many things that can't be helped and they can only struggle day by day.
A woman's face appeared in the window beside them and she said coldly, "Brother Mo said that no one can give him food or drinks, or they’ll be tied up with him. Little Wei, don't seek trouble."
Kaowei shook her head helplessly and walked towards her home.
The bandaged man cooked at home again. Although he used the ingredients found in Kaowei's house, he was also putting in work by cooking. Still, his skills were quite good. Kaowei was too embarrassed to ask for the money from the ingredients back.
Kaowei went to the attic. The bandaged man was writing and drawing on a piece of paper. When he saw her coming up, he immediately put the paper away.
"You don't need to cook so many dishes. We can't eat it all... Oh, right, I bought you something. I think your face seems to be injured. This oil is very good for burns." She placed the bottle of ointment in front of the bandaged man.
The bandaged man picked it up and looked at it without saying anything.
"You don't have to go to work and just stay at home every day? Did you see the old tailor being bullied today? Those people are debt collectors. They’re so hateful. Most of the people here are in debt. It’s not that we want to owe them, but when you’re in urgent need of money and can’t borrow any, you can only borrow high-interest loans. In the beginning, I could only repay a little bit of the interest every month. Gradually, it became an unrepayable debt... By the way, this ursury group was the one Wang Xi belonged to. They’re still inquiring about the whereabouts of Wang Xi. I’m guessing he’s still alive!"
"Definitely not dead," said the bandaged man.
"Really?" Kaowei was very happy.
"If his body is found, the police will definitely come to you in order to confirm the identity of the body. If the police haven’t come, it proves that he isn’t dead, or the body hasn’t been found."
Kaowei’s joy subsided again. She complained, "Why say such horrible things so seriously? I know he isn’t dead. He must be hiding. He can't come find me right now because the people from the underworld spread news that as long as people report him, they will be rewarded with hundreds of thousands. The neighbors around me are always keeping tabs on me and want to make this money."
The bandaged man looked out of the window, and Kaowei looked as well. From this angle, he could see the old tailor tied to the telephone pole. After playing with the lock all day, his eyes were almost blind, and his mouth was dry. He was lying next to the gutter drinking the dirty water inside.
"People will do anything to survive." said the bandaged man.
Kaowei frowned, "I hate hearing such high and mighty words the most. What did you do in the past? You must not have been a poor person like us! I guess you must have been rich and powerful. You offended someone to become what you are now!"
The bandaged man looked up at her and said coldly, "I can't tell you."
Kaowei became even angrier. "Tch, as if I really want to know. I'm leaving. Don't come down tonight!"
There was a knock on the door outside. Kaowei opened the door and Ms. Zhang's smiling face poked in. Ms. Zhang glanced towards the attic and asked, "Hey, who are you talking to? Is there someone upstairs? "
"It's a tenant."
"Tenant?" Ms. Zhang looked suspicious, then lowered her voice and probed, "Wang Xi is back, right?"
"No, it's really a tenant."
"Then can I take a look at what he looks like?"
"Nonsense, I heard you talking just now."
Ms. Zhang insisted on going upstairs and Kaowei couldn’t stop her. Ms. Zhang poked her head into the attic and saw someone sitting cross-legged in the dark with his face facing the wall. She said, "Hello, I live next door. What do you do? Why don't you speak? Turn around for a bit. Why are you so shy?" As she said this, she patted the floor with her hands as if she was trying to get a cat hidden under the bed to come over to her.
However, that "cat" didn't give her face. Ms. Zhang tsked and went downstairs. Seeing Kaowei, her smile returned. "The young couple hasn't seen each other for such a long time, so enjoy your reunion. I won't bother you."
"He isn’t Wang Xi. He’s really a tenant."
"You can hide it from others, but you can’t keep it from me. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone." Ms. Zhang raised her eyebrows.
At this time, there was a sound of ‘dong dong dong’ coming downstairs. Ms. Zhang looked back in surprise and saw the bandaged man walking down. He said coldly, "You’re testing my identity so that you can get a reward from the underworld."
"Why do you think people are so bad? I’m a neighbor. It's normal for me to come over for a chat."
"I’ll tell you clearly. I’m not Wang Xi. If you want to expose me, go ahead. I’m not afraid even if the triads come, but if they come, you should be afraid of me. If I teach you a lesson, would you dare to call the police?"
Ms. Zhang's face both paled and flushed. She said to Kaowei, "I'm still boiling water on the stove, so I should hurry back."
When she walked out of Kaowei's house, she snorted towards the door. It was unpleasant to be threatened by someone who pointed right at her nose. She said to herself, "Hmph, you want to scare me? This guy must be Wang Xi!"
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