James is a parasite, a leech. A homeless bum who goes around hunting for places to stay. Usually he leaves before the owners come back, however he chances upon one owner that he hope would not mind that he stayed.


James stopped walking and pretended to tie his shoe laces, his eyes never left the domestic helper walking 20 meters ahead of him. The helper chatted on her phone while dragging the shopping trolley, oblivious that she is being followed ever since she left the supermarket.

She reached for her condo access card and James resumed walking towards the helper. Timing his arrival at the point where she tapped her access card on the card reader, James appeared at the right time, helping her hold the gate open.

Helper : Thank you.

James : Welcome.

He let the helper go into the estate first before following her into the private compound. He has never come inside that condominium before but he acted as if he knew exactly where to go.

James walked in a leisure pace, not too fast, yet not too slow either.

There are 7 blocks in that estate. James caught a glimpse of a small map located near the side gate. He is heading towards one that is tuck away at the corner.

Just then, he saw a security guard come round the corner. James relaxed himself and took the initiative to say hi to the security guard, an old man in his late fifties.

James : Hey uncle, eat already ?

The security guard returned his friendly greeting with a wave.

Security guard : going for my lunch now

James : So hot the weather. You have a nice day.

Security guard : You too sir.

The moment James turned to away from the guard, the smile on his face disappeared. The trick is to always act like you belong.

Walking to the lobby of the tower he selected, James looked at the private access call panel to enter the lift. Instead of using that private lift, he chose to head around the back.

Private estates like this usually have two lifts. One for the residents, one for the contractors and delivery men. He found it tuck by a staircase and true enough, there is no need for any access card to use that lift.

James stepped in and took a brown parcel from his bag. It had a fake address label on it. No one gives a fuck about a delivery man looking at his phone with a parcel in hand.

He went up to the highest level and when the lift door opened, James came face to face with a resident doing her laundry in the yard.

James : Oops, sorry.

He pretended to look at the address on the fake parcel and went back into the lift. Taking it two levels down, he came out into a quiet yard.

There are only two units on each level, a luxury James will never be able to afford. Truth is, he cannot even afford a public housing with 10 units on the same level.

Everything he owned is on his bag right now, inside a decent looking backpack he stole.

James looked at the units and then at the laundry rack. The laundry rack has a mix of both male and female clothes. He touched the laundry, they are still damp. He takes the stairs down another level.

This time, only one unit has laundry out. The other one without laundry in the yard though has the lights in the kitchen on. James could see the shadow of someone moving about.

That level is out too.

He continued his descent.

He finally found a unit that ticked all the checkboxes in his list.

A unit on the 4th level.

No laundry in the yard, there are a couple of parcels and delivery sitting on the shoe cabinet. James opened the shoe cabinet and noticed it contained all female shoes and heels.

He checked the parcels and they bore names of female apparel brands on e-commerce platforms.

James pressed the doorbell and waited.

Then he knocked on the door.

James : Hi, delivery.

He waited a full 5 minutes before taking out a device he bought off the internet. Pressing the decoder to the electronic lock, it took all of 10 seconds before James heard the cheerful chime of the digital lock snapping back.

James opened the door and stepped into the house.

Shutting the door behind him, he peeked his head into the kitchen. It doesn’t look like there is anyone at home.

He cautiously checked the living and bedroom of the large three bedroom unit. There is a security camera on the TV console but it’s not switched on. Even the WIFI router is switched off.

From the pictures on the wall, James could tell the house is occupied by a single female owner.

A pretty one too.

He saw a portrait of the owner in her air stewardess uniform and found an A4 whiteboard with her flight schedule.

James looked at the old name tags of the house owner from another airline.

“Lydia”

Lydia will not be back until two days later.

James put down his bag and looked around the house.

He shall make himself at home. Looking at Lydia’s photos and choice of lingerie in her wardrobe, James smiled and his head twitched to the side like he could not control his muscles.

He’s going to stay in Lydia’s house, he’s going to sleep on her bed. He’s going to use her soap and shampoo. However, unlike the rest of the units he leeches off on, he cannot decide if he wants to be gone from Lydia’s place when she’s back.

Perhaps he can hide in the house, perhaps he can stay together with Lydia.


10100 words

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