The thought of catching up with two old friends, Wang Wei and Wang Yong, at a beachside Gold Coast restaurant, was as appealing to me as a mediocre plate of food.
But my tepidity had nothing to do with them: as best I can remember, they were lively company when we partied together in Hong Kong in the mid-1990s.
No, the fault lies with me: my idea of a good night out these days is finding a quiet spot to have a beer; just me and my best friend, Samsung Galaxy S10.
Wang Wei and Wang Yong were unaware of this. They were nostalgia-giddy, and were intent on reliving a bygone era which, for me, was so long ago it seems surreal - like someone else lived it.
With two drunk Chinese at the controls of the reunion, as the Pacific Ocean pounded a shimmering beach beneath an intense blast of blue, the overwhelming emotion I felt was exhaustion - exhaustion at having to play the 20-something me again.
I was about to make my exit, by going to the toilet and not returning, when the day suddenly became a completely different beast - one that I feel compelled to write about, even though it could result in Wang Wei and Wang Yong's executions.
But at least I can now ask God to watch over them - having recently decided, after years of denial, that the universe can't possibly be the result of cold randomness, that it has to be the work of a supreme being: the Almighty, if you will.
So, before I detail to the world what my Chinese friends told me, I will ask for God's protection: Dear Lord, I humbly ask you to shield Wang Wei and Wang Yong from the devil's tentacles, this time in the form of the Communist Party of China - heathens that they are. Amen.
After another tequila shot, it was Wang Yong who revealed, in a whisper, that he and Wang Wei worked for Chinese intelligence, and they had seen intimate surveillance footage of Peter Dutton.
"No sh**," I said. "Do tell."
Wang Yong revealed that in Chinese government and intelligence circles Dutton's nickname was bèn dàn (Dumb Egg). He said the moniker's genesis was an argument Dutton had with his wife, Kirilly, inside the couple's home. The spat was - get this - recorded by China, according to Wang Yong.
He said that when Dutton asserted that offshore detention centres should be deliberately infested with genetically modified "monster tarantulas", to serve as a deterrent, Kirilly called him a "bald dumbass".
Well, the retelling of the story lit up Wang Wei like a Tiananmen Square protester through the eyes of a People's Liberation Army tank driver.
Do you know what Dutton's wife did when he told her that trained attack monkeys should be unleashed onto climate change protesters? She made him stand in a corner of their living room for almost three hours ...Wang Yong
He slammed a shot glass on the bar, swayed on his chair, and whispered: "Do you know what Dutton's wife did when he told her that trained attack monkeys should be unleashed onto climate change protesters? She made him stand in a corner of their living room for almost three hours, sucking his thumb while wearing a T-shirt embossed with 'Dumbass'."
"This is unbelievable," I said. "The Chinese government is spying on a senior Australian minister ... in his own home?!"
"F**k yeah,"'Wang Wei said. "We're everywhere, man. It's the future already - and it's a Chinese future."
"But don't tell anyone we said this, Mark," Wang Yong cautioned. "You wouldn't want to see us tortured and shot in the back of the head, would you?"
"Umm ... no. Of course I wouldn't."
"What's with the pause, man?" Wang Wei said.
Wang Yong sculled a shot, hawked up phlegm, spat, and said: "Tell him about the time the Duttons were going to a fancy dress party and Dutton emerged from the bedroom dressed as Mussolini. Go on, tell him."
"You were watching them at the time. You tell him."
"OK, I will. On a big blackboard, she made him write dumbass hundreds of times while he repeatedly sang a one-verse song she wrote, on the spot, that goes like this: Do you come from a land down under? Where protesters glow and Dumbass thunders? Can't you hear, can't you hear the atomic bluster? Don't run, don't take cover ..."
"Wow," I said. "It's incredible that he continues to say things that paint him in such a bad light, that provoke such extreme responses."
"That's why he's Dumb Egg," Wang Wei laughed.
Mark Bode is an ACM journalist. He uses satire and fiction in commentary. His writings are not meant to be taken literally.