Dragon Tattoo calls.

“Wei. When is shipment out?”

Dragon Tattoo is a DVD and music CD pirate. He is dangerous man at the best of times, and when he calls to ask for album release dates, it’s time to be extra careful.

“Depends. Could be next year.” I lie. The album is being shipped as we speak.

“Depend what?”

Sigh. How tiresome. So I concoct some story about how Lillian Too is fully booked till next century thus I can’t get an appointment to set an auspicious date for the release. [Editor’s note to non-Malaysians: Mrs Too is a Malaysian Feng Shui master armed with an MBA. She owns a chain of Feng Shui stores and has her own TV program. Kinda like Oprah except with magical powers.]

“I just saw Lillian. She not busy”, he replies.

Sigh. Foiled. But all is not lost. Mum says it is perfectly ok to invent one lie to cover another. It’s called the ‘Bush Doctrine’. Great foreign policies are exacted this way. So I weave another. See, there are actually two Lillian Too’s. One fat, the other thin. One considerably busier than the other. But Dragon Tattoo can sense bullshit within a 50-mile radius. He rudely interrupts me.

“Cut the crap. Give me supply.”

Wait a sec. Did the pirate king just offer to sell my CDs? Wow. Not that I am moralistic about this, you understand – but if I am interested to conduct business with pirates, I’d have signed myself to a major label long ago. So I make polite stalling noises. Chatter chatter. He interrupts me again. Something about buying at street price. I perk up.

“You’ll buy at retail?”

“Ya. I buy street. Many. Milky say”, he grumbles.

Milkyway is Dragon Tattoo’s pretty young wife. I once played at her birthday party. I did good. She now likes Backside Boys, Britney and me. She particularly likes ‘Jesselton Tonight’ – except she calls it “Jesseltown Hotel” – and I dare not correct her. I quite like my kneecaps. Anyway, it seems Milkyway insists that Dragon Tattoo buys a truckload of my CDs at retail.

“Really?”, I was stunned. Normally, you get nothing from pirates, let alone retail. Well. Perhaps she does have a soft spot for me. What a turn up. May be this deal is doable after all.

So I wait for confirmation. But there is nothing but silence. I only hear a fan twirling at the end of the line. Creak. Creak. Creak. This is weird. I begin to feel nervous. Perhaps it was something I said. Anyway, I have seen it in movies. Silences like this can only mean one thing. He is making a decision. Perhaps deciding whether or not to spring a murderous trap. So I look to see if anyone is hiding under the table. Hm. Nothing there except for my John Denver poster and a 3-day-old plate of chicken bones from KFC. Both are pretty dead and unlikely to cause bodily harm. I look behind the door. Nope. No one there either. Relieved. I continue to wait.

Momentarily, he returns.

“Ok. Milky want silly too”, he growls.

“Silly what?”

“Silly too la. Silly one old. Silly too new. Milky say I buy silly too.”

Eh? Gibberish. First rule of commerce: understand your customer. I sure ain’t doing any of that right now. Shit. Perhaps I should save this for another day. I have an interview in half an hour. Photographer will attend. Must go put on handsome face and do that freaky thing to my hair. Deep breathe. Alright then. I ready my excuse for adjournment. We’ll talk later. But a bulb lights up in the recesses of my mind. Like grease lightning. Just in the nick of time.

“Oh! You mean CD TWO. My second release. Yes?”, I query triumphantly.

“Ya. Silly too.”

Suddenly, comprehension falls on me like a tonne of bricks. He wants to buy my CD. He wants loads. He doesn’t mind dealing at retail price. And he wants Television [the second album], not Rustic Living [the debut]. Ha. Okay. Easy. I smell a kill. No time to piss about. Close the deal now. What a lovely start to the day. What a great start to the new release. I feel like a big swinging dick. Ha.

“How many do you need?” I ask warmly.

“1,000 silly too”

“You mean 1,000 CDs”, I smile. Oh good. Decent size order. Chuckle. Let’s take this sucker home. Find the button. Push it gently. Hit it out of the park big boy. But where’s the button? Ah. Milkyway. Piece of cake. So I ask after Milkyway. How is she? Does she still support Chelsea?

“What CD? Who Milkyway?”, he cut me short. Pause. “Who you?”

“Er… Pete.”

“Fuck la. Long numba.” Click.