If you have not already done so, please read Part 1 here!
Pontianak: Perempuan Mati Beranak
Malay folklore has it that a woman who dies during childbirth betides a vampiric form.
Sarah was an ordinary airline pilot, until parturition complications killed her baby. And her.
But grieve is over-hyped. Instead, she must survive.
For the native hunter is now the hunted. Therefore, she must harbour this secret, or risk demise.
I loved dogs- statement is grammatically accurate.
I still do, truly. My affection just isn’t reciprocated, those tattle tale little rascals.
Fluffy compact Pontianak detectors, they are. Pretty things howl their tiny lungs out when I’m approaching, then whimper like a baby when I’m near.
Given that my rice bowl is situated in an airport where men’s-best-friends roam like tai-tais in a morning market, this is unfortunately inconvenient.
The first time those traitors snitched on me, the airport police gave me a full pat down, armpit hair and all. Second time, they snooped through my nav bag and confiscated my entire Choki-Choki stash.
Catch me twice, shame on you; nail me thrice, shame on me.
I focus on my mojo and channel an intense draft through the open doors of the arrival hall where a uniformed man stand guard with his watchdog. The sudden gust flings a sitting pile of newspaper into the air and one sheet smacks doggie right in the flews.
He whines intently as I power walk past at lightning speed. The dog handler bends over to handle the mess, clueless to the twofold pretext behind doggy’s desperate pleas.
I love you, woof woof! Sincerely.
Today’s problems: one down, two to go.
The dreaded moment of truth has finally arrived.
Since my unique situation came into light, I’ve been acutely aware of the possible difficulties today might present: the annual pilot medical.
I am, essentially, dead. To be technically accurate, I am a frozen carcass with a soul. Without frequent human blood intake, I will become an actual corpse: rotting flesh, worms in the socket, the whole works. At least, that’s what I gather from my extensive Internet research, marvel of the modern world.
Thanks to Dee Dee’s mid-autumn festival “present” with her soaking pad, I missed the boat with that one.
During a pilot medical, one is required to surrender blood and undergo a series of physical tests. My heightened senses are no problem-o, human-blood-diet and all.
For a piece of mind, I slapped on a wig and aviators, marched into a private lab in downtown KL, and delivered a nice blood sample under an alias, Nicolle Davis (twin sister of squash queen). The results showed no peculiarities, so I decided that area was a go.
Which narrows my predicament to… the physical check. As a Pontianak, my heart beats at approximately 20 bpm with a blood pressure of a paralyzed snail.
No sane doctor with that knowledge with nod his head and stamp “fit to fly”.
But, I have a plan.
The aviation doctor’s clinic hasn’t change in 6 years. Same light blue walls, identical stain on the 2nd chair in row 4.
“Fill up form. Hand over license.” The nurse actually has the nerve to look bored.
How dare you. Pontianak shitting her pants here.
I comply and run through the motion like clockwork. The eye chart… weighing scale…
I watch a syringe penetrate my pale skin to draw blood. The scarlet goo is transferred into a waiting vile, and placed among other occupied vials.
Typically, the sight to me is like a blood buffet that will teases my taste buds and water my mouth. But today, my appetite is limited. Mostly because I’m distracted, as it’s face time with Doctor Razman Bin Baharuddin, MBBS, Dip Av Med.
“I just need to pee first,” I tell the nurse. Her boredom morphs into annoyance.
But I don’t care.
I speed away to the empty space in front of the vacant toilets and check the area for human life. Once satisfied that nobody is within range, I drop down into a burpee.
… One, two, three… ten, eleven… fifty, fifty-one…
Yes, my ingenious plan involves good old fashion exercise to elevate my heart rate.
… One, two, three… I’ve varied my workout into star jumps. A nervous energy is stirring in stomach.
My heartbeat picks up. This is working! This is working!
The energy in my gut is bursting. I pick up my intensity.
I throw my arms wide in one violent thrust on “thirty”…
… And release the loudest fart mankind has ever known.
I think, well, that should fire up my heartbeat, when…
… The sound of a manly cough catches my attention.
I freeze mid-jump, quadriceps poised for my final leap.
I’ve got an audience.
Color rush to my cheeks, and I slowly turn to face my adoring fan.
Before me, stood an Asian Channing Tatum with shoulders the width of the entire Peninsular Malaysia.
Six packs are glaringly visible under a white Darth Vader t-shirt, begging to be licked. I mean, existing very prominently.
