Having not eaten dinner last night, I was famished to the bones this morning. The forty-five minutes drive to the office was filled with me craving and fantasizing on the succulent lontong at Rubiah Suparman’s restaurant. I may have been drooling in my car but I don’t care. Maybe it didn’t happen. I can’t even remember which mp3 playlist I put on the stereo player, or if whether I was listening to the radio. But I did remember clearing up a few moist pieces of tissue papers from my car at the office parking when I arrived.

*****

Hastily, I settled my things in the office. I can’t even be bothered to even glimpse and greet my colleagues. Maybe they were not in yet, hence the unknowingness. I seriously don’t remember. In my mind was all lontong, lontong & lontong.

Soon after, I walked cheerfully across the main road, strolled through the mother & child government clinic (a not too short, short-cut) to the next commercial building. Ah, I was getting near. Just a few units ahead.

And then, there he was, of all people. The annoying Prudential insurance agent that has been sucking money from almost everybody around me (at least in the office). He was sitting noticeably at a table near the main entrance of Rubiah Suparman’s restaurant, face facing the five-foot-way. He saw me and gave a sinister smile.

This is not happening! I refused to engage direct eye contact with him and kept walking ahead. I can vaguely see that he was signaling with his hands for me to join him. Too many incidental conversations have been made with this guy previously and I’d rather be hit by a car than to have another redundant conversation with him (irony: hit by a car – insurance agent). My pace became faster as I walked past Rubiah Suparman’s restaurant. Since he knew I knew he saw me (dafuq?), I gave an insincere smile until he was no longer in sight.

But I still needed my lontong fix right? No worries. A guy like me always has a plan B.

I walked to the end of the building and continued turning into the back-alley of the same block. When I’m exactly at the back of Rubiah Suparman’s restaurant, I knocked the kitchen door. An Indonesian kitchen crew opened the door, puzzled. “Saya mau masuk, makan”, and he let me in.

Like a mouse, I sneaked slowly through the kitchen and tip-toed to a vaguely located table near the washroom. I can still see the Prudential insurance agent at his table, being a prick (sic), while drinking his morning coffee. I sat down, face facing the washroom, my right shoulder adjacent to the concrete wall. I was confident that the guy could not see me when he pays for this breakfast at the cashier counter.

Alas, I managed to savour the tenderness of the rice cakes, the creaminess & the richness of the lodeh gravy, the nuttiness of the rustic peanut sauce and the sweetness of the spicy sambal. Not to mention the smokiness of the burnt kerisik. Mission accomplished.

Come to think about it, I think I’m the prick in this story.

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