THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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The Confessions of a Singaporean Gangster in London – Chapter 25 “The Cigar Box. The Forger Once Gave Me.”

Posted by inspir3d on February 19, 2005

Foreword from the author on this chapter:“This conversation takes place in the kitchen behind the magic bowl just after the lorry drivers have left. It’s dark, the lights have been deliberately switched off to give others the impression, the couple has turned in earlier than usual. Only the sound of Jeannie crying filters through the void.

It is the author’s opinion only words spoken by the characters are of any importance to the narrative. For this reason, there will be no description of the scenery, no comments about the lay out or what any of the characters are doing. And not a word about how Yu Huan Guan spilled cheap liquor on his pants that night.” Author pens out.

(The scene opens:)

Jeannie: “Now that you know who they are. You’re going to hunt those men who beat you up. Aren’t you? I heard it all.”

Huan Guan: “It’s got to be that way, there’s no other way.”

Jeannie: “The world is one big black hole to you isn’t it? It’s a just a game. I know how it’s going to be, you’re going to kill them and they are going to send someone to hunt us down. We’ve be right in the thick of it all again and every time we turn a corner or the door opens. We just…..just…..be like animals…scared….frightened………can’t you see, I can’t go on living like this.”

Huan Guan: “You don’t understand a thing about what I need to do, do you? I can’t even walk ten paces without the pavement turning into rubber, I can’t even see too well, because one side of my head is in pain all the time and it’s all because of those ******* and you expect me to just let it slide and walk away from it all?”

Jeannie: “Well you can go ahead and do what you want because I won’t be around when you return. I can’t go on living like this. I’ve given up everything to be with you and if you think, you can just lead your life the way you want without thinking about me. Then I am not going to have it, do you hear me? I am not going to have it!”

Huan Guan: “What else do you want from me. I have been working my ass off to get us a new identity so that we can immigrate to America! Isn’t that enough?”

Jeannie: “It’s is always all about you. You did this! You did that! But you never once considered what I really want. I want a place where we can live life on our own terms darling. That’s what I thought we’re working towards. A place, where those monsters would leave us alone, where no one knows us from Adam, where we could have a fresh start again.”

Huan Guan: “And for all that to happen I have to be willing to just let it all past! Well I don’t have that type of courage.”

Jeannie: “Yes! You think I had the courage when you once asked me to be strong for you. I am not like you. I have never ever seen that much violence before in my life not even on TV. But that night when I saw those men kick the living day out of you? I just said to myself, “Jeannie, you’re going to have to pick up the pieces after this, so just grow up and stop whining” – I was courageous for you then and I have never asked you for anything before, except to do the same of me……no for us this time, walk away from it all.

Huan Guan: “walk away?”

Jeannie: “Yes walk away my love. It takes courage darling….to walk away from it all.”

Huan Guan: “A place to live life on our own terms.”

Jeannie: “Yes, darling. Just a place where the only thing that really matters is you and me and all the cares of the world simply….I don’t know, disappears.”

Huan Guan: “Perhaps there will even be an open verandah in this “place” along with a white picket fence and a cherry tree by the side.”

Jeannie: “Yes and you could continue with your studies my love. We are young darling, too young to waste our life chasing down the ghost of the past. Let it go. Let is all go, you see it will be better my love.”

Huan Guan: “Perhaps you’re right Jeannie. I want so much to be an engineer, that’s all I really ever wanted all my life. I just want to be able to take care of you nice and proper.”

Jeannie: “You will darling. You’ve be a first class husband a top dog engineer, Just you see my love.”

Huan Guan: “You’re right. Jeannie. You know there is only one gun in the house and I am going to give it to you, here take it………. I said take it, it’s not going to bite. That way when I go up to Manchester or London from time to time, you know for certain, I wouldn’t be up to no good. I want you to have peace of mind Jeannie and if it means walking away, I’ve do it for you, so take it before I change my mind.”

Jeannie: “Only if you really want me too.”

Huan Guan: “Hide it somewhere and don’t tell me where you’ve hidden it. Only remember this, if you think, I am up to no good. I want you to check this hiding place and if it is still there, you know that I have kept my end of the bargain. I am going to walk away from all this because you are the most important person to me. I love you Jeannie.”

Jeannie: “I love you so much darling, I just love you to bits and you will see, it will be better after you’ve walked away. You’ve see. I promise.”
That evening when the wife of the quiet man turned in earlier than usual, he sat as he always did in the worn out chair chain smoking. By his tenth cigarette the man suddenly rose, walked to the kitchen, bent down and reached his hands underneath the sink. He struggled with something wedged firmly somewhere in the plumbing. Finally pulling out a cigar box, the same one the forger had slipped under his arms a few months ago with the words,

“You’re no use to be dead. Besides I am just protecting my investment.”

Placing the box on the kitchen table, the man stared at it. The longer he looked, the more he felt that the familiar sensation gnawing against him. Till he could hear a faint rattling sound like someone scratching on the lid of a coffin. And every time he turned away he sensed the scratching sound growing louder, every second heightening and sharpening the will to throw it away, yet knowing deep inside, it was simply impossible. Finally he opened the box.

Holding up the gun to the light his eyes began to fill with tears. That was the one that did him in, this was his kryptonite, the one that was too much to bear. Like an alcoholic who manages to stay dry for years only to finally succumb to his weakness that was the moment that said it all, the one that simply whispers mockingly with a sinister sneer.

“A leopard can never be expected to lose its spots. You can’t expect to run away from who you really are. Can you?”

Once the tears started, there was nothing he could do. Somewhere from the depths of his thoughts and memories, he could just make out the faint image of a stranger walking through the door in his minds eye, a solitary figure in a tailored suit with his hair slicked back wielding a gun standing all alone with his trade mark briefcase as if surveying the battle field on a high plateau beneath a godless sky. He closed his eyes in anguish. He tried push the stranger away and even summoned his promise to Jeannie, challenging the void behind every word, sentence and even recalling her expression, but it was useless. All he felt was an immense solitude. A quiet, desperate sadness which came from knowing the stranger who had strolled into his minds eye that evening was none other than the man all feared – the benefactor who carries the money for the four houses – a man who simply whispered the words.

“The accounts have to be squared.”

He lowered the gun, lifted his hands over his face, and began to sob.

darkness 2002

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