The Princess of Patpong was not the prettiest girl in the bar. She had been a brick layer and hod carrier before she started dancing. When the dancing season got slow and the food got scarce and the rent was due she tried boxing at the Pink Panther in
Patpong. Patpong is to Bangkok like the South side is to Chicago. Like East St. Louis is to St. Louis.
She did well boxing. Not a small framed Thai girl, she had a high riser butt that linked to her right arm and gave her a knockout punch much bigger than her 5’3” frame. Her skin was darker than the average dancer, soft but resistant to cuts. Her cheekbones were high and larger than most and her jaw was square and hard as rock. She could take a punch that would knock out or at least disable most Thai men.
Sweaty one night after going three rounds before her opponent retired she wanted to go home and shower.
Her corner man said the farang wanted to buy her a drink. She laughed and said no. The farang tipped her 500 baht and waved as she went out the door. She thought dunk dunk farang and went home.
Next Wednesday night she was back at the Pink Panther and the same farang was there. She asked her corner man who farang? He enquired and returned with the words “Chiang Mai Kelly”. As she stretched and limbered up her corner man came back and said, “Kelly pay dancer 5,000 baht to box in your place and he speak, he want buy you drink”
Now 5,000 baht was not chump change so she drank with Farang Kelly.
At a sleepy little beer bar in Chiang Mai the foreigner was sweating and working on his 6th Chiang beer and 6th shot of Mekong whiskey and he was feeling good. It wasn’t his first trip north and he liked these upcountry Thais. In Bangkok even his 6’2" athletic frame was not enough to be sure ten of those little buggers did not do him harm when he got feeling frisky.
Chiang Mai was different, no Thai mob just a bunch of expats and friendly Thai girls nothing to stop the ornery spell if he got drunk and a little loud.
He asked the bartender who the bloke was at the end of the bar. The girl said, “Chiang Mai Kelly”. He thought who the fxxk is Chiang Mai Kelly and dismissed the old expat as a mindless twit probably ex-Vietnam riff raff drinking his life away. He didn’t like old people. He didn’t like fat people. As a matter of fact he didn’t like people who were not just like him.
The night wore on and his tab grew by the hour as did his mood to hear some other music besides the awful mix of old jazz and 60’s rock and Doo Wop that was loaded in the CD player.
He let everyone know his displeasure. But nothing happened. These little slant eyes were ignoring him, he thought.
Who own place he bellowed?
The girl closest to him nodded in the direction of Kelly.
Hey old man, he said, change the fxxking tunes.
To his surprise Kelly did not look up from the yellow pad that he was writing on and that was the obvious center of his interest.
He yelled again louder this time but still no response.
He got up from his bar seat and walked, lurched over to the end of the bar to confront this “Chiang Mai Kelly” face to face.
He yelled close up and in his ear “Change the fxxking tunes” and unleashed a roundhouse right that was telegraphed from outer space and in slow motion.
Kelly was taking a cigarette from its package and looked up as the devastating blow was coming aimed for his head.
Kelly didn’t flinch as he pulled the cigarette out of the package.
The Princess of Patpong was standing quietly at Kelly’s side as she always did.
The big farang did not see the upper cut coming. It hit him the same time as the Muay Thai knee to the groin. Long before his punch reached the halfway arch his head snapped back from the princess’s right and her knee doubled him over just in time to get her elbow in his temple.
The only thing keeping him conscious as he fell backward towards the floor was the searing pain in his crotch. His head hit the wood floor with a bang and he rolled over in a fetal position trying to protect what was left of his manhood.
With the same ruthless efficiency as the cleaner in “Pulp Fiction” three small dark women with wrinkled faces in black clothes with silver bracelets clinking on their wrists shuffled out of a back room and took stock of the situation. One grabbed a broom and the other two rolled the semi conscious hulk of a man out onto the sidewalk and into the street as they hummed an old tune that sounded if one listened very closely something like “Please Mr. Postman.”
The princess was putting ice on her knuckles as Kelly poured her a whiskey. “Princess you getting to old for this stuff” he said as he looked at her right hand. “You know I could have taken him.”
The princess laughed and drank her whiskey down and wondered where she would be without Kelly.
She looked at the yellow pad and at the words at the top of the page and wondered what they meant.
She wished she could read English. Well maybe next year she would learn.
She asked “Kelly, what you write?” “You stoy me again?”
“Chi, teruk I story you.”
“What called stoy?”
“Princess Patpong, name story. I’ll read you after, OK?”
“Sure, sure. go home now.”
“OK baby go home now.”
Som nam na (means you deserve it, in Thai).