Fri, 1 Apr 2005
No sooner have I sat down at my desk for a light morning’s toil in the office than a feeling of foreboding overwhelms me. It’s probably not life-threatening, but… After several days of sore gums, bleeding when I brush my teeth, and completely ineffective gargling with salt water, I have no choice but to lift up the phone and call Dr Amy KK Au-Yeung BDS DPDS to ask for an appointment. If it’s a check-up, her receptionist tells me, come next week. But if it’s urgent, she’s free in half an hour. Let’s do it, I say, quoting Gary Gilmore’s last words.
I tell Ms Fang the hunter-killer secretary that I’ll be back in 30 minutes at the most. A ten-minute stroll from S-Meg Tower later, I am lying on my back on the seat in the high-tech but evil-smelling surroundings of the dental chamber, a bright light shining into my face, and Dr Au-Yeung pressing herself against me as she peers into my mouth. Come on woman, just hand over the antibiotics and let me out of here. But no – she pokes around my incisors with a spike. “Hmmm,” she murmurs. Suddenly, without warning, she pins me down by the shoulders and her assistant deftly manacles my hands at my sides and tightens four strong nylon straps across my legs, waist and chest. “Clean-up!” she announces, stuffing buds of surface anaesthetic under my upper and lower lips and loading up her special coward-size syringe. After numbing everything from my nose to my neck, she brutally subjects me to subgingival curettage – medical jargon for ‘extremely unpleasant scraping under the gums as punishment for not flossing five times a day as I have previously instructed you’.
Hours of jaw-shuddering abrasion and scouring later, I am unshackled. As her assistant mops the blood up off the floor, Dr Au-Yeung hands me a bottle of antiseptic mouthwash. “This is very powerful,” she tells me. “Don’t use it for more than three days, or it will discolour your teeth and do really strange things to your taste buds.” Despite apparently not having a mouth, I manage to grunt. She passes me a bag of pills. “If the wash doesn’t work, use these antibiotics. But if you drink alcohol within a month of taking these,” she stresses, wagging her finger, “you will die instantly.”
Sun, 10 Apr 2005
Another Sunday afternoon in a Wanchai disco dungeon with wild American friend Odell. Amidst the gloomy boom-boom of the dance music, the usual, sad-looking middle-aged obese gwailo sexual predators rub shoulders and other body parts with lithe young Southeast Asian women. I direct my ex-Mormon friend’s attention towards a girl making simpering eyes at him from across the bar. She has a nice-but-dim look, with straight black hair parted down the middle and a plain T-shirt and trousers. “Oh, her,” he groans. It emerges that she is a Thai hooker – though far less gross-looking than most of them – and he once paid her a sum of money in exchange for an hour of her company in a nearby short-time hotel. But nothing happened because his wife Mee phoned him at a crucial moment and summoned him home. “So this girl kind of thinks she owes me one,” he explains. I am tempted to approach the harlot and suggest that she simply refund him her fee and therefore clear this debt. Much as I like Odell, I would gladly pay millions not to have sex with him. But apparently that’s not how it works. After a tetchy call from his spouse at home, he agrees with me that it is time to leave. So, around 8.00pm, we are sharing a taxi back to Mid-Levels civilization. Soon after the cab accelerates away from the Sodom and Gomorrah that is Lockhart Road, I can’t help but notice that the strumpet in question is sitting between us in the back seat, smiling enigmatically while Odell drunkenly rants away about nothing in particular, seemingly oblivious to her presence. I leap from the vehicle at some traffic lights in Central, like a World War II pilot bailing out of a burning plane hurtling towards certain destruction. This could have a nasty ending. I will read about it in the newspaper tomorrow.
Wed, 13 Apr 2005
The day gets off to a bad start with a phone call from one of the Filipino elves, informing me that she can’t come to Perpetual Opulence Mansions today because she has a kick-boxing class. The other elf, she adds, is back in Cebu suing someone over a land dispute. “A thousand apologies,” I solemnly tell her, “if you find that doing my washing and ironing cuts into your day and distracts you from martial arts training and real estate supervision.”