ISSUE Magazine

That Skinny Slut by Kamarul Anwar

Elizabeth moans. Her eyes are shut.

By closing her eyes, she avoids the sight of the sweating, rotund Chinese man leaning on top of her. The feeling running through her body is overwhelming.

For 10 minutes, Elizabeth closes her eyes while she huffs and puffs. She visualises the Chinese man 20 years younger and 20 kilograms lighter. The figure from her fantasy then morphs into George Clooney, then a young Warren Beatty, and then Adi Putra.

Yet the smell of the Chinese man’s alcohol- and tobacco-laced breath brings her back to reality.

He sighs, signaling satisfaction. Thank God, Elizabeth mutters to herself, and wiggles her naked hips on the sofa as a silent urge to the man to give her some space.

She raises her body and stretches her lips as she tries to give the most sincere-looking smile to the man. Is this my cue to get the fuck out of this condominium? she wonders silently.

With her back turned as she reaches for her purple lace Blush! briefs on the floor, the man cranes down his neck and kisses the nape of Elizabeth’s. He still has a lot of carnal desire left in his tank, being rejuvenated by remnants of the sweet scent of perfume she rubbed on her neck this morning, rushing into his nostrils.

As he smears her neck with saliva, she gulps and wonders if this is what she needs to continually do to live the life she has always wanted.

***

Until four years ago, no man took notice of Elizabeth, not even when her girth should have made her hard to miss. Ninety-four kilograms of predominantly fat enveloped her skeletal structure and her angular, Pan-Asian nouveau, now the subject of other women’s envy.

Elizabeth has always blamed her father for her fatness.

In her mind, her father was struck with yellow fever, just like the rest of his peripatetic British forefathers. Once he was cured, he bought a one-way trip to his homeland, sans his Ibanese wife and their newborn daughter.

Her mother never remarried. Elizabeth had to help out with the house chores.

Obviously, with the salary of a typist at a government ministry, her mother could never afford a maid. Food was the cheapest and most accessible reward for Elizabeth after mopping the floor, doing the laundry, or rearranging the furniture; a bowl of bak kut teh in 1997 cost only RM6, the roti man will pass by her house at 6 pm sharp with packets of Super Ring and vanilla cream buns, and she didn’t even have to sweat a single drop to walk to the nearest McDonald’s from home.

Good God, was she fat. But at the time she didn’t care. She was too preoccupied just trying to live day by day.

Once she was done with cleaning and cooking, she would have been too tired to do her homework. Well, she did most of what was instructed, but she never managed to go the extra mile like many of her classmates. Come the announcement of her SPM results, Elizabeth was just thankful she did not fail any of her subjects.

***

Upon orders from his elevated libido, the fat Chinese man types “Hey” and “Whatcha up to ?” and sends them to Elizabeth’s Whatsapp.

She doesn’t respond.

Her phone is hugged tightly inside the compartment inside the mobile phone compartment of her Miu Miu blood-red nappa leather clutch. Everyone at Werner’s could hear the place playing Calvin Harris’s I Need Your Love, but Elizabeth could hardly care. She’s barely moving on the couch, trying to look picture perfect at every moment. She oscillates her head from time to time whenever her periphery scans a person walking to the alfresco section.

A waiter comes by with a martini.

He points to a virile Malay in his late 20s sitting at the balcony with a group of men. The man’s posture and build says that he was raised by the best nutrition money can buy; the son-of-an-UMNO-politician-with-Western-influence type. Hot, too, she thinks. She likes the old-school Malay look, hazelnut complexion and a wide, brimming-with-teeth smile.

Elizabeth raises the glass, curls her lips (painted with a nude lipstick from Bershka) and nods to the man. He reciprocates and gives a solid five-second stare down her figure.

Technically, now is Saturday — her cheat day. Bring on the alcohol. Bring on the bak kut teh. Bring on the Ramly burgers. Bring on the ice cream. And whipped cream. And the cherry on top. No food in sight will be left unconsumed in the next 24 hours.

A martini with an extra virgin olive, like Elizabeth is sipping, has about 130 calories, which is more than a tenth of her caloric intake on a normal day. Her six-day-a-week diet, which she has been adhering to for the past four years, consists of:

Breakfast: one teaspoon of peanut butter (94 calories), 100 grams of green leaf lettuce (15 calories), a glass of skim milk (103 calories), one banana (121 calories), and a cup of black coffee (nil).

Lunch: one half-boiled egg (46 calories), one roasted chicken breast (282 calories) or 200 grams braised sirloin pork (342 calories), and a selection of vegetables with no dressing (up to 50 calories).

After cardio: one-third can of tuna (48 calories) or a Quaker Chewy chocolate chip granola bar (100 calories).

Dinner: A plate of Subway turkey slice salad with olive oil and no cheese, or a home-made version of boiled skinless chicken chunks for meat (146 calories), and a glass of skim milk (103 calories).

On her mother’s grave, that’s all she eats six days a week. If she’s hungry, drink more water, on top of the 8 to 10 recommended glasses a day. Tired? Coffee. In the unavoidable cases she has to eat out for lunch, she’ll skip dinner and cardio altogether.

Elizabeth always scoffs at girls — especially her ex-classmates who befriended only the ones that were deemed pretty enough during their days at UiTM — who suddenly sprint on the treadmill four days a week because they get the epiphany that thou shall exercise to shave the cellulite around thy thighs.

