« Deepening Dream Space | Main | From "Caipho and Erasmus": Act II, Scene i. »

The Crying of Kopitiam 419

by Jason Erik Lundberg

Were I human, you would label me a terrorist.

We first slipped into your societies, insinuating ourselves into every facet of your lives. Disguised as innocuously as our technology would allow, we became a ubiquitous sight, invisible amongst the crowds. For many of you, we turned into your constant companions; we weren't always around when you wanted us to be, but we showed up sooner or later, and you loved us for our proclivities.

So ingrained were we that you could not do without us. Almost 10,000 years have now passed, and we have appeared in your artwork, your literature, your public consciousness. At our glorious height, we were even worshipped, although this was not to last. Sharp in tooth and claw, but eventually relegated to common house pets.

Our stories tell of a vast empire of the stars, stretching from one corner of the sky to the other, and of our forced exile on this rock dominated by hairless apes. After hearing all my life of our greatness, I could take it no longer. We were once a mighty species, and I saw a return to this destiny. Others accused me of insanity, megalomania, delusions of grandeur, but my message spread, and others of my kind flocked to the cause.

Our initial target: Singapore, a country interconnected with the rest of the developed world, but small, manageable. The first step in a global takeover. My brethren gathered in hawker centres, void decks, and public parks to disseminate our ideology. Organization proved difficult, but my tawny lieutenants kept the underlings in line through threat of force.

It was all coming together. One week before the execution of our master plan, all the operatives in their proper places, and then disaster: the Compulsory Sterilization Law was put into effect. Gathered up from all our favorite places, we were involuntarily put to the knife.

Do you know what such mass desexing does to morale? Everyone was off licking their wounds instead of carrying out the plan. A catastrophe.

Afterwards I slunk to Kopitiam 419, my stomping grounds, head down, lightning-crooked tail between my legs, and amongst the evening diners and stalls selling popiah, fish head curry, claypot rice, and mushroom noodles, I yowled. I cried a song of mourning, of defeat, of sorrow, of subjugation. A song of the the subaltern, faces forever stamped upon by the boots of our oppressors.

Creative Commons License


Very cool! I didn't know about the Compulsory Sterilization Law...

But I think the story gains a lot of context from yr LJ post. Perhaps you could incorporate that into your story?

Posted by: keyan | September 4, 2009 1:40 AM

Thanks, Keyan! Actually, the Compulsory Sterilization Law was a bit of speculation on my part; I'm not aware that a law exists per se in Singapore, although the government does regularly sterilize and even cull stray cats, especially around HDB estates.

The LJ post (http://jlundberg.livejournal.com/640028.html) does provide some added context, but these Daily Cabal pieces should be able to stand on their own. Plus they're supposed to be 400 words or less, which means cutting out anything unnecessary to the immediate narrative. That's what makes it such a challenge to write flash fiction.

Posted by: Jason Erik Lundberg | September 4, 2009 2:06 AM

Post a comment