the down and out squirrel

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“Where the cheebye motherfuck is Lee Hsien Loong?”

“I don’t know. Shouldn’t you know?”

“You don’t ask the fucking questions here you stupid fuck. Where the fuck are you keeping him, fuckface?” The Merlion-Buddha would’ve popped a vein if it had any.

The ISD detention cell was basically a metal room with no windows or doors. They welded the metal sheets shut once they put me inside. The MB was projecting itself directly into my brain through a microchip that was installed by the doctors at Mount E 2 days after my birth.

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The MB roared, “We fucking know you had something to do with it. You were talking about it. You kidnapped him and you will tell me where he is. Or. I can project videos of Lim Swee Sae fucking orphans’ corpses into your fucking optical nerve.”

I whimpered. “I don’t know where he is. It was just an intelligent guess. I mean, the body double isn’t even really that convincing and sending Tharman to the G-20 summit? Dead fucking giveaway that the Prime Minister’s somehow not present. You know I’m not lying. Scan my brain.”

It did.

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A few minutes later, as I wiped away the lumps of frontal lobe that were leaking out of my nose, I managed to slur, “you didn’t have to be so rough.”

MB: “I had to be thorough. Besides, you’re basically retarded anyway. I doubt you’ll notice the damage.”

As I lay my head on the cold metal floor, I felt a slurping sensation from behind my forehead, “so, you’ll let me go now?”

MB: “Kan Seng wants to hold you in detention. But knowing him, you’ll be in Johor in like 3 days. Whatever it is, you’re so fucking useless it makes no difference.”

It was right. I’ve felt rudderless and restless ever since I came back to the island. The kind of feeling that you get from knowing that your life is going nowhere, like the 800 ships moored in Singapore waters, the largest fleet in human history, immobile due to the fall in global trade.

“150.”

What?

“The Singaporean government’s official statistics show that it’s only 150 ships that are anchored in Singapore waters.” Oh ya. The MB is still inside my head.

Me: “But the New York Times says it’s 800 ships, and so does Google Earth.”

MB: “Fuck Google Earth. If Larry Page looks at the Google Earth image of his parents’ house he should be able to see me analing his mom. And the only thing the New York Times is good for is to wipe the seaweed-flavoured mucus off my mergina.”

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Me: “I actually really like the New York Times. And Google has done some really impressive things. I just think you don’t like to be outdone.”

MB: “What the fuck do you know? You’re just some useless unemployed asshole tourist who should probably left to decompose into a pus-bloated corpse in ISA.

Look. I’m sorry I said that. You shouldn’t provoke me. I know you’re feeling a little blue. Times are semi-bad. But I know what’ll pick you up: you’re going to be let go. But only after one last thing: the old man wants to interview you himself.”

I wanted to ask why but knew better than to question the gods.

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I was thrown into a black Merc S600 and driven to Oxley. I was dragged up four flights of stairs by a Nepalese suicide shock trooper and thrown onto the mother-of-pearl patio of a massive rooftop garden.

“Kneel and avert your gaze!” shouted the Nepalese trooper who then backed off reverentially down the stairs. I looked up for a microsecond, catching a glimpse of a massive platinum and diamond throne held up by four gold statues: Jesus, Buddha, Rama and Mohammed.

“You may rise.” Said an otherworldly voice like Darth Vader having sex with the Starchild from 2001. It was the sound of empires rising and falling and planets boiling away into gas.

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Have you ever had that feeling, you know, that feeling inside of you, a wriggling hamster of fear, introduced as an embryo into your asshole that grew up to become a furry, giggling ball of colonic dread? Well, it’s not pleasant. I began to roll a cigarette in an attempt to stave off impending total bowel collapse.

Lee Kuan Yew looks at me intently, his cold reptilian eyes boring into me like a hot Brazilian carioca who’s trying a little too hard to give me a good time. I am completely incapable of speech. My blood has coagulated. He sips slowly from a cup of steaming water on his table. He’s a lot taller than I thought he was and plus with all the stem cell therapy he’s had, if I said something to piss him off, he would rip off his shirt revealing an eight pack and smash my face into ground meat.

LKY: “The Merlion-Buddha did a lot to get you out of ISA detention. I hope you’re not just going to sit there and think about how I can benchpress 200 kilos.”

Me: “Well, sir, it’s just that you’re incredibly intimidating.”

LKY: “I’m not that unapproachable: most of the stories you heard about me probably aren’t true.”

Me: “What about the one where you went in with the Special Ops team to rescue the passengers of the hijacked plane SQ 117 and grabbed a terrorist by his eye sockets and tore him in half?”

LKY: “That was almost 20 years ago.”

