It began about 6 or 7 years ago. My friends and I would meet at Hurgadah on Hyde for coffees and breakfast on Saturday morning back in that brief time when we all lived within walking distance of one another. We'd be sitting there, enjoying ourselves, and then suddenly he would walk by. He seemed to zero in on me- my friends affirmed this- it wasn't my imagination. He has such a distinct appearance one really can't mistake him for anyone else. Picture the love child of Alan Cumming and the Area 53 Alien, born somewhere in a Chinese hinterland. I call him The Little Chinese Man.
The Little Chinese Man has been following me around San Francisco for years now and his appearances are growing more frequent. Now this is a small town, where you will see everyone, and I do mean everyone, you've ever met, drank with, slept with and antagonized again. It may take years, but it will happen. This is something different. This is a haunting. This is a hunt. I see him on my street sometimes. My job recently relocated to an entirely different part of downtown and I rarely take the same route home on a regular basis and yet there he is. Coming toward me. He's like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Except of course he's not. He's so slim and pale it's startling. His pants, always too short, and very tight around his junk, are always clean and pressed. He often wears a little jacket that never goes beyond the waist. He minces. His face has an expression that seems to be a perpetual pucker but it betrays nothing beyond a vague, sinister hunger. I see him everywhere. Including on the street where I live. I guess I have seen him at least 60 times now. Only once was he standing still, talking into a cell phone with obvious angst at the Galleria outside the Ralph Lauren store.
When I spot him, and I am a safe distance away, I usually send a text to my friend the Reverend Brown, identifying the location, who can only laugh at this urban hunt. The thread now has 51 entries...It has been suggested that I go up to him and introduce myself. Maybe that would break the cycle. I don't think I can do it.
Today I saw him at Market and Montgomery- a corner new to our long and ever-increasing list of chance (?) encounters and I knew I needed to take his picture. I started to follow him but he quickly vanished as if he had eyes in the back of his head and sensed my pursuit. Then from a great distance I saw him and snapped this photograph. Real evidence of what? My spectre? A doppelganger? Who is he and what does he want with me?
I'm on a mission now. I will get a photograph of the Little Chinese Man and I will share it and someone will tell me about him. Who he is and if he has a trust fund.
He's not the figure in blue- that's some woman who got in front of him. No, he's just beyond her- that slight, barely perceptible, quickly fading from view mincing man who can't weigh more than 100 lbs. He may just be the scariest man alive.