Stickman Readers' Submissions December 15th, 2003

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

Sometimes I still have a hard time accepting my fate since Jiraporn died. Life has a way to bring you back into the fray, so you will continue to wonder and ponder it’s meaning. My life has been good lately. Nice and orderly, nothing too terrible to face. No huge problems to overcome. That was last week.

This week is quite different. Early Monday morning Tui was very ill, she spent most of the afternoon puking her guts out. I grew concerned because she has never been sick before. She brushed off the sickness as the flu. She was running a fever so I told her to go to the doctor and get checked out. I offered to take her, but she said her son was on his way over to come get her. He’s a real nice kid, ugly as sin, stupid as a rock, but he takes care of his Mom. No big deal I thought, some Pepto-Bismol and some sleep would do her some good. I left to go and see some of my buddies who flew in from Singapore. Around 10 pm that night I arrived home, a bit drunk, but still with it. Tui was sitting in the kitchen crying to herself.

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Oh hell, I knew about this type of situation. Bad news. It was not good, not good at all. My heart pounded as I came in to talk to her. I felt sick to my stomach, aw crap; I think I might have caught the Flu from her. I sat down and asked Tui what all the crying was about. Deep down I had a terrifying feeling of dread; I could not go through another woman dying on me. I could not stand the loss. My stomach was jumping out of my throat; I made a mad dash and managed to get to the kitchen sink before I blew my bellyful of pad Thai and beer. Crap, was I sick? Or my nerves jangled by my feelings? Sick I thought… I washed my mouth out and came back to the table. Tui insisted on getting up and getting me an alka-seltzer.

Tui sat down, tears still running down her cheeks. She said that she had something very important to tell me. She looked me dead in the eye and said, “We make baby”. Naaa, No God Damn way I thought! That could not be right, Tui’s 47 and went though menopause. A little more insistent this time, she picked up my hand and placed it on her stomach “We make baby Phil.” My stomach gurgled; I turned and did not make it to the sink in time. She was serious, Oh Christ! She is pregnant. For real, not a con to get me to marry her, this was for real. Oh hell, what had I done? I’m 69 for Christ’s sake! After mopping up the floor and spraying an entire can of room deodorizer, I asked Tui about her going through menopause. She said she thought she had because she did not have her period for nine months. Two months ago she did. She just neglected to tell me this fact. At the clinic, the doctor gave her a blood test and workup to find out why she was sick. Pregnant and morning sickness! Aw Crap! I read over her test results over and over, and then once more to make sure. Tui is pregnant. I’m fairly sure (99%) that the child is mine, but I will have a test performed to be absolutely sure. It looks like her very last egg down the chute managed to meet my guys. Fucking Viagra! Khae called during the middle of this scene, she was coming over the next night and wanted me to meet her boyfriend Jens. Sure, why not? All this was just too much; I took a shower and went to bed. Tui came in the bedroom a while later and laid down next to me. She was giggling like a little girl! We talked for a while; she was just as stunned as I was. She patted my belly and told me I will make a good Daddy. Those words felt like she was dumping salt on an open wound. Tui was elated and a touch goofy, she told me that the doctor was even a bit stunned, believing that Tui had gone through menopause. I lied to Tui – I am utterly terrified at this situation; she was convinced she had gone into menopause so we didn’t need to use protection or birth control anymore. Tui will have to change a whole lot of diapers again, if my mind and body go, perhaps my diapers also. Could Tui have planned this? Perhaps, but she was done having children, at least that’s what she said. I didn’t sense that she was lying to me about this situation. I think it just happened because it could happen.

The next morning I was up early. For some reason I felt the need to whack my head against the door, the walls, the kitchen table, anything hard. The reality of my situation had hit home. What would Khae think? She tolerated Tui, but now Khae would be a big sister. I went out and got the paper, made some coffee and sat down to catch up on world events. An advertisement fell out and I bent over to pick it up. It was a baby clothes ad with a cute Asian baby pointing to the reader (me). I distinctly remember hearing Jiraporn’s laughter. Great, just great. I knocked up my maid and now I was hearing my dead wife laughing at my predicament. I began to laugh too. It was just too surreal. I wondered if there were any expeditions heading to the South Pole. Hell, I would sign up for free.

