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Roy’s anger exploded when he learnt that Roland had tried to make amends with Edwin. “If you’re really my kor-kor¹ you’ll stay away from that black bastard.”

Roland, stung, placed his book down. “Ah Tee², I’m your kor-kor and will always be, but what did Edwin do to you huh? Let it go. You pick on him and how long did you expect him to keep quiet. Don’t you have any cow sense? Surely one day he’ll fight back.”

“Bloody BB,” Roy muttered.

“Ah Tee, why do you always speak like that?”

“I expect you to stay away from that BB.”

Their father appeared with his pet baby chimpanzee on a leash, and the boys fell silent. He tugged the chain and the primate snarled.

“No more fighting in school, understand?” Seetoh wagged a finger at Roy.

“But Pa –”

“You want a smack?”

“I want to take revenge.” Roy shook with anger.

“Do you now, and what will you do, beat him up?”

“Yes.” Roy was on the verge of tears. He had expected his father to set a few of his men on Edwin to break some bones.

“After that, what?” his father asked. He stood towering over the two boys.

Roy bit his lips and Roland watched his father silently.

“The whole school knows about the fight and if anything happened to that kileng³, you will be the prime suspect. What will that do to my standing? You stupid boy, now we have become his guardians. You had shown your hand from the beginning. He read you like a book but you did not see him coming.”

“I still want to take revenge,” Roy whined.

“I ought to give you a good wallop not because you fought but because you lost, and of all people to that dhoby-boy!”

Seetoh clicked his tongue twice and the chimp hopped onto his shoulder. He fed it some nuts. “Cute isn’t it? All the children want to play with it. Their mothers coo, what a cheeky pet, come boy-boy, pat the monkey. Yah very cute. How many know that it eats raw meat, huh?”

Seetoh stared at Roy, turned slowly not taking his eyes off his son. After their father left, Roy and his brother stared at each other.

kor-kor¹ = older brother

Ah Tee² = kid brother

kileng³ = derogatory term for people of Indian extract

(An Extract from my novel – Beck And Call, A Business Thriller Set In Singapore)

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