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Gag Order – Installment 16 – Women from Venus, Men from…

After several attempts at getting Wilona to share the court proceedings, Krasten gave up. He waited for her outside the Ladies and but when she emerged, she gave him the silent treatment and walked past. A small crowd of reporters milled around the day’s breaking news—a pastor charged for fiddling with his church’s accounts.

As Krasten and Wilona gratefully quick-stepped down the court stairs, Yolanda called out. Krasten crunched a smiled, and she puckered and clicked a mock kiss.

Wilona caught the exchange. ‘Are all men descended from alley cats?’

‘Meow?’ said Krasten.

‘You stood me up!’

‘Did we have a date? Jeez! I really missed that one!’

Joe Bernard, the private investigator approached from the open-air parking lot. He waved and all three converged.

‘In there! We got plastered!’ said Wilona. ‘You were supposed to be lead counsel.’

‘Not we, you, you got plastered,’ said Krasten. ‘Anyway, I told you I was at an important lunch with a potential client, and you told me you’d handle it.’

‘You said you’d be five minutes late, tops.’

‘Another he-said-she-said?’ said Joe Bernard as he drew near. ‘This is Singapore, family members don’t indulge in public spats unless you belong to the ruling dynasty.’

‘Bite your tongue,’ said Wilona.

‘Never mind her, she hasn’t had lunch,’ said Krasten, cutting off Wilona. ‘What have you got?’

‘I might have a new lead,’ said Joe Bernard.

‘That way,’ said Krasten and all three strode back towards the parking lot.

‘I tracked down a former neighbor of Lavinia Ying’s—a Mr. Phang. Might be useful for us.’

‘Hope not another Mrs. Toh. I just got shredded in there,’ said Wilona.

‘Hey, I just catch them, it’s up to you how you cook them,’ said Joe Bernard, proving himself no less glib.

‘Joe, stop talking lunch to her,’ said Krasten, ‘or she might end up biting her tongue. She already claims she’s sweet.’ Wilona started to protest but he spoke over her, ‘What about Mr. Phang?’

‘According to this Mr. Phang, Bastien used to visit Ying’s apartment in the late evenings, usually on weekdays up to the time Mr. Phang moved out.’

‘How long ago was that?’ asked Krasten and Wilona. Both in concert.

‘You go first,’ said Krasten, and Wilona rolled her eyes.

When Joe Bernard remained silent, Krasten and Wilona turned on him, ‘Well?’

‘About a month ago,’ said Joe Bernard.

Krasten deliberately held back, ‘You go first,’ and waited for Wilona.

She sighed and said, ‘That confirms they’d a relationship.’

‘Only if we can prove they were not discussing business strategy,’ said Krasten.

All three stopped beside Joe Bernard’s car.

‘What if Ying denies it, how are we to prove Bastien visited her?’ said Wilona. ‘None of her current neighbors recall seeing Bastien at her apartment block.’

‘It means two things,’ said Joe Bernard. ‘The neighbors don’t want to get involved, and we got her this time.’

Wilona looked lost, but Krasten and Joe exchanged knowing nods.

‘Sorry guys, can’t give you a ride.’ Joe Bernard gave Krasten a nod and said, ‘I’ll fix that appointment.’ He slipped into his car and belted up.

‘Don’t worry about the ride, Jeevan loves paying our cab fares,’ said Krasten. ‘I hope you catch her in a good mood.’

‘Have you ever seen her in a good mood?’ And Joe Bernard drove off.

‘Who?’ asked Wilona.

‘Not you, you’re never in a good mood,’ said Krasten and took off.

‘Who is the she, what appointment?’ said Wilona and quickened her pace and strode beside him.

‘You haven’t told me about the drink you had with that dirt-bag.’

‘Which dirt-bag?’

‘Which? You mean all the guys you hang out with are dirt-bags?’ said Krasten, enjoying himself. ‘How many are there in the AG’s office.’

‘Sak? That’s none of your god damn business.’

‘Oh, it’s Sak? Not dirt-bag, not Mr Boey, and not even Sakaris. Sak. Hmm, okay,’ said Krasten.

‘You’re jealous,’ said Wilona, half pleased and half frustrated.

‘Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.’

‘What?’ Wilona snapped. And they attracted surprised looks from passers-by.

Krasten stepped back slowly, a twinkle in his eyes. ‘I don’t belong to the dynasty. Do you?’ He turned and strode off, very pleased with himself. He hailed a taxi and the driver pulled up with a lurch. Krasten opened the door and waited.

Wilona stood rooted, refusing to budge. After a few long seconds, she hurried towards the taxi.

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

*** Saturday 5 August: I Speak Singlish ***