That night Khae walked in the Condo with her boyfriend Jens. He is a tall, blonde, and skinny Norwegian guy. She met him in college. He just happened to be her European Literature Professor. For some reason I felt like gutting him like a fish, that damn daughter defiling blond Norwegian tree! Aww, what the hell. Khae is old enough. She’s still my little girl, but she is a woman after all. Dinner was served soon after our introduction. Something was up with Khae; she kept nudging Jens and was giving him the ‘do it now’ eye. Jens smiled and cleared his throat. “Mr. Mortenson, I would…..” Clearing this throat again “Mr. Mortenson, I would like to ask, to talk to me, I mean you…I mean….” He cleared his throat again. This was fun! He was really struggling to ask me a question! I said, “let’s let the girls clear the table, you and I can go out into the living room and talk” “OK, Sir”. Wow-nice touch! He even called me Sir!

I poured a tumbler of whiskey for myself and asked Jens if he wanted one, Jens just nodded. I sipped mine, Jens tossed his back in one gulp and coughed, turned beet red. Something big was going to happen. He was quite nervous. He regained his composure and we sat down. He started again “Mr. Mortenson, I would want….., I mean I want to ask you a question Sir”. “Go ahead Jens”. “Mr. Mortenson, I would like to get your permission to marry your daughter”. Wow, he really had a tough time asking that question, I found it rather endearing that he had such difficulty asking me. I knew his question from the moment he began to stammer at the dinner table when Khae was prodding him. Ah, goodie – I get to put him through the ringer. A Father’s rite of passage.

Well, I was going to be a bit melodramatic tonight. I got up and paced back and fourth locking eyes with him and asking questions about his job, his family, his schooling, and his past. It seems as if he was expecting this because he just answered the questions as if they had been drilled into him. Hmmm, I sensed Khae’s preparation in him. She knew what I would ask. After 15 minutes in the chair, I told him that he could marry Khae. His eyes showed relief. The same type of relief you feel when you leave the dentist’s office. It was my right as a Dad to grill him. Not a bit sorry about it either. I rather enjoyed it. Khae came out of the kitchen and hugged Jens. She was crying, happy tears, or tears of relief. Tui was crying because Khae was crying. I really do hate when women get together and cry because another is crying. We sat down and began to talk. Khae looked me in the eye: “Dad, I need to tell you something, promise you won’t be angry? Promise me, Ok?” My mind was still coming to grips with the last 30 minutes. I thought: “O’ Joy what now? Moving to Paraguay to join the resistance my dear?” “Ummm, Dad…Well, I just better come out and say it: I’m pregnant!” I remember hearing a high-pitched whine in my ears before everything went black.

I heard noises; came to with Jens holding an ammonia capsule under my nose and Tui padding my face with a wet washcloth. “You Ok sir? You awake now Sir? Oy-Oy-Oy-my head was pounding. Sitting up, I noticed Khae looking very concerned. “Dad, you fainted!” “Yea I guess I did”. Feeling shaky, I managed to get up and get a glass of water and some aspirin. That was it! I planned on going out and buying a parka and some snow boots the next morning. Within a few days I could be at the South Pole, fighting polar bears and writing my name in the snow.

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Time for some revenge. Time for a bombshell of my own. Khae was apologizing to me, she was sorry that her news had made me faint. I sat Khae down. “I’m ok Khae, there is some news that Tui and I need to tell you” Khae looked at me and smiled. “Your getting married Dad? That’s great!” “No Khae, Tui and I are not getting married, you are going to be a big sister” Khae looked confused and said “Umm, Dad, Nit’s not pregnant…”

“No Khae, not a cousin, a big sister” Khae’s eyes grew wide, her mouth was open, she looked at me, then Jens, then Tui, then me again, Tui and then Jens. It looked like she was watching tennis match, back and forth, back and fourth. She finally got the picture. She stood up and began to pace while holding her hands on her head, just like her mother did when confronting a serious situation. She looked at me wide eyed with a look of utter amazement. “You and Tui, Dad? Really? How?” When she said this Jens began to laugh, she shot him the “Shut up you dork” look. She continued: “ But Dad, Tui’s too….Tui’s too….” “pregnant” I injected.