“Will you marry me?” I nearly spit.
“Nice form,” he says, not unkindly.
“Just, erm, exercise is exigent to the sustainability of one’s well being.” I squawk instead.
I raced away like a Pontianak Usain Bolt, the heavy stomping of my platform sandals attracting more attention than my cardio drill. “Wear the platforms,” said Dee Dee. “It’s a confidence booster,” she added. Gee, thanks Dees.
But the open door of the doctor’s office is my saving grace. I dash in and shut the door firmly behind me. My heart thumps violently against my chest. Who knew looking like a royal fool in front of a broad shouldered hot guy did the trick.
“Hi Sarah,” doctor’s concern eyes search me. He knows about my dead baby. The aviation industry is shockingly small. News about my deceased offspring spread like wildfire. As a result, most people attribute my sudden anti-social demeanor to grieve.
And the lost still stings. Some nights, I lay awake mourning my departed child. However, most days, I’m distracted.
I mean; being a Pontianak is kind of a major life alteration.
“I’m fine, doctor.” Considering I’m a current member of the living-dead and there MIGHT be a Pontianak killer on the loose… yeah… pretty good.
He glances at a piece of paper before him. “Your blood test results look normal.”
“How are you feeling?” The worried look returns. Despite the death of my newborn baby, followed by the tragic transformation into a character from Malaysian folklore, I am perfectly fit to fly.
“Great, doctor.” Now just check my cardiac rhythm already before it resumes the default undead nature.
Finally, doctor pulls out his blood pressure meter and wraps the band around my arm. He squeezes the hand pump and I feel the fabric tighten around my upper limb.
His eyes sweep the gauge.
Immediately, his pupils are alert. His attention is focus on the reading.
He looks hard. And keep looking.
He squints and tilts his head to the left.
Then purses his lips.
And squints some more.
I will my heart to race, not that its’ not already in a full-fledged sprint.
“How did an ant squeeze into the wedge of my meter?” He says, puzzled.
My heart is caught in my throat.
“Oh, and your blood pressure is normal,” he adds simply, releasing the tension around my biceps.
I weep with relief.
“Attempt to look alive. You conned a medical professional, now try to fool me.” Dee Dee gives me a sharp kick under the table of our local BurgerLab.
“Ouch! Must I be here? And I look ridiculous in this dress.” I tug at the mini dress Dee Dee practically forced on me.
“Yes, and stop sulking. You’re ruining your lipstick.” She inspects her my makeup, her handiwork.
I’ve lost count of the number of blind double dates Dee Dee has dragged me on. To be fair, it’s fun. We like to play a game called shackle, shag, or slag. The rules are simple: the timer starts when pleasantries begin. Fifteen minutes into the date, we stealthily whatsapp our decree- is our respective date: boyfriend material? (Shackle) Is he merely a yummy one-time-only meal? (Shag) Or, no-way-ever? (Slag)
If either of us decides “slag”, we abandon mission, make some lame excuse, and bolt out. There’s a catch though. One can overrule a “slag”, but only twice every year.
I’ve never overruled a slag. I’ve simply never met a guy I like enough. Dee Dee, on the other hand, repeals my “slug” twice annually. “He’s hot!” is her usual excuse.
I seldom “shag” a guy either. If he wants rite of passage into this secret garden, he’s going to earn it.
“No guy wants to be shackled to a Pontianak, Dees.” My words are overflowing with frustration.
“Then shag him.” Dee Dee says simply.
“We don’t know if that’s safe.” It’s true. With my supernatural strength and thirst, the poor guy might end up in the hospital.
But my whining is ignored, because in walks Jon, a.k.a. bulging biceps guy. Jon is a fellow pilot at our airline, so we’re not complete strangers. He strolls in with his hands in his jeans pockets, his slightly tan skin distinct against his white t-shirt. Jon’s mixed Malay-Chinese parentage does his features plenty of justice.
And you bet Dee Dee noticed. She flips her hair like I’ve seen a million times. That’s phase one of operation have-him-eat-out-of-her-palm. And it ALWAYS works.
As predicted, like a charm. Jon can’t take his eyes off her; except for the millisecond he turns to face me. “Hey, Sarah. My brother is parking the car. He’ll be right in.”
I nearly respond, “tell him don’t bother. I’m going to slag him.” But because Dee Dee will pull my blood-sucking tongue out, I just smile and nod.
