Road to Perdition

Perdition — (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment; “Hurl’d headlong…To bottomless perdition, there to dwell”- John Milton; “a demon from the depths of the pit”; “Hell is paved with good intentions”-Dr. Johnson

– The Free Dictionary

2030, anticipation – The Great Gatsby.

I fumble nervously around the tip of the marker pen and toyed with what I was going to write. It was a box of chocolates specially air flown from Tokyo, with the intention as a gift for somebody in mind. It was her birthday after all. I decided to just keep things short, simple and sweet, and wrote on the box- Happy Birthday M, Have a good one! The ink seems a bit weak so I run through the lines again, reassuring myself that its gonna be a good night ahead. I was wearing a blue shirt over a maroon v-cut tee, with khaki chinos and my favourite high cut brown military boots. I smarten up the collar and head for the door.

2112, lost – City Lights.

Stamford Road- Left, right or straight ahead? A benz blazed past me impatiently, reminding me that I’m hogging up the road. I tried to flag an apology, but he was already long gone. Keep to the side of the road man. I took out my phone to check the GPS and an unseen message flashed across from M- See ya soon! Its gonna be like Bombay part II! I had only met her once during a working trip to Bombay, which I brought her out and had lots of fun, ending with heavy drinking during the night. I guess she was referring to that, and I started to regret taking the motorbike out for a ride. I tried to figure out where I was. It’s like a maze around the CBD area, and I really hate that traffic is most certainly one way, which means I can’t do a u-turn as and when I like and I have to find the next heading to get to my location. I gotta make two rights and figure out where the parking is. Not that bad it seems.

2131, nervous – Stairway to Heaven.

It is bad. I arrive after the half hour mark, due to a series of premature turns and obscure parking entrances which means that by the time I got there I had already circled the area a few times. I called M, and she picked up at the first dial. I’m at the lobby, see you! She showed up in a black dress really short around the edges, accentuating her legs. Hmmm. It looks a little Japanese inspired- the sleeves opening up around the forearms at the side, a little bit like a robe but so teasing at the same time; that deep slit around the neck topped with a band around the waist to keep that slim figure banging. Chic, classy and sexy. She gave me a hug when I was just about to stretch out my hand, and I covered it by stretching out my other hand almost simultaneously and giving her a tighter hug.

Close shave. Handshake? What the fuck? Are you kidding me? Brighten up your daft dumbass, and stop being such a nerd. 

After a series of rapid exchanges we join the bigger group waiting at the lift lobby. There were around six of them, I shake their hands and as soon as I’ve stepped into the lift I’ve forgotten all their names. M swipes the card for the suite room at the sixty fifth floor and we started the ascent. The five in the group were already having their own conversations, alienating the other guy and me in the lift. I figured the group were going to be a barrier to break so I made the first exchange with him on small talk, I go through the same old usual routine which has served me so handy in breaking the ice. Hafiz was to be my first friend at the party, but not the last. The indicator hits a loud ping at the sixty fifth to cut short the conversations and we are on our way.

2145, apprehension – Music, Lights, Action!

It is incredibly crowded with a sea of unfamiliar faces, people that I do not know. There were a group in the toilet, another at the sofa area, a few outside the balcony smoking and some crowding the bed area. I see a few Caucasian faces, and wonder whose friends were they. People were walking around here and there, getting drinks, passing chips, having cupcakes. Hafiz had already disappear into the sea of people and was probably in the next room. I tried to spread myself around the corner, and begun to feel apprehensive about my place at this party.

Sometimes when I’m nervous I like to keep my hands in my pocket, so I can show less of my body language and they can’t see me playing with my keys in my pocket. I guess that what it’s being like to come to a party not knowing anyone, but I like the idea of meeting new people. I run through the edges of the keys to settle and go into wallflower mode, observing the people I see. Towards the far end of the sofa another guy was clearly as uncomfortable as me, but to the contrary he did know people here. I watched as another girl came over to tease him playfully about his huge bowl of nachos and chips he was clunging on to tightly, as if it were a safeguard to keep him comfortable between the dangerous euphorics of the party and the safezone he was guarding intently. He’s questioning when they are going to play some movies. Way to go dude, I bet you’re hoping they play some of your favourite porno.

