Stickman Readers' Submissions April 2nd, 2004

Gone Fishing (In Isaan) Part 9

We got to the truck and chucked our gear in the back. I was feeling pretty shitty, nauseous and light headed. I started up the truck and turned the AC on high. Grabbing the water bottle I started taking small sips, and used some to wet my head down and cool off my face and neck. Shit, I hadn't felt this way from too much sun in years. Actually the last time was in the Florida keys doing some surf fishing there one summer's day with friends. The sun in Thailand can be even more brutal than southern Florida on a hot summer's day! Can't be getting cocky and foolin' with mother nature again. She'll rarely cut her kids some slack.

We jumped into the truck once the AC was blowing cold air instead of sauna-like temperatures. Ahhhhh. That felt a bit better! I realized I was covered with a gritty substance on my arms and shoulders. Brushing some off, thinking at first it was dust and dirt, I saw it was white in color on my fingertips. I tasted my fingers and was a bit shocked to see it was actually salt! Jeezus! I hadn't seen this much salt from my perspiration dried skin since my old bicycle riding marathon days. I was a walking salt lick.

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As the AC cooled me down, and the large water bottle fed my dehydrated body I began to feel marginally better. We turned the truck around and headed back toward the village, honking and waving to the family, and my wife, as we passed where they were still picking rice under the blazing Isaan sun. These rice farmers have my deepest respect for the back breaking field work they do so cheerfully under this star from hell we circle daily day in an day out. They're a tough lot.

Sis asked me where we were going, and I told her, "Back to the house for a minute. I want a quick cold shower!" She laughed, and asked me if I was okay. "Sure, no problem." I replied, still feeling shitty, but too stubborn to admit it to her. "You still want go fishing?" she asked. "Yep. I just need a little break from that damned sun." I replied. Her glance at my reddened flesh, which felt as though it would split open and start bleeding any moment to me, and the look she flashed me said it all. "Falang baba bobo. (very crazy foreigner)" Yeah, that's me. Crazy as a fucking loon!

We bounced through the back village again and pulled up in front of our house. I went straight to the fridge after unlocking the front door, and kicking off my sneakers, and grabbed the lone beer Chang that was left in there. Shit. I need some more cold beers!

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I went in the hong nam and turned on the shower. If I wanted ice cold water this was the very place to find it! The water for the house comes from a well, and I'll tell you, water under the polar ice caps has nothin' on this ice cold Isaan well water! This stuff is freezing!

I quickly stripped off my shorts, and gingerly started taking handfuls of water to splash on my skin before just stepping under the streaming water from the shower. Otherwise I think I would have passed out from the shock! The water seemed to sizzle and steam as it hit my burnt flesh. I put my head down and just let the ice cold water beat me senseless, not that hard to do really, taking a sip from my last beer Chang now and again. Glancing down I noticed the freezing water had given me a cold Irishman's prick, understandable, as I'm half Irish, so no cause for alarm. I also noticed that above where my shorts pant legs had ended was white as a polar bear's ass, and from there down my legs glowed a nuclear color somewhere between bright red and plum purple. Hmmmm. Time for long pants for the next few hours methinks.

After ten minutes or so of blissful cooling shower I finished my beer and grabbed a towel to wrap around my nakedness. I didn't dry off though, just letting the stuff evaporate I figured would be easiest, and less stressful to my sun damaged dermal areas.

I felt much better now, although not exactly what you'd call chipper. I went to the bedroom and grabbed a favorite pair of Kelly-green thin cotton long legged sweat pants and put them on, also a white long sleeved thin cotton sorta t-shirt thingie, protection from that freakin' savage sun, and a pair of white sweat socks to help protect my ankles from more feasting by the mossies. The little fuckers had fed enough on this falang's blood supply, any more and I'd need a blood transfusion! I sprayed the socks with some mosquito repellent spray and let them dry a minute or two before slipping them on. I gave my lower pant legs a good dose of the spray too, just for good measure. Better late than never as they say.

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I noticed some of the wife's skin cream moisturizer on her dressing table, and, spotting my Sol blackened face in the mirror above, decided to lather on some cream to stave off the coming molting season a couple of days down the road. I'd be a skin shedding Python within a week's time.

I also grabbed my green fishing ball cap with the stitched fly rod logo on the front of it, a favorite cap for fishing. I was stylin' once more, albeit a little more intelligently this time. We learn from our stupid mistakes, but never let them get you down. You're only human for shit's sake. Onward and upward, tally ho, toward the breach men, and all that stuff.

Thus armed and protected from the ravages of nature I went to the kitchen. As I left the bedroom I heard Lenny the Lizard croak out a salutory "Fuck You!" from up above the tile ceiling. "Yeah, fuck you too, Lenny." I answered. "Go eat some mosquitos or something you lazy muddafuggin' conscience eating lizard prick you!" Jiminy was just a memory now. I missed him. Lenny'll pay for that one fine day, the gluttonous bastard. Sorry, another story, for another day. That lizard has pissed me off though!

In the kitchen I prepared a concoction to replenish my tortured body's depleted sodium supply….a glass of ice water with a few pinches of table salt thrown in and drank down quickly with a grimacing face or two. It settled nicely with the large beer Chang already nestled there in my gut. I popped a multi-vitamin tablet just for good luck, and grabbed three large bottles of filtered water for the rest of the day's sun drenched fishing escapade.

"C'mon Sis! We're off darling!" I bellowed to her as I locked the front door of the house and headed for the pick-up truck. She was standing out front the house laughing and giggling with a couple other lasses. Probably regaling them with tales of the newly revealed "Dance of the Silly Farang Who Sat on an Ant Hole" as she has probably named it. I just refer to it as "The Pain Dance". Soon to be taught at the most up-scale dance studios worldwide. Keep an eye out for it at your local disco. Sure to be a hit!

"Where we go?" asked Sis as she jumped in the cab with me. "First we go buy beer Chang. Then let's get a bite to eat." I answered her. "I can cook you food now, okay?" she said. "Nah. Let's go to that shop down the road and get some Pad Thai okay? We're flyin' and I'm buyin' all rightie?" "Huh?" she grunted. "You no cook. I buy for us. Understand?" I explained. "Okay. We go eat." she smiled back, "Up to you!" I grinned at her and said, "Damned straight there Tonto! Smile when you say that. And just call me Kimo Sabi please, okay?" She frowned and said, "What you speak?"

"Nuthin'. Buckle up, we're off!" Away we went, with a hearty Hi Ho Silver, awaaaaaaaaayyyyyy!

I looked at my watch and couldn't believe it was still only the early afternoon.

(to be continued)

Stickman says:

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