Readers' Submissions

Doing The Business

  • Written by Union Hill
  • February 2nd, 2007
  • 5 min read


Tom opened the door and invited me in. Unusually for Tom, he looked like a bag of s**t today, standing there in a shabby pair of Levis and one of those Asian shirts with a Chinese dragon on the front. He hadn’t shaved for at least a couple of days and he looked a bit tired. In fact, today he looked every minute of his fifty seven years.

“Hey, wossappnin man?” I said as I breezed in.

Tom lived in a very large apartment near Asoke. You could almost throw a stone into Soi Cowboy from Tom’s balcony. Sometimes I envied him this but in reality it must have been a real curse.

Tom had been living in Bangkok for years. A lot of years. He had held down some high flying jobs over those years too. At one time he had been a senior financial advisor to Volvo (Thailand) before they went bust. He claims that wasn’t his fault but who knows?

His forte was his knack for getting Thai banks to stump up loans to foreign companies for all kinds of hair brained schemes. Some worked, some didn’t but because this is Thailand, no one seemed to care much.

I got to know Tom because I was involved in a project to build a factory installation in Rayong. It was my job to design and build. Tom’s job was to come up with the finance.

That was why I was at Tom’s apartment on this particular day. I had done my bit, Tom had done his and now we were going to go over the finer details before presenting the scheme to the board. The idea was that once the board had approved our plan, Tom would take it to his mates in the murky world of Thai corporate finance and come back with the necessary spondooliks (money) for me to start, or rather continue with the construction.

A better couple of whore chasing, piss heads charged with such a task, would have been hard to find.

So, there I was and Tom showed me through to the living room. Of course, I had been there before but I was always amazed at how Tom chose to live.

In the centre of the living area was a life-sized clay figure of a tiger with some cubs. This monstrosity was penned in by three leather sofas and an enormous TV screen stood guard on one side.

Away to the left was the dining area. A large round table dominated this part of the room. At first glance you might have thought that on this table was a pile of junk but you would have been mistaken. There were small tins of paint, paint brushes and partially completed plastic models of planes, tanks, cars, motorcycles and ships all jumbled up together. On my last visit, Tom had proudly showed me how he had cleverly painted mud splashes on a tiny model of a BMW motorcycle that he had just finished. For realism…of course.

On the other side of this very large room was a Premier drum kit, flanked by various electric guitars on stands, a monster keyboard / synthesizer type thing, microphones on stands and a karaoke machine. This set-up looked like it was capable of producing more noise than Led Zeppelin at The Windmill. I wondered what the neighbours thought.

Anyway, I made myself comfortable on one of the sofas near the tiger and Tom handed me a large file and a beer before settling down opposite me.

We spent the next couple of hours taking shop and addressing the serious business of how we or rather he, was going to extort fifteen million dollars from The Bangkok Bank to finance our little project. We talked it through and when we finished I believed we had a credible and workable plan. I also believed that Tom could pull it off.

Eventually I tossed the file onto the coffee table and congratulated Tom on a job well done. He still had to sell it to the company and the bank but we both agreed that we did indeed have a viable proposal.

With that, my ears detected activity in another part of the apartment. There was the sound of doors opening and closing and someone was running water in the bathroom.

I cast a quizzical look at Tom.

“Who’s that?” I enquired, “I didn’t realise anyone else was here.”

“Oh, that’ll be Dar just getting up” replied Tom.

Nothing in his voice suggested that this was unusual or unexpected. Why Dar, whoever she was, should be getting up at 5.30 in the afternoon also drew no comment from Tom.

“Everything OK darling?” he called affectionately towards the source of the noise. He handed me another beer as he did so.

“A friend of mine from the office is here” Tom added, I guessed to make sure that Dar knew not to come strolling out in any state of indecency.

While the splashing noises continued to emanate from the general direction of the bathroom, Tom explained to me that he had been working on our business proposal at all hours of the day and night for the last week or so. He would stay up all night sometimes if he was ‘in the groove’ as he put it. That was why he looked a bit disheveled today. He admitted that he hadn’t shaved since last Saturday or Sunday, he couldn’t remember exactly.

It was, by now getting on for six in the evening and Tom brought up the subject of food and invited me to stay for something to eat.

I graciously accepted and we chatted for little while longer about the project, life in Thailand and the kinds of things that expats tend to find important. We had another beer.

Presently a door near the kitchen opened and Dar appeared for the first time. She was twenty something, tall and a classic Thai looker. She was dressed in a saucy French maids outfit complete with stockings and suspenders. She struck a cheeky pose in the doorway and cooed, “More beer, boys?”

I suppressed a smile and looked at Tom. His expression remained stoical as he answered her, “Two more, please dumpling”.

Union Hill

Stickman's thoughts:

It's amazing that he got the proposal finished at all!