Alien Alert

Nicholas Quirke was feeling the Beijing 7/11 shop assistant had cursed his Laowei hide on 14 April 2020 when he slipped on the steps of the premises and landed on his right butt cheek. He had cycled to an area which specialised in the selling of Tea and he was particularly looking forward to seeing the markets and outlets where the famous Chinese Teas were peddled. Along the route he had seen another National theatre, Closed an attractive canal bank and as he sped along capturing the sights the case of his GoPro broke off the ‘selfie stick’, limiting his filming ability. Still in quest of a suitable shoe, he had stopped at the Nike Factory outlet but the only item that took his fancy was not available in his size. He then started looking at the manifold tea establishments. The proprietors of first one he visited were charming and allowed him to photograph and showed him the variety of the expensive teas they had on offer. He was almost tempted to ask for a tea ceremony but his journey, so he thought, had only just begun. From here on it was tealess journey. Exotic window displays lured him into shops and markets, yet at at the portal of every establishment he attempted to get into his approach was stopped, despite the doors being open and within the business hours. Whatever was being said was not inviting and he wondered that’s they could so happily give up the prospect of selling tea if it was to an outsider. It was frustrating and then boring and he gave up deciding instead to have a drink and he called into an open 7/11 where his temperature was checked by an English speaking assistant. Finally he thought a friendly face. “Where are you from?” he was asked. “UK”. “That’s Ok. You can stay.”, “If I said I was American, would I not be welcome?”. “No. But UK is OK”. Nicholas laughed and went to buy a drink, yet when he got to the counter, the assistant was literally cowering from him, pointing him to place the drink on the counter where he stretched his reader at arms length and did the same with Nicholas’s phone number. It was as if he were the devil incarnate and he felt quite sad as he left the shop. At this point he slipped on the step and landed on his ass. Remembering the concerns of the doctor who thought if he fell his bones were liable to snap so deficient was he in calcium, he worried for a moment that serious damage had been done.He felt the strain on the muscles on his back but otherwise he was ok and as no one coming into the shop to out of bothered to help him, he gathered himself and set off for the safety of home. As ever, Peng came to the rescue with a miraculous Japanese equivalent of Ralgex and identified a replacement case which would arrive tomorrow for his GO-Pro. His experience in Tea City proved to him that he was still viewed as a foreigner, and even through lockdown was slowly being lifted, normally sensible people were still afraid of the unknown and the threat that an alien might bring.


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