The caucasians were fumbling around with the music player, and one of them were clearing flirting with a gorgeous girl at the seat. She looks abit tipsy and is clearly enjoying the company. There’s a girl sitting at the sofa with a table beside full of drinks, so I walked to her and joked- are you the bartender? She didn’t seem to like being joked with, as if flirtation was an abhorred bane of the world and I was asking a vulgar question. I would think minor flirtation occurs at every level between men and women, but clearly she’s not getting much of it to know how to deal with it. I exchange a few pleasantries and poured myself a drink, a weird mix of gin and sprite. There isn’t much of a choice on the selections to offer, few bottles of wines, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin and some brand of vodka I’ve never heard of. I stared through the refracted bottom of the glass, intently trying to warp my sense of perspective and only getting back the dull colour of the gin, and proceeded to down it in one drink.

 2202, unease- Fight or Flight.

I’ve managed to find a seat, but am still equally left out. I take out my phone and send gy a message- hey, free tonight? supper in jb? It’s only ten but I’ve decided that I’m almost done here, probably staying till the cake cutting and then figure out an excuse to make a move. After all, I can’t envisioned going the whole night like that. My drink is emptied for the third time and I stand up to refill it. Three drinks in fifteen minutes, binge drinking because I’m out of other stuff to do. Another guy walks over with a beer in his hand, and proceeds to take a seat at the sofa beside Mr Movie Night/Nachos. He looks abit flushed, the boredom must be killing him as well, and I stifle out the humorous thought that somebody is worst off than me. I sat down on the last seat as the three of us watch the party from our seats. I catch him looking in my direction, figures that he is measuring and sizing me up, try to be cool with my drink before turning in his direction. This time he turns away and I pretend to look at the tv.

God damn this is fucking awkward. 

He finishes his drink, and crushes the can of budweiser into an hourglass. I think he realises that he is stuck in the middle of two guys without any drinks to keep it going, so I move my legs slightly to the side by folding one leg over the other so that there is a small opening should he decide to get up. He makes no action to move away though. It is much comfortable sitting down after all and comfortably out of the way of the excited mob bumbling up and down over the place.

Is that Budweiser? I asked a stupid question when i knew the answer, but sometimes just saying something is better than not saying anything at all. Yeah it is! I bought a dozen and I’ve drank 5-6 cans already! Wow, this guy is pretty chatty. I’m glad I made the first opening because after that he did most of the talking. Maybe it’s the alcohol, sometimes it just loosen you up and you need a little to get the groove going. In that span of space on the sofa we covered topics from hobbies, work, school, friends, women. By then I was starting to feel that maybe I should give it awhile more to decide if the party was worth staying, but I’m glad that I’ve found someone to talk to in Mark, even though I would let him down later.

2224, inquisitive- Meet the Fockers

You guys interested to play some drinking games? The group of caucasians approach us boys on the sofa. Mark was eager and gave them the affirmative. I like how caucasians mix up and bring more fun to the party. They are just more social creatures than us asians, being more fun loving and open to try new things, especially activities outside their comfort zone. They are also much more confident in approaching women, and I always feel like I can glean life lessons off them.

The game involves forming two teams on each side of a table and the first team that finishes all their drinks win. However you have to go in sequence like passing the baton, and only after the first guy finishes the drink and flips the cup can the second guy begin. The challenge is during the flipping of the cups, where you have to stand them cups upright on the table with a little bit exposed around the corner so you can use your finger to hit the cup to make them turn opposite up. You have to hit the cups just nice for it not to land sideways, and it’s funny to watch people fumble with it when they are drunk.

We are in the midst of the third round when some friends of M had to go (needed to catch last train) so we had the cake cutting instead. Their lack of gusto in the birthday song reminded me of the days in army when I would have gone- my grandmother can sing better than you! to my boys. I stand at the side with Mark as the pictures taking begin. It’s funny how girls need to take so many pictures when they look the same in every one of them.

