I always try not to wake up before noon if possible… All that bright light and bustling activity is bad for the constitution. The fact hangovers are generally at their worst before lunchtime might have been another factor in this but generally I’ve always preferred to live late.
The other day, however, even mid afternoon was too early. I’m not really a lazy person by nature. Living late often makes you appear lazy but that isn’t really it. But I love and live in Bangkok. I wouldn’t live anywhere else… I don’t think… But I do have the metabolism of someone born in the temperate climes of England. I love the evenings and the warmth of the Bangkok night but no white man should have too much to do with the Bangkok daylight rush hour… It’s just… Well… It’s a bad idea. Better to wake up late, take a shower, use cooling talc and underarm deodorant and head off into the more temperate Bangkok evening. The other day, however, I just didn’t want to get up at all. If the sun blasted me I took a hit of old grouchy and let my feminine blankets envelop me and protect me from the windburn setting of my fan that blew the one narrow strip of cool air through golden syrup humidity.
At about two or three I got a sense that it might be time to face the day; not to actually get up you understand, just to face the day. I reached for a book of Thai poetry from the communist uprising of the seventies that some ill informed friend had thought I might appreciate. I wanted to at least have some claim to reading the book given to me out of kindness. I started on one poem called Man and Buffalo:
“Man with man work the fields in the way of man.
Man with buffalo work the fields in the way of the buffalo.
Man working with buffalo is rooted deep in our history.
They’ve worked together for ages.
But it works out all right.”
Sometimes I think I might have some kind of affinity with Thai culture but when it gets down to this kind of thing I realise that I should steer well clear of all that rural crap. I read on for a bit more but was seized with a terrible desire to hurl the book away from me at full force. I could take many things but poems about the relationship between men and buffalos was not one of them.
I looked at the walls and felt the comfort of being in my own room. When I’d moved in it had been this empty shell of a place. Now it was stacked with books and booze as every good room should be. If I got up now I’d only have to go and talk to people. They’d tell me what had happened in their schools. There’d be more stories of heads who wanted to replace all farang teachers with Philipinos who spoke clear and perfect American English while costing much less money. This stuff is interesting up to a point and I cared about the anxieties of my friends… It was just that some days I just wanted the silence. Well… Not silence exactly. It’s never exactly silent in central Bangkok. There’s always music playing somewhere close. There’s always a pounding argument upstairs somewhere which involves the moving around of heavy furniture. There’s always the babbling gossip of the laundress and the receptionist just outside my door. But all this was just like white noise. It didn’t really disturb my peace of mind. I thought of myself lying here and I remembered Jason King, a TV hero whose lifestyle seemed deeply enviable to me as a child. King was an idler by nature who made his money writing paperback thrillers starring his alter-ego Mark Kane. King slept late, wore crushed velvet suits and improbably long shirt cuffs. He would dictate his novels under duress from his pretty publisher to an even prettier mini-skirted secretary. This might take up an hour or two of his time. The rest of his day would be devoted to solving crimes, drinking fine wines and seducing beautifully exotic and mysterious women over dinner in some sun drenched European city. Obviously there were some key differences between myself and Jason King. I completely lacked his camp savoir faire but, this aside, I always thought his lifestyle was one that might suit me. James Bond, by comparison, was always off somewhere diving into stingray infested waters and getting tortured by sadistic KGB agents. However many women Bond managed to seduce only a fool would want to switch lives with that murderous civil servant.
My mind switched to dinner. A bowl of kuay tiaw from Soi Atami maybe; or I could follow my nose down to the Hungarian place on Soi Nana Tai for a bowl of their finest goulash and on the thought of goulash I started reflection on a Hungarian woman I’d known in my youth. Thinking of her pillowed chest I found myself slipping back into an easeful sleep.
When I woke up again I was being poked by a Nigerian kid who lived five floors above me. “Wake up Mister Turk.”
“Buzz off.” I said. “Can’t you see I’m a sick man.”
“You not a sick man. You just a lazy man.”
I saw that the Nigerian kid was not alone. He was with a young Thai girl and a young luuk krung with a runny nose. I wished I’d remembered to lock my door the previous night. “What do you want?” I said.
“Have boom boom girl want to see you.”
“Boom boom girl? What boom boom girl?”
“Okay… You told me. Now buzz off.”
“Why you like boom boom girl? My God him say man who like boom boom girl have to go to burn in Hell.”
“Does he… How interesting. Well… You can tell him you told me… Now go… Shoo… Scat.”
Eventually the kids pissed off so I shut the door and locked it. I couldn’t think of any boom boom girls I particularly wanted to see as much as the boom boom girls I might dream of if I went back to sleep.
I lay down and the sun turned orange but the sleep fairy had fucked off leaving me with no option but to get up and face the world.
I went out into the courtyard. Some girls were skipping and counting each hop as some trash pop poured out from the same window someone was hanging wet socks out of.
I went to the provision shop and bought a bottle of M150 which I knocked back in about three seconds seeing a woman marching up to me.
My right ear sang a single note and my face fizzed from the hit. I focussed my eyes on the woman before:
My left ear joined the chorus and I felt a deeper ache beginning in my jaw.
The pain in my shin ripped through my whole body so deeply that I almost would have wept had I not been a manly man with witnesses to his manliness.
“This what happen when you leave me waiting all day.” Said the woman before she turned on her heel and marched away.
“Oh. That boom boom girl!”
© Turk Fist. All rights reserved by the author.
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