It was a relief to step into the condominium a friend has kindly let me use during my short holiday in Penang.
The sweltering heat of the mid afternoon sun had sapped much of my energy, turning my freshly ironed shirt into a sweat sponge. After a cool long drench under the rainforest shower, I was eager to act out the visual image I had whilst being soothed under the gentle waterfall. In the movies, it would be quite the expected scene in a tropical paradise to have Keanu Reeves in a dapper black suit similar to the one he wore in The Matrix, sipping chilled coconut juice straight out of a freshly cut green coconut. By his side is of course a Hollywood blonde siren in a revealing white cotton dress. The superstars are being served by a coloured person in a white jacket. If we could read the coloured person’s mind, he would most likely be thinking, oh why can’t I be Keanu Reeves; why can’t the gorgeous blonde lying by his side be mine instead? A brown man thinking or wishing he’s white inside, would be called a coconut, since the coconut husk is brown on the outside and its flesh inside is white.
My reality on a hot humid afternoon in Penang is not quite like that. After my long cool shower, I smelt clean and would have been maybe even alluring, had I bought the Calvin Klein cologne to match my Calvin Klein underwear. The young green coconut I bought from Gama had a pre-cut top. Just press it down and slip in the plastic straw that came with it, right? In the movies, Keanu Reeves wouldn’t be seen with a plastic straw, it would be senseless for him to risk upsetting his bevy of women fans, many of whom would surely frown at anything plastic except their boobs, maybe. But, I struggled with my coconut. Gently pressing the pre-cut top would still displace the juice onto the kitchen bench. I can’t risk dirtying my friend’s sparkling kitchen. There’s no chance of finding a chisel or a hammer in the condo. All I had was a butter knife. Has anyone tried cutting away the top of a fresh coconut with a butter knife? Ten minutes of chiselling away at the coconut, the only fluids that poured was my sweat, not the coconut juice. By this time, my CK underpants were soaking wet, so I dropped them onto my ankles and stepped away from them. My just-shampooed long hair, the only thing I have that’s similar to Keanu Reeves’, his hairstyle in John Wick, had begun to feel like a wet mop. Glancing at the mirror next to the lounge, I realised in my stark nakedness, I resembled a tropical monkey, except the monkey wouldn’t have struggled and sweated as much to get to the coconut flesh.
Nah, I’m no monkey, but was I the coconut trying to get at my coconut? The good news is I managed to use the butter knife as a fulcrum and slipped the straw in. Thank goodness it’s a plastic straw, it would have been impossible to squeeze a metal straw flat enough to push it in.
I must make a confession here since I wouldn’t be confessing to my generous friend who owns this condominium. I’ve thrown away his butter knife, it’s horribly bent. I am sure he won’t know it’s missing. Urghhling.