Bran was the first american that introduced himself to us, he was the tallest and the oldest, probably around thirty. He had this alpha swagger of the pack, and he rightly deserve it. I find him the coolest and the most composed. He yelled at the second guy- Hey Andrew, you fucker! Come here and meet this guys! I remembered Andrew as the underwriter from Allianz, because I thought he was german since he was working for a german firm, but all three of them was from the states. Jeremy, the last guy of the group, was the dorkiest and the most reckless. He was the one flirting with the girl, Michelle, on the sofa just now. He would get the group in trouble later.

2318, relaxed, The night is still young

How many drinks have it been? I can feel my head getting really light now. Things are a little blurry and the party seems to be livelier. After a few rounds of drinking games, I decided to go for a break at the balcony. There were two guys outside and they seem to be arguing on something, but my intoxication means they are no mere of a distraction. I stood there absorbing the night view of the Marina Bay. It is amazing beyond words and I like the calm and serenity of it. I let my head hang loose before resting them on my crossed hands on the railing.  Back in there I could still hear the music muffled and blazing, but out here I feel at peace. The cool breeze on my face, the minuscule cars moving around barely beyond sight, the lights from the ships out at sea, they all seems so insignificant right now. I took out my phone and saw the reply from gy- What time? I closed the conversation without replying.

I must have been there for awhile, because Mark came over and caught me there- You should be drinking! The night is still young! Mark complained. I like how intoxication makes people take on the world, even when they are clearly done for the day.

I’ll be back in a moment!

And he left, shutting the sliding door and cutting out the music again. It’s like two different parallels of worlds out here and in there, and me the cosmic traveller crossing the boundaries between them; a crazed intoxicated jungle running on fuel of Calvin Harris mixes and here a peaceful observatory that give doses of calm, serenity and power. Power of being on top of the world and ready to take on the universe.

And with that power I draw one last breath of it along with the cool sea breeze and head back into the wild.

2359, elated, Cinderella before Midnight

…Where am I? The loud banging on the door was disrupting me from organising my thoughts. There’s someone in here! I snapped, trying to bark away my imaginary pursuers. The strong waft reminded me that I was in the lavatory, and that I really needed to take a pee. I must have blanked out for a while, for the next image that registered was me facing myself. The man in the mirror was beckoning me to release him from his reality of disproportionate fantasies and warped rapturous ecstasy. Let me out of this prism of confinement, he said.

I concur, but only after I run my hands through my hair putting the backcomb back in place. I open the door and the incessant banging stopped, replaced by an impatient looking guy. He says something to me but my ears make nothing out of it. I head back to the table to find everyone I know gone. Moments ago I was here playing five ten and having such a bad run at it. I might need to hire a personal assistant to advise me on drinking games. And then I remotely remembered trying to empty the entire contents of a bottle into Mark, and his last words to me- You’re trying to kill me. That was the last I saw of him that night, and I instantly felt abit guilty. Might have went overboard with that, and I tried to comfort myself by the fact that I’m in no better shape.

I draw open the sliding doors to the balcony and see Bran with Andrew smoking at the corner.

Bran! Where’s M?

Cinderella is having fun somewhere!

I smiled at the remark and was about to close the door when someone called out my name. It took me awhile before I realised who she is. Gosh she looked different.

Her name was Eileen.

0042, joy- New Asia Bar

Must have been awhile since I was out here. Eileen had introduced to me all her friends, and by now we were just chatting out here. The effects of the alcohol had receded and I was gaining more control bit by bit. Issac, a guy that came in a suit, offered me his boot liquour, with contents that will knocked the living daylights out of me and which I naturally so politely decline.

Issac suggested getting out of here. Eileen wanted to go to butter factory. We decided to call the birthday girl.

Hey M, where are you?

And she showed up just around the corner, as if she was there all along.

I am going to New Asia Bar. It’s just right around here!