Me: “Also, you would probably be a little less intimidating if you came down from your throne/altar.”

He pondered this for a moment then descended the stairs of his throne/altar, every step made by his bare feet felt like cyborg anaconda talons dragging deep scars into my bones.

I somehow light the cigarette even though the joints in my fingers have turned to jelly.

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LKY: “See? Now I’m just like any other supra-dimensional deity. Now. The Merlion-Buddha tells me that you were able to deduce that my son is no longer around. Stop crying! You’re worse than Balakrishnan after I told him that he couldn’t be Minister of Development because he’s always late and is basically a eunuch. I believe you that you had nothing to do with his disappearance: your mental faculties are plainly lower than the defects who thought Where Got Ghost? was funny. So, on the issues of your guilt and intelligence, I concur with the Merlion-Buddha. But I want you to know that if you ever dare shoot your mouth off in public about the topic I just mentioned, I will obliterate you. Now get out of my sight.”

He spat on my face and snatching my cigarette, extinguished it on my saliva-drench nose.

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Freedom sucks when it’s just given to you and you didn’t have to fight for it. I did piss my pants as I ran out of his house. As I wandered down Orchard road, the smell of ammonia wafting up from my wet, squishy jeans, I suddenly felt very lost.

Why is it my greatest strength the ability to write off my weaknesses as idiosyncrasies and eccentricities? I think in the story of my life so far, I may be the bad guy. Well, it’s probably not so black-and-white. The whole picture’s actually just imploded into alternating but barely distinguishable shades of depthless grey.

Most of the time, I get away with shit, but this time, I think I may have just royally fucked-up. I think I may have done the equivalent of smoking on the Hindenburg. Except that instead of a rip-roaring thunderball of combusting hydrogen, my life fizzled out like Temasek’s investments in Merrill Lynch and Barclays.

As I was sitting by the Meridien Hotel contemplating how I have nothing worth contemplating, Jesus Christ came up to me.

JC: “Come to me all ye poor and downtrodden and I will inject you with amphetamines and make you work 20 hours a day in a Filipino free trade zone sewing Reebok shoes.”

He put a reassuring hand on my shoulder and caressed it suggestively. I raised my eyes from his immaculate Prada loafers to look him in his botoxed face.

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His look turned from gentle condescension to disgust, “Oh. It’s you.”

Me: “What? That’s it? No words of encouragement?”

JC: “Well, ok. Here goes: whatever your inconsequential (to me and everyone else) woes, know this: that if I, a skinny kid from Hawaii, son of a White woman from Wichita and a Black man from Kenya can become President of the United States, so can you.”

Me: “Stop plagiarising Obama’s life.”

JC: “I know. But it’s just that his life story is so much more inspiring than mine. Daddy supported McCain, but I was Obama all the way.”

Me :  “You seem like an Obama guy.”

JC :  “I know… He’s just so awesome. We should’ve let him be the messiah. Next to him, I’m just some guy that molests lepers. He’s just so primal, so sensual. Don’t you wish that sometimes… you could just… l i c k… his body?”

Me :  “No.”

JC :  “Bullshit! Fuc-king bullshit! I bet licking him is the very least he inspires you to do! Am I not right, my slutty little sinner-saved-by-grace?”

I started walking away, squishing and dripping as I went.

Jesus shouts at my turned back, “Hey! You know I would give you cab fare to get home but I only have my UOB platinum card and NETS! It’s these D-Squared jeans: their pockets can’t hold shit.”

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After one long, humiliating bus ride home (my EZ-link card was not accepted because it wasn’t one of the new C-Pass cards so I had dig in my pockets for urine-drenched coins to pay for my bus fare, also it was peak hour and I just felt really self-conscious being pressed against other commuters still wet and reeking of piss), I cleaned up and met up with Charles, Shaun and Landon at a kopitiam in Toa Payoh Central.

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The massive 40-storey blocks behind us a premonition of how much more of a phallus forest this island will become. The stench of SKL Cherry Menthol cockrot cigarettes cluttered the air. As I lifted the bitch-pink cherry-flavoured filter to my mouth, I feel all sense of dignity and purpose departing from my being. The conversation, as such late-night coffee and cigarette sessions tend to be, was vacuous and comforting.

I got up to use the restroom. The men’s toilet had ridiculous saloon-style swinging doors that wiped themselves on you when you pushed past them. I would have shuddered but walking around Orchard Road covered in your own bodily fluids tends to redefine the boundaries of one what would consider unsanitary.

After zipping up, I walked to the wash basin.

“Oi! Where got people leave toilet and never flush one? I just cleaned this place!”

I turned my head.

Oh my fuck-

-Lee Hsien Loong!

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