The air in my room felt like warm syrup. All around me were the usual sounds of motorcycles entering and leaving the courtyard and the pleasant familiar jingling sound of the couple upstairs throwing bowls at each other. Everything was as it should have been. But then, suddenly, I couldn't breathe. I sat up in bed wheezing and panting and trying to seize at whatever oxygen was left. It felt like a classic phii bhop attack but I knew the real cause.
For the previous three days I hadn't taken a single drink. I think the low alcohol level in my blood cause something like toxic shock. I had bottles in my apartment. I had a million bars within half a mile of where I lived and yet there I was fighting for breath like a man with emphysema as if I was stranded in the middle of a mosque in Saudi Arabia.
Of course I knew why I wasn't drinking. There are times when I get stricken by a terrible feeling of wasting my life. I know. I know. How could a life spent sleeping with hookers and drinking myself into a regular stupor ever be considered wasted. But, on occasion, I do get these doubts about my lifestyle. Of course this current bout of self doubt and sobriety could be traced back exactly to the night I was out to dinner with my good friend Richard and a couple of giggling whores. We were enjoying a pleasant evening at a seafood restaurant when suddenly Richard said:
"I bumped into Nam last night."
For a second or two multicoloured dots began dancing in front of my eyes and I felt activity in my lower intestine.
"She asked after you," He continued. "Wanted to know how you were doing. I told her you were the same as ever. The guy she was with looked pissed off but I think he knew he was out of his league with her and wasn't going to say anything that might queer the deal so he just sat there knocking back his Carlsberg. He looked like a bit a cross between my dad and Fidel Castro. She seemed really eager to know what was happening with you. Didn't look like she was harbouring any kind of grudge."
"Why would she harbour a grudge ?"
"I don't know. You never did tell me the truth about all of that. I figured there must have been some bad blood."
"I did tell you the truth. Nothing ever happened between us. It was one of those things where you think something's going to happen and then it doesn't."
"That's why your flat's full of her stuff ? Why did she wreck your TV and computer ?"
"Because women are strange. Where did you see her ?"
"The Ambassador's... In the restaurant. She had a big plate full of chips smothered in tomato ketchup. I guess MacDonald's was closed."
I changed the subject and tried acting as though the continuing existence of Nam didn't phase me in the slightest. It didn't work. The spots still seemed to be hovering in front of my eyes. Richard ordered a sea food platter as one of the hookers slid her fingertips along my inner thigh until her hand was resting against my penis, but all I could think of was Nam sitting somewhere sharing a plate of chips with Fidel Castro.
The rest of the dinner moved really slowly. The girl with her hand on my dick got on my nerves and I let my charm slip. I kept pushing her hand away and eventually told her to get the fuck off me while I was eating. It wasn't the perfect end to the day and I apologised saying I was tired and not feeling too good. Richard ended up taking both women back to his place.
I just went home to sit in the dark trying not to think of Nam and not drinking.
After a breathless panic attack going back to sleep isn't too easy. And I didn't even want to go back to sleep. It was 3AM. I should have been out in the world living a life instead of moping about the flat like a teetotaller. I got up, took a shower and walked out into the courtyard hoping to see a bunch of people still up drinking a communal bottle of whisky with a bucket of ice. But the place was deserted so I just started walking.
I walked out the Soi Miami into Petchburi Tat Mai, alive with speeding cars. I walked down past Asoke, past the old lit up massage parlours and the closed down shops. I kept walking and walking until I was on Pattanakaan Road. It was there, down a narrow soi that I saw him hunched up against the gratings of a specialist camera shop tolling a cigarette or a joint. A farang who looked as though he might have simply got lost on the way back home to Khao San Road.
I slowed down and looked at him. He looked back at me with familiar reddish blue eyes. Simon Wildstone.
He looked up at me with a kind of grudging recognition. "What the fuck are you doing all the way out here at this time ?" He said.
"Take a pill."
"You waiting to buy a camera ?"
Blowing the loose tobacco from the ends of his cigarette said "No, I'm in hiding."
"Who from ?"
I hunched beside him. "So what did you do ? Kill someone."
He smiled continuing to blow invisible dust from his newly created cigarette. "No. I'm nowhere near romantic enough to want to kill anyone."
"I fucking wish."
Simon was one of the few people I'd met who came to Bangkok with money and not only managed not to have it taken off him by some bar girl but also managed to double it playing the SET and placing "bets" for special clients. He was the kind of man who wore suits even when he wasn't working. Always smart with well cropped tight blond locks and a slim strong build he did well with women and was always happy to buy a drink for anyone he'd known for three minutes. I liked him. But now he didn't look good at all. He was covered in mosquito bites and his shirt looked as if he'd been wearing it for two weeks straight. He didn't smell so great either.
