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Gag Order – Installment 1 – Let’s Call it Quits

It was a warm and humid Friday night. All manner of vehicles – cars, trucks, and even prime movers – lined East Coast Park, that long stretch of unbroken beaches and greenery along the south-eastern shores of diamond-shaped Singapore. Most of the cars which parked in discreet corners, lovers’ haunts away from the glare of lights, had shades on their windows. Several had the day’s newspapers wedged in their side glass.

Bastien Tee, in his office wear, and Lavinia Ying, a hard-faced beauty, were not exactly in honeymoon mood. Their most recent date, a couple of days ago, had started with a quarrel over dinner that almost degenerated into a spectacle.

Bastien drove to their usual after-dinner haunt but there will be no fireworks tonight. Never again. Not if it meant divorcing his wife. That had been the premise on which their relationship had started.

‘We enjoy one another’s company. No commitments.’

‘Works for me,’ she had said.

Even back then, Bastien suspected it was too good to be true but deluded himself. And when she broached the d-word, it caught him by surprise. He quickly discovered that a medusa lurked in the sweet supposedly pliable thing seated beside him.

Seeing an empty spot, he quickly wheeled his car in, before the guy following close behind took it. The lot was not exactly private but suited him well. No fireworks, just talk. She had agreed to think through his proposal to call it off. All he wanted was a quick yes, and their relationship will be history.

But she had insisted on meeting – something about their relationship deserved more than a text message that said, ‘Let’s call it quits.’ Bastien sighed. Ever since she slipped into the car earlier that evening, she had been sullen. And he was already regretting his decision to meet her.

A troop of bikers rode in, roaring on their beastly machines. They parked some distance away but after a few beers or depending on what they were smoking, matters could quickly head south.

‘Damn!’ He muttered.


‘Nothing,’ said Bastien.

Lavinia too stared hard at the bikers but remained silent. And it was a blistering silence. Better than screams and smashed wine glasses, thought Bastien. He has yet to finish paying off the hotel for the ruined carpet. The owner of the boutique hotel – a quaint descriptor given to joints that let out rooms for short-time – had agreed to take cash installments. Bastien sighed.


‘Nothing,’ said Bastien, ‘I didn’t say anything.’

The next moment, Lavinia screamed—nonstop. She kept screaming, on and on, as if possessed. Then, her arms and legs flailed as she slapped and scratched his face. He tried to hold her but the seat belt proved a hindrance. Moreover, she had taken him by surprise and held the initiative. He repeatedly pushed her away but she kept lunging at him.

He started the engine but she quickly ripped open her blouse and scrambled out. She screamed for help. She twisted on her heels and fell on the rough tarmac. Picking herself up, she cried and staggered to the bikers.

Bastien knew it would take only a few more moments before the situation sank in and the bikers reacted. He had to get away. His hands shivered uncontrollably as he abruptly shifted gear and, with squealing tires, sped off.

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

*** Join me on Wednesday 14 June for the continuation ***