|From:||that frolicsome kid|
|To:||Whom this may concern|
|Date:||21 November 2006, 15:58|
|Subject:||Kinderella - Chapter 3|
Apologies if this entry came in terribly late. I feel really lazy and unmotivated lately to finish up the novel. Nevertheless, I still have to strive hard and give it my best shot to hopefully finish the novel by the 30th of this month (why oh why doesn't November have 31 days!).
Let's see, there are 10 days more left, including today. I'm about 40 000 words away from the target, so that means I need to write about...
*does the calculation*
More than 4000 words to write per day. Eeeep! *shudders* Wish me luck! And punish me if I do not make it, hahaha!
Click on No. above the Date field to view the story.
If you're eyes tire after reading such long blocks of text, I have divided this chapter into 2 halves for your convenience. Words in bold mark where the anchors lead to.
She washed her face in the basin, looked herself in the mirror and cautiously closed the bathroom door. She opened her drawer and picked a floral-patterned headscarf and covered her head with it. Like the more modern Muslim women, she wore it a bit back on her head and made sure her side fringe peeked out underneath the headscarf.
She grabbed the overcoat that hung at her door and projected a fiendish smile. “I’m ready,” she said with a slight hint of Persian accent. She opened the window as quietly as possible and when the coast was clear, she flung the thick brown twisted rope out of the window. Very carefully and gently, she climbed down the rope. She sweated and hoped that no one spotted her coming out of her room.
She landed on the ground with a soft thud, and pulled the rope down with ease. She coiled the rope and hid it behind the shrubbery of bougainvillea.
“It always works. Camouflages too! No one will suspect a thing, no no!”
She tiptoed to the tall gates, and she looked to her left and her right to ensure that no one must follow her. “If not, I’ll be damned,” she figured. Behind the thick shrub of ixora was a relatively small hole, but large enough for a person of her size to crawl through. She bent down and crawled through the hole with some difficulty. She grunted and she pushed herself.
Finally she was out and free once again! “But I’ve got to do something with that hole. It seems to be getting smaller and smaller.”
She walked for a few kilometres, and when she was safely out of sight, she breathed a huge sigh of relief. “Phew! Almost thought I couldn’t make it there!”
She put on her cheap, tacky sunglasses and blended herself in with the few pedestrians who were walking in front of her. She stopped and looked at the end of the road. A yellow taxi with a dirty exterior turned at the corner and drove towards her. As it neared her, she flagged for the taxi. It slowly halted to a stop, and the chubby driver with a bubbly face and stubbly complexion pulled down the windows.
“Where to, Miss?”
“The city,” answered the young lady. She opened the taxi door and ushered herself in.
“Yea, I know, the city is goddamn big! Can’t you precisely tell me where exactly you want me to send you?”
The woman was slightly taken aback by his rude question, but she decided to shake it off anyway. “The Open Market, please.”
And the taxi drove off, sending the leaves by the sidewalk flying and scattering in the air.
The ride to the city was tense and rather quiet, too quiet, despite the radio blasting some new rap song which words are decipherable to the passenger’s ears. The taxi driver was humming to the strange song while drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.
The lady stiffened. She fidgeted for a while before plucking the courage. She sighed and proceeded to ask the taxi driver, “Wait, you actually enjoy this song?”
“Well, yeah! I love this song! And ohh, here comes the good part!”
“Shake your money maker
Like somebody's bout to pay ya
I see you on my radar
Don't you act like you're a faker
You know I got it
If you wanna come get it
Stand next to this money
Like - ey ey”
(© Ludacris – Money Maker)
“What? A money maker and some faker who stands next to the money maker? Boy, and I thought poetry was weird, but this is simply ridiculous!” Unbeknownst to her, she said that out pretty loud.
The taxi driver scorned. “Hey, don’t diss this song, man! It made it to the Top 10 charts. Shit, you conservatives are all the same. Never appreciate song such as this!”
“Oh, I’m sorry! But that is my own opinion!”
“Yea, yea, whatever!”
