It was not yet the silent night of Christmas. It was a silent night, nevertheless, that night, Martians had gone back to Mars whilst earthlings to slumber land. Only stars, no moon, were peering down through the clouds on them. It was a cool pleasant and tranquil night.
They were exhausted from the day’s excitement. They sat at the quadrangle of RH4. They chatted aimlessly, mere idle chatter at low decibel in the wee hours of the night, or morning. Even the bustling kitchenette, the venue for nightly “Maggi” parties, had quietened down, still and cold some hours ago.
Suddenly, as if conducted by the invisible wand, the nocturnal orchestra began the nightly symphony, an assemblage of love songs and mating musical, majestic and inspiring to their own kinds. To those on Mars and slumber land, the symphony was just another annoying ambient static unheard. To the wretched few whom sleep had deserted, the symphony was an infuriating cacophony of the wild went passionately wild, loudly that night.
They were awoken. They were maddened. They were infuriated. In truth, they had just passed the sleep time, and now sleep was just beyond their reach, a distant dream. Their eyes remained wide open. They were frustrated. They needed to do something, anything, to exhaust, to fatigue, to reclaim sleep.
A spark of idea, by who I am under oath not to inform, or was it just plain amnesia, all I could recall was that that spark fell on tinder dry minds. They huddled, whispered and nodded in agreement. They smiled mischievously, an adventure they gleefully embraced.
They sprang immediately into action. An action plan they had not, just any impromptu actions possible as they went along. A ring leader they had not either, they just followed their guts, the Force to Star Wars fan. Yeah, the Dark Force. Eight Jedi set forth into the night, more like Sith Lords.
They stealthily dashed into the neighbouring blocks like any covert black operations. They went barefooted to silence footfalls, kept in shadows to avoid detections, and maintained radio silence incommunicado throughout. Their panting was set at inaudibly low.
And so it began. They removed toilet rolls and bolt-locked each toilet cubicle from the inside, and climbed out to the next one. They then turned off the main water tap before scurrying off to the next impromptu action. They exchanged personal toiletries between the guys and gals.
They removed footwear of whatever kinds, shoes, slippers and sandals, and piled them high in the block’s quadrangle. They only managed to go the extra mile by arranging them into the number 5 for one obvious block. They collected all the dustbins from RH3 and stacked them blocking the front door of the FWOC Chairman’s room. They even mysteriously heaved late Eng Sai’s motorbike onto the pathway roof, and literally mummified it with toilet rolls. To throw the scent off, they stage managed a minor sabotage in their own block.
In quick time, they were back at their quadrangle, panting loudly now. They bragged silently and patted each other back for the operation well executed. They giggled mutedly, extremely satisfied for pulling off such a colossal feat undetected so expeditiously, so silently.
Unexpectedly, they witnessed their 1st victim, an unfortunate girl from RH5 whom they could not identify, only sympathised, from a far. She dashed for the toilet. She was most likely barefooted as her footwear were amongst the number 5 in the quadrangle. She disappeared into the toilet, and re-appeared almost immediately, frantically looking left and right before dashing down two floors to another ladies toilet.
She entered, and found relief in the one and only one of the cubicles which we could not lock from the inside as the door was off its hinges awaiting repair. Heaven was smiling on her. They did not wait to see what transpired thereafter for fear of being called up as witnesses, or questioned as suspects or worst rounded up as perpetrators. They quickly faded back into their rooms for some shut eye, however short that may be, for the sun was rising. They could only imagine her shock for there was no water and toilet rolls even in that toilet. With a mischievous smile, they slept.
There was uproar the following morn. I would leave that to your imagination. Let your imaginations run wild, no matter how wild, you would still be spot on. Yes, just imagine over 400 20th Century undergraduates needing to go through their morning rituals being hurled back into the Stone Age. Utter chaos, utter mayhem and utter pandemonium, dirty and messy, that morn.
Suspicions and conspiracy theories abounded during breakfast at the Communal Hall and along the patio. They shamelessly jumped into the fray, and enthusiastically joined in with everybody, finger-pointing, gossiping, rumour mongering and participating in whatsoever cacophony, accusations, pleadings and arguments, just to pull the wool over everyone’s eye, the final touches to the confusion and misdirection. Their drooping sleepy eyes were a giveaway, if anyone cared to notice. All were too enraged and engaged even to notice, I guessed. May be some did notice but brushed aside for Martians looked like that too all the time.
Master listened to their hue and cry sympathetically and merely nodded understandingly, for alas, his hands were tied. He shook his head and muttered to himself sagaciously that he could not take any disciplinary actions, for such actions would definitely douse the spirited fun out of living in RH. He meandered back to his office. He smiled furtively. Hey, he was actually smiling, genuinely amused. He winked as the door closed.
Domestic Manager kept his peace until we were alone still pondering over the mummified motorbike, the night’s masterpiece. Suddenly, it all dawned upon him and he understood.
Only a handful knew the locations of the main water taps. He knew one of the perpetrators. He turned and looked at me, his eyebrow twitched and he smiled. I knew he knew, and we both knew. I reciprocated with a similar smile as if to seal our oath of secrecy. Pak Mat was still lost for he was throwing his usual tantrum again and Uncle Leong needed not to order toilet rolls for his block for the year.
Till today, that night of infamy is RH’s best kept secret. Perpetrators remained unidentified. No official record or admissions. No admissible evidence, not even circumstantial evidence. No trails whatsoever. Only hearsay and rumours abounded. They were bounded by the unspoken blood oath of secrecy. No “stukash” or informers or “quislings” or traitors in their midst. They just left a fond legacy of a perfect sabotage perpetrated in the folly of their youth. Did I say they?