Cast of characters




Miss No




Mr Go








No’s miserably failed mission at RAW FISH was bugging her again and dredging up wicked déjà vu.




What had gone down this very afternoon was a repeat of the first time she’d tried to trick Mr Go – for his own good, of course – exactly one year ago today.





Yet that time had been a shining success.




* How had she tricked him? *




By that time, the couple had been on three dates. The usual romantic progression had unfolded:





Googly eyes on the first date; holding hands on the second; and then stiff, uncomfortable and slobbery necking on the third.




Date four – Christmas day last year: She taken Go out on the town and they’d ended up going into a love motel.





At reception with a nervous Go in tow, Miss No quickly forked over the $100 room charge.




Proud of her catch, she innocently reached back to take Go’s hand and lead him to loveland.




He wasn’t there.




Looking around, she spotted him through the heavily-decaled glass front door. He was out on the landing. She stuck her head out to inquire.





Turns out he was standing frozen, transfixed, staring at the motel’s flashing neon sign:




Casanova Inn




   Casanova Inn




            Casanova Inn




She made a mental note of the incident and tucked it away (and would make much use of it later).





Then she gently coaxed him inside and down the dim hallway to their room.




Strangely, it was as if he was sleepwalking.




She commandingly unlocked the steel door and they entered the warm, cozy and well house-kept chamber.





She retreated to the washroom to clean-up for bed.




Go, however, was all nervous and fidgety; he’d only done this once before – with a singing room hostess paid for by his buddies on the eve of his joining the army.





He’d been extremely inebriated at the time; hadn’t remembered a thing about it; was told about it later by his buddies.




This time he obviously knew the woman involved; yet Go abhorred office romances.





When (not if) they went sour, it made the mere act of coming to work awkward, if not damn miserable.




Go loved going to work – his own little kingdom – and he wanted to keep it that way.




* Unfortunately for him, it has not stayed that way…*




All of a sudden the motel room felt claustrophobic and he had to get out. Conveniently he realized that he’d need more cigarettes for the ‘post-game show’ anyway.




So, excusing himself quietly, he passed back through the lobby and out to search for a nearby corner store.




Usually, when he left a building intending to come back, he’d memorize the building’s frontage.





Now, outside the Casanova Inn glass door again, he was hit once more by the flashing sign.




Casanova Inn




Casanova Inn



It was blinding and as he recoiled, it emblazoned itself into his mind.













Casanova Inn




   Casan …




The flickering was singeing his eyeballs; he reflexively recoiled and fled. Reaching the corner store in a panic, beads of sweat had formed on his forehead.




After buying a pack of smokes, he got lost on the way back. He was tipsier than usual and exhausted; his head bobbed a few times as he walked.




Anxious about seeing that damn neon sign again he stopped dead in his tracks.





His brain was throbbing and he had to get out of the area. I am going home.




A cruising cab spotted him and pulled up. Go got in and gave directions.




His mind was reeling.




The cab whizzed through the streets and his neighborhood came into view through the shadowy dark.





The sign was still flashing in his mind.




Casanova Inn




   Casanova …




The whole thing stirred up dark memories of his army days. As the cab dropped him at his house, Go shuddered and felt a cold, clammy sensation.





The backs of his hands seemed to have built-up a thin layer of cool gel.








Fast forward to the present: Christmas night.




“So here we are, a year later to the day,” Miss No muttered, shaking her head as she sat in another cab after church, weaving through the streets to Mr Go’s apartment.





It was getting close to his curfew time.




“Pali, pali,” she ordered the cabbie.








Tomorrow: Damion arrives at Go’s house to hopefully enjoy a friendly Christmas.