The Dragon’s Den is located inside Prangin Mall. I am to meet D at 11.30am and I hate being late for appointments. D is my hairdresser. He is called Den so I will call his studio Dragon’s Den.
Den is my other hairdresser, whom I go to to have my hair coloured. But it is 11.25am and the shutters are still down. The lights are off and there is no one inside his studio.
Prangin Mall is right smack in the centre of Georgetown and I have risked my life speeding along the coastal highway, from one side of the island to the other, in order to be here on time. I bulldoze my way along the tiny streets of Georgetown and Initial D up the seven-storey car park. Here I am, on time, and the studio is still shut.
Has he gone bankrupt? I think to myself. Does he not remember our appointment? I go for a walk and wait around until 11.45am. No sign of Den or any of his assistants. I go further down to Watsons to check out its range of Asian shampoos. When I go back up there are already two female customers waiting to have their hair done. I am not pleased. I know how busy his studio is and I am not about to let two people jump my queue.
“Den,” I say. “I am here for my 11.30 appointment!” I stress. Now it is his fault I am late for my appointment.
He politely says yes and sits me down. Den is a stout man. He wears his long black hair in a ponytail. Large tattoos emblazon his forearms.
“Is Den short for Dennis?” I ask of his name. I’ve made myself comfortable with CLEO magazine in hand.
“Yes,” he says. “How do you know?”
“It’s written on your arm,” I say. He laughs as I point out his sans serif D-E-N-N-I-S tattoo, in font size 84.
His shampoo girl is friendly and chatty. We chat about her Convent school, and my Convent school and how the nuns in her Convent school were so weird. I say my Convent school has no more nuns. She offers to order my lunch.
“You mean I can eat in here?” I ask, surprised. I cannot hide my hunger any longer. It’s already 2pm and I know I will be here for another two hours.
“Yes, what do you want? Sar hor fun, wantan mee, keng chey pui?” she asks nonchalantly.
“Oh,” I said. “Sar hor fun please. And teh peng.”
Twenty minutes later a boy aged 10 brings a plate of sar hor fun and cup of teh peng from his stall down the corridor and plopped it right in front of me.
“Three fifty,” he says.
I fumble around my purse and give him his money. I eat my sar hor fun in quiet bliss, from my swivel chair, in my black cloak and kitchen foil headgear.