Exercising will make a person extremely hungry and then they can’t help but to eat more than they need. But she’ll never tell that to anyone.

Cardio or no cardio, she does feel hungry from time to time committing to this diet, not to mention anemic. The temptation of desserts persists. But she would rather starve herself in order to maintain her size two wardrobe.

In her case, it is an indispensable, profitable investment.

After drinking half the martini, a man appears at Elizabeth’s side. She gets startled when she hears her name suddenly being called, which causes her to spill most of her remaining martini onto the bottom part of her black Zara toga dress and the left hind of her Louboutin Pigalle pumps (metallic black with red inner heel).

She reflexively looks at the spilled martini while the voice now spits “Sorry” at a machine-gun rate. After recovering from her stupor, Elizabeth realises that said voice comes from the man she was waiting for. She greets him, flashes her teeth as sincerely as she can, and stands up.

Elizabeth makes the cartoonish kissing sound effect. She hugs him and he only taps her arm.

This is their third meeting, on top of sending countless Whatsapp correspondences, yet he still acts meekly in front of Elizabeth.

Tall, with perceptible lean muscle because of his scant body fat, this man-child is like the fellow Malay that bought Elizabeth the martini — he also grew up in a plush household. But unlike that UMNO offspring, this man was raised by overbearing parents who inadvertently stunted their children’s social skills.

Elizabeth still finds him cute. Like, the adorable, tortured soul with artistic proclivity type. But as a boyfriend, no lah.

She knows he’s into her. While conversing, she tries to break into his timid shell; she looks at the sky and laughs with her mouth wide open whenever he tells a joke that deserves laughter or otherwise; she strokes his forearm and progressively sits nearer to him, and she whispers into his ears so he can feel her warm breath.

And in an hour and a half, Elizabeth successfully convinces him take her to his home, even when the man knows that she is seducing him not of romantic intent.

***

While everyone else is chirping and laughing during the company dinner, Elizabeth is taciturn with barely a smile on her face. Only a few bother to talk to her, but attendance is compulsory and she could never say no to buffet.

After washing off her seventh plate with four slices of assorted cakes, she joins her colleagues.

Now gathered in a circle of sorts, with wine instead of campfire, Elizabeth and her colleagues circle her managing director. He shares his experiences as a young public relations executive and the industry’s days of yore, and let the agency’s personnel in on some of the company’s future plans.

This segues into a senior associate asking his boss whether Kara Looi is truly going to come back to this agency, as there had been rumours making rounds.

The tenured employees stares at the managing director, with only the elevated sounds of air coming out of their nostrils as their hearts thump faster.

Kara Looi would be a good asset to the agency, he opines. Before anyone could open their mouths, he justifies his response by listing out some of the multinational companies Kara Looi has as her clients. For a whole minute, the entire table is quiet. Some of them struggle to breathe deeper.

Kara Looi would be good for the whole agency, for everyone, the managing director concludes.

As if she was a one-person show, they dismiss.

Elizabeth just sits quietly — one, out of boredom, and two, because she didn’t know who Kara Looi was.

So after dinner she asks about this Kara Looi from one of a handful of seniors she feels comfortable talking to. Kara Looi, the senior says, was this former employee who was very popular with clients, constantly giggling and speaking in a manja tone. She was hot, for sure; svelte and lean, she had clients turning heads and signing cheques. Her human skills and physique earned her the position of Senior Accounts Manager at the Singapore office of Weber Shandwick, all in less than five years. The senior, on the other hand, was still just a senior associate.

Kara Looi was the office slut, the senior swears.

Elizabeth just nods.

***

Elizabeth’s cleaner, who comes twice a week to her apartment, can never enter her walk-in closet.

That is her shrine. There is where she stores creations of her gods: Jimmy Choo, Karl Lagerfeld, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and the likes. Only she can tidy up the place, her derivative of Sunday service.

The small cabinet next to the walk-in closet’s entrance is dusty. So Elizabeth wipes the top part with a cloth and detergent until she can see the veneer’s colour again. Then she moves into every drawer’s interior, where she removes all objects inside to ensure every inch of the drawer is cleaned. She doesn’t really pay attention to things she kept inside there when she takes them out, but when she wants to put them back in, she sees a stack of business cards.

She opens the translucent plastic holder.

There’s the familiar template of her previous employment and its insignia on the top left. Her name is on the centre, her position written in a smaller font. But the vocation looks quite different from “Junior Associate”.

She pulls the stack of cards closer. It reads, “Office Slut”.

This was the stack she received two years ago, right after she jumped to Ogilvy Kuala Lumpur. She remembers how angry her former senior associate was when his client, the biggest her ex-agency had, opted to follow Elizabeth after she got friendly with the head of the company and every inch of the man’s body.

Elizabeth freezes as she looks at the stack.

And then she smirks. Sincerely, this time.

These cards remind her that she’s made it.

She is the new Kara Looi.

Kamarul Anwar ISSUE

Kamarul Anwar writes his articles from an Acer laptop, not a Macbook Pro. Definitely not a hipster.

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This entry was written by Kamarul Anwar and published on 15/10/2013 at 00:31. It’s filed under Fiction, ISSUE15, Kamarul Anwar and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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