A New Twist
It was about ten in the evening at the Happy Bar in Karon. No one looked especially happy. It was off-season, the tourists were gone and the bar girls watched TV, slumped in their seats. Rick finished his drink and toyed with the idea of taking a girl
home. But all of the pretty ones had gone-they’d already made enough money to sit out the coming months in comfort. Most had gone back to their villages and parent’s homes in Isaan.
Rick paid his check and pushed himself up from the bar. His car was parked across the street. He walked pass the booths set up in the parking lot. They were selling clothes, sunglasses, watches and the usual tourist souvenirs. Then he saw her – a stunning girl wearing a short blouse and hip-hugger pants exposing a bare, flat waist. She was the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen.
Rick started talking to her and asked if he could buy her a drink. The girl, her name was Soopis, accepted the invitation. She spoke English very well and smiled constantly. He thought that she was charming as all get-out. He learned that she was nineteen years old and lived here in Phuket with her sister, Neung, having just come up from Nakhon Si Thammarat.
They ended up going to his house together and making love. It was wonderful. She sat close to Rick on the drive back and he pressed a thousand-baht bill into her hand.
‘What’s this? What am I, a bar girl?’ Soopis was furious. ‘I’ve never made love before on a first date but I did with you because I really liked you. And now you think I’m a whore.’ She burst into tears and thrust the bill back at him without even looking at it.
Rick apologized profusely for his mistake. It had been so long since he had been out with a normal girl that he’d forgotten how to act. The apologies seemed to work and after that he saw her everyday. They spent the afternoons at Nai Harn beach and went out for dinner at night and then to the clubs for a drink. They danced close together and he was as happy as he had ever been in his entire life. Soopis never asked him for a dime.
One night, after a romantic evening, Soopis kissed him gently and said that she wanted to become engaged to him. Her plan was not to rush into anything, she said. She loved him deeply and wanted to be with him forever. After a year together, they would be married and then in another year they would have children. She wanted a little boy that looked just like him.
Although he had been afraid to admit it, even to himself, Rick had been in love with Soopis for some time. He would love to have a daughter with her, and he wanted his baby to look just like Soopis. Rick agreed to her suggestion in a heartbeat and they started to make plans to visit her parents in the coming month to make arrangements. He could not remember ever being so amazingly in love.
Soopis still lived with her sister, Neung, who worked in a bar in Patong. Neung had been in Phuket for five years and her favorite line for the suckers was that she’d just arrived and had never made love to a farang before. She was afraid, she said because she had heard that they were “veeeeery big” and she didn’t want to be hurt.
The customers fell for it every time and when she moaned and cried, they felt quite powerful. She was making a fortune and Soopis was a bit envious.
One night at dinner, Soopis seemed upset and distracted. Rick asked her what was the matter. She said that she loved him and wanted to be completely honest with him. She had met a very wealthy tourist living on a large sailboat, all by himself. It seemed that he was quite smitten by her and had offered her eighty thousand baht if she would stay with him on his boat to keep him company for one month.
Soopis pointed out that Neung had been sending money home to their parents every month and she herself had no money and could send nothing. This was an opportunity to prove that she was a good daughter. She had decided that she was going to accept the man’s offer. She would see Rick as often as she could get away and she hoped that he would understand.
Rick was stunned, speechless. Was this what she really wanted to do?
‘I have to have this money. I can not go home empty-handed. I will have no face, Soopis stressed. ‘Of course if you really loved me, you would not let me do this. You have the power to stop me by simply giving me the money that I need.’
Rick hesitated. Eighty thousand baht was a great deal of money to him. He stared at her, silent.
‘You gave money to bar girls before. Am I less than a bar girl, that you can’t give me any money?’ Soopis’s voice became higher and louder. ‘I am less than a whore to you? That’s what I am? Lower than a whore?’
Soopis was screaming and crying now. ‘We are supposed to see my parents and become engaged and now this is stopping us. I love you so much, but you are forcing me to turn into a whore like my sister. Why can’t you help me?’ Soopis
sobbed with her head down.
He could hardly afford it but he went to the bank and withdrew eighty thousand baht, and gave it to Soopis. It was agreed that they would go to see her parents at the beginning of the week. Rick was sure that he had done the right thing, it was all worth it.
Rick did not see Soopis the following day or the day after that. He couldn’t find her and was worried about her. He went to see her sister Neung in Patong. Rick knocked on the door of her apartment. Neung was half-asleep and looked surprised and almost annoyed to see him. ‘Why is everyone looking for my sister? There was a Canadian guy here from the Boat Lagoon early this morning. He said something about giving her eighty thousand baht; and now you. Didn’t she tell you? She went to Holland yesterday with a scuba instructor.’
You could change the names and the country and this story would be repeated a thousand times over.