Monday, July 21, 2008

As the sun's rays pierced through the crack in the dark velvet curtains, Jings rubbed her eyes and wondered if she had just awoken from a dream. The events of the previous night seemed surreal, and she wondered where Pengyi had gone. Seeing him again stirred up emotions she thought were long dead. Here she was, for all intents and purposes, happy... it was like that Abba song, "The Day Before You Came". Life goes on, and you never realise that something is dreadfully amiss, until that defining moment.

She reached for her mobile at the side of her bed to check for any messages, secretly hoping that there would be one from Pengyi. That would be wishful thinking though, as he didn't even possess her contact number. But he's always been ever so resourceful, he managed to get her ticket to watch the Osmonds when no one else could, back in 1979. She pressed the speed dial no 3 for Sheena, who answered gruffly. "Oh my god, was it a dream? Tell me it was a dream", Sheena mumbled. "What did you tell Moondog", Jings asked. "He was asleep like a baby when I got in, and must have assumed the smell of gunpowder and explosives were part of a smokey lounge", Sheena replied. "Any word from Pengyi?", she asked. "Sigh, I don't think he even has my number", Jings said resignedly. "Don't worry, he'll find it, IF he wants to find out how you are", Sheena encouragingly replied.

"Honey, are you awake? Shall I make you some breakfast?", Moondog shouted from below. How will her life ever be the same again? After such drama, how can Sheena return to her humdrum, Little House on the Prairie kind of lifestyle. "Gotta go, Moondog's calling", Sheena hissed at Jings.

Sheena slowly descended the staircase, trying to shake off the migraine the way one tries to brush of an irritating fly. She was dreading the onslaught of Moondog's chirpiness. The only time she had seen him really depressed was when he was at his mother's deathbed. Otherwise, he seemed to be perpetually high on some drug of life.

As she walked past the phone table, she froze. Scrawled in Moondog's writing, was a post it note saying, "Please return call to Shigeru, 015-4404440".

Friday, July 18, 2008

The trusted Astro-Zap whirred to a halt. Shigeru emerged from the egg-like device, recharged to face another day. It had been a fruitful night, he had the chance to exercise his prowess in the face of adversity. Hmm, it feels good to act the Hero. For more than a month, he had not expended his superpowers and it was cooking him inside.
Aside from the less than perfect ending with the Big-haired Lady. Shigeru is still mesmerised with Sheena, that honey-hued babe from the cafe last night. Damn, he didnt even get her phone number. Now, how was he supposed to find her. Aah, the trusted Facebook.
Within seconds he had nailed down the right Sheena in the city. Oh, she is an Interior Designer with FutureDesign. Perhaps he can approach her for a kitchen makeover. He ran down Sheena's list of friends out of curiosity, and learned more about her friend, Jings. There was a mystery man listed as H. N. Interesting, in the mayhem of the previous night, he thought he had glimpsed a familiar figure in the crowd. Now, with his mind and body fully in service, he put the pieces together. My god, he was there last night - Hiroshi!
Hiroshi, his long lost cousin who disappeared 15 years ago! His physique was the same, although the face may have been altered with plastic surgery. What is his agenda, he wondered. Shigeru decided not to call in to his superior on this one - heck, H is his flesh and blood, regardless of his "crimes". There are only a handful of us supers in this town, and we got to stand by our own.
He began to work out a plan to get in touch with Hiroshi...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pengyi started to unravel the news to Jings.

And the sound of sirens approached.
Hiroshima, 1945.

The fateful year that sparked the painful, silent genetics war. Their physiques were like reflections on a distorted mirror. These atomised children were left uncared for. No one could blame their mutated parents. They were helpless themselves. Professor Wata Fuka was one of the few who saw a need to save these children. Coming from a broken family, the harelipped, half blind biomedical scientist understood them.

It was the riskiest experiment he had ever conducted. Project Koneku16 was his life. Classified under “unknown”, this project had been scrutinized for its radical approach. In vivo bacterial implantation. A newly developed bacteria, humpufila coitapilus (or affectionately known as yuki-chan) was believed to release an enzyme of multiple benzene rings upon contact with thrombocytes and is able to break the 17th chromosome chain in the mutated complex, helical DNA structure and reverse the effect caused by the atomic radiation.

Think of all the people we’ll save. Not just the children. NOT JUST THE CHILDREN!

Yuki-chan had killed 10 children and left many in permanent physical and psychological torments. Successful recoveries were too few to count.

