Alfred Fox Presents "Mr Chang's Restaurant"
A short story by Alfred Fox Presents. Exclusive to Hubpages. Alfred Fox is a published author who writes violent and horrifying material. His writing, which is sometimes humorous will still, no doubt, leave you shocked, disturbed and provoked.
Alfred Fox Presents ..........
Mr Chang's Restaurant
Charlie Grimshaw lived in London, England. He was sixteen years old, an only child, and his mother and father had doted on him his entire life. During the Summer holidays if Charlie wasn't away snowboarding in Southern France with his parents, or laying with them on some beach in North Africa, Charlie could always be found playing hockey outside the front of his house with his friends.
This Summer, Charlie had just spent the first two weeks of his Summer holidays in Morocco with his parents and had four weeks remaining before he had to return to school. Playing Hockey outside with his friends, Charlie took great delight in telling them that he had to go to Mr Chang's restaurant to collect his dinner, ignoring their cries for him to at least finish the game. It was usually a Friday night that Charlie's parents would ask him to collect their Chinese order from Mr Chang's restaurant and Charlie had never took much convincing. Charlie loved Mr Chang's food, since the restaurant had opened on their street three years ago, Charlie and his family must have ordered food from Mr Chang's restaurant, hundreds of times.
Mr Chang was an elderly old man, he had originally opened his restaurant with his wife when they had both retired to England from China. It had always been their dream to retire to another country and run their own restaurant. Sadly, it had only been a few years into running their own business when Mr Chang's wife had fallen ill and had passed away. Mr Chang returned to China to bury his wife, however, instead of moving back to China for good, he decided to return to England to carry on running the restaurant on his own, keeping his wife's dream alive as much as his own.
Rushing across the street, Charlie Grimshaw had moved pretty swiftly for a boy of his size. He wasn't naturally overweight, it had more to do with his spoiled upbringing, always being given whatever he wanted, mixed with his unnaturally greedy appetite. Charlie loved food more than anything, some would say he loved it more than anyone. Charlie was twice the size of any other child his age and he often used that to his advantage, bullying other children at school and in his street.
As Charlie approached Mr Chang's restaurant, he stopped for a second as he caught sight of Mr Chang kneeling down on the ground outside. He had always hated Mr Chang, loved his food but hated the old man, ever since Mr Chang had accidentally served him up one less chicken ball than was advertised on the menu. Eleven balls instead of the much needed twelve. Charlie had got his own back, Charlie always got his own way or his own back, spreading a nasty rumor.....
After Mr Chang's wife had died, Charlie had told the other children in the neighborhood that Mr Chang had killed his wife. That he had cut her body up into little pieces before cooking her in a big pot in the kitchen restaurant. He told everybody that Mr Chang had then served her up to his guests by hiding her flesh inside the chicken balls, and would watch on from behind the counter as his guests poured the sweet and sour sauce over their food, unaware that it was mixed with Mrs Chang's blood. Charlie never expected people to really believe the rumor about Mr Chang, but when the rumor spread, Charlie was ecstatic.
Watching Mr Chang return to his feet, Charlie had to stop himself from heaving when he saw the dead bird in Mr Chang's hands. The bird which Charlie recognized to be a pigeon, was covered in its own blood and guts. Shocked to see Mr Chang take the dead animal into his restaurant, Charlie decided to wait a few minutes and compose himself before he entered. Finally opening the door and stepping inside, Mr Chang was nowhere to be seen, so Charlie rang the bell on the counter to get Mr Chang's attention.
“Hello Charlie, are you here to collect your order?" Asked Mr Chang in his wheezy Asian accent, as he appeared from behind the curtains at the back of the restaurant.
"Yes, is it ready ... it should be ready, mother ordered it more than an hour ago" Charlie snapped back.
"Yes it's ready Charlie...it's ready" answered Mr Chang in a wobbly tone, clearly upset by Charlie's manner. He could never understand why the children in the neighborhood felt the need to be so rude to him. It was as if the children believed that anyone from another country who worked in a shop were somehow worth less than everybody else. No idea that Mr Chang's estate was worth twice what their parents estate was worth.
"Good, mother paid over the phone so I won't be leaving a tip" Charlie taunted.
"That's OK Charlie, here you go young man...” said Mr Chang as he stretched his frail old body over the counter to pass Charlie his food "...enjoy your meal Charlie".
"Well that depends if it has any pigeon meat in it, doesn't it?" Charlie sneered as he turned to leave.
"Well now Charlie..that bird got taken straight through..." Mr Chang tried to respond before stopping short to the sound of Charlie slamming the restaurant door behind him.
What Is Your Favorite Takeout?
That evening as Charlie and his parents ate, Charlie told his parents all about the pigeon that he had seen Mr Chang take into his restaurant. His dad called Mr Chang a filthy old git and his mother, though not insulting Mr Chang, agreed with Charlie that it was surely against health and safety rules, bringing a dead bird into a restaurant. Nevertheless, all three of them enjoyed their meal.
