I know I did say I wanted to post up a new story called Mirage. But on second thought, I would like to send the story for competition, so it had to remain under wraps. While I am searching for inspiration to write another story, I would like to put up the first story I had ever written. I wrote it on 1st August 2003. Gosh seems so long ago, yet I can still feel myself typing away on my mum's 'Hak Milik Kerajaan' laptop that afternoon on the living room's floor.
THE FAT LADY IN RED
Miss Elise Chong edged her way into the crowded coffee shop. A spinster in her late thirties, she scrutinized the gathering crowd inside, and her mouth widen into a big grin when she saw her gang seated cozily in their favorite corner. Waving her flabby hands at them, she walked towards them, knocking over two chairs in the process.
Her friends, whom have been indulging in an animated tête-à-tête, broke off in the middle of their chatter to welcome her. Mrs. Daisy Lam, a short, plumb housewife in her late forties pulled a chair for Elise, which she gladly sat down clumsily, making the plastic chair creaked loudly.
“So, what’s hot today?” She asked her friends once she had settled down. Mrs. Dawn Lee, a shapely young woman in her early twenties who had the luck to marry a rich husband, admired her finely manicured nails while saying nonchalantly “Nothing much, just that my husband had bought me a twelve-carat diamond ring yesterday.”
Elise’ mouth was suddenly agape, clearly shocked by the news. “Yeah, it is magnificently crafted. She just showed us a moment ago. Turned a few eyes, it has,” drawled Mrs. Pamela Wright in her thick British accent. An elderly foreigner who had moved here two years ago, she was stirring her murky coffee lazily.
Before Elise could say anything, the mamak boy appeared at her elbow asking for her order. “Err…. Two plates of nasi lemak and a teh tarik,” she ordered. “Dear, I don’t think you should take so much of the nasi lemak. Two plates are too much. You better check you cholesterol. I don’t want you to be like dear old Johnny, he just got a heart attack the day before yesterday,” advised Pamela.
Three pairs of eyes immediately bore down on Pamela. “What happened to old Johnny?” Daisy asked eagerly, jumping at the chance to hear a good gossip. “Oh well,” said Pamela, trying to be modest despite liking to be in the centre of the attention. “Shelia told me about it. She heard it from Jenny. According to her, Johnny was taking his usual bus to the market on Wednesday when he suddenly became livid and clasped his heart, gasping for air like a giant fish out of water. Suddenly (she added with a dramatic gesture) he fainted.”
“Oh, what happened then?” asked Dawn. “Well, luckily for him, a doctor was on the bus and he revived him,” answered Pamela flatly. “Ohhhh…,” chorused the other three women, disappointed with the anti-climax of the story. Elise, who was still curious about Dawn’s new diamond ring, asked impatiently “Dawn, where is your new ring? May I have a look at it?”
“Well, there are a lot of people here, one might steal it” said Dawn in a low tone, clearly enjoying seeing Elise’s curiosity mounting every second. “Come on, show me, nothing will happen,” implored Elise, her heart burning with the desire to see the diamond ring. “Dawn, I think you should let her see it,” chipped in Daisy. “Maybe you should only show it to her later in your villa,” said Pamela cautiously.
“Come on, let me see it, Dawn, just for a while…” pleaded Elise. With a shrug, Dawn reached for her handbag, putting her dainty hand inside and rummaged for a while. With an exquisite flourish, she produced a scarlet casing. In her eagerness, Elise leaned forward and tried to grab the casing from Dawn, but her flabby arm missed and clamped down on Dawn’s fingers.
“Ouch! Careful! You nearly broke my finger nails!” chastened Dawn crossly. “My husband will be mad if he sees them broken,” she added. “Cool down, you two…” hushed Pamela. Dawn shot a haughty, distasteful look at Elise, but she scarcely noticed, as she had opened the casing and her eyes were glued at the beautiful, diamond encrusted ring.
“Wow, it is so beautiful,” Elise said breathlessly after marveling at the ring for two whole minutes. Before Dawn could protest, Elise deftly removed it from the casing and slipped the ring on her stubby little finger.