Jasmine wanted to explore the passageway under Connaught Road which led to the Noonday Gun so she and Gramps caught the MTR to Causeway Bay rather than teleport by ferris wheel.
First they ate dim sum in a restaurant overlooking the harbour, where Gramps made her laugh about feeding her as a baby. ‘About a minute before midday, I’d say, ‘Eat up or the sky dragon will send a clap of thunder.’ Then if you’d left some rice in your bowl, I would wave my arms to the last five seconds before twelve shouting: 5,4,3,2,1, BOOM!’
Jasmine had already researched the gun on her app. In the olden days, Jardine Matheson’s main offices and godowns were here. A private army guarded the area. Whenever a big boss came to Hong Kong, soldiers fired the gun to salute him. The Japanese stole it during the occupation but after the war, a new one was made. Since then the gun is fired every day at noon. It’s also fired on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day.
Jasmine imagined the traffic jammed above her as she walked down the grimy tunnel. They followed fat pipes and climbed steps to reach the quay. It was just before noon.
Too bad! The gun was covered by a green tarpaulin. ‘It’s because of all the building work,’ grumbled Gramps. Cranes, like dinosaurs, lifted slabs of concrete. Noisy sampans, like sea beetles, chugged to the shore to offload people. But in the distance the nine sleeping dragons of Kowloon lay still. And silver fish darted in the sea.
Gramps poked his stick under the tarpaulin. ‘Here it is!’ he said. Sure enough, an envelope dropped to the ground. A place of Christian worship to this day, Jasmine read.
The mystery letter was O.
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