It's a WIP. I repeat, still working on it...
Memoirs of a Momo
-by Sabbah Haji
THE PLAYERS: (so far…)
Momo-Hahaha / MoHa / MoHa the Magnificent: Saab
Sayuri Grapes / Sa-Grapes / SaGrapes / Sa-G (this name especially in her old age): Chy
Dumpling Bones / Dumpy/ Bones / The Lovely Bones: Karishma
BeefBall / BBall: Ozz
Achmed Arachnid / Spiderman: Helpful but ugly spider. (Heavy, throaty, phlegmy pronunciation on the Achmed bit)
The Evil Matron Jukebox: Mrs Jukes
Bishop Linen’s Asylum for Loose, Forward and School-Going Ladies [ASL-FAS-GoiLs]
Momo-Hahaha was ecstatic. She gazed dreamily into her Crystal Skull’s* hollow eyes for confirmation and giggled in amusement.
*Normally, powerful witches and oracles would make do with a crystal ball, but Momo-Hahaha was so diabolical and superb, she had a Crystal Skull from Swarovski. (To be even clearer, a
Momo-Hahaha, or MoHa for short, looked at the Mirror-Mirror on her wall and gave herself a high-five. Her complex plan, laid out years ago to entrap the high-handed (and for that matter, long-legged) Sayuri Grapes was finally in the penultimate stages of execution. Sa-Grapes was behaving in an abominably predictable manner. It was like she was taking stage directions.
MoHa’s plan, in short, follows.
MoHa had grown increasingly tired of taking care of her younger and far-less-appealing male sibling, BeefBall. She thought back to the summer of ’91 when BeefBall was born and her subsequent obsession and fanatic love for him as he lay in his crib. How she’d coo and gurgle at the babe. How she’d apply aloe vera to his diaper rash. How she’d soothe his injuries after accidentally dropping him ‘sometimes’ etc. (sometimes = this happened quite a bit unfortunately, and mostly on BBall’s head, which probably had something to do with his inadequate mental development in later life.)
In other words, MoHa’s was the usual smitten behaviour of a loving elder sister who had unnecessarily taken on the role of young mother. (I say ‘unnecessarily’ because they had, after all, a real young loving mother, very much alive and doing her job quite well.)
But now things had changed. As with everything in Life, Nature must take its course. BeefBall had gradually grown from a tiny, well-groomed, regularly bathed, sweet-smelling angelic boy into a giant-sized, hairy, smelly, definitely non-angelic Man-like Creature. And when we say ‘grown’, we of course mean only in the outer, physical form of growing. Upstairs, BBall was still in his infancy. Rooms to let, as it were.
There was a joke in the MoHa-BBall household about the rarity of BBall’s baths. What the joke is, I can’t exactly recall, but it was a good one.
Over the years, MoHa’s blind love for BBall changed into a sighs-and-resignation sort of caring, as well as a definite teeth-gritting-grimace at the quality of BBall’s ‘humour’. (The quotes are deliberate.)
So, the wheels in MoHa’s Magnificent Mind (alliteration also deliberate) started churning. ‘How to Rid Self of Gargantuan BeefBall?’ became the staple of her thoughts. In the summer of 2007, an idea presented itself. And what a presentation it was! Like a horrible, scary apparition from a past life, MoHa came into contact with her old nemesis…. SAYURI GRAPES! (Kill Bill – Vol. I soundtrack plays as MoHa and Sa-Grapes go into flashback….]
It was a dark, rainy night at Bishop Linen’s Asylum for Loose, Forward and School-Going Ladies [ASL-FAS-GoiLs], the pinnacle of Bangkok-galore’s freaky underground ‘education’ system. The wayward residents of the Senior Dorms had snuck into the Linen Closet (a.k.a. the ‘common room’) and were watching an average film on the Forbidden TV, or FTV for short. (Blink, I think it was, starring Madeline Stowe.)
MoHa was leaning precariously at the back of the room trying hard to get a clear view of the screen. The trouble was, a huge tree seemed to have materialised right in the middle of the Linen Closet, exactly in her line of sight. How to rid the locality of this annoying arboreal growth was MoHa’s main concern. Suddenly MoHa spotted her old buddy Achmed Arachnid (an ugly spider if ever there was one, enough to make one lose one’s appetite, but completely harmless in every other way) at the top right corner of the ceiling. In subtle yet very clear sign language, she asked him to go and quietly plant himself on the tree. Achmed Arachnid, being the kind, gentlemanly spider he was (a kind gentle Spiderman, you could almost say), obliged at once. He positioned himself on the tree’s extension and put on a menacing expression like he had seen his distant filmy cousins do in Arachnophobia. And MoHa saw her opening. She knocked hard on the tree trunk. Slowly, very slowly, the tree turned its head. (MoHa’s mind inexplicably flashed neon signs saying “Treebeard” and “Ent”, who knows why.)