And so we joined her, and the night that started promising so much begin to deliver so little. When we got there, a few of us had forgotten to bring their IC (or was underage). All I remembered of the bar was walking up the stairs never even getting to catch a glimpse of it, before getting called back by the group. We tried to argue with the bouncer, even pulling out the trump card of guests from the suite, but he was resolute and uncompromising and he stood firm.

And so they went back while the rest of us waited. And waited. And waited.

I tried to make small talk with the girls, but they were reserved and guarded. Must have caught me bellowing out at the opposing team to drink when I was high just now. I can get so wild when under influence, but that uninhibited joy of having fun gets me on every single time.

Sometimes it’s good to be bad.

0147, frisky- Get Buttered

Uncle, butter factory please!

I was on a cab with Eileen and Issac as I looked out the window. M was hugging her friends goodbye. We have decided to head to butter factory instead, as they were pissed with the bouncer. I was secretly pissed with myself for forgetting my ticket in. Now I have to pay the cover charge, which I really hate.

Once we were there we had problems with the bouncer. Bran was smoking in the queue despite the bouncer repeatedly telling him not to, and now they have decided to not let them in. Jeremy was making a big fuss about them being rascist, which was not helping things either. As I stood there watching the commotion, I can’t help but notice the smirk on the bouncer’s face. He was calm and composed, and knew he had the unyielding upperhand in that scenario. I looked over at Jeremy as he shouted, bellowed and then apologised, changing positions frequently. I knew in my heart who had won the battle.

I looked on as the group left in the cab. And as M turned around and told me the night would get better. I knew she was lying when she said that.

I looked on as the bouncer refused to let me in to the VIP area, as my entrance fees did not grant that privilege.

I looked on as M disappeared behind the door.

I looked on as the bouncer shook his head while I caught a glimpse of a smirk at the corner of his mouth.

0320 discouraged – City of Dreams

I looked on as I sat there at the corner of the club as everyone else around me have their share of fun. It was there in solitude that I finally realise why the club makes me feel like coming back every single time. It is this fear of solitude that I was experiencing, to want to be embraced by friends, to be popular, to feel rich, to be loved and to love, to live your wildest dreams. And everything that the club promises, it never lives up to it. And this discrepancy makes me blame the gap on my inadequacies, that I am not sufficient enough, not rich enough, not good looking enough. Maybe I was too shy, perhaps I chose the wrong shirt. I started doubting myself, and starting believing in others. Oh gosh she’s so pretty. I wished I had his body. It is like a place where people go to seek perfection, only to find their imperfection staring at them in return. And at the end of the day I always want to come back, to believe that the next time I’ll be better, if I’m more sporty and outgoing maybe she will look at me, to muster that courage to talk to her, to drink more and be invincible, to party hard and be unconquerable.

But I always fall, and I’m always conquered. It was there that I decided to take a stand. Not this time. As I sat there watching the couple opposite me love locked in lips and the group of guys smashing each other mugs with laughter, I’ve decided not this time. All the promises of laughter, love, happiness and freedom that the club had to offer, tonight I decided to stay true to myself and be who I was, not who I wanted to be.

As I was walking out I couldn’t help noticing this girl standing alone at the bar. It wasn’t the fact that a lovely girl like her had no companions around her. It wasn’t the fact that she was exposed, her back facing me, that long luscious hair and wearing this red dress that was lip smacking gorgeous that I had this irresistible urge to find out how she looked like. It was the way she was leaning across the bar with her right arm on the side of her face. It was like she was waiting for something. Or someone. I could be her prince charming and she could be my last shot at the apple in Eden. One final attempt.

I took one last look at her, turned around and headed for the door.

0355 fatigued – I’m Loving It

So the night had to end like this. As I found myself looking at the menu at McDonalds I found myself wandering, how did I ended up here?