A few days later Charlie and his parents were having a conversation outside with their new neighbors, and Charlie happened to mention again that he had seen Mr Chang carrying a dead bird into his restaurant. Surprised to hear that their new neighbors refused to even try Mr Chang's food. They were even more shocked when they were told the reason why. A few days after their neighbors had moved in, their neighbors had seen Mr Chang pick up a dead cat from the side of the road and bring it into his restaurant. The thought of Mr Chang bringing dead animals into his restaurant on more than one occasion, seemed very strange to Charlie and his family. The last thing that they wanted was for one of them to catch some deadly disease. Following their new neighbors advice, Charlie's family decided that from now on, they would no longer eat from Mr Chang's restaurant and instead order from the Chinese restaurant that was on the high street. The thought of their food being contaminated all of these years by Mr Chang's lack of hygiene was one thing, but the thought that they had been eating roadkill didn't bear thinking about.
Between Charlie's family and their new neighbors gossiping, it wasn't long before word had spread throughout the neighborhood that Mr Chang had been taking dead animals into his restaurant. Not long before another vicious rumor had been started by Charlie, that Mr Chang was selling roadkill to his customers.
The Fall Of Mr Chang
Mr Chang noticed his fall in customers almost immediately. Not only were his usual customers not coming into his restaurant to eat, but they had even stopped ordering food from his restaurant to take-away. He went from one week to the next, curious as to why he had no customers. He would stand outside his restaurant in the evening time and watch as people walked past on the other side of the street, with food from the Chinese restaurant on the high street that was a good ten minute walk away. What worried him more, was that people had seemed to stop talking to him altogether.
The following Friday after the new rumor had circulated, Mr Chang saw Charlie walking up the street, swinging a bag of what clearly looked like Chinese take-away. A big grin on Charlie's face, Mr Chang couldn't help but take this opportunity to quiz him....
"Hello Charlie, how are you?" he stuttered.
"I'm good, can't stop...my Chinese will get cold" Charlie answered in a gleeful tone, as if taking joy in Mr Chang's sadness.
"Yes, I see you have takeaway, you shouldn't swing the bag like that Charlie, you will spill and drip the sauces" he advised Charlie as he walked past.
"Well at least it's sauce I'm spilling and not blood!" Charlie barked back. Choosing to ignore Charlies strange remark, Mr Chang quickly fired out one more question after seeing that Charlie had no intention in stopping.
"Charlie...have they got a special offer on?" referring to the restaurant Charlie had just visited.
"Yeah, they have...." Charlie shouted back as if trying his best not to laugh "....It's called Chinese food...with real Chinese ingredients" he sneered as he crossed the road and headed home.
Closing his restaurant early that same night, after having no customers visit him at all. Mr Chang decided to take a walk to the Chinese restaurant that his customers had been flocking to. On arriving there, he stood watching through the window at the menu. No special offers, no price cuts. Mr Chang left soon afterwards and headed home, more troubled than ever.
In the early hours of the next morning, Mr Chang was woke by a crashing sound downstairs in his restaurant. Disturbed and outraged to find that somebody had thrown a rock through his window, Mr Chang had spent the majority of his morning sweeping up the glass and boarding the window. The following morning, he heard another crashing noise, again another smashed window and another morning sweeping up glass. Mr Chang was beside himself, he didn't understand why his neighbors had turned against him after all of these years, but he planned on finding out why, once and for all.
That evening, Mr Chang decided to stand outside his restaurant to speak to his neighbors as they returned home from their events of the day. However, all of his attempts to get their attention failed. Some of his neighbor's choosing to pretend that they didn't see him or hear him. Other neighbors choosing to make eye contact with him, but blatantly ignore him anyway. Only one person spoke to him that day, Charlie Grimshaw. Charlie had asked Mr Chang if he enjoyed sweeping up glass two days on the trot. After spending the majority of his evening outside, Mr Chang finally returned to his flat. The filthy looks that he had received, the comments that he had heard muttered under people's breath. The feeling that Charlie Grimshaw was the one responsible for smashing his windows, Mr Chang began to cry.
No longer feeling that he wanted to stay in England, Mr Chang booked a flight to China for the following afternoon. His wife buried in China, he wanted to be near her. When he was to arrive in China, he would make plans to put his home and business up for sale.
The following afternoon, Mr Chang stood outside in the rain and waited for his Taxi to arrive. After losing his customers, that he had always thought of as his friends, and giving up his restaurant and his home, he would never have believed anyone if they had told him that it could have all been avoided, if he had just given Charlie Grimshaw one more chicken ball in his meal.
