Gone Fishing (In Isaan) Part 13
It was time now to pick up the rice pickers, their daily labor finished. Sis and I walked back to the truck, me with soaking wet squishing sneakers chirping with every step. I was a mess. My Kelly green sweat pants were sopping wet, and my wet undies wedged up the crack of my ass. My shirt was wet. My hair had bits of flotsam and jetsum sprinkled in along with the sprinkling of the greying hairs earned through vast and wonderful experiences, such as I'd just experienced. Reaching into my pants pocket I pulled out my ciggies. They were now a moistened mass of garbage. The few baht I had left in my other pocket were soaked. My back and ass were smeared with mud of a crimsom hue. My hat was wet and mis-shapened. My sunglasses were mud splattered, yet intact and unbroken thankfully. I was a fucking mess, and yes, a sight to behold and chattered about over dinner. Next time, I swore, there would be no witnesses around to witness any further fishing debacles. I considered bashing Sis in the noggin with my virtually useless 200 baht net, and leaving her body in a rice field pond. I knew she was gonna talk, the blabbermouth. The woman's also a relentless ballbuster, and loves to dig the needle in deep whenever she can get away with it. Unlike myself, who would never dream of embarrassing a person for their foibles and mistakes. Well, I wouldn't! Not that much anyway. I needed to redeem myself. The only way I could do this was to catch something they could eat, and they'd eat it if I had to stuff it down their throats, bones and all goddamnit!! The laughter in the village would travel far and wide tonight as the tale of the falang's rice field pond fishing exploits spread after dinner. There was one place left. Failure was not an option.
Sis and I climbed into the truck. Luckily the seat was vinyl (sic?) and wouldn't absorb the moisture from my sopping wet pants, and could be easily wiped off clean later. Sis still seemed to be having a fit of giggling, and my glares of righteous indignation just made her laugh even more. I bummed a smoke off of her and lit it, almost gagging on the menthol of the "Spring Rain". They taste a bit similar to Salem cigarettes. Thais make the worst fucking smokes. My evil brain was working overtime. I needed a plot, a diversion, something to throw off the failure of my falang fishing prowess for a couple more hours. An idea hit me, I flinched, as a most dastardly plan hatched in my sun addled head and a smile of a devilish cast formed on my lips. Yeah, this'll be fun. I laughed out loud at the thought of it. "Why you laugh?" asked Sis grinning and still chuckling herself. "You'll see, my talkative little grinning wench. You'll see." I muttered smiling. She gave me that damned look again.
We arrived down the road where the rice picking troops were forming up for their ride home. My wife was there by the roadside talking to her friends and family members as we pulled up. I jumped out of the truck before Sis could and stormed over to my wife with a scowl on my mug. She looked at me, well, gawped actually, as she took in the sight of my disheveled state and said, "What happen you? You wet too much! You okay?" Before Sis could say a word I launched into my speil. "It's your damned sister, Wife! She's baba bobo! Look what she did to me! The crazy woman pushed me into the pond! She's nuts! I think you should go boxing her. Look what she did to me!" I said convincingly. I kept a straight face. It was an Oscar performance, worthy of the finest professional actor. Sis was stunned speechless. The wife turned on her. "Why you do this my husband?" she queried incredulously. Sis just blubbered and stuttered. I pressed my advantage mercilessly and continued ranting and raving for the audience. It was Shakespeare. It was Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" or Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now". I threw in a little nutty Christopher Lloyd from "Back to the Future" and Moe from any of the Three Stooges films as I pantomined her sister pushing me into the pond as I rattled on and acted my parts through. I gesticulated and emoted eloquently with the rage of the unjustly persecuted and put upon.
I had a clearly captive audience. I had the rubes in my pocket. This was theater of the first magnitude for an Isaan rice field. A very, very, off Broadway play. This was Hollywood brought direct and live from the states to enliven their day. This was entertainment. This was something for them to talk about with the relatives over dinner when they got home! How Sis had pushed the falang into the pond. Had she gone mad? "Yeah, we've always suspected she was a bit crazy. Boy was that falang pissed off!" they'd chortle over their rice and peppers. Sis was dumbfounded. She squeaked out a muted "Eh. Not do." But my performance had overwhelmed her for the moment. She was checked. Puzzled at this turn of events she kept mum. God I was good! Or maybe bad would be more applicable.
Before Sis could regain her equilibrium and begin to defend herself I grabbed the wife and angrily led her to the truck still bitching and moaning, and gestured for everyone else to get in the back as I ranted to the wife, "Look darling! I'm friggin' soaked! Let's get home so I can change and take a shower. What the hell is wrong with your sister? Her joke was not funny. Why'd she push me in the pond? Tell everyone to get in the back of the truck so we can go home."
On the way back I could hear Sis in the back trying to defend herself from the disbelieving rice pickers. They chattered away in Lao as she tried to get them to believe her story. I can imagine what was said. "But why would the falang lie?" "He seemed pretty angry to me! You must have done something to piss him off Sis!" "Well, he's all wet. He didn't just jump in the pond himself did he?!" "Are you sure you didn't just accidentally bump into him and knock him in the pond?" And on, and on, and on. Meanwhile Sis herself still hadn't figured out what was happening to her. She was walleyed and in shock. I'd neatly turned the tables on her, and bought myself a little more time to go to the one place where I had an idea that I could have a chance at redeeming the unsuccessful falang fisherman and bring home a meal of tasty fish to shut up the village gossips all saying that falang can't fish properly, and can't catch shit with all that expensive gear. My fishing rep was at stake! Something a fisherman doesn't take lightly!
It was the bottom of the ninth. I had two outs and two strikes against me, and I always have two balls on me. But I was going down swinging, goddamnit! I had some fishing left to do. And I knew just where I was going to do it.
I'd let Sis in on my little joke later. (Boy, was she gonna be pissed!) For now it was a bit of fun to watch her stew, and watch her trying to wriggle off the hook I'd stuck her on. I had the damnedest time keeping from breaking out in a stupid grin.
(to be continued)
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