Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 139
Them or Us–
Always the same.
From Africa to Iceland–
The same old game.
You have to make decisions
About who you want to be–
Do you want to be alive
Or dead like he.
Most of life is shouting
And dancing and fun.
But sometimes you have to choose
Whether to fight or whether to run.
My mind's made up.
From the moon to the sun–
I'm always ready
To reach for the gun.
So think twice Mr. Guy
Before pressuring me.
Alive is something
I intend to be.
I love the smiles
And I love the sun.
I love the girls
And I love my gun.
But mostly I love
The 80's in the States were not good for my psyche. I was the wrong fish in the wrong pond. Raised by Quakers and by nature not a predatory bone in my body; I became a Series 7 stockbroker (at last I'll have a career) and spent years listening to sales managers say things like this:
"Look assholes, and assholettes now that we have some cxxt brokers; you aren't stockbrokers. You do not even know what brokering means. 'Stockbroker' is just the marketing pablum we feed the masses and that you tell your friends and family to convince yourself and them that you actually have a meaningful job. What you are is losers that could not get any other kind of job because you lack talent, and you lack gifts, and you lack friends in high places. What you are is telephone salesmen. Only instead of selling Guaranteed Five Year Life light bulbs, or super brooms made by the blind; you are flogging and shilling and selling stocks and bonds and other nonsense. Your job is to gather assets for the company. You are a fundraiser. Stop giving a shit whether the customer makes money or not. It's none of your business. Just churn'em and burn'em. And remember: the bigger the lie the more they buy.
And don't waste my time with your ignorant baby whining about professionalism and ethics. The Federal Securities and Exchange Commission in it's infinite wisdom allows investment companies like ours to take a position on a stock at one price and dump it on the customer at another price. When the ink dries on your Series 7 licenses and you wake up from your little dream you will realize this is white color crime sanctioned and encouraged by the government and that you are all accessories. So get with the program and get on the phone. This is Monday and I have a $500 cash bonus for anyone who can churn an account down to zero by Friday. It's all about trades gentlemen and knowing when the last train leaves town.
Oh and don't forget: At the end of every month the salesman on the bottom of the production ladder can pack his or her junk and get out. I keep the cardboard box under my desk. Don't waste my time with a story or a sigh–just pack your kitty pictures or your girlfriend picture and the meaningless bogus company plaques and awards you got for stealing and lying and get out. Losers."
A few years of that and I decamped to wonderful sunny Phuket island in Thailand. A new start.
As the owner of a little successful tourist shop in a western shore beach town it is like having a target painted on me. Everyone knows me, and everyone knows I own a cash business, and everyone knows I make my own cash drops at the bank, and everyone knows that I sometimes have mega cash on me, and everyone knows that I have no bodyguard, and everyone knows that I am small and weak; and everyone knows that in Thailand you can shoot farangs and get away with it.
DRIVING WITH DAVID
My friend David is visiting from the States. Sixty years old. Built like a brick and tough as a lug nut. He can quote the classics and he can quote scripture and he can sucker punch you and kick in your ear drums before you know what happened. Early years spent robbing trucks and enforcing Irish mafia debts in South Boston and scaring people. Stories about guys in groups swinging baseball bats and yelling. Business the old fashioned way. Working as a collector and enforcer is easy and fun when the whole neighborhood knows you have killed guys. Just show up and the mooches rip their pant's pocket going for their wallet. Out comes the money and away goes David.
But in a small neighborhood too many people talk. Twelve years in prison. Everyone in the joint bigger and stronger and meaner. Tough years. When the last door banged behind him it was a whole new David. Moved out of the neighborhood–moved out of the past. A new David issued from the gray concrete womb of the prison years. Loving wife and adoring children, successful business, Christian values, friendly giving and friendly living. A sojourn on Earth of two lives: violent and peaceful; old and new. Much time spent atoning and for all the right reasons. A new David. The old David is done and gone; a buried memory. The local Catholic church and the local hospital now have brass plaques on the walls thanking him for his contributions.