She slumped on the old taxi chair. She noticed that it was not maintained in top shape and she could already see tears and some stitches coming out. And it looked pretty bad too.
“This guy has seriously got issues,” she thought to herself unhappily.
She stared outside at the bungalows with beautiful lawns zooming past by. She wished that she could stay in such houses though. Unfortunately, that will never happen in a million years, and she is stuck living her rather petite life.
She watched the trees planted at the avenue and admired in awe the way the afternoon sun’s rays streaked through the branches and the leaves. She tried to identify them, unfortunately she have forgotten their names which she have learnt up for a Biology class test a couple of years ago. So much for education.
The taxi suddenly screeched to a stop. The lady passenger nearly hit herself on the front seat, but fortunately her outstretched hands have helped prevented that. She breathed heavily, and instinctively asked what had happened.
“Can’t you see the many cars in front?! We’re stuck in a stinking traffic jam!” Furiously, the taxi driver pressed the horn really hard for the few times. After that, he seemed to calm down and took out his handkerchief from his pocket. He wiped the brow of his sweating forehead and turned up the air conditioner.
The lady was once again shocked at his response. She tried to tell herself that the poor man sitting in front of her was having a pretty rough day, but apparently that did not seem to be a logical explanation. If he did have a bad day, he would not even have recited the satirical poetry aired on the radio.
The exhaust pipe of the SUV in front of the taxi blew out black smoke. How environmental unfriendly, doesn’t he know how to use unleaded gas? Horns and beeps can be heard echoing throughout the congested avenue. She realised that she had picked the wrong time to go out; it was practically rush hour when people are going home.
For about five minutes, the traffic did not even move a budge. Frustrated, the taxi driver cursed out loudly, ignoring the fact that there was a lady passenger behind him. Heck, he wondered why he picked that stray off the street. He should have just left her alone instead.
“I rather lose a customer than let a moron into my car!” he murmured.
The taxi finally moved at last, but stopped again. It barely went an inch.
“Damn! I’m stuck in a massive traffic jam, and I got dinner at six with honeybooch, and worse of all, I’m stuck with an Arab who could be a potential terrorist here! God!” he exclaimed.
“Excuse me, what did you just say?” asked the lady defiantly. “How could you insult me like that, you … you … ARGH!”
The taxi driver went silent. It looks like his big mouth had led him into big trouble, heck, he could even get fired!
“If you don’t want me, just say so!” She opened her purse and handed him fifteen dollars, “Here’s your money, and I need no change. Because I’m not riding with any racist donkeys!”
She opened the door and stepped out in the middle of the road. She purposely left the taxi door opened, why should she bother to shut it? She walked across the congested avenue and got to the other side of the sidewalk. Spying a subway, she made her way down and joined the throngs of commuters waiting at the station down underground.
When the train arrived, she immediately stepped into it. She did not bother letting the other people out first as she was too engrossed with her own thoughts of fury. “How dare he insult me like that! And I’m not even Arab either! Stupid blinking donkey! Urgh! Urgh! I cannot believe how irrational some people can be.”
She found an unoccupied seat and quickly sat down on it. She sat cross-legged and stared the business executives who tried to squeeze themselves into the packed train. On ordinary days, she will stand up and politely offer one lucky tired chap a free seat, but not today. Today, she wanted to be selfish, thanks to some taxi driver who she hoped she will never see again.
The doors closed and she lurched forward and nearly fell off her seat when the train began to run. She managed to grab onto a support and prevented herself from getting into another embarrassing accident. She had enough commotions for one day.
She stared past the man who was reading the newspaper into the running big black tunnel wall that seems to be unchanged forever. Lights in the tunnel blinked as the train travels through smoothly. Another turn here and another turn there, the lady counted the number of turns the train has taken out of boredom, and also to forget about her frustrations that afternoon. The train then slowed to a crawl as it approached the next station. She got up and alighted the train, squeezing herself through the crowd of people going against her way.
