The goal was to celebrate. We – my friends and I – pulled a coup in just six weeks and with an incomplete cast at that. Of all days, opening night was a tableau of omens of what could go wrong: heavy downpour, which in Indonesia automatically means snarled traffic and water-logged roads; wading through ankle-deep waters to get to the hall; leaky roof; and missing cast and audience. We were not happy campers.
My rising anger at the universe was quelled by the quiet and strong faith of others. My boss gathered everyone to pray, to ask the immortals for help in easing the rains and for luck in the play. Prayer is indeed a very powerful but intangible weapon to wield against the odds. Within 20 min or so, the rains abated and everything fell into place and which was why we decided to have a round of drinks as was customary after a victory. Bekasi, unfortunately, is a desolate place when it comes to drinking places so we made do with the next best thing, the Orange Lounge and Karaoke at Cyber Park Mall. Lounge sounded good as I imagined the Axis at Mandarin Oriental Singapore. My friends were after the karaoke.
We were in for a rude but funny awakening. The place was divided into two sections – the larger area was reserved for the pool area and the corner bit was for the lounge, which, later on and much to our surprise, transformed into a girlie bar. Orange Lounge seemed to be the watering hole of anyone that could be described as salacious! Everyone crawled out from the woodworks for a night out in town. I found myself snickering at the sight of the lecherous men dancing dangdut steps to modern music; and shedding their flip flops to massage their feet as the “guest relations officers” inveigled them awkwardly to dance, buy more drinks and down the shooters of vodka being passed around.
Then I wondered to myself: “What were their wives thinking and feeling? Did they know?” It wouldn’t be surprising if they did.
We should have high tailed our arses out of there the moment the goddesses of the night came out but curiosity got the best of us. Honestly, we didn’t see them coming – they suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, seemingly detaching themselves from the walls or wherever they were hiding especially when the men arrived in droves. I should have pitied the women but my sympathy went out the door when they tried to seduce us to try the vodka. When the dancing came, that’s when we lost it – we were in stitches on the sofa we sitting. An image of Mr. Bean in a tight mini black dress dancing flashed through our minds as the ladies robotically went through their “sexy” dance routine. By then, fortuitously, the karaoke room was ready. No games of seduction at karaoke – just good old singing in tune or off key (in my case) to celebrate our coup.