It was a one off occasion, a special day. Instead of wasting his time idly, Edward decided to get a massage. Having been a frequent visitor of Asia, Edward understood that a massage was not a luxury enjoyed by children. In fact, it was an activity of relaxation. But not as one would initially think. A massage was for individuals with problems in muscle tension. Where the kinks and knots of muscles that had been built up over long periods of movement could be straightened out. Kind of like when making a bed, one must ensure that the sheet is straightened out to provide an immaculate presentation of the bed.

And so that’s where Edward went. To the Chinese massage parlour. The man, his name Tsung-Li, behind the counter had no prior appointments. And was happy to proceed with the task. Many individuals did not enjoy the past-time of a massage, especially a deep tissue massage which was what Edward desired.

As the massage proceeded Edward rolled in pain as the muscles, the knots and deeper muscle fibres were straightened out. At points Edward made little shrieking sounds as points of pain struck his legs and sent messages up the nerve endings, sending waves of pain up and into the brain. At other points he laughed, in order to release the pain, he laughed.

Edward conversed with Tsung-Li, discussing Asia and Tsung-Li’s place of origin. He was from Taiwan and had learnt the massage trade. Tsung-Li went by the name Ben in Australia as Australians found it difficult to pronounce his name. As did many other Asians or foreigners in a cultural adaptation of the English speaking world.

You see, the thing with a massage. Is that it is a reminder of what actual discomfort is. It does help out with the straightening out the muscle fibres, but it also, once completed, brings on a period of luminance. Just like running a marathon or training at the gym. Once these tasks are completed they bring about a feeling of bliss and tranquility that the period of strain is at an end.

The massage proceeded for an hour. Relieving all muscle tension and at the end there was a period of bliss. Edward paid the fee for the massage and left the building. Outside there was a group of hoodlums. Young Australian hoodlums. One of them was a child with a fake moustache imprinted underneath his nose. The child of the group sneered, saying, “See, he’s not like us. He didn’t pass the test. He cried out in pain.”

Edward looked at them. He didn’t know what was going on. They moved on, went into their car and drove away. Edward went back into the massage parlour and asked Tsung-Li what was going on.

Tsung-Li explained that these kids were using the massage parlour as an initiation into their gang. That if they didn’t call out in pain during the massage, then they would be initiated into the gang.

“Then why is there a kid in there?”

“Well, I don’t give them a deep tissue massage now do I?”

“Do you give any of them the real thing?”

“No, only you and some of the other clients.”

Edward laughed his arse off at that one and returned home, feeling refreshed.

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