One Per Center
Chuck is in his apartment. The two young ladies from Buriram, Ay and Bee, have left and he is alone with his thoughts. It had been a very pleasant encounter and they had all enjoyed themselves. The girls had been fun, polite, and there hadn’t been any problem about money. Nice and uncomplicated, the way it should be, and Chuck wonders, not for the first time, why it is that Westerners have to struggle through so many mental and moral minefields just to have a good time? Pleasure at a price…what was so difficult about that? How did some guys manage to get themselves in so much trouble over something so simple and natural as sex?
In an hour or so Chuck will be heading to the Embassy. It’s too late now to think about sleep. He makes some coffee and switches on the PC. Normally he would go to Yahoo! And check the news headlines but this morning he goes straight to MS Word…he’s in a writing mood…
CRASH!!!! A heavy glass ashtray hit the mirror…Jeezus, thinks Bert, this one’s madder ‘n hell…how do I pick these broads?…she looked OK in the bar. Back in the room at the Apex Hotel, Second Road, Pattaya, she didn’t look that great. She was older than he had thought and she had a bit of attitude, hard to put a finger on it, but definitely not the girl of his dreams. Stretch marks too, Jeezus this isn’t working, thought Bert as she came naked out of the bathroom. But whatever…it was too late now…best just go with the flow, see what happens.
She gave him a massage but he could tell she wasn’t really into it. He got her to try a couple of different positions, some handwork, bit of oral, but that didn’t do it either. Then came the part he never enjoyed…the putting on of the condom. A goddam Thai condom too, smaller than most imported varieties, flapping around down there despite or because of the girl’s best efforts. Shit. He lay on his back and she straddled him. She fiddled around trying to get things lined up but the harder she tried the softer he got.
“I solly” says the girl.
“Yeah sure,” he says, “no problem. Too much beer. Here's your money.”
“You give me five hunled only?”
“What you expect? It was lousy. No good.”
“You say two thousan’ in bar.”
“Two thousand? Are you kidding? You can’t even suck cock.” Oh boy Bert now you’ve done it. Why did you have to go and say something like that?
“What you say?”
“Just go OK? Fuck off.”
“You give me two thousan’ now or I make bik trouble you. Keenyo falang. I samoke long time.”
“Five hundred more OK. Now fuck off and leave me alone.”
But she was a tough one “Fuck off you. I wan’ more one thousan’…”
Bert pretended not to hear her. But it wasn’t easy. He heard the thud alright as his size 13 Wolverine MegaConductors (full grain leather upper with the steel toe option) hit the aircon unit. The CRASH!! of another glass ashtray against the already shattered mirror was impossible to ignore. Then she was tugging on his shirt and buttons were flying in all directions. She wanted him to see that she had some nasty looking claws, which she hadn’t even used yet.
Bert just wasn’t in the mood for it. She was saying something that he couldn’t quite understand. Something to do with his dick. How if it was hers she wouldn’t fuck a soi dog with it.
Under normal circumstance, and if he’d had the energy, Bert wouldn’t have let something like that pass. He probably would have responded in kind. Something to the effect that her cunt smelled like gorilla fart, or worse, but nothing much occurred to him, and, even if it had, he simply couldn’t be bothered sharing his thoughts with her. Just getting the bitch out of there was his main priority.
Too many things are going around inside his head. He blew it again. How? By rushing it of course. Just what he had promised himself he wouldn’t do. And by consuming too many beers in too short a time. But that didn’t explain the poor performance by Mr.Happy and putting the blame on a couple of bottles of beer just didn't cut it anymore.
Exhausted as he is by recent events, his mind just won’t shut off. Three weeks in Pattaya and all he seemed to meet was these foul-mouthed bitches. There were times when he wished he’d never left Alaska.
He was even starting to miss the crab boat and the huge swelling mountains of cold black water all around, crashing across the deck and rushing out the sluices trying to suck the men in their yellow oilskins over the side and into watery oblivion. Winches screaming, 600 pounds of steel trap emerging from the depth spraying water everywhere, men hurling themselves against the mesh, crabs tumbling out to be funneled below, carapace, seaweed, legs, claws and the trap is quickly baited with chopped herring and pushed back overboard.
Dangerous work to be sure but well paid. And it’s the kind of work that keeps a man’s mind off his problems. For a while anyway. It had kept Bert’s mind off Gloria and the kids, and all the other stuff he didn’t want to deal with anymore, for several months, but then he’d found himself thinking more than he really wanted to. Even out on the deck with the reality of crabbing all around him the same old questions kept coming back. How did it happen? Free as a bird one minute weighed down with responsibility the next…need my freedom…never understood from the beginning…just this parenting stuff is killing me. ….she didn’t make it easy…accused him of being irresponsible…a big baby…..but that was the point…..shit that was the point! He wanted to be free and irresponsible dammit…and nothing either of them said brought them closer….. every word made it worse until they were tired of each other…wished they’d never met. Bert had taken the job in Alaska. The money was good and he needed to get far away…think things over…CRASH! And another trap landed on the deck, spilling cold seawater every which way. Bert’s fumbled with the door cursing his gloved fingers.
Dave, the boat’s captain has seen the signs before; he has seen fingers, even whole arms, chewed up in winches. “Watch that gear Bert. You’re going to get killed if you don’t concentrate, next thing you’ll be getting tangled up and dragged down to the bottom of the Baring Sea in a crab trap,” the ropes were everywhere today, slithering around the deck like greasy conger eels, “we’re the ones who have to explain how it happened to the insurance people…you know Bert, I’ve been thinking, maybe you should take a break…go to L.A. and talk to her…have a holiday somewhere.”
