Dick Headley, middle-aged, paunchy, tattoo here and there, one gold ear-ring, raises himself slowly from his lounger by the pool at the fabulous Mom Tri's Boathouse on beautiful Phuket Island, stretches lazily and takes a sip of expensive champagne. He glances at the bevy of Thai girls splashing in the pool. Beauties they are. And all his. For as long as he pays them anyway.
Dick is feeling pretty pleased with himself. Things have been going right lately, for a change. He just got back from LA where he sold a screenplay to Matt Dillon for 5 million US! Not bad going. Now he’s enjoying some well-deserved R & R.
And what a view! Out beyond the pool and the palm trees Dick can see the ocean sparkling in the sunlight. Everything is calm. Not a tsunami to be seen. But what’s that? Two figures, both wearing Hawaiian shirts and shorts, are walking up the beach towards the hotel…and they look strangely familiar. Shit it can’t be. But it is! Chuck Woww! And that other scrawny old geezer must be his mate…Arthur something. What are they doing here? Has Dick been spotted?
He decides to get back on the lounger and hope they don’t see him. Face down would be good, maybe get one of the girls to give him a massage. As he settles onto the lounger his mind flashes back to those crazy days and nights in Pattaya many years ago when he’d had the bar on Soi 7. A good time that was. Before that bastard Woww ripped him off anyway. Oh well, he’d got his revenge. And how. Still a meeting at this stage could be very awkward.
“Dick!” says a voice, “fancy running into you again!”
Shit. There he is. Blocking the sunlight. Chuck Woww in the flesh. Better play along with it.
“Well I’ll be buggered,” says Dick, “Chuck and Arthur. I never expected to see you two again. How’s things?”
If you were just walking past you would think it was three old pals having a friendly chat by the pool. They seem to be getting along OK but closer inspection would reveal a definite tension between them. Not Dashiel Hammett exactly, more Raymond Chandler.
Chuck picks a book up off the table. “Hmmm, ‘Killing Plato’. Any good?”
“Great!” says Dick, in a transparent (and ultimately futile) attempt to suck up to Jake Needham, “That Jake Needham certainly knows his Thailand, the guy can write too dammit. How did you blokes find me anyway?”
Chuck laughs. “Hah. You think this is one of those coincidences that happen in novels about Thailand Dick? No way. We knew you were in Phuket and it wasn’t hard to track you down. Things went pretty well for you in LA I hear?”
“Not bad he says. Hear that Arthur? Not bad. He writes a screenplay based on ‘Losing the Plot’ (another brazen plug) sells it for 5 million and calls it not bad.”
“Yeah,” says Dick, “well screw you. There was no copyright on it. Think of it as pay back for nicking my bar.”
“Nicking your bar? That was a legitimate business transaction Dick and you know it. Right Arthur?”
“Absolutely,” says Arthur, “Completely open and above board. All drawn up by a Thai lawyer in Pattaya.”
“I was drunk!!”
“We were all drunk you twat.” Says Chuck, “Day and night. Too late to complain about it now.”
“Yeah, well all I know is I got shafted. Anyway it’s all water under the bridge as they say. Why don’t you fellas just sit down, have a drop of bubbly and relax?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” says Arthur pouring himself a generous helping of champagne.
“What have you blokes been up to anyway?” Dick asks.
“Oh, nothing much.” Says Arthur.
“I’ve been in the Caribbean,” says Chuck, “Virgin Islands mostly. Got a boat down there.”
“Sounds nice,” says Dick, “ you must be doing OK. What’re the girls like down that way?”
And so they talk about this and that. Mostly that. The way guys do. Stories about Thai girls they’ve known. Usual stuff. Dick tells them about his trip to the States and the trouble he had getting to see Matt Dillon.
“That guy is bus-y.” says Dick, “I’d just about given up on him, then bugger me if I didn’t run into him in San Francisco. In the men’s room at the Bay Wolf. I had it in my hand.”
“I had the screenplay in my hand and there’s Matt having a slash. So I said to him, you know Matt that ‘City of Ghosts’ movie you made was OK but you needed a stronger story line. You were trying to do too much I think. Depardieu was good but there should have been more sex in it. Who the fuck are you then? he says. I’m a writer I say, here, have a look at this when you get a chance and I slap him with the screenplay. My cell-phone number’s on it Matt I say. Give me a call if you’re interested. Well he didn’t look exactly thrilled so I thought no more about it. Blokes like Matt get people shoving screenplays at them all the time. Then bugger me if I don’t get a text message and next thing you know I’m doing lunch with his people and signing a contract! Matt’s coming over himself soon. We’ll be looking for locations. Funny how life goes innit?”
“Think you’re pretty smart don’t you Headley. Show him Arthur.”
Arthur takes a bundle of papers out of a briefcase and passes them to Dick who skims quickly over the top copy. It basically says he’s being sued for copyright infringement for 10 million dollars plus court costs. You can see the shock all over Dick’s face.
“Feel alright Dick?” says Chuck, “It’s all there. Including a photocopy of the copyright certified by the Bangkok School of Fiction. The lawyers are in Century City. It’s the same law firm Sean Penn uses. You’re toast Headley.”
The three sit silently looking at each other. It really does look like a stalemate. Sure Dick has the money but Chuck and Arthur can easily screw the deal up if they feel like it. Matt Dillon will probably want to back out anyway if he finds out about the copyright problems.
“Strange situation,” says Dick. “It’s like a short story.”
“Sure is,” says Chuck, “what we need now is a surprise ending. Any ideas?”
The Thai girl’s have come out of the water and squeezed themselves into the group. Their swimsuits are wet and slippery but nobody minds too much. “That champagne’s nice,” says Arthur.
"I'll get another bottle." Says Dick. "This is just like old times."
© C. Woww. All rights reserved by the author.
If you enjoyed this short story of C. Woww's his book 'Losing the Plot' can easily be purchased here at DCO Books online: http://www.dcothai.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=106
It can also be found in many local bookshops in Thailand, especially, we have seen, in the many Bookazine Bookshops in Bangkok and Pattaya.