Khae was obviously shaken. Good. After what she had put me through, it was her turn. She sat down on the coffee table with her head in her hands. Was she crying? No, she was still thinking. She looked at me with a rather pained expression and blurted out “Geeze Dad, Why?!?!, YOU HORNY OLD GOAT!!” She immediately put her hands over her mouth and blushed deep purplish-red. Yep, she realized what she said just a bit too late. Jens was doubled over with laughter gasping for breath, so was Tui. Khae was burning with embarrassment like a magnesium flare. I kissed Khae on her red-hot forehead and smiled. The night was going quite well as far as I was concerned; at least Pakistan hadn’t shot a nuke at India. But after all, the night was still young.

We sat and talked and laughed for a few hours. Khae apologized for calling me a horny old goat, but there was not need. It was true as far as I am concerned. Jens is an ok guy, smart and honest. He has a weird and twisted sense of humor just like me. I think he will make a good son-in-law. He even offered to pay a sin-sod for Khae. I told him to keep his money; their child was going to need it. Khae had grown up and I was having a hard time accepting that fact. I still remember bandaging her skinned knees, wiping away the tears. I remember teaching her how to swim, how to ride a bike. I remember going over her homework and dealing with her headstrong attitudes. I remember her falling in love for the first time and having her heart broken. I still think that she is too young to be a mother, but what the hell do I know? I think I’m too old to be a father, yet the realities of our situations still remain. My need to bash the door and walls with my forehead is still with me. I can still catch a boat to the South Pole and fight polar bears; except that I’m afraid that one of them will tell me that she’s pregnant and that I’m the father.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I got up and walked around the condo in my birthday suit. I went out on the balcony, sat down and looked at the lights of Bangkok. So much had happened in just a few days, had to make sense of it all. My daughter was pregnant and going to be married, my lover was pregnant. I just looked at the city lights and sighed deeply. Bangkok, why the hell did I ever come back? Khae needed me, and I guess in some way I needed Thailand. I first came to Thailand when I was in the military. Bangkok was dirty, noisy, and generally a semi-controlled chaotic city. I came back more frequently after I retired. Within three years of my retirement, I moved to Thailand. Somehow it just felt like home to me. I enjoyed the women and the cheap way of life. I met Jiraporn at the night market, she was selling vegetables with her mother. I remember her painful shyness and toothy lopsided smile, and I remember her snorting when she laughed. She actually laughed at my jokes. My life changed that evening at the night market. It changed in ways I could of never imagined. I sat for hours on my balcony just watching the lights of the city. I heard a giggle and turned to see Tui standing in the balcony doorframe, she seemed to look younger in the low light. “You naked Phil, why you naked? You clazy!” I smiled at Tui and said:”because I want to be naked and crazy” She giggled some more and took off her nightgown; she came over and sat in my lap and snuggled up against me. Silently, we watched the lights of the city until dawn lit the horizon.

The other shoe did drop. It’s a gigantic baby booty that landed squarely on my head. I’m not ready for this to happen, but I don’t really have a say in the matter. It looks like life still has more planned for me. Jiraporn would be pleased. She always liked life’s ironies.

Well, there you have it Stickman. I’m screwed, blued and tattooed. I’m 69 and going to be a Dad and Grandfather. I just wonder what’s next in my life. At least my life has never been dull since I returned to Thailand.

Stickman says:

Oh my God! Congratulations! I hope you live to be more than 100. I'm sure you'll make a fabulous Dad, and a fabulous Grandfather too.

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