“Aaaaargh!!!” screamed MoHa’s insides as they turned to pulp on grasping the features of the Tree, but outwardly she maintained her calm. “Excuse me, Tree,” she said casually, “but there seems to be a horrific, venomous arachnid on your upper left branch.”
(Years later, Sa-Grapes, for that is who it was, changed this opening dialogue to a far more romantic, “Excuse me, HONEY, but there seems to be a cute and tiny bug on your left shoulder,” when relating the anecdote to incurious passers-by.)
Back to the scene…
On receiving this most disturbing news, Sa-Grapes to her credit did not jump up, screeching and tugging at her skirt as a normal, weak-hearted and stereotype female would have done. Instead, her pupils dilated and she broke out in a cold sweat. But did not move. She Kroaked (deliberate spelling) out for help, “Please, oh Gorgeous MoHa, come to my aid!” To which MoHa gave a lopsided half-grin like heroes in Western flicks, winked secretly at Achmed, and gently tickled him away (quickly passing him a dead fly or two for his efforts). Sa-Grapes promptly collapsed in a tidal wave of relief (because a ‘flood of relief’ is for normal-sized people and we know that is not the case here.)
She remained collapsed for the rest of the movie, which worked out very well for MoHa the Magnificent. Just as the flick ended, Sa-Grapes revived and was going to start singing songs of love and adoration for MoHa, when threatening footsteps were heard from without. MoHa sensed danger. It was the only thing to sense at that point of time, but there was one important personality who did not get this. Her dahling friend and comrade, the innocent, pure-hearted and very lost Dumpling Bones, just sat and blinked. This was a moment of action if ever there was one and MoHa could not see the sense in anyone sitting and blinking. She tried to drag Dumpling but Dumpling only budged a little. In her state of catatonic shock, Dumpling had taken on dead weight and MoHa, Magnificent though she was, could not move her alone.
She lost no time. Where lesser mortals would have admitted defeat, she was already finalising a brilliant alternate plan of action. She turned to Sa-Grapes and said hurriedly, “Nobu-san! Toshiba. Sashimi. Harakiri. Hai.” SaGrapes nodded and in perfect sync MoHa and SaGrapes lifted The Lovely Bones from her backside and swung her through the secret door to the Senior Dorm. Just as the secret passage clicked shut behind them, the Evil Matron Jukebox exploded into the Linen Closet and was met with… well, nothing. Except for a fat, ugly, Middle-Eastern-looking spider that was looking very pleased with itself. The room was just as she had left it three hours previously after watching a C-grade Danielle Steele movie adaptation. Yuk. Disappointed, Jukebox retreated to her dungeon.
In the Dorm, the excitement of a close shave was just beginning to die down. All the girls in their various outfits of bunny PJs, frilly nighties and outdated Bermuda shorts were recovering from the adrenaline buzz of a few moments ago. Whispering and giggling were rife in all corners, except one. That’s right. It was Dumpling’s corner. Where MoHa and SaGrapes were gently laying Dumpy’s inert form in her bunk bed, tucking her in and stroking her hair for effect. SaGrapes threatened to break out into a Mallu lullaby but a warning glance from MoHa put an end to that. In a few minutes, Dumpy stopped blinking, her eyes slowly closed and she started snoring in a lovely, guttural monotone. The danger had passed. MoHa turned to SaGrapes at this emotional moment and said sincerely, “Arigato.
And so began a bizarre yet poignant friendship between the most unlikely creatures in Bangkok-galore. Dumpy was a constant adhesive between the two. Whenever SaGrapes screwed up and MoHa was infuriated with her, it was Dumpy who gave useful suggestions like, “Sa-G, why don’t you show MoHa how you can burp out the Linen school song?” Or, “MoHa, see how Sa-Grapes bangs her head on the chapel ceiling when we go in for evening mass,” etc. You get the drift. The three ladies would be seen at all hours sneaking around the campus, the hostel, the hockey field, the Canned-Tin, attempting to pole vault over the gate and doing things of that sort to while away the time. It was, in a way, pathetic (hell, it was pathetic any which way you look at it), but it was also endearing. The scenic grounds of the Linen campus served as an adhesive to the as yet immature alliance between the three. Some might even say they ‘bonded’. All this romantic stuff happened circa 1998-1999 which was the year MoHa and Dumpy would graduate. SaGrapes had flunked a couple of times, or was it thrice, and she was still a year behind. Mmmpppfff.
Part 1 of many concludes.
...To be continued...