Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Shopping can be Hazardous

by James Ooi

I am writing this because I am asked to do this. And in thirty minutes. So I'll just write about last week's class where we were asked to go to the nearby mall to talk to someone there and write about it. Raman, my writing class instructor suggested that the class do it as a creative writing project.

Ok lah, he's the boss so here goes.

Damn! It was a hot afternoon. Just walking out of the bookshop and onto the road, I could feel the blistering heat. My hand and arms felt like it was sizzling onto the grill being barbequed to a crisp. Hurriedly, I strode along the weather beaten road and into the cool air conditioning of the mall.

So I had to find someone to talk with. Yeah, hopefully some hot girl is gonna respond to my advances. Or I might get a slap and have to turn back in to class with a red face. I could probably say it's sunburn or something.

Or I could chat up a guy and get punched in the face for propositioning him. Maybe I should send Raman the medical bill for getting us to do this zany exercise. Okay, okay. I'll look for the first gay guy I see and just chat him up. This way I won't get slapped or punched in the face but I'd probably get molested instead, I guess.

Walking along the busy and cluttered upper ground floor, I chanced upon this rustic and ambient arty-farty shop selling some earthen pots with water flowing out of them. Yeah, what a rip-off. RM800 for an urn and water flowing out of it. I could probably buy the same stuff at the local pasar malam.

But still, the shop was nicely decorated and it had a warm rustic feeling to it. You have some statues of Buddha around, a couple of beautifully painted artwork of Buddha's head. I almost bought the painting. And the shop owner, who was gay, was a very handsome guy who came over and started telling me in a very fascinating manner about his shop.

Let's call him Gary. Gary's a clean-cut guy, handsome in the guy-next-door kinda manner, nice short-cropped hair and a smile that girls would probably swoon over. But he is gay. How the heck do I know? I know, I just know he's gay.

I guess even though he wasn't exactly the feminine type but he has some unmistakable mannerisms that actually made me realize that he was one of them. My cousin's gay so I know how to recognize one. Especially after the incident one night of drunken partying at Rum Jungle when this long time friend of mine just grabbed me and gave it straight to me on the lips with some tongue action man! That was so sick that I puked and I washed my mouth with Listerine over and over again when I got back.

Gary had a very interesting manner in the way he spoke. You kinda felt that he was paying attention to you and you alone. It was very hypnotizing and I didn't feel much of a regret as I parted with about a hundred ringgit for some souvenirs.

Suddenly, he said to me conspiratorially, "Say, I just have this feeling that I want to share something with you. It's about your future."

Incredulously, I joked, "What?? I just parted with a hundred ringgit buying stuff from you. You want me to place a standing order for strange Thai artifacts from your shop every month issit?"

Gary laughed, "No, nothing like that. I have some skills in tarot reading. I just felt led to do a reading for you."

Intrigued, I said, "Ok cool. Let's do it."

Sitting at his table, he passed me a deck of cards and told me to shuffle them. I shuffled them and handed it back to him. Gary cut the deck, split the deck into three piles and put the lowest pile back on top of the other two. I was then asked to select 9-cards from the shuffled deck.

Placing a 9-card spread onto the table, Gary said in a low mysterious tone, "The first three cards represent the past, the next three - the present and the last three - the future."

"Looking at the past, I see that you have had many relationships which have started well but ultimately ended as just friends. I also see that you have had 5 serious relationships. It seems to me that you have yet to find the soul mate in your past life."

Impressed I said, "Amazing. That's absolutely true. How do you do that?"

"The present cards tells me that you are now searching for that someone new. And the future tells me that you will find that someone but it will be something that you will not expect it to be."

"Do you believe in reincarnation?"

I replied, "Yes, I do."

Gary grasped my right hand and gazed directly into my eyes, "I have this revelation that I feel I want to tell you but I don't know if I should. How would you want me to do this? It might be traumatic for you, you know."

Feeling more curious and even a bit suspenseful, I said, "Tell me lah. After all, you have gone too far to stop now."

Then Gary smiled suggestively to me, "What I am telling you now may surprise you. I am your wife from your previous life. You and I are meant to be together in this life."