THE OLD COFFEE TABLE – A Short Story by Din Gao


16th Century Tudor Carved Oak Refectory Table With Plank Top And ...

Posted by Command of the Hash Cleaner on 12 April 2020 


Here follows a short story by Sai Kung’s infamous environmental terrorist – sorry, eco-warrior – and No 1 best-selling autobiographer of  The Accidental Prawn. (This for a mere week in the 2015 summer holidays and then only in the charming but dusty and Dickensian Second Hand Books). 

The popular Sai Kung Second Hand Books closed that same winter after an infamous local pro-United Front Works Department book burning incident which targeted frayed, drunken-Gweilo-abused copies of the 3rd Hit Edition of Din Gao’s Little Red Swear Book and Mao; The Unknown Story by lesser best-selling authors Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. 

Prelude – The Grand Old Folks Whatsapp Group

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“Have you painted the old coffee table?” enquired Granny G of her son Jonny. This query was in a Whatsapp family group called Grand Old Folks comprising Granny G, mother of Jonny, in Yoxall, Staffordshire, Din Gao (Mad Dog) and his wife SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) in Sai Kung and Jonny and his wife Sammo (Three Hairs), Din Gao and SWMBO’s elder daughterin Singapore. 

Din Gao, somewhat further off his trolley than usual due to the side effects of a strong antibiotic (fifty plus hours without sleep and manic hyperactivity), was sitting quietly on his crapper when he saw this “Have you painted the old coffee table?” message pop up late in the evening and decided to respond: 

“No Dear, but I will go and do this right away. I see now how drab it looks; hardly worth the fifty quid it cost when it was bought a year ago.” 

Granny G: “You are funny. This was meant for Singapore!!” 

Chapter One – The Painting of the Table

Metal Tin Cans With Color Paint And Paintbrush Isolated On White ...

Din Gao continues in his own words:

Dear Granny G n all. My “No Dear” reply was sent from my roof garden. I decided that “the old coffee table” in the hot sunshine of the next door roof garden of my ever-generous, over-trusting, religiously fit and youthful American neighbour could look better. He was given the hash house harriers (a drinking club with a running problem) handle My Little Pony after failing to make a jump over a water filled plastic barrier on a recent run.

So, I popped over the wall into his roof garden and painted the table I sold him a year ago:

It’s a family heirloom Tudor table I sadly no longer have space for (sob). SWMBO decreed this and (sob) I must sadly (sob) let you have it for a song.” 

“US$500 is the lowest I can part with it for. But you are always generous with sharing your Vegan dairy-free turnip cup cakes and your granny’s home-brewed Californian alcohol-free desert cactus and prune wine (sob). So I will reduce the price just for you – US$499.99 and it’s yours (sob).”

Granny G“I thought it was the one from out on the porch? What’s he talking about Sammo? I don’t understand; was the message for me?”

Sammo: “Me neither. 

Chapter Two – Mad Antique Vandalism

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I realise that most members of Grand Old Folks are restlessly waiting for this next episode of what My Little Pony called “Mad Antique Vandalism” in a heartbroken phone call just now after returning home from a knees-up in Sai Kung’s one and only newly opened (and soon to be closed) “Vegan Speakeasy and (prune) Jam” joint.

Apparently My Little Pony was stunned to find my “Tudor ancestor’s” – and now his bargain-bought – “old oak table” (lovingly brought back to life by his vigorous efforts with California’s best vegan peanut oil) “Ruined! (sob)”.

For I had thoughtfully painted the table in Red, White and Blue luminous waterproof paint. I thought that, as a patriotic Californian and “I Love Trump!”  supporter, My Little Pony would be delighted to see it on a clear night returning to Hong Kong at the controls of his billionaire boss’s private Learjet 5000 feet above our homes. (Most likely returning from yet another trip to one of the Chinese built, owned and operated casinos of the Belt and Road @ New Sick Road).

Sammo“Ok I’m confused. Going to sleep on it.”

Granny G: “Thank goodness you are mystified as well. I was getting all confused. Nite.

Chapter Three – The Perils of Private Piloting

Pin on Stewardess

But – this next casino trip may now never happen as the Learjet is grounded along with its crew -Captain My Little Pony, 2nd Stick the well-past-retirement-age Riggy, hunky but past-it sky martial Micky Mung and delectable nymphet flight attendant, Thin Lizzie.

