Slightly edited version of "The Sins of Sin",
Originally anthologised by Hong Kong Writers Circle
Sin went through the morning’s news clippings for the fifth time, sucking desperately at a fibre of lunchtime chicken lodged between molars, making loud slippery tzits! He stuffed his half-finished lunchbox into the paper basket without closing the lid, then searched fruitlessly for a toothpick.
His secretary Flora was returning from lunch, shuffling past his open door to take position behind her desk for another two hundred and ten minutes before she was free to go. Though only a few metres from her, he summoned her with the intercom as a matter of principle: “Flora. Do you have a toothpick?”
“No Mr. Sin,” she replied in an intimidated voice that some suspected was a result of having worked for Sin all these years.
“Can you first look?”
“I know I don’t Mr. Sin but I can look anyway if you wish.”
“Forget it. Just come in.”
She entered, goggling him in silence, not wondering what he might want. She had given up on that long ago.
“Can you make a copy?” He eyed the news clippings on his desk, picking his teeth with a straightened paper clip. His “media contact” Winnie Poon had asked a few questions outside the courtroom yesterday, mentioning his new title, just as he had skillfully hinted. Her question on cross-border corruption had been a surprise, but he had handled it well. He was extremely pleased with the result: “No Territorial Boundary in the Battle against Corruption”, said Senior Assistant Director. Fantastic, he thought. Visionary, bold, and righteous. It would attract many “likes” if he could share it on Facebook.