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.

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