A Journey Of Love
Sumalin is the most beautiful girl in Phuket. She has the hard body of an athlete and skin the color of crème caramel. She looks into your eyes when she speaks to you as if you are the most important person in the world. She has a sparkling smile and full sensuous lips that seem to be on the verge of telling you a secret that only the two of you can share.
I am madly in love with her and we have been close for the past year. There are only two things that we really disagree about. First, I want to marry her as soon as possible but she keeps saying that she is not ready. Secondly, she loves motorcycles while I dislike them immensely. I prefer my automobile and the safety of four wheels, but she drives all over on her 450cc Honda.
There are over ten thousand reported road accidents a year in Phuket, an enormous amount, and most involve motorbikes. When I drive down the highway it reminds me of a video game, where moving objects come at you from all sides and directions. Winning the game means avoiding being hit. I hate riding on two wheels and only drive my little Honda Dream when my car is in for repairs, having been run into three times by speeding kids on motor bikes, once when I was waiting at a light. Another time when I was parked and the last time when a kid raced past me and tore off my side view mirror.
Sumalin and I were watching television one evening when a story came on about the annual car and motorcycle show in Bangkok. The highlight of the affair was the fastest production motorcycle in the world- a four-cylinder 1800cc Ducatti with air-blown fuel injection.
The engine was black steel instead of the usual chrome and aluminum. It generated two hundred and eighty horsepower, more than three small Japanese cars combined. It had small handlebars, a short wheel base and clean lines with not one ounce of extra ornamentation. The term ‘brute force’ leapt to my mine as I looked at it. Even I could appreciate the potency of this extraordinary but dangerous looking machine.
‘Oh my God,’ said Sumalin. ‘I’d do anything to have that motorcycle.’
‘Anything? If I bought it would you marry me?’ I asked, only half in jest.
‘No, I wouldn’t. But the day you buy it and give it to me, we will drive to my mother’s house to ask her permission and the next day we will go to the temple and be married.’
‘Okay, but only if we go in my car.’
We both laughed and went back to watching the screen.
That night I couldn’t sleep and the next day I was on a plane to Bangkok. I was determined to buy the motorcycle, give it Sumalin and be married in a matter of days. I landed at Don Muang Airport and took a cab directly to the Queen Sirikit Convention Center all the way on the other side of town. The show was still on and I could purchase the motorcycle on the spot as soon as the show was over at the end of the week. I had to raise over two million baht in a matter of days. It would be worth every penny to see the expression on Sumalin’s face when I handed her the keys.
I called my attorney, sold all of my stocks and cashed in my retirement fund. The only bad news was that after paying the customs duty and registration fees, I didn’t have money left to the have the machine shipped to Phuket. I would have to take the long drive myself and I wasn’t looking forward to it.
I started early the next day, accompanied by visions of Sumalin in a Thai silk wedding dress. Halfway home, I stopped at a traffic light on the highway. Three Harley-Davidsons pulled alongside of me, all chrome and custom paint. Hot-shot oil riggers with money to burn on hopped-up cycles, gunning their engines and edging up as the light started to change.
What the heck, I’ll just try it, I thought as I came up even with them. They glanced my way and smirked, revving their engines even more. The light changed and we were off, our back wheels spinning and smoking in protest on the blacktop. I rocketed ahead, the front wheel leaving the ground as I shifted into second gear. I quickly sped past the fat hogs and kept on going.
I tailgated a Porsche Carrera and blew my horn for the passing lane. I could see the driver smile as he glanced in the rear-view mirror and stomped on the gas. I opened up and leaned forward over the tank as the awesome power between my legs surged through my entire body. The machine and I blended into one being as we shot past the car in a single swift and fluid motion.
By the time I reached Phuket it was too late to go to Sumalin’s house. I would take her the bike the first thing in the morning. She was really going to love it. I stopped at the Safari Club for a fast drink and when I came out the Ducatti was surrounded by people. It wasn’t a beautiful bike but you could sense its raw power. It was like a sleeping panther that could awake at any moment.
The girls begged me for rides and the guys asked me questions about the engine and bikes in general, as if I would naturally know the answers. The machine had a magic of its own.
I drove out towards the airport. There was a quarter-mile strip marked off on the highway by a motorcycle club and they raced late at night, for fun and for money. The bets were as high as twenty-thousand baht. I won every heat and left with a pocket full of cash.
I opened the throttle and turned the calm summer air into a gale force wind that screamed siren songs through my helmet and forced me back, hard against the seat. The trees melted into a blur of Monet landscape and the roar of my exhausts blotted out the entire world. Bright white stars grew larger in the sky as I flew into the night. I was the most powerful man on earth.
That was three weeks ago. I am going to give the Ducatti to Sumalin any day now and we’ll be married soon. But first, I want to go to Ko Samui, take some cash from those bad-boy bikers over there, clean them out and leave them crying; and maybe the week after, I’ll check out the racers up in Bangkok.
My Ducatti will chew them up and spit out crumpled chrome and rust and then I’ll park in front of the big nightclubs, watch people’s reactions when they see my bike…..
A flash vehicle, or a Thai wife? The choice is easy. Give me that spanking new Ferrari any day!