the invisible man
My brother E runs a do-it-all marketing business at my dad's printing factory. For 2 years now, he has hired Mr Kam, a contractor/carpenter, to help him construct the sets for the roadshows and other promotions E organises for his clients.
For some reason unknown to E, Mr Kam has been avoiding his calls. With a project due next week, E decided he had to drop by Mr Kam's office to see if anything was wrong.
"Hello, your boss Mr Kam in?" E asked Mr Kam's employee, who is busy sanding some wood at the ground floor of the shophouse.
"Er...upstairs..." he freed a hand and pointed to the office at the second floor.
Entreprenuer E trooped up the shophouse stairs to the second floor, wondering why the lights were all off if the boss was around.
At the first door, he knocked and hearing no response, opened and peered into the dim and empty room. No Mr Kam.
He knocked at the second door - Mr Kam's office itself. Again, it was dark behind the glass and there was no response. Nonetheless, E opened the door and looked. On the side table by the door, he saw both of Mr Kam's mobile phones. A sign that he was around somewhere. And beside the side table was a bed...this man obviously sleeps on the job! But there was still no Mr Kam in sight.
Just as E was about to leave, he caught a glimpse of a man on the floor.
The man had his back to the door and was on all fours. Slowly, quietly, he was "sliding" away on his knees towards the office desk!
"Mr Kam...?" E said tentatively, not quite sure if he was seeing what he was seeing. "Mr Kam..." But the man-dog-snake was not responding, "Mr Kam, don't be like this leh..." E appealed in Mandarin, "Eh Mr Kam, I already see you liao, don't be like this...Mr Kam!"
Having reached his destination behind the desk, he stayed there, ignoring E's bewildered calls. Even then, once or twice, E could see a hand or an arm as the man-dog-snake shifted around behind the desk to make sure he had perfected his act of invisibility.
J and I had a real good laugh when E told us this encounter last night. At first, E and I, of the more timid stock, had thought his behaviour was rather creepy. I mean, maybe that chap's been practising weird magic and has possessed by some dog spirit! Or he's on some drugs that's made him not only loony but potentially violent?! I was wondering perhaps he's having some afternoon loving with a mistress when E knocked, seeing that there's a bed in the office...but the more sreetwise J, having grown up with more petty crooks around him, offered the most logical answer - "I think he owes money to some loanshark." Strange what desperation can drive a man to do.
Ah so, invisibility is a power we wish we could command at will, but cannot have - not unless someone else chooses to be blind.