The last person Mr Chang saw on the street that day was Charlie's mother. Saying hello to her and being completely ignored was enough to separate Mr Chang's heart, once and for all. Grabbing his chest and falling to the ground, Mr Chang died alone on the sidewalk outside his restaurant that rainy afternoon. If Charlie's mother had taken the time to stop and chat, or even turn around as he cried out to her in the rain, he may have lived to see another day.
Silence Is Guilt!
Charlie and his family were not the only ones to watch the bulldozers knock down Mr Chang's home and restaurant. After the new owners decided that they wanted to build a four bedroom house. In fact, at least a dozen people came out of their houses to watch the demolition take place. Watching the building fall to the ground, it was only a matter of minutes before all that could be seen was a pile of rubble. When the bulldozers pulled back, everybody on the street that day stepped forward. Their eyes all focused on the garden that lay behind. The garden, that housed a small pet cemetery.
As everybody crossed the road and spread out throughout the cemetery, it was Charlie's mother that had shed a tear first. Their shared silence trying its best to disguise their overwhelming guilt. It was the most beautiful cemetery that any of them had seen, it had around 20 grave stones, all with names carved into them. Scanning the gravestones one by one, Charlie began to read the names out loud....
"Jerry the Fox...Alley the Cat...Tina the Bird...Larry the Mouse..." before he could finish, his father put his hand on his shoulder to give him a nudge. A sign that Charlie knew all to well, his father's way of telling him to shut-up.
Only a week left of his Summer holiday, Charlie was back playing hockey with his friends outside the front of his house without a care in the world. Nobody ever spoke of Mr Chang, it was as if he had never existed and Charlie knew that his parents felt partly responsible, because after Mr Chang had died, they had stopped ordering takeaway altogether. Charlie's parents knew that Charlie felt guilty too, because their son had never asked for Chinese food ever again.
Chicken Balls Anyone?
The last Friday night of his holiday, Charlie went to bed early, feeling the blues that his holiday was coming to an end. Feeling the lack of sugar in his system that he was used to on a Friday night.
Waking in the middle of the night, Charlie could swear somebody had just shaken him. Falling back to sleep, again he was woken by the feeling of somebody shaking his body. Heading downstairs to the kitchen to get a drink, still half a sleep, he smirked when he saw the left over takeaway on the kitchen counter, he knew that his parents couldn't hold out for much longer. Not bothering to get a plate, Charlie took a fork from the kitchen draw and began to stuff his face with the leftover Chinese food. Sweet and sour chicken balls, noodles, rice, chicken in black bean sauce, Charlie stood eating in the kitchen until he could feel his belly swell. Returning to bed, Charlie slept like a baby for the remainder of the night.
The following morning, when Charlie headed back downstairs, he was surprised to see that his mother had thrown the remainder of the food away. His father was still in bed but his mother who was hanging the washing up in the garden, had been awake for a few hours.
"Mum, I would have eaten the rest of that for breakfast" said Charlie as his mother came back inside.
"The rest of what Charlie?" she asked, not really taking much notice as she went to collect the rest of the washing to hang outside.
"The Chinese...I knew you two couldn't go without for much longer" he teased.
"What Chinese Charlie, what on earth are you talking about" she said as her husband appeared at the bottom of the stairs.
"Has Charlie been dreaming about food again?" said Charlie's father before letting out a loud yawn.
"Ha ha, very funny guys...I can't believe you both waited until I went to bed" Charlie grumbled.
"We didn't order any Chinese, Charlie...really, what's got into you?" argued his mother before stopping in her tracks as she watched her son fall to his knees.
"Shit, aargh...my stomach...help me" shouted Charlie "Mum...please!" Charlie screamed as he collapsed to the floor, "the pain, it's so painful....please mum help me....HELP ME!".
Charlie Grimshaw died that night....his parents had told the doctors that he had been hallucinating moments before he died. That he had imagined he had been eating Chinese food in the middle of the night, but when the doctors did the autopsy, they confirmed that Charlie did indeed have Chinese food in his stomach, food that had most probably been eaten in the last twenty four hours before his death.
They also confirmed that they had found small traces of blood that didn't belong to him, traces of human flesh that did not belong to him, and most importantly, the cause of Charlie's death....
Charlie Grimshaw was found to have small fragments of grounded glass in his stomach. Although the glass was very small, there was such a high quantity of it to rip through his intestines, it had caused Charlie to bleed out and die from internal bleeding. Charlie died an excruciating death.
What the doctors didn't know and would never know and not that it really mattered, not now anyway, was the glass...the glass hadn't been placed in all of the food. The glass fragments had all been placed in just one perfect position...one that seemed fit for purpose for young Charlie. The glass had only been placed in one section of the food that Charlie had eaten...just one....just one chicken ball.
Alfred Fox The Author
Alfred Fox has published two books, a short, yet disturbing fable called "When The Lights Go Out" about the final days leading up to the 2011 London riots, and a novel called "Rideum Amrous" a horrific crime thriller set in London. His books will guarantee to keep you awake at night and disturbed throughout your day.