Hiroshi’s father was one of the lucky ones. He was Wata’s Kinkakuji. His pride and joy. As with any “classified” projects, the rehabilitation/demutation program included memory bypass. The conduct itself was painful enough to be permanently forgotten.

He grew up a normal man and married a beautiful Okinawa girl. Two years after, Hiroshi and his twin brother, Tsukuya were born. Life was as beautiful as the seasons in the sun, under the watchful eyes of Wata.



When his parents passed away, Hiroshi and Tsukuya moved to Kuala Lumpur. They fell in love with the people and food, especially the food, during a students exchange programme and had decided to stay put here.

One day, Yuki-chan got angry.

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Geed outa our way , Chopdick!", yelled Chopper to the little rat of a boy who was always lurking behind the two girls , especially when they are preparing for a fireworks nite fiasco. Fai Chee, or Chopsticks as he is known to his pals, had a major crush on Kopi Susu. He was fascinated by her big hazel eyes, and sun-burnished skin. But most of all, he was just fascinated by how she dared to be different.
Just last week, a costume jewellery peddler had patronised the town's TianTianFatt (Prosper Everyday) coffeeshop. Over coffee, she boasted of her skills at piercing flesh to two aunties from the local apothecary. Lulu, as it happens, was very fortunate to be there buying CharKoayTeow for mum. She could not help eavesdropping on the ladies' chatter. She introduced herself to Miss Annie from Kuala Lumpur, and without hesitation, fished out the magazine cut-out from her wallet. It was a picture of Cindy Lauper with nose studs. She begged Miss Annie to create the same look for her. "Girly, I think your mother may not approve. But ... maybe I can make something for you that is less conspicous, ya". With that, she dragged Lulu to the back corner of the shop by the sink.
"Get me some Guiness Stout, quickly", she hissed to the scrawny 10-year old boy beside the Chee Cheong Fun stall. Who, happened to be, Chopsticks. As he plonked the bottle of beer on the table, Miss Annie had already laid out her shiny pierce-gun, plus fancy gold and silver studs. Chopsticks could not help but cringe a little at the sight of that instrument of torture. He stole a glance at Lulu, who sat, beaming , not an ounce of fear on her face. Miss Annie proceeded to mark Lulu's right ear. One blue dot at the base of her lobe. And another dot just above it. . and another.. and a final one. He witnessed the first piercing. Not a whimper from Lulu, maybe a slight jolt. Then, the second.
"Two hot Cham for table 4!". Chopsticks was glad to move away from the "torture chamber" to serve table 4. In less time than it takes to make the cham, Lulu was waving goodbye to him, with an extra glint in her eye, and, despite her shoulder-length unkempt hair, he could see the four new shiny star-shaped studs on her right ear. He fell in love with her from that day onwards.
He knew Chopper and Lulu were close friends, he just did not know how close. He was quite happy to be in their shadows and to soak in Lulu's occasional glance or smile. One time, at recess, he was staring at the two girls eating noodles, with a silly grin on his face. In two strides, Chopper had walked right in front of him and delivered a punch into his groin. "Watch it, Stalker!" Chopper warned him.
That did not dampen his resolve at all. October that same year, he was 13 to Lulu's 15. He decided to confess his love to her. "Aww, you are such a sweet boy.. but..I am in love with someone else".
He was devastated. Of course he was no nitwit - it had to be Chopper.
In December, after the finals , SRP exams, he was not surprised to hear that the girls had decided to quit school and move to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Goldtooth hated Shigeru.

For she had the hots for the Datin.

Just like Chopper.

Lan, Jings, lan!” shouted Nakamura, in his signature Japlish.

So, it had boiled down to this. The final battle of flesh and blood. Nakamura had no choice, although the choices were clearly his to make.

Those eyes, those angry eyes stabbed Nakamura. His hands were trembling. He knew the day would come. And he would never forgive himself for doing this. But he had to.

The body that carried those eyes ran towards Jings. The room shook. Nakamura protruded towards the body and pushed it away. “Don’t make me do this! You hear me?!” he said. The body, which was much larger and stronger than Nakamura let out a loud roar and threw him to the floor. That broke his left leg.

It picked Nakamura up and threw him even further away. He landed against a pair of terracotta warriors. Their spears penetrated his chest and punctured his lungs. Breathing became difficult.

Geto buru karla botaru. Fwadster!” Nakamura told Jings, pointing at the glowing, grenade-like device, placed on the shelf, hidden behind a figurine. A Maiko holding an umbrella. With no eyes.



