Last night, after a slap-up ‘moré’ and a couple of exquisite cigars with some of the good old boys from MRSM, I went home and retired for the night. With the finish from the Monte Cristo No.2 still lingering in my mouth, I drifted off to an uneasy sleep.
In no time, I was transported into a dream-world; an alternate reality where there was no way of sifting between the absurd from the real. In that nebulous reality, I found myself in a movie theatre (I think they are called ‘cineplexes’ now) with scores of other people watching a very popular movie. It was a special movie: The entire cast of characters consisted of four legendary bad guys from yesteryear. I distinctly recall Shariff Dol, S Kadarisman, Shariff Melan, and the big-daddy of them all – Salleh Kamil.
As one would expect from such a line-up, the movie was a swirling mass villainy and an unending catalogue of nasty deeds. S Kadarisman played a mafia don; a Don Corleone of sorts, with an almost comical penchant for nodding off to sleep. His deputy was played by the portly, but oddly dashing, Shariff Dol who was obsessed with the use of explosives in solving his problems. In addition to this, Shariff Melan played a power-hungry homosexual who tries very hard to pass himself off as a knight in shining armour, and who is hell-bent on usurping S Kadarisman’s power and position. Last but not least, Salleh Kamil (arguably the most sinister of the lot) played the Don’s son-in-law, a scheming Oxford-trained young upstart, intent on whacking the whole lot of them by biding his time and pulling whatever strings he needs to pull so that he will eventually win everything on the table.
After almost 80 minutes of villainy and counter-villainy, with each character blissfully engaged at playing political silly buggers (and at least in one case, actual outright buggery), the movie was nowhere near a conclusion than when it started. I was beginning to develop a bad taste in my mouth. One can only take so much of mindless intrigue before one feels an overwhelming need to regurgitate one’s dinner. That was when I looked around me: I freaked-out when I discovered I was the only one left in the cineplex. Looking back at the screen, it was still full of the four bad guys, trying to out do each other.
Consumed by a mindless fury of my own, I stood up and began shouting, “BUT WHERE ARE THE GOOD GUYS!” at an uncaring screen, over and over again. That was when I got up. It was time for ‘sahur’.
For the rest of the day, I was haunted by the question, “But where are the good guys?” And I suspect, this question will still continue to hound me (and the rest of the country) for a long time to come. Perhaps this is a sign telling me I should go back to playing with my beloved fountain pens and maybe write a book review or two.
After all, nowadays, they don’t make good black-and-white movies anymore, do they? Along the same lines, it is entirely plausible that they don’t make good guys anymore, too. We just don’t know this yet.