Saturday, July 5, 2014

That's What You Get

The sun was beating down on Sufni as he entered the fifth kilometer of his involuntary walk. He could keep count since there were distance markers on the side of the road every hundred meters on the highway. He wiped the sweat from his brow. Three more kilometers to go to the Sungai Perak RnR.

He is finding out the hard way that hitch-hiking doesn’t work here in Malaysia. They might work over in the US or maybe even Europe, but people over here don’t respond well to a raised thumb by some tallish guy in his late twenties who is sweating his shirt off. They hardly respond at all. So he put down the thumb within the third kilometer. Might as well just walk straight to the last RnR, he thought to himself. Besides, his arms were killing him from all that thumb-raising and pointless hoping. It didn’t help that he had to walk on the grass, off the tarmac, since the emergency lane was for motorcycles. He had no desire of being hit by anything, least of all by some mat rempit.

Yet, he had no regrets to saying what he did, which resulted in his little excursion by foot. He had always loathed driving with his parents in the car. In their view, it seemed that he could never do anything right behind the wheel. He was always too fast, or too slow, or too reckless, or not aggressive enough. There was no peace behind the wheel for him. Only complaints. The main critic was his father. His mother would chime in occasionally only after his father has gotten the complaint-ball rolling. 

But the night before that was when he snapped internally. It was one of the rare times in the past five years that his father was on the wheels, and he was in the backseat. His mother said something about his father’s driving, he wasn’t really listening, so he couldn’t really recall what she said, but his father’s response stuck on him like glue. “Look, I’m the one driving right now. If you have so much to say about it, why don’t you drive instead?” That was the line that he had had in his head for years now, it just didn’t come out, out of respect. But the way his father disrespected his mother when he said it, he just didn’t want to have it anymore.

So earlier today, when they were driving from Penang to Kuala Lumpur to meet-up with their second son, Sufni’s younger brother, he was naturally given the task of driving. Up until the first hundred kilometers, his parents were both asleep, so he enjoyed the drive complaint-free. But after their toilet break at the Sungai Perak RnR, the complaints started coming in. He was driving too fast, what was the rush? Then he was driving too slow. Was he making fun of them? 

When he finally had enough, Sufni pulled the car over. What was he doing? Did he blow a tyre? They didn’t hear anything? When the car came to a halt, he collected the required courage and said “If you have so much to say about my driving, why don’t you drive instead?”

Thus, there he was, a failed hitch-hiker treading his way to a highway pitstop. He smiled to himself, not being able to recall the last time he pulled off such a stunt. This was the first time he had ever stood up for himself against his parents, and he was paying for it, but it was worth it.

Once he got to the RnR, he was so thirsty he could drink from the polluted waters of Sungai Perak itself, so he went to get himself some water from the shop. Just as he was about to pay did he realise that he left his wallet in the car. “Damn it!” thought Sufni aloud. He put back the bottle of mineral water and asked if the person behind the counter could be so kind as to let him have a glass of water for free and told her of his predicament. She was most unimpressed and said that it would cost him twenty cents. He went to the other stalls and ended up empty handed as well. “What’s the big deal!? It’s just a glass of air kosong!!” The rage was very real inside of him. After failing, he finally went to the RnR surau and drank the water from a tap there. Never was he so relieved to see a surau in his life. He now saw some purpose for them being in existence.

He now had to think about what to do next. He didn’t have the house keys, since they were left in the car too. He couldn’t call anybody either. “Dammit, emptying my pockets in the car this time was a bad idea.” He sighs. He might as well just try to get a ride back to Penang and go stay at a neighbour’s house or something. That was all that he could come up with, so he set off to find some people who would be kind enough to let a stranger ride a car with them.

After turned down by five different people, he was losing hope. Did he look THAT bad? “Man, people suck.” He complained to no one in particular while staring off into the parking lot. There were buses parked nearby too. Maybe he could get them to give him a ride. So he went to a couple of bus drivers who were resting in their buses to ask if they had any empty seats for him to sit in. All of them either said no or that he needed to pay for the seats. “This is getting so, so frustrating.”

Then after he had been turned down by the fourth time, he hatched an idea while staring longingly at one of the busses. One of the passengers had opened the door where they put their bags, in the lower part of the bus. There were two doors and both of them were open.

Sufni waited until the passenger walked away and, after making sure no one was watching, closed one of the doors, got into the bus with the luggage and hid behind the door he closed. All he had to do was wait a few moments for the bus driver to close the other door and he was all clear.

Once the bus started moving only did he realise how dark, hot, humid and stinky it was down there, not to mention it was bumpy as hell. He had a hard time keeping his breakfast down the whole trip. But he succeeded. “Thank goodness for that.” He thought gratefully as the bus started slowing down and making various turns.

“Oh man, the bus is stopping. And when they stop, they’ll open the doors and they’ll see me here. I’ll get caught and be sent to the police for sure! I don’t even have my IC with me, so how am I supposed to explain this to the cops!?” Sufni was almost panicking. He decided that as soon as a door opened, he would make a run for it. “They’d be too dumbfounded to even think of chasing me until it’s too late! I hope.” It was the only plan Sufni had, so he was rolling with it.

As he predicted, the bus came to a halt. Sufni waited patiently amongst the bags under him for the door to open. He heard a click and prepared to jump out and make a dash for it. Once the door had opened enough for him to jump out, he did. He caught his foot on a bag and fell face down on the ground, hearing a shout of shock from whoever it was that opened the door. 

He quickly got back up and made a mad dash in whichever direction he was facing. Unfortunately, he was facing an open road, and after five steps, a police car going 70km/h ran him over. 

A crowd gathered around him, wondering who this strange bloodied man that emerged from the luggage compartment of a bus to run into a police car was.


FSwords said...

But... Such tragic... Such depressing... But it's a good writing because it didn't end how I predicted it. Still hate (in a good way) the ending, though.

Anonymous said...

What a bad luck!