With grace, she walked up the steps back to the outside world, where she was greeted by aromatic delicious scents of food. The young woman inhaled the rich smell deeply and enjoyed the sensation. Her stomach grumbled, hungry after a long day. She strode to Sam’s Good-Old Bakery and as she was about to enter, she stopped and stared at the window. She clapped her hands when she saw her favourite fruitcakes still sitting there at the cooling display.
The small bell chimed a melodious ring when she entered the shop. The cashier looked up at her and broke into a smile.
“Hey Zuleikha, how’s it going?”
“Oh Sam, I have a pretty frustrating day. I will have two of my favourite fruitcakes please,” said the lady. She helped herself to a table, hung her overcoat in a rack, and sat. She stared longingly outside and observed how the little children play a game of tag. They seem to have so much fun, and looked happy and carefree. Oh, how she longed the days of her childhood! She will not need to worry so many unnecessary things that only encourage the growth of white hair.
Sam gently nudged Zuleikha’s shoulder. “Zul? Your cakes are ready!”
Zuleikha snapped back to reality. “Oh, really? Gee, thanks a lot Sam! I was looking forward to this the whole day!”
Sam placed the plate and a mug of hot chocolate on the table. He winked at her and bowed slightly to her.
“Sam! You even bought me hot chocolate, too! How sweet of you!”
“Anytime, Zul! You looked pretty down today, so I thought a hot drink might just do the trick.” The young lad scratched his head and grinned sheepishly.
“Sam, Sam, Sam! You’re too kind! Hey, are you free now?”
“Yea, I am. Business is rather slow now, so yes, I can definitely buy some time.”
Before Zuleikha can say anything, the tall blond guy grabbed a chair and sat near his regular customer. In fact, she was so regular that they both have befriended each other over the years.
The young lady took a bite at her cake. She savoured the sweet taste of it. She took another bite and while chewing, she asked, “Sam, do you know how some people can be total idiots?”
“Oh yea, tell me about it. Some fussy weirdo decided to drop by today. Boy, did she make my day when she refused to buy anything at all! She kept on insisting for lobster thermidor when my store sign clearly says it’s a bakery shop, not a first-class takeaway restaurant!”
“Hahaha! Really? God, did you tell her that?”
“I did!” said the exasperated shopkeeper, “All she could do was to show me a horrendous black face, and she stormed off my shop!”
“Wow! She must be super angry and terribly embarrassed!”
Sam nodded in agreement. “Hell yeah!”
Zuleikha paused for a bit. She adjusted her headscarf as she struggled to remember what she was trying to say. She bit her lower lip.
“Right. I was trying to rant to you about the stupid taxi driver who was really being a racist. Goodness! And he called me an Arab, when clearly I’m not!”
“Ouch, that hurts!”
“I got so mad, I made him stop right in the middle of a congested road and got off. I didn’t bother closing his door. Why should I, since he didn’t want to care about me! Arrrgh! Just talking about this makes so annoyed how prejudiced some people can be!”
Zuleikha slumped on the chair and took one large bite of the fruitcake sitting on the plate. How she loved to eat away the stress and fury that got entangled inside her.
Sam was about to console her when a bell chimed. He quickly stood up and apologised to Zuleikha. “Sorry! I’ve got customer! I get back to you later. In the meantime, enjoy the cake!”
Heaving a sigh, he left Zuleikha sitting alone in the corner of the shop. Zuleikha savoured the taste of the fruitcakes as she stared wistfully outside. The setting sun cast an orange blanket over the city. The children that were playing outside began to walk back to their respective houses. Streetlights automatically came on and the lights in tall office buildings shone.
Zuleikha stared in sadness as the now empty plate. I wish this plate could refill itself with more fruitcakes, she thought. In one swift motion, she got up, wore her overcoat and approached Sam. She was about to take out her wallet when Sam, who was busy entertaining the customer, politely refused.
“It’s on the house!” He winked.
Zuleikha broke into a smile. She nodded, and quickly walked off to the city’s subway. She took no chances in flagging a taxi down as she feared her driver might be that crazy racist guy again.
(Catch Chapter 4 soon! Comments and criticisms very much welcomed =). Thanks for reading!)