A Fantastic Tale of Old

I realise that since this blog went online, there hasn’t been any entry that features some sort of fantastic anecdote that happens to me during the day. Like being at the zoo and a herd of rampaging rhinos escape their pen, or my needing to jump from one rooftop to an adjacent rooftop to save my life, or a meteorite that crashes and irradiates me, ultimately endowing me with super powers…

One of the reasons is because I’m working full-time to get my e-book website online, I don’t go outdoors as I much as I used to anymore. The good old days were when I was working 5 days on, 5 days off in Terengganu on the east coast. 5 days off time and being aimless gave me a lot of opportunities to get into adventures. And when I worked in marketing at the advertising company in 2000, I was out of the office a lot, meeting people and learning new roads in and out of the city. (A perennial favourite past-time of mine.)

So, instead of telling what happened today (which consisted of me taking care of Irfan, bathing him, preparing his milk, watching Justice League Unlimited with him, heading downstairs with him in tow to buy lunch), I’ll tell you about the time when Ain & I had to head to the Putra bus station at 5.30 am to pick up her cousin arriving from Pasir Mas who was also at the time studying at Universiti Malaya, as Ain was.

This was way before Irfan was born.

So there we were before dawn, traversing the city streets. There were some traffic, not much but it wasn’t dormant either. By 6.00 am we were at the university with Emma and Ain’s cousin in the back of the car. We entered from KL Gate. The car approched the junction at the corner of the Engineering Faculty (on top of a hill to our left) and the Library. It was still dark. There was less activity in the university grounds than there were outside, it appeared to me.

Just before our car came to the one-way exit from the Engineering Faculty, another car came rolling down the hill. It was a Kancil, its light were off and it was picking up speed. I braked our car. When the Kancil reached the bottom of the hill, it hit a concrete block on the side of the road, smashing it in a cloud of dust and debris, rolled on its back… and stopping right in the middle of the road. The four of us in the car were dumbfounded. I exited the car and looked around if the ghost of Allen Funt was hiding in the bushes somewhere.

Satisfied that he wasn’t, I investigated the overturned car, hoping I wouldn’t be faced with my first dead body that did not expire due to natural causes. But there was no bloody corpse.

Suddenly I heard a sound coming downhill. It was a young man, running down belatedly after his car apologising profusely for not applying his parking brakes when parking at a hillslope. Only then did I realize that if I was a driving just a few metres ahead in the car, that Kancil would have rammed into our side with somewhat disastrous results. I asked him if there was anything we could do. He told us it was fine and he’d take care of it. Then, he was already calling someone on his mobile phone.

So we got back into the car and proceeded on our way to deliver Ain’s cousin to her hostel, still dumbfounded by the event.

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Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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