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Zubaidah was only 14 the first time she was laid. There was no emotion, just placid motions of the old in out, and before she knew it, she was no longer a virgin. It was all business. She hung around with the hoodrats and drug peddlers of Tiong Bahru, talking in adult tones, way too vulgar for a girl her age. With nothing else to do, they sat around, shot marbles and complained about life.

A man would come up to her, name a price and she said yes more often than not. And off they went, to a secluded corner in some quiet apartment building, a staircase landing, or the park. Whatever works. Whatever got his rocks off and got her paid. Money in her fake leather purse, and she would go to town on the guy, like a seasoned working girl. And they loved her too. Every minute she gave them, they gave it back to her. She often came back with more than money. Maybe a spliff or two, a bum of ice, or some other kitschy shit like that to help her numb her senses.

One bad habit carved a swollen path towards another and quickly she got a hang of it, bouncing off the walls like a Tasmanian devil; high on life, high on death, but mostly high on crystal rocks and old men's cocks.

Zubaidah, with some of the other neighborhood kids would break into vacant houses in the middle of the night with no masks or anything. They wore whatever they were wearing for the night, usually frumpy looking cloths with holes in them; not as form of disguise for their criminal intentions or anything like that, it's just that they didn't know any better. Some scoundrel holding a plastic bag filled with pine brand adhesives would act as a lookout, staggering out of position, huffing and puffing on that thing, laughing at the imaginary angels and horses in front of him. Totally useless. And that's how they get their money. Money to settle their daily fix of drugs and alcohol, bumping and grinding on each other in some dingy hogan of a place, out of light and out of sight.

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