Saffy’s obsession with Candy Crush continues. As with Sudoku, Pokémon and every other global game phenomenon to have hit us in the last 10 years, invariably, she will only sign onto it round about the time that everyone else has grown tired of chasing cute furry avatars all over town and moved onto the next big game.
Candy Crush was no exception. For a year, she would get on the train and quietly sneer at everyone around her who was intently bent over their phones, fingers swiping away so busily one auntie completely missed her Novena stop.
“You should have heard her,” Saffy later reported. “The doors were just closing shut with that tuk-tuk-tuk sound? And she suddenly looks up and screams, ‘Aiyah! I miss my stop!’ I laughed all the way to Somerset!”
“I bet she kept on playing though,” Amanda said.
Saffy’s bosom shifted. “Yep, she kept on playing. Honestly, it’s so weird how obsessed people are with that stupid game!”
“It’s not stupid,” Amanda said stiffly. “I play it!”
Saffy’s eyes shifted towards me. I noticed the glance. “Don’t look at me,” I said. “I play it, too!”
“You, I get,” Saffy replied tartly. “You graduated from the University of Western Australia, after all. She graduated from Harvard. She has no excuse!”
The air turned icy. “Excuse me,” said Amanda. “But Candy Crush requires mental agility, coordination, and the ability to think three steps ahead! You should try it, Miss, I Was Late For My Plane Because I Thought I Could Get to New Delhi Airport in 20 Minutes!”
Saffy’s bosom inflated. “Oh my God. Are you still going on about that? How was I to know that Hrithik Roshan was attending a party at a hotel that was on the way to the airport and all the paparazzi in India would be there and blocking the road?”
“It’s New Delhi!” Amanda exclaimed. “Of course, there are going to be delays!”
Saffy looked put out. “Well, alright then, Smarty Pants. You should just go work with Siri as Apple’s built-in traffic monitor!”
But to no one’s surprise, a week later, she was on Candy Crush. By the second game, she was hooked like a Jingle Jangle addict on Riverdale.
At meetings, she’d look like she was busy taking notes on her phone, nodding seriously at key moments, but she wasn’t really. Which is how, when her boss suddenly asked her a question, she smoothly said, “Yes, of course”, and later discovered that she’d agreed to take on an intensive three-month HR audit of the company with no budget allocated to the job.
“Oh my God!” she moaned. “How did this happen?”
“Your fault, what!” said Sharyn with all the sympathy of a harassed working mother of three. “You dun pray attention mah! Who ask you?”
“One of the orange time bombs was about to explode, and I just needed to get to the next level! I’m so close to hitting a hundred!”
Sharyn raised her eyebrows. “Hah? You play so much and you only on Level 100?”
“Well excuse me if I’m not buying packages like Amanda’s mother is!”
Sharyn looked impressed. “Issit? She oh-so pray meh?”
“She’s addicted!” Saffy confided, momentarily distracted from her Candy Crush addiction by her addiction to gossip. “But she’s not very good, which is why she’s always buying extra gold bars and candy bombs! Apparently,” here, Saffy leaned in to whisper, “Apparently, she was spending $1,000 a week, until Jason’s dad found out and he blocked her credit card!”
“Wah liau,” Sharyn sighed. “These rich people hor?”
“Tell it!” Saffy said. “But Amanda says that didn’t work because she then used her husband’s credit card details! And when he found out about that, she turned around and threatened to renovate all the bathrooms in the house with all the extra spare time she would have if she stopped playing Candy Crush! He caved.”
“Dey got so many bathroom, meh?” Sharyn asked.
“They have seven,” Saffy told her.
“Wah liau!” Sharyn sighed again. “But dey got only two people in the house, what for need seven bathroom?”
“Have you seen that house, Shazz? It’s the size of Takashimaya! You practically need a Segway to get from one end of the bedroom to the other!”
“And still got time to play Candy Crush hor?”
“Some people are too free, Shazz,” Saffy agreed, even as she reached for her phone. She swiped the screen and waited patiently for Level 105 to load.