My Little Pony has often returned from a trip piloted by Riggy, green of gill and desperate for a slug of his prune wine, after another of the former RAAF Sopwith Camel fighter pilot’s “Military hard landing, kid!” These landings are usually on the runway but occasionally on the taxiway and once very nearly on neither!

This last near-landing could have been terminal: Riggy was apparently lined up on the far-from-completed 3rd runway which is now, during the WuFlu shut-down, a deserted construction site. (See https://hongkongbuzz.hk/2020/04/third-runway-delayed-possible-alternative-considered-says-government )

It is a wasteland littered with misused copies of the People’s Daily and rusting Great Shanghai Factory No 2 pit-digging Cold War Caterpillar Tractor rip-offs and piles of trashed cans of fake Staffordshire IPARiggy was only at the last minute dissuaded from landing amid this dangerous junk by My Little Pony screaming “That’s not the fucking runway you dozy Digger!”

Note: SWMBO has once again burst in on me and Boy, almost scaring the poop out of the poor old pooch – all the Ps – (but, sadly, not this constipated and sleepless geriatric) telling me to “Stop annoying the Grand Old Folks!”, who I believe are texting her sympathetic messages from far away Yoxall up North and the former UK military Wessex Estate in Singapore:

Sammo: “Daddy you should write this journal on your laptop or you will lose it all. Some of it is good! GO TO BED! I can help load it onto a Word doc. Sleeeeeeeep!” 

Chapter Four – Lost at Sea

Ocean rowing boat for sale

My Dear Readers, you will be happy to hear that my battery is now only 11 percent so here is My Little Pony’s “good news” (he gleefully told me all this before his last angry “Mad antique vandalism!” phone call):

Din. Riggy is on his Bike! Once the WuFlu Pandemic is over, my 2nd Stick will be a “long experienced and frighteningly loyal and company-supportive Cathay Captain”. He’s a fellow long-distance record-breaking Sai Kung paddler/rower; our mutual hash mate; Stu.”

So I will digress: The record-breaking row referred to took place in 2008 and earned said paragon of flying virtue the hash handle of Lost at Sea. How?

Stu took his rowing boat solo across the dangerous waters of the South China Sea from the Hebe Haven Yacht Club (HHYC). This is a hard-drinking and tall-adventure-tail-telling club for ancient deck-chair mariners and hard bitten retirees from the shore hugging patrol boats* and the elite fast small boats** of the Marine Police. 

(Note: The former* manned by officers whose four days on duty pottering around the islands on duty were to us landlubbing ordinary plods indistinguishable from their four days off duty lazing about imbibing copious quantities of de rigour Philippine San Miguel! The latter** might have been fast but they never managed to catch anything except a cold and the occasional slow-footed on-shore smuggler.)

But. Where was Lost at Sea headed? He claimed Subic Bay in the Philippines but it might as well have been Bali because, swamped by a vicious and erratic nearby typhoon – aptly named Carrie – he was forced to get on his radio to call for assistance from any nearby typhoon-happy vessel via his volunteer fund-raising control room, professionally located in a corner of the eternally pandemonic HHYC bar.

His first distress call was accidentally picked up and answered by the chubby, long-haired blonde Hong Kong born Bob the BuilderBob, slightly well oiled, twangily asked his bar mates “Anyone know a Ms May Day? Bloke on the line seems desperate to find his Sheila!”  

He then handed the “phone” to the voluptuous mini-skirted new trainee Filipina waitress Maricella who confidently believed that she had a decent handle on colloquial Cantonese phone etiquette:

Wei? Malanyeah si a?” she rudely enquired before reverting to politer Anglish:

Hello Sor…. Jewish to odor sunteen?    ‘ow bout crub clazy blekfast speshal?:   Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin we bodder on sigh, hot copy?    ‘ow bout Ilish copy?”

Lost at Sea, speechless, had no answer to this so tried again and his second May Day was this time picked up by the Duty Controller, none other than his ball-and-chain-to-be, Indy (a hash name best not printed in full).  

“Ah Ah Ah” Indy answered, “Is that you Stu darling, Ah Ah Ah?” “WTF do you think it is?! I’m sinking! Send help!” yelled Lost at Sea.

