“Brig, just because you’re partying again doesn’t mean you have to screw up your mission or lose your inheritance. Be smart. My mission is almost over, and everyone thinks I’m the greatest missionary since Sister Mambawambawambamamba,” the Buddha said, butchering the name of the Filipino Sister. “If you’re baptizing, that’s all that matters. As long as you’re discreet about your extracurriculars.”
“Yeah, but…we both know that when you leave, baptisms will plunge in the area, literally and figuratively. See what I did there?” Brig chuckled, explaining his joke. “Plunge. Baptisms.” Somehow this made it even funnier, and the two missionaries became hysterical, making their taxi driver nervous as he looked in his rearview mirror.
They drove for about an hour, eventually stopping at a secluded location in Sai Kung called Po Toi O, a place Brig had never been. A large sign for a restaurant called Fat Kee hung across a dirt driveway that led down to an empty parking lot. A few cars and other taxi’s passed by as the Buddha peeled off two HK$100 bills and paid the taxi fare. An older man approached, walking up from the parking lot.
“Little Brother. Long time, no see. Where’ve you been?” the man asked, evidently an old friend of the Buddha.
“Oh, I’ve been doing my missionary thing. But I’m almost finished, and I guarantee, you’ll be seeing more of me. Uncle Po, let me introduce my friend BuiGam. Uncle Po, BuiGam, BuiGam this is Uncle Po.” Brig and Uncle Po exchanged courtesies and continued walking towards the restaurant that was lit up like a Christmas tree. The Fat Kee was a seafood restaurant situated along the shoreline of Po Toi O bay.
“Fei jai (translation: Fat boy)! Happy Birthday!” screeched an attractive girl that had stood up from a restaurant table and ran towards them with arms outstretched and held high. In the U.S. calling somebody “fat” is rude; in Hong Kong, it’s almost always a term of endearment. Just before the girl reached Buddha, she jumped and the Buddha caught her with ease. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she kissed Buddha on, and in, his mouth. Brig’s jaw dropped as he absorbed another surprise.
“Leng loi, this is BuiGam” the Buddha introduced Brig to the girl. Leng loi means “pretty girl,” used affectionately for any woman; a daughter, a sister, a mother, a girlfriend, even a colleague.
“Is this…” Brig began, thinking of the girl Brig saw in the park, with the Buddha, the other day. The Buddha shook his head back and forth vigorously, trying not to catch the attention of the girl, while also trying to let Brig know it wasn’t.
“Is this who?” the girl leered at the Buddha.
“Is this the girl you’ve been telling me so much about?” Brig finished, catching himself as the Buddha breathed a sigh of relief. The girl slapped the Buddha’s arm playfully and introduced herself,
“Hi BuiGam, my English name is Candy. Nice to meet you.” She spoke good English with a heavy British accent.
“This is China,” the Buddha retorted. “We speak Chinese.”
“OK. OK. Relax birthday boy,” Candy said, turning to Brig. “You can call me Maymay.” She grabbed Brig’s tie and led him away. “I have someone I want you to meet.”