Nair didn’t call me that afternoon, or the following morning, on account of him being decapitated.
Going home on his big BMW bike, he hit a patch of oil on the Shears Bridge and went flying over the cement divider into oncoming traffic. Hit an open-sided lorry transporting plate glass. They fished his helmeted head out of the water a few hours later.
Jaimie Wee called me about seven the next morning to give me the news. I was surprised about Nair, but less so that Jaime was the one to call me about it. He was the right hand man of Singapore’s biggest, baddest underworld Tow Kay, an undead piece of shit named Ah Soon.
My handphone brought me out of the dregs of sleep. I rolled over and picked it up from the nightstand. I grunted into it.
“Sorry to wake you, William, but there’s been an unfortunate occurrence. Devin Nair was killed in a motorcycle accident last night.”
“Jaimie. Your boss order the accident?” I sat up on the edge of the bed and tried to dispel the cobwebs.
Jaimie laughed good naturedly. “Ah Soon may not be fond of lawyers, but he doesn’t generally have them killed. Especially not his own lawyer.”
“Your boss was Nair’s client.”
“And indirectly yours, yes.”
“Well tell him thanks for the five hundred, and I’ll be donating it to the Children’s Pocket Fund in his name.” I walked into the living room, lit a cigarette, trudged to the kitchen and started microwaving some powdered caffeine in water. I couldn’t bring myself to think of it in coffee terms or I wouldn’t have been able to gag it down.
“Tell him yourself. He wants to meet with you today. The sooner the better.”
“Yeah, I don’t think so, Jamie. No offense to you, but you work for the biggest scumbag in Singapore, possibly all of Southeast Asia. Plus I’m getting my nails done. I got a voucher in the mail.”
“William, there’s something you need to know. What happened to Nair was no accident, and it will happen to you next.”
“I don’t even own a motorcycle.” I watched the coffee mug go round and round inside the microwave. That Woody character from the Pixar shows was painted on the side. Got it free with two tubes of toothpaste.
“Don’t be deliberately obtuse. You will end up dead, just as Nair did.”
“And why is that, Jamie?” I turned away from the microwave to get the sugar out of the fridge. I have to keep it in the fridge. Ants.
“Because you know about the mask, and those in possession of it know about you.”
Just then the microwave made that little dink sound that means it’s done irradiating my kitchen. Then it made a big boom sound and the door flew off and through the space where my head had just been. It smashed into the wall with enough force to gouge the paint and the concrete beneath it. My back was scalded by instant coffee and lascerated by bits of ceramic Woody mug. I may have screamed.
“William? William! Are you all right?”
“Shit! That was my favourite fucking mug!”