Wang dropped by during lunch hour today with his familiar suitcase-on-wheels. Wang's the neighbourhood DVD pirate, and with Oscarmania in the air, has made quite a killing.
"Goot movie", he mumbles encouragingly, "very goot print..." Wang's a gentleman pirate. Not only can you check the DVD quality on an office computer before making your purchase, but you can also demand an exchange if it turns out to be a dodgy print. He'll also conscientiously tell you if a movie is a "cinema print" or a "goot deeveedee copy" so that you can steer clear of the former.
If not for the fact that he was robbing them of their bloated revenues, Hollywood would have loved Wang. He promotes a Steven Seagal with as much exuberance as a Stephen Spielberg. "Very beeg movie. Everyone likes," he says for every other DVD, almost keeling over with excitement. And you can never catch him saying he doesn't have a movie, even if you're almost sure he's never heard of it.
I asked him today, "Wang, do you have Big Fish?"
"Beeg Feesh?" he echoed. His eyeballs zigzagged in their sockets as he considered my query. As his frown deepened, his eyes almost vanished into his cheekbones.
"Ah-ha!" His face lit up like a lightbulb, and he nodded furiously. He wriggled past those thumbing through his DVDs and bent over his suitcase. He rifled through a dozen or more, before turning around triumphantly, flashing his crooked teeth.
"Here Beeg Feesh," he said, handing me a print of Jaws.