"So how have you been Turk ?" he said. "Your well placed stocks still keeping you from having to work for a living ?"
"I can't complain. Someone does the juggling for me. What happened to you though."
"Ah... Just stupidity. It only takes one slip. But fuck it eh. This stupid fucking country. Turns most of us into idiots sooner or later. I thought I was immune to it."
"Ever wonder how you got so caught up in this country. I mean.. Let's face facts. We aren't exactly talking about the master race here. Inward looking simpletons who think they have a monopoly on righteousness. They aren't exactly worth handing your life over to. They have a lot of charm and a nice colour skin but the rest is what we project on to them. In most ways they're backward. Guys who come out here to get laid or get married might as well break into Twycross Zoo and start fucking with the monkeys."
"So what happened then. How did you get sucked in ?"
"I saw her sitting in KFC's sipping a coke through a long bent straw. She had that look on her face. That kind of 'fuck me and you'll never fucking forget it" look. I went and sat with her and she played it all shy but I knew she liked me. Every stupid joke got a laugh. She just held me there with this look like she was totally in love with me. You know. That stupid beaten gaze like I was it. I was the answer to her prayers. So I asked her to a movie. She said yes like there couldn't be a doubt.
"All through the film she was holding my hand and her palm was damp like she really wanted it. I kissed her and she kissed me back before going all shy on me again. Annoying. But she was cute. You know ?"
"How old was she ?"
"Oh fuck... Old enough. It wasn't anything like that. Nothing like that. But she acted young. You know what Thai girls are like. The ones away from the bars. Acting like virgins even after being fucked by the whole team. Pain in the fucking neck. But she got this dimple when she smiled. And, to tell you the truth, she just gave me a raging hard on. Maybe that whole sugary sweet fake virgin bollocks works on me.
"After the movie she said she had to get back home but we swapped addresses and phone numbers. I thought that would be the end of it but on Sunday morning she rings me up and says she's coming over. She turned up with coffee and Danish and all sorts of crap she's bought from Robinson's. We spent the morning together. Ate, watched a movie on TV, held hands. All the crap. Then I go to kiss her and she puts her finger to my lips and says that she doesn't want me to think she's that kind of girl. Obviously she's fucking about with me so I kiss her again and she pushes me away. Then she starts saying she's sorry. She likes me. Bla bla fucking bla. I kiss her again and this time I'm... I'm really not going to take all this fucking prick teasing crap. So I got a little more insistent. Then she starts putting on all this nervous crap so I push her back on the bed and hold her down, playfully, not seriously, just playfully holding her hands above her head. But then she goes all fucking exorcist on me and spits in my fucking face. Spits in my fucking face... So I slapped her.
"It wasn't hard. It wasn't a hard slap. It was just a kind of instant thing. You know. All right. Maybe it was hard but when someone spits in your face it's getting beyond fucking about. I mean she's cute but she'd just another fucking pain in the arse slope. Of course she then starts screaming for help so I slap her again and again. And eventually she shuts the fuck up. And I've got a fucking pole.
"I didn't think I was going to do anything. I didn't plan it. But her skirt was up around her hips. Just looking at her legs moving under me I knew I had to fuck her. It wasn't even an option. I had to do it. She was wearing these pink knickers and I just ripped them off her. She started fucking squirming but i slapped her again and she was just sobbing saying 'Mai ao mai ao' but that only made me want it more. So I fucked her. I just fucked her.
"She was sobbing the whole time. And I hit her again while I was fucking her... Even when I finished she was still sobbing so I hit her again and again and the more I hit her the better I felt. I know it's bad but I was on fucking fire man.
"There was blood. Not much. Just a trickle. I didn't say anything. I just offered her a coffee like there was nothing wrong. Nothing out of the ordinary.
"I must have been high on the whole thing because when she just got up and left I didn't think anything of it for ages. It was only when I saw the Robinson's bag that I kind of woke up. I'd beaten up and raped some girl. Not even a whore. She was someone's daughter. I might really be in the shit. So I fucking left and watched the place from across the way. When I saw some police coming into the block I just knew they were coming for me. Stupid. Just for a fuck. In a town where you can get anything you want for a few hundred baht."
He lit the cigarette he'd been playing with and started asking about the people we both knew as if everything he'd just said was of no consequence. I guess he just wanted to let the chat end normally so I could get away. I said I had a class in a couple of hours and that I'd see him around.
Walking away I only felt how much I needed a drink and how much I needed to see Nam.
© Turk Fist. All rights reserved by the author.
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