Readers' Submissions

Incountry #8


It’s a little restaurant across the street from my apartment. Thai food good and cheap. The waiters and waitresses are mostly students with one older guy who usually waits on me because he speaks English. It took me a while to figure out what to
order. I spiced myself out a couple of times. Although the menu was in both Thai and English some of the items were a little deceptive. I finally figured out I could get a big chefs salad for 50 cents with chicken on it that was great but they
only had sweet mayo for dressing. No problem. I can adapt. A trip to the grocery store for some little individual dressings for 10 cents each and I have the salad problem licked. Then for entrees they have hamburger helper with your choice of
chicken, shrimp or pork. I realize this sounds a little strange but it is the best hamburger helper I have ever had. The place also has such staples as coconut soup, greasy curries and whole steamed or broiled fish you know all the usual stuff.
It is really hard to pay more than $1.50 including beer to eat there. So I keep going back. It's nice it's quick and it's air-conditioned and I have never been poisoned there.

But all of those reasons are not really the reason I keep going back.

You see I think I am turning gay.

There is a boy there tall and slim with a bad haircut and a devilish smile that I am attracted to. I have never been attracted to a man before. A couple of lady boys I met

turned my head but nothing serious. This young lad dresses androgynously. Baggy pants and tennis shoes and a gray tee shirt. There is something about him that makes me stare at him every time I go in.

He never comes near my table and I watch him from afar. I try different tables thinking some time I will end up in his station but this never happens. I try the psychic approach. I concentrate and send him messages to come over to my table.
Must be a Thai translation problem because that does not work either. But I keep trying. All in all this infatuation is saving me a ton of money. No lobster, no steaks, no nights at the Queen's daughter’s place which has a wonderful
tapas and wine bar. No bargirls or soapy massages because I am obsessed with my new found sexuality. Funny, because when I fantasize about woman I imagine their sexual organs and I am not doing that about him. I don’t dream about his sexual
parts I only think of his face, perfectly formed and his lousy haircut with the little cowlick in on the top. Faced with opposition I keep trying, like Winston Churchill I never give up.

One day I brought a lady companion in to eat. The big guy takes our order and dinner is nice as usual. I am trying to be Thai gastronomically correct so I order one of the curries and ignore the puddle of grease in the bottom of the plate.
I motion for the check and surprise of surprises my obsession (the boy) delivers the check. I focus on his hands so soft and small with thin fingers and perfectly manicured nails. When he brought the change back I touched his hand as I gave him
his tip. I touched it in such a way to send a message to him. I touched it lightly but held the touch for a second or two so he would be sure to get the message. He seemed surprised. Pulled away for a second, a quarter of an inch but then stopped
and gave me the briefest smallest smile and his eyes looked directly into mine and I think he almost teared up. And that was that we left.

I was nervous the next day. I got a haircut and my chest shaved. I paced the floor during the day and wandered aimlessly around the mall. I was excited but at the same time wondering what to do with a male lover. Oh I am not that naive but
I had never had any emotion for a man before and this was virgin territory for me. The restaurant closes at 10 and there was a nice private exclusive and expensive gay bar one block away. I had my plan. I would eat a late dinner and then make
my play.

The day dragged on and finally it was time. I walked across the street practicing my Thai. Informally I would say how about a drink after work. I am assuming he is a grad student and has no parents in the area. Nine o'clock came and
I sauntered into the restaurant as casually as I could under the circumstances. Took a seat at my usual table and scanned the cash register area where he usually hung out. He wasn’t there.

I was surprised or maybe not surprised. I am an old guy. I have little confidence in my ability to attract quality companions. I ordered coconut soup and a salad and checked my watch. 9:10 PM. After a while in Thailand your ears train themselves
to pick up words. Farang is such a word. I heard part of a cell phone conversation at the register. I picked out Farang and te-nee. It means foreigner here. I thought that was a little odd but since I was not the only Farang in the place
I let it pass. It took forever for the salad to come. Usually it was there in three minutes five tops. Checking my watch it was now 9:30 when the salad finally arrived. After another half hour of me fidgeting and the soup finally gets there. I
am a little upset. First the boy is not there then the absolute utter lack of service. Then the big guy my waiter comes over to the table and nudges me. Nudges me and smiles toward the door. This is overtly familiar behavior from a waiter and
unexpected. I look towards the door and a woman has walked in. I frown, has this guy turned into a pimp too? I motion for my check and he comes back and nudges me again toward the door. OK, OK so I turn around and take a more detailed look. An
attractive woman. Arresting actually, a cross between a New York Goth chick and Peter Pan. She is all in black. Tight black slacks with chains coming out of her pockets and 4 inch stiletto heels. Her hair is blown up and swept back on one side
and blown down and curled back on the other. She is wearing blood red lipstick with a black lip liner. Her blouse is V necked and a push up bra without padding shows cleavage and nipples.

You never see nipples in Thailand, the padding always covers them. This chic didn’t care, she liked her nipples. I remembering thinking that’s cool and honest. A tiny wasp waist accentuated her hips. No Poo bears on this chick.
She was a razor not a teddy bear. I realized I was staring, but I didn’t care. There was something familiar about her. A past life experience maybe. No, something closer. Check out the hands I said to myself and my glaze drifted down to
her fingers. No rings, short nails probably works in a restaurant. A restaurant, a restaurant, I flushed and I know my face turned beet red. My gaze drifted up to her face. Ya, well the eyes were the same. It was my boy but my boy was a girl.
I finally realized what the bad haircut was all about. It was a heavy maintenance haircut.

She started walking from the front of the restaurant to the back slowly. I’m frantically trying to think of something to say. In heels she had that foot in front of the other foot model walk and her hips swayed like she was on a runway,
not the tee shirt clad boy walk that she faked when she worked in the restaurant. Tonight she was working her walk for all it was worth and it was getting the job done. It had dawned on me in a microsecond that took my mind a million years to
figure out she was making an entrance. She was making an entrance for me.

By the time she got next to my table all that came out of my mouth was “I’m not gay.” She looked down at me with a puzzled expression on her face and said in Thai accented English, “that odd thing you say.”
I recovered and asked in Thai would you like to join me for a drink? She smiled almost laughing and said, "yes."

And that’s the way it would go for the remainder of the night. Her speaking English and me speaking Thai. No gay bar for us tonight. It’s the VIP bar at the four star hotel just down the street. Having recovered my suaveness
I order her a champagne Kir and have the bottles brought to the table. After half a bottle she says “I think you writer, I see you write all the time in restaurant?”

I confess, yes I am a writer.

She asks, “are you famous?”

I say, “You mean am I published?”

“Yes.” I tell her I am published on a large well known internet site called Stickman and that thousands of people read my work every week and send me fan mail.

She says “I thought so, you look famous.”

I offer more champagne and crème de cassis with a fresh twist of lemon.

“What kind of writing you write.”

I paint pictures of beautiful women with English words, same same photographer and the world reads my word paintings of beautiful women.

“You think I beautiful?”

“Sweetheart, when you were born the lord Buddha smiled and said this one will make the orchids hide when she passes by.”

“Kelly, you have more wine at your house?”

“Yes, I think I have a couple of bottles.”

The doorman opens the door and as we walk hand in hand into the cool night air she says, “You know, I want to tell you, I not like young handsome man, tell lady too many story, I no like.”

Sagely, I nod in agreement.

Stickman's thoughts:

Oh Kelly, you had us really scared there for a while! When a regular reader is about to turn to the dark side, we cringe! We want to support him in whatever he chooses to do, but just not *that*!

But a great story, for me, your best so far.