I decide to take a walk down soi four and ask around. Shaking the tree, as they say in the trade. I start on the far side and show Sterling’s picture around. A few bargirls claim to have known Sterling, but easy to tell that that are lying to me in the hope of some cash for their troubles. That's what bargirls do, apart from other things; Lie for money.
I make it to the Lazy toad bar to hook with the owner John, a self confessed Scottish sex addict. John spent many years in the states, where he underwent intensive treatment for his sex addictions. Each time he checked out of the clinics he would relapse, usually with a street prostitute. Now in his mid fifties John has realised that he can not beat the addiction. Rather than combat his sex addiction for the rest of his life, he would be better off moving to where the whores are cheap and plentiful; Bangkok.
He sits, alone on a table outside the bar. Opposite is a massage area where Thai women smoke cigarettes and gossip. He sees me. Calls me over. He looks jumpy and nervous, like an alcoholic in the morning.
The Scotsman speaks ‘Joe, could yous do us a favour and hang on to this here wallet for a wee minute.’ John hands me his wallet having already taken out one thousand baht which he holds in his hand.
John does not trust himself with a wallet full of money in a massage parlor. Also he doesn’t trust his bar staff with his wallet. He trusts me, which I find touching, having only conversed with the Scot on three or four previous occasions.
He runs over the road with the thousand in his hand. I take a seat. Order a drink, and wait for him to return.
Ten minutes pass before he returns. I hand him back the wallet which he pockets without comment.
‘I ‘kin needed that I gotta be telling yous.’ He motions to the bar for a gin and tonic. John is your typical expat. Bald, beer belly, tattoos. But behind the rough exterior is a keen intellect masked by a no nonsense use of words. I once heard that he is a published author in the states, but to be honest, I doubt it.
Silence for a few beats and then John speaks.
‘Been going over the road there several times a day. I think the ‘kin place would close down if I weren’t for yours truely. Aye, if you gonna be going over there I thoroughly recommend a little ‘un from Burriram, goes by the name a Gop. Canny pair of tits on it, flat stomach, you cannae go wrong with it.’
‘Not just now John. Working.’ I raise my palms upwards in a restrained gesture.
‘Oh aye, working’ He says the word "working" as if in reference to a vague distant concept. ‘Anything of interest like?’
‘Same old story - Thai Bird ran away with customers money. Quite a lot of money it seems.’
‘I’ve heard it so many times.’ John takes a packet of Marlboro reds out, lights one, “how many of these farang radges coom over here with their fancy education and their worldly views and end up getting ripped off by some Isaan rice picker getting by on nothing but her tits and her fuckin wits?’
‘You ‘kin right most. I gotta be telling ye. The other day we had one in here complaining about some wee little whore rode him to the tune of sixteen million baht. Sixteen million! I tell you something; I wadnee be sitting in sukhumvit sipping beer ‘kin Leo if theirs some bitch running aroond with sixteen million a my ‘kin money.’
‘He lost the money in Samui?’
‘Oh so you know the cunt then? What was his name now? Some pouncy English fuckin name.’
‘Sterling.’ I show him the picture.
‘Aye. That’s the cunt alright. Right you are. He was here with one of the fuckin lady boys. Not sure what the name was luck? Joy? Young thing, pretty too, apart the hands. Always check the hands. I got caught out once. Met this wee little whore in nana plaza. Took it back to the room and the fucker pulls out a ham bigger than mine. I tell you no lie either. Would I lie too ye? Ye should a seen the size of the cock on this fucking wee tranny. Makes you wonder why they do it ken? If the cunt had nothing to start with I coulda kinda understood it a wee bit?. This one was dressed like a lady and hung like a fucking Shetland pony.’
‘Shocking. Do you remember anything more about the lady boy with Sterling?’
John orders a gin and tonic and speaks. ‘I canne think, me heads fuckin nipping man. Wait. Young, pretty, long black hair, tons a fuckin make up ken? She was talking about a wee bit a bother with the police there. Recent like. That’s all I can remember, Joe. That Sterling cunt was blobbing about his lost money, crying into his beer. And the lady boy was talking about some police hassle.’
‘You sure Sterling was drinking beer?’
‘Fuckin right he was! About six or seven bottles, like. You tend to notice these kinda things when you running a fuckin bar!’
‘Thanks John. I owe you one mate.’
‘Well you owe me two then cause you havne paid for that one yet.’ He says pointing at the empty glass in front of me. ‘Ye cunt’
I hand him one hundred and head back down the road in search of a young transexual called Joy or Luck.
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