Those eyes got angrier now. It turned to the helpless Nakamura. With just a soft blow, Nakamura flew to another corner of the living room. Jings rushed towards that broken boyfriend of hers.

Nakamura had the grenade-like device in his hand now.

He didn’t want push the button. He shook his head and said something in Japanese. But the body marched forward and eventually charged Nakamura.

A perfect throw. It exploded right in front of the eyes. No fireworks. Nor was there a tremor. Just a burst of glowing, blue-coloured liquid. The body fell to the floor. It let out a painful cry. The liquid adhered to the skin, propagated to the other parts of the body and eventually covered it completely. Blue turned red and the body was now shaking violently. As if corroding, the body shrunk with every painful scream, emitting an unbearable, ammoniac stench. It got warmer, gradually. As if temperature adversely proportinated the decay. Jings watched in disgust as the body transformed into a pool of emerald-coloured semisolid fluid.


She turned to check on Nakamura. He was not breathing.


Pengyi arrived. With the news.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lulu's mother never quite recovered from the shock. Her unscheduled pregnancy had crushed all hopes of her returning to Kirkby, so she took up an internship in a tailor shop on Labrooy Road, where she spent the rest of her years pedalling the sewing machine. She did eventually marry a fellow tailor, Loo Ah Kim, who subsequently adopted Lulu legally and thus bestowed upon her his surname. Her name, with the new addition of the surname, had far too many syllables of the same sound, and once she was old enough to realise it, Lulu changed her name to Virginia, partially as a declaration of her chaste state, and her repulsion for men in general, once she had discovered her bastard status.

Nevertheless, her childhood wasn't all bad. Running from shop house to shop house, and having the whole row of them to play hide and seek in, and the animated chatter of all the other children who lived there, made for a community in an otherwise lonely life. During these years, she forged very close relationships with a few of the other girls, especially the daughter of the bicycle shop owner. Her nickname was Chopper, after the most popular bicycle of that era. Chopper's real name was Tan Kim Lian, and because she had no brothers, her father saw fit to bestow upon her that terribly masculine nickname.

Goldtooth could never understand why she was two shades darker than the other chinese girls, and the meaner once would taunt her with name like "kopi susu", and Chopper would literally give them a most unladylike karate chop.

The explosion had reminded her of her first love, Chopper, hence the smile on her face as the police continued the interrogation. Chopper and her would empty the gunpowder from firecrackers and make home made bombs. It was a wonder that no one ever lost an eye, though she did lose a tooth.
Forty years earlier, Goldtooth had gone by a much more subtle name with an even gentler personality. Her mother had named her Lulu, after the Scottish singer who had made her acting debut in the movie, To Sir With Love. She was conceived while the hit single To Sir With Love was playing on the radio.

Those schoolgirl days, of telling tales and biting nails are gone,
But in my mind,
I know they will still live on and on...

They were only 17 and childhood sweethearts. He was being groomed to take over the family business, a successful importer of consumer goods like coffee and powdered milk, while she was going to the Teachers' Training College in Kirkby, England on a government scholarship.

But how do you thank someone, who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy, but I'll try...

It was a balmy Saturday afternoon. They stripped off their school uniforms, more in eagerness to feel the cool air on their skin than to satisfy their increasingly compelling cravings for each other.

If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters,
That would soar a thousand feet high...

The cane furniture in his parents’ living room in Kenny Hills creaked under their weight as they clawed each other in hunger and desperation. Lulu’s yearnful strain accompanied their climax.

If you wanted the moon I would try to make a start,
But I, would rather you let me give my heart,
To Sir, with Love...

They lost their virginity in his living room in Kenny Hill while being observed by monkeys.

Thirty eight weeks later, Lulu Loo Ai Ling came bawling into the world. She was born 11 miles away from Ipoh, in a small attap house in Kampung Baru Chempedak, a Chinese new village, far from the prying eyes of gossiping aunts who would have felt it their duty to announce to the world that their unwed niece, only 17, was already blemished with the seed of a Malay boy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

She was butch to say the least, this Goldtooth. Sporting a punk hairdo, a few earrings and a gigantic tribal cross tattoo on her left arm, she could have easily been mistaken for a rock star. The limited edition Metallica T-shirt she had on was a worshipping object for many a rock fan. The Celine Dion and Siti Nurhaliza in Jings and Sheena would not have known that. But a goldtooth? Ironic.

Instead of feeling sorry for herself over the ruined café, she looked as if she was looking forward to more of the explosions. As the interrogation ended, she returned to the counter.

And grinned.