Monday, February 02, 2009

The Shadow People

They emerge from the shadows and are suddenly right in front of you like a traffic accident, in fact, worse than a traffic accident, because traffic accidents you can ignore, and these shadows will just not leave you alone.

Sometimes it's the little boys who beg: "Please akka, please." wanting you to buy a bunch of pens you do not need. They pretend to be hungry. You may have forked out if you hadn't seen the pimps, but now, you think you'll give it a miss. No point in funding yet another syndicate.

But I especially like the little old lady - she's Indian, she appears diffident and peers at you uncertainly. You think she is lost (how can you be lost in front of the Bangsar Maybank for crying out loud?) and wants to ask the way to somewhere or other.

Until she prefaces her request with "Sister..." and you remember where you met this little old lady with the sad and sorry face, the kind of face that makes your wallet tingle. It was with the Dementor, and she asked for money (bus fare I think it was, if it wasn't money for a meal) and he told her off for begging, for lying and for trying to pull a con.

"I've seen you before, auntie, and I know you do this every day. Not today, auntie, not today," he says and she smiles sheepishly and amazingly, walks away leaving you alone. (The Dementor had some uses)

This time, however, she gets you alone and has made eye contact before you realised she was a crook, before you realised it was better to avoid her gaze. She steps forward hopefully. But by then you've remembered. So you turn and walk away. Quickly.

And she follows, her footsteps ringing angrily on the cement pavement behind you. So angrily that you look back to see her following, her face twisted in demonic rage. Once you catch a glimpse of the face, the footsteps cease. She slinks back into the shadows from whence she emerged.

Waiting it out. For the next victim. This is Bangsar. There's always a sucker to be had. Today, thanks to the Dementor, that sucker isn't you.

But vaguely shaken from that glimpse of that evil face, you keep looking over your shoulder for the rest of the day.

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