To cut a long and sorry sea saga short  I love alliteration– Lost at Sea was eventually rescued, not once but twice! But bye and bye he returned to the bosom of his beloved –  battered, bruised and boatless – all the Bs this time.

His abandoned boat was eventually recovered and has recently been seen off Puerto Gallera by local tranny beach bum Mango Groove being paddled by former NT hasher-turned-fisherman, Jam the Vag who has re-named the boat Snatch of the Day.

Sammo“Seems like a very well written account of today Daddy. Bed time though. Off to bed!”  

Chapter Five – Lost in Space

Astronaut - Wikipedia

I will now digress: “Oh no, not again!” I hear you groan, but I must press on. My battery is now 9 percent. “Die battery die!” I think I hear from upstairs and the Wessex Estate but “No, Mr. Speaker, I will not give way.”

Lost at Sea has another hashing private pilot friend; like My Little Pony, a softly drawling Septic Wank. His own hash handle is “Lost in Space”. Why? 

Fired by his own billionaire boss for his poor navigation on, you guessed it, another gambling trip supposedly to Macau, a former Portuguese colony a mere 50 minute ferry trip from Hong Kong.

Sadly the horny, day-dreaming Lost in Space thought his boss meant the other former Portuguese enclave thousands of miles away on the coast of India and famous for its pilot-friendly beach “girls”. 

So the soon-to-be-fired but lustful Lost in Space flew his boss to Goa where the Chinese casino was but a hole in the ground, a watery adventure playground. Here, hordes of Goanese street kids persuaded his boss to part with his expensive Temple Street “Eau de Ma Piquet” gold wrist watch and most of his new Shenzen “Ah ma-ni” silk suit. 

Chapter Six – The Finale

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 Hold your horses! I’ll get to it. I’ll get to it!

This is the final chapter of this ludicrous short story finally done. Really it’s a Summary for the Utterly Confused which is probably the lot of you, Dear Readers:

So I’m taking the strong antibiotics for chronic sinusitis, right?

They induce prolonged sleeplessness combined with manic hyperactivity causing me to turn the house upside down sorting, reorganising, fixing, finding long-lost-really-useful-stored-away-junk and generally driving SWMBO crazy.

So then during a break I was sitting on the crapper late in the evening, minding my own business, on the last day of my pill-popping, when Granny G’s “Have you painted the old coffee table?” Whatsapp message arrived.

Apparently, I then remained there for more than four hours texting this ridiculous tail, bit by bit, on our grandparents’ Whatsapp group and driving everyone mad. It was a comfortable seat, though, with few distractions.

Few distractions?! I was rudely interrupted by my wife SWMBO three times and by incessant Whatsapp beepings from Sammo and Granny G. I bet John D.H. Lawrence never had such trouble!

So what is the story all about? I will try to explain: 

Chapter One: How I flogged what I falsely claimed was a valuable family heirloom to my neighbour My Little Pony who then lovingly restored it – Fiction

Chapter Two: How I then popped over the wall and painted the table making My Little Pony mad as hell when he returned home from his vegan speakeasy and discovered the “Mad antique vandalism!” – Fiction

Chapter Three: How My Little Pony had earlier called me to gleefully announce that his co-pilot/2nd stick Riggy, who was driving him nuts, was to be replaced by Lost at Sea – Fiction

How the story continues in Chapter Four with the mostly factual misadventures of Lost at Sea –and the fictitious exploits of another private pilot friend Lost in Space, the subject of Chapter Five.


Are lockdowns working? | Watts Up With That?

I’m a few days off the crazy pills now and I’m back to my normally irritating self.

SWMBO and I and our two rescue dogs, Dougal and Boy, and Sammo and Jonny and their two boys Dylan and Blake in Singapore and Granny G in Yoxall (and our Old Trafford family) continue our WuFlu lock-downs.

In Dylan’s and Blake’s cases, worryingly mandatory solitary home lock-ups but thankfully over now with both in the clear.

As I am sure most of you Dear Readers are too; locked-down or locked-up, somewhere. 

So, in the words of that late great Irish comedian, who loved

Hong Kong and the Godown Bistro in particular, Dave Allen:

BBC - Comedy - Dave Allen At Large

“Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you.”

Until we meet again, STAY SAFE and

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© Din Gao

Sai Kung, Hong Kong, March/April 2020