Ed leans against the bathroom stall. He knocks.

“Yes!” Ed’s student calls out from the other side, in Chinese.

“Spiderman?” Ed asks.


“How old are you?”

There is a pause. I light a cigarette; Ed too.


I frown. “His name is Spider-Man?”

Ed shrugs. “I guess. They let them pick their names.”

“So what’s his real name?”

Ed looks at the stall. “Spider-Man! What’s your real name?”

“Yes!” Spider-Man calls.

Ed sighs. “Well, anyways,” he continues, “this kid can’t be more than four and we’ve been working here, what, two days?”

I nod.

“Yeah, so, what do they really know about us? I mean, they didn’t even ask for my passport. You?”


Ed thinks through a few drags.

“This would never fly in England. I mean, I’m a grown man. A strange grown man. I was just observing in the back of the class and the teacher put his hand in mine and said bathroom.”

“Just bathroom?”

“That’s it. I don’t think she knows much more English than that to be honest.”

I chuckle, commiserate.

“Well,” Ed says, “I mean, it’s like I said. I’m just a strange man. And this bathroom is way out here, down the hall. And you know the stairwell is right there.”

He points through the wall. I know where he means.


“Yeah, so, I got to the end of the hall and just stopped and looked at the stairwell and thought, well, I could just take this boy down those stairs and be gone.”

I frown. Ed holds up his hands.

“Not saying I would or wanted to, just saying, a bit irresponsible.”

My cigarette is almost finished. I walk to the sink and place it in the make-shift ash tray. There is a flush. Spiderman comes out of the stall. He really can’t be more than four. He waves at me. Ed motions to the sinks. He washes his hands then Spiderman and I wait while Ed finishes the last drags on his cigarette.

“China is weird, huh?” I ask.

“Yes!” Spider-Man cries, picking his nose.


A Writer and an artist living in Russia

7 Comment on “You Could Kidnap Spiderman if You Wanted To

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