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PECAH - Ch1 Translation

PECAH - Ch1 Translation

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Published by Amir Muhammad
PECAH is a Malay-language novel by Khairulnizam Bakeri that was published by Fixi in 2011. More info: http://fixi.com.my/pecah/
PECAH is a Malay-language novel by Khairulnizam Bakeri that was published by Fixi in 2011. More info: http://fixi.com.my/pecah/

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Published by: Amir Muhammad on May 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/14/2011

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PECAH - a novel by Khairulnizam Bakeri
Chapter 1
Herman slows the taxi down. His hands are a little numb.Alan is on the passenger seat, sleeping with his mouth agape. Atthe back, Radi and Don are arguing about the best movie of alltime. Radi sides with
The Shawshank Redemption.
Don insists on
The Godfather 
. Strange, aren’t they even a bit nervous?“Hey, we’re here,” says Herman, patting Alan’s cheek.“Herman, are we good?” asks Radi, with his hand onHerman’s shoulder.“Of course. Everything’s OK. Follow the plan. Don’t doanything stupid. I’ll wait here. Don’t rush. Good luck.”All the doors fling open at the same time, except Herman’s.As soon as he’s left alone he prays, but he’s troubled by doubt.Would God answer a prayer for something like this? He turns theradio off. Herman waits in silence. Each second feels like a decade.
 
 
Majid was scratching his belly when he was approached bythe lady in the
 purdah
. Only the eyes could be seen seen. Dark green. An Arab, he assumes. Majid gives a crooked smile. Touristsare to be treated nicely. Another lady arrives; same look, samestyle.“You speak English?”“Err, yes, little only.” Majid swallows. The scent of her  perfume stings his hairy nostrils.“I want to get travellers cheque. You know, travellerscheque? Where can I get it?”“Err, yes, err,” Majid scratches his stomach, “please tocounter one, yes.”
 
“Oh, thank you.
Syukran
.”The woman spreads her arms. Her body is close to Majid’s.He can’t swerve to avoid the hug and instantly finds himseltrapped by her strong squeeze. Majid feels something odd. Whydoes this Arab lady have a strong, manly chest?“Don’t do anything stupid.” Majid is shocked when he hearsthe whisper. “Your gun is in my hand. Don’t make a sound. Turnaround and walk in front of me. Slowly. I don’t want anycommotion. If you want to be a hero, your children could visit your grave tomorrow.”Majid’s underwear suddenly feels damp and warm. He didn’tsign up for this. He’s not ready to die. It was just last week when hequit his factory job. This is his first day working here, and the cold, piercing barrel of the gun against his back might make it his lastday. His lip twitches. His crotch starts to itch. He knows the person behind him is neither a lady nor an Arab.“Everyone get face-down on the floor. Those behind thecounter, in the office, come out. Hands behind your heads, faces tothe floor. If I see any eyes looking my way, your brains will getsplattered,” the man in
 purdah
shouts.Majid is shocked. Both of them are not women. Majid wantsto lie face-down on the floor but ‘don’t do something stupid’ stillechoes in his ear. He catches a glimpse of the gun brought out bythe
 purdah
man from his bag. While walking slowly, Majid looksat the entrance. Damnit, who locked the door with Plasticuff? Butthere’s a guard outside. What’s he doing? Didn’t he hear the noisefrom the inside? His hands are cold and numb. His head swirls between curses and prayers.The door behind the counter opens. The second
 purdah man
runs towards the counter, pointing his Beretta at the door. Twoguards appear, each armed with a Remington.“Come out slowly,” warns the second
 purdah
man.“Ho ho, don’t be a hero.” He backs up step by step towardsthe bank customers who are on the floor. “If you fire, my friendgets scared. When he’s scared, he shoots...what’s your name?”“Majid.”“OK, he shoots Majid. Understand? So you’d better put your 
 
weapon on the floor, and join the others.” His eyes stay locked tothe barrel of the gun.Both guards surrender. They know it’s too dangerous. ARemington could fire up to about 40 metres. It’s risky because aRemington bullet splatters upon firing. Once fired, things getmessy. Anyone could get hurt. Anyone including Majid, who has agun pointed at his head.The two Remingtons are placed on the floor and are quicklykicked away by the second
 purdah
man. The weapons skid to thewall.“Good. Everyone’s here, ya? Don’t worry, we won’t be long.You, get up.” The boot tip of the first
 purdah
man
 
 pokes the waistof a woman in a modern
kebaya
. She’s shaking.
Wani
, Majid whispers.
The first employee to greet me thismorning 
. Wani stands up slowly. Her attention is fixed to the barrelof the gun, or to the husky voice, or to both. She bites her lip,trying to stop shivering. Her eyes start to water, and tears trickledown her cheeks.“Take this, go to the counter, open the drawers. You knowwhat to take, don’t you? Make it fast. Don’t try to be smart. If youdon’t listen to me, Uncle Majid’s funeral is tonight.” The barrel of the gun moves to the back of Majid’s head. Majid closes his eyes.
 Allah, if I die today, take care of Yah and the children.
Wani walks briskly to the counter, sobbing. The drawers areopened one by one. Stacks of cash go into a bag.“You, you’re the manager, right? Get up.”The man in his late 40s stands up. Today he’s in a black suit.Majid looks at him.
 It was just last week that I was interviewed byhim. But today, we’re both shit-scared. I know that Mr. Kazim fired me as soon as the gunshot went off just now.
“Let’s open the safe. The rest wait here. If anyone gets up,well, I don’t like to repeat myself. You know the consequences.”Kazim walks to the safe room, with both hands behind hishead. The second
 purdah
man follows him. Majid hangs his head,feeling sympathy, regret, anger, shame and trying to stand the itchin his crotch that’s now spreading.
 All my fault. How the hell could  I not notice they’re not women?

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