I recall leaving the club and deciding to walk back to the hotel where I parked my motorbike. It was a nice stroll and a cool night, and I can still remember the remarkable and beautiful scene of the central business district area as I walked pass Esplanade. The city that never sleeps, the story of our success, the hub and heart of finance. And then walking down the underpass and the only person I have encountered in the stroll was a homeless man sleeping there. He took no notice of my shuffling as if I was never there as he wrapped himself tighter in the bristling cold. Oh the irony, the contrast of both pictures, that in the success of our story we have left so much, and so many behind.

And then I was there and the only place that was open at this hour of the night. I find comfort in those golden arcs, as if they represented civilisation and in all my travels it is my familiar companion. I walked in, in search of breakfast, only to find myself five minutes early staring at the dinner menu.

And so back to where I am. Right in front of the server who was looking at me.

Is breakfast available now?

Breakfast is available only in five minutes time sir.

Something about his tone of denial sounds so familiar. So I took a seat while waiting, enjoying the oldies that they were playing. I could still remember the crisp voice of Frank Sinatra over the speakers belting out the song Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, as I looked around the premises of the restaurants. A few pockets of tired and hungry clubbers grabbing supper outside the veranda, one of them seem either drunk or tired with his face buried in his hands, but other than that the place was deserted with most chairs overturned and stacked on tables.

I started munching down on my hash brown and washing it down with iced milo. Being the first customer the milo machine was still powering up so the server had opened a carton of pre-packed milo. I wanted to say something but remained silent during then. Now it tasted bland and really watered down. Feels like my kind of night as I sucked it up and finished the drink.

 0428 vulnerable – Road to Perdition

As I stood marvelling at Raffles City Mall and trying to peer the top of Swissotel where I was moments ago, I reflected on how disappointing my night had went from the euphoric highs. Nights like this always start promising so much and delivering so little. I went in to the mall to find the metal shutter to the basement drawn closed so I tried to walk in from the vehicle entrance. I notice a staircase down beside the entrance and presumed that was a shortcut down to the carpark.

As I walked down the steps of the L-shaped staircase I couldn’t really see the end of it. The lights in there were either pretty dim, or the walls were grey, giving it a very washed out look. There were remnants of cigarette butts scattered all over the place on the steps, thrown behind by smokers sitting on the steps. A large cardboard itself over the landing at the corner of the L-shaped staircase as I walked towards it. Somebody might have been sleeping on it a while ago. There was this bad feeling that started to rise from within me, and was calling for me not to go that way down. I have always brushed off my senses because as humans as they can be they always betray me. It is the fear within me that was growing, and I have always disregarded it having no disposition for the superstitious and the unnatural. I fear the dark and the unseen as my senses always unveil me but I have learnt to stay neutral and composed as my mind play tricks on me.

And this time, it did play tricks. As I walked closer I begin to realise the source for that feeling, that fear of going down the stairs. This time it was more than a feeling, and this time my senses did not betray me. I could hear it as I descended further the stairs. At first it was a wail, then it turn into a screeching. It was a siren. The alarm to the door had went off, probably due to some undesired disturbance. It would have definitely scattered off the pranksters as the alarm was ear deafening when in range, like having a bell right at the ear drum. Funny I couldn’t remember hearing it when at the top of the stairs, and dreading the climb back up I decided to test the door to see if it was still bolted. To my surprised it was unlocked and I effortlessly pushed open the door. The alarm was even louder on the inside and was extremely distracting so I tried to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Little did I know what was in store for me.

I dashed across to the second door and to my horror it was bolted shut. I turned around to catch the last glimpse of the door where I walked through swinging in and closing behind me as the alarm went silent again. Attempts to open that door remain futile. My eyes adjusted to the lighting in here as I tried to make out the surroundings. It was a square staircase landing around the size of a room. There was a long and narrow corridor down and by now I was running down it, seeing a door at the end. This door was larger and encompass the whole ending of the corridor. It was like two wooden doors meeting in the middle and swinging outwards. I recognised that as a cargo door. I bored my entire weight down on its horizontal metal handle bars, but they heaved no further other yielding a loud and denying click. I was feeling pretty desperate by now and tried to peer over the windows. They were frosted and I could make nothing out on the other side, which made it even more scary.

….to be contd

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Published in: on May 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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