And that is what he did. He left the boat with no regrets, flew from Anchorage to L.A the same day, took a taxi to the unpainted house with the unkempt yard in Anaheim. He saw Gloria but he didn’t stay long. Next thing he was in a motel in Orange County confronting himself in a mirror.
So who are you today Bert? The distinguished playboy in his prime? The wild and crazy rebel guy with money doing what he damn well wants? The paunchy, balding middle-aged man with a grey nicotine-stained moustache running out of time on the point of not caring how he looks anymore…
All of the above? And let’s not forget the other Bert. The expert on messy divorces. He’s been through two already and his current problems with Gloria look like they are headed for a third.
What is it with women? With guys you could talk reasonably. Explain things. Guys listened. OK, maybe they didn’t have the answers but at least they listened sympathetically. Never met any women like that. He’d tried the reasonable approach with Gloria. “Look honey. It’s just something I’ve got to get out of my system OK? I hate being tied down. I just can’t settle down to this domestic stuff. Never have been able to.” Silence. If she understood what he was saying she didn’t show it. Didn’t even acknowledge hearing him. She never even met his eyes. She just stood there by the washing machine, doing things with clothes, putting some in the drier, folding others. If she had gotten good and mad it would have been easier to deal with. A good shouting match would have cleared the air perhaps…but no, not Gloria. No questions even. She didn’t ask what had gone wrong between them. Didn’t ask him if and when he planned on coming back. Nothing. Just fucking silence. Women could kill with silence.
OK so he hadn’t phoned to let her know he was coming. First mistake. He’d taken a taxi from the airport to Orange County because he’d wanted to surprise the kids. He did that all right. The little one hadn’t stopped screaming the whole time he was there. Ashley hadn’t made it any easier either. She’d just sat there on the couch, TV on, playing with her Barbie dolls. He could have been the mailman for all she cared. Well OK that’s the way it was. Next mistake was telling Gloria his plans. About how he was stressed out and needed a break. How he thought a few weeks on a beach somewhere would help him clear his mind. A beach in Thailand maybe. She didn’t say anything but he knew right away mentioning Thailand was his third mistake. Strike three. He put an envelope containing a few grand on the kitchen table and left. At least she hadn’t thrown it at his back.
* * * *
Nothing quiet about Porn. She’s screaming and yelling like a wild thing and CRASH! BANG!! sounds like another crab trap hit the deck…nope…but a Heineken bottle just went through the TV screen…
Bert had thought things would turn around when he’d bought the Harley. A 97 Fat Boy,
OK not brand new but in good shape, original paint job, even got the fringed leather saddlebags…Bert had always seen himself as kind of an outlaw guy.
Tell the truth he wasn’t sure if he was tough enough for the biker life but he thought he looked about right. Hairy arms, couple tats, beer belly and the ponytail was coming along OK. He’d picked up one of those black storm-trooper helmets, not that he was a nazi or anything, and now he was all set…shouldn’t be too hard to find a cute Thai chick to sit on the back of this baby…wonder how long it takes to grow one of them ZZ Top beards?
His first day as an unofficial Hell’s Angel Bert had gone to soi 8. He wanted to see what it felt like driving up the soi through the bars and the walkers and the vendors, open the throttle and see how they reacted to that good old Harley deep-throat rumble. Kind of anti-climactic in a way. Nobody seemed to care. He stopped for a beer about half way along and he’s thinking “What the fuck? Hard to get any respect around here…perhaps it’s time to rob a bank or run some asshole over…” and that’s when he found this bitch. He had been amused by her ‘Charles Manson Fan Club’ T-shirt. She had admired his ‘Don’t Step On Me’ belt buckle and he’d thought why not and paid the bar fine. She’d looked cute on the bike but shit she’s stronger than she looks…and now the bitch in question, her name is Porn and she is the rebellious daughter of a schoolteacher in Hat Yai but that’s another story, has got a knee in his balls and she’s beating on him with both hands and butting him in the face with the goddam Nazi helmet.
OK OK take it easy…should he just give her the money before she destroys the whole fucking building? Hell no. There’s a principle involved here…BANG there goes the TV against the wall…jeez…this wasn’t what Bert came to Thailand for…He was looking for a nice submissive little Thai girl not this fucking animal.
* * * *
OK admit it Chuck. You don’t have a clue how this thing plays out. How are you going to get poor old Bert out of this mess? You like the guy, you truly do, he’s an OK dude at heart but he’s still a grown man…got to take responsibility for his own actions. What would a real Angel do? Sonny Barger say…now that guy is one tough hombre…a legend…got his own website and branded products…he wouldn’t be taking shit from a two-bit Thai whore. Face it, maybe Bert just isn’t mean enough to be an Angel…perhaps he could be a Jester…do something nice for under-privileged kids…
But seriously…can Bert just say fuck it and walk away? Sneak out in the morning before the maids show up? Or will this all be settled amicably for a few thousand baht with the manager of the Apex Hotel? Let’s hope it doesn’t mean a trip down to Soi 9 where grinning Thai policemen will want to take turns test-driving his chopper. And then what? Does he learn anything from all this or is he straight back out among the temptations of Pattaya looking for more adventures? Born to be wild, that’s our Bert.
It’s no good asking Chuck what happens next. He’s in a taxi headed for Wireless Road and he’s trying to get himself into work mode…but hang on…the taxi is stuck in traffic, a big bike has pulled up alongside and it’s given him an idea. He needs some kind of climax (don’t we all?) and darned if he hasn’t got his notebook out…seems Bert decides Porn is the love of his life and they roar off together into the sunset.