“How’s your roster this month, Jon?” Dee Dee asked, twirling a strand of stray hair.
I can literally see his crotch rising. Geez, keep it in your pants, mister.
Jon moved his chair nearer to Dee Dee and swings his arm around her backrest. I roll my eyes.
My eyeballs are mid roll when Jon finally diverts his sight from Dee Dee. I hear footsteps approaching.
“Dan! Sarah, meet my brother, Dan.”
I slowly turn to face my blind date. From his dark blue canvas shoes, to the black 3-quarter shorts, up to his Darth Vader t-shirt that oh-so-perfectly hugs his crazy broad shoulders.
Before me, stood Asian Channing Tatum from Dr. Razman’s clinic.
“SLAG SLAG SLAG SLAG!!!!!!” I type furiously.
Dee Dee shoots me a don’t-be-a-drama-queen look over the table.
“OVERRULE” Came her reply.
“You can’t overrule me! He probably thinks I’m an idiot.” My fingers fly across my iPhone keyboard.
Which is how I scuffed down an entire nasi lemak burger in 3 flat minutes while Dee Dee and Jon flirt shamelessly. On the contrary, Dan and I exchange awkward glances while making awkward-er conversation.
At the end of the 55 minutes dinner (Chew faster! I type), the uncomfortable date comes to a fortunate end.
But then Dee Dee bats her fake eyelashes at Jon, and says, “Let me show you the thing I was talking about.”
“What thing, Dees?” I spit. “You’re my ride home.”
Dee Dee ignores the desperate plea in my voice and addresses Dan, “would you be a sweetheart and get my girl home safely.”
We need to reevaluate this friendship, my death stare screams.
My phone buzzes on my lap. “You like him. It’s obvious. You’re doing that twitchy nose thing.”
“What twitchy nose thing? May I remind you that (a) Pontianaks don’t date and (b) I farted mid-star jump? In. A. Clinic.”
But Dee Dee and Jon are already at the door.
“I parked three blocks away. I hope you don’t mind the walk.” Dan says.
Thunder roars and a bolt of lightning flashes in the evening sky.
“It’s drizzling. Why not you wait here while I get the car?” He continues.
“That’s okay. I don’t mind the rain.” I say quietly. I can easily rid of these rain clouds, but after the day I’ve had, I could use some refreshing.
We walk wordlessly past the first row of shop lots. The drizzle picks up, so we quicken our footsteps.
Without warning, the rain graduates into a heavy down pour. We break into a sprint, me the best I can in 4 inches of platforms. I’ll never take shoe advice from Dee Dee ever again.
We finally reach Dan’s beat up Proton Saga and slither through the doors, panting and soaking wet.
We sit quietly for a moment before a giggle escapes my lips. His face mirror my amusement and suddenly we are giggling hysterically.
“You really should have waited at the restaurant,” he remarks.
“Nah. I don’t need rescuing. Even in these shoes.”
He smiles good-naturedly then retrieves two Star Wars T-shirts from the backseat.
“Want to slip this on? You’re dripping like a sponge.” He holds my options up like a Pasar Malam monger. “I have Princess Leia and Chewbacca.”
“I’ll be the princess,” I reach for the oversized t-shirt.
He shrugs. “Cool, I’ll be Chewbacca. Btw, he’s a kickass pilot.”
Dan pulls his thoroughly soaked t-shirt over his head and I try not to stare. If his clothed body sent me into a seizure, his topless one is about to cause me a heart attack.
His lats are so well defined they look chiseled. Dee Dee thinks Jon’s biceps are impressive? Wait till she sees this baby right here. A few inches above his left elbow sits a tattoo. I study the marked ink.
“Nice tattoo,” I compliment. “Are those alphabets? Looks like an “I” and something…”
My heart involuntarily sinks when I ask, “girlfriend’s initials?”
He hurriedly pulls the dry shirt over his muscles and answer, “no. Just some random pattern I thought looks cool.” He offers me a shy grin.
My heart flutters. He’s single then? Well, he should be. He did agree to a double date.
We drive along in silence.
The car wiper goes swip-swap-swip-swap to combat the pouring rain.
“Today was fun,” he says suddenly.
He shoots me a reserved sideward glance. “Let’s do it again some time? Preferably without the best friend and brother?”
My heart skipped 10 beats.
The wiper now echoes yes-yes-yes-yes!
Maybe a Pontianak can date?
To be continued…