He has been spending time with me on his first visit to the Kingdom. A time to chill out and cycle down and forget the violent past and retool the psyche and get some rays and smile. I love this guy. In another life of my own I spent four years working with him shoulder to shoulder under very difficult circumstances. Me with my heart in my throat and stretched to my limits and him with the easy confidence of the violent man with a big knife in the top drawer of his desk. He never let me down once. Not once. He has a perfect record with me. I love this guy.
We are going home and it is night. I live outside of town. Low season and no traffic and no lights lighting up the road. Pitch dark. Suddenly two headlights in my mirror. There was no traffic on this empty dark lonely road and now suddenly there are two headlights in the rear view mirror. Not connected to each other. Two motorcycles–not a car. Must have been waiting just off the road. Waiting for a farang.
"Turn around and look behind us–don't hurry and look very carefully–look at the two cycles behind us and tell me what you see."
David: Two cycles. Three guys. The one-guy motorcycle is coming up on the right. The guy on the back of the two-guy cycle just pulled out a gun.
Me: Are you absolutely sure about the gun?
Me: Can you see the type of gun?
David: Small caliber, maybe a twenty two; but Dana he's not using it to pick his nose.
Me: Ok, I just wanted to double check on what you see.
David: I ain't young but I see guns just fine. Made a living holding them, and pointing them, and shooting them, and watching for them coming out of jackets and bags and folded newspapers and body holsters.
Me: David–reach in the glove box and pull out the surgical gloves carton. Put a pair of gloves on you and a pair of gloves on me. Then reach under your seat and pull out the wooden box. Put the box in my lap.
I flip the brass hook on the box cover and dump the large caliber pistol in my lap. It's a custom 45 with a ladies grip for a small hand and a tritium night sight aiming system. An example of serendipitous pistol design; it has little recoil, makes little noise, no smack and chatter in the hand, and shoots where you aim it. A problem solver with six heavy bullets. Point blank range and I'm sober and tight and calm. Loaded and now the safety off. The single rider cycle is now in front and boxing us in and slowing us down. The two guy cycle is coming up on the left.
Me: David–take the wheel and steer straight; I'll plug the two guys coming up on the left and then speed up and bump the guy in front with the car.
Too easy. Three guys down and now it's time to finish.
Me: David we can't take a chance on leaving witnesses. Do you want to do this or do you want me to?
David: Give me the gun.
No traffic and no lights. No moon and no stars. Pitch dark. Third world country dark. Plenty of time. But sometimes it is the denouement that scares you the most. Me the driver and David the shooter. Slowing down and turning around. It's dig down deep time now: final commitments made and fighting for breath control. Then: Boom . . Boom . . Boom.
Headed for home again . . . the sleeping jungle snores and the hidden moon ain't talkin' . . . legs shaking and lactic acid pain in my shoulders and upper arms because I have been flexing them so much. No longer young.
Me: David take the wheel again. I'm going to break this mother down and then drive with one set of wheels in the grass. You throw the pieces into the jungle. When we get to the apartment complex turn the gloves inside out and stuff them in someone's exhaust pipe to kill the prints.
David: Ok–there's one bullet left. Can I keep it as a souvenir?
Me: No–our farang freedom is our Siamese souvenir–throw it in the grass.
How many years have you lived here?
How many times have you had to do something like this?
Sorry Dave; some stuff goes to the deathbed with me. Now take this wooden box and smash it to pieces on your knee and throw it all out the window.
Later at the house . . .
Me: Jeez Dave; I don't know about you but I'm shaky. I'm going to have a drink. Want one?
David: No thanks–I'm on the straight and narrow now. I've given myself to God and quit drinking. Just trying to be a good citizen and a good grandfather and forget my violent past.
Me: Ok, that's cool. Well, welcome to Thailand.
David: Thanks Dana–I'm really glad I came and I am looking forward to forgetting the past and just relaxing. A place and a time in my life where I can take in some photons, and breathe without calculation, and smile without guile, and not have to look over my shoulder. A stress free trip to another place in my mind. It's a vacation.
Bye the way; any idea where I can pick up a gun?