Stickman Readers' Submissions March 17th, 2007

Crime Suppression Unit Part 22

Sudden Stop

A puzzling thing was also happening at work. As many men as women stopped at my counter. My supervisor noticed and teased me about it but she was not angry as the men bought perfume or lipstick for their wives
or girlfriends.

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Some of the men started to become frequent visitors to my counter. I thought it was odd but I really didn't know why they would come so often. I had no idea then that they thought I was attractive. Some came and talked to me for most
of their lunch hour and I told them just a little about my life, not much really.

One day a regular visitor to my counter stopped by and left a television set for me. It was brand new and still in the box from Robinsons. I was so surprised I didn't know what to think. When my sister came to meet me after work she
could not believe it either. We were both very happy. We did not have a TV at home like some of the neighbors. I supposed that I mentioned it to the man and he was just a friend, that's all. I was sure that my mother and sisters would be
so happy when we bring home the television.

But my new mother beat me and sister. She was sure that we had stolen it from the store. The next day she did not open food stand but came to the store with us to return the TV. She was frightened that we both loose our jobs. The clerk remembered
the sale and assured my mother that it was true, so she took the television back home. We all enjoyed it but my family looked at me differently after that as if something was happening although I didn't know what. Later the man that left
the television came to the counter to take me to dinner but I was afraid to go. I remember him looking so sad.

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At home in bed with my sister, I thought about these things and realized that my body had grown into that of a woman even though I was quite young. I began to imagine that I had some kind of power, like on television but I had not worked
it out in my mind. Then something happened that changed my life completely once again.

The city gave us notice that they would tear down our shacks to make room for the new sky-train. We would be out on the sidewalk in a week. The housing officials find everyone a new place to live on Sukhapiban Road but we need to put down
twenty-five thousand baht deposit. The Queen Sirikit housing Projects have indoor toilet and running water, be very luxurious for us but it might as well have been a million baht. We have little money saved. The next night instead of coming home
from Robinsons, I walked down Sukhumvit Road. There were plenty of men there looking for girls. I saw them every night on the way home from work. I did not go home for three days and nights and I came back with the money.

That's when I realized that I really did have the power. I give money to my mother, twenty-five thousand baht. She look at me very strangely when she take money and put in purse. I knew that she was deeply ashamed, for herself and for
me. That night when everyone sleep, I packed my things and leave. I saved my family but I lost them at the same time.

I never returned to Robinsons.'

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'What power did you realize that you had?' Rick asked.

'The power to cloud men's minds. Exactly like in the movies. I knew I had this strange strength over men. I met a few other girls that had it also. I think of it as 'The Power.' The other girls called it pussy power but
I did not have to promise to go to bed with anyone to get my way. That was four years ago and I have been living by my wits ever since.'

'That and other attributes.' Rick said leaning over to kiss Sonia's cheek.

'I swear Rick, one day I'm going to give you a slap to make your head spin.'

'You have been making my head spin, beautiful girl, ever since I met you.'

'Pak wan, sweet mouth. The ants will eat your tongue soon. I must tell you one more thing if you promise not to be angry with me. I have a list of clients. Some are rich and powerful.

Sonia put her head down and her tone was serious.

'It's how I make my living, you know. I have not been honest with you and have done many things that are not good but I want to be yours forever if you will have me. There is only one more thing that I need to tell you.

About a year ago I fell in love with a very handsome and rich farang. He was Italian and gave me much gold from the moment that he met me. He proposed marriage and obtained a visa and passport so I could meet his parents in Florence.

My friend buy beautiful luggage for me and filled with expensive clothes. We drive to airport in limousine.

I was so happy that it was a beautiful dream. I told all of my girlfriends about my good fortune.'

'Now Sonia, why would I be angry about this?'

'I haven't finished the story yet. On the way to the airport, his mobile rang. It was his office in Bangkok.'

Andrew jammed on the brakes and the truck slid towards the cliff. He eased up and put his foot down again as the truck neared the precipice, the truck still sliding closer. There was a tree lying across the road just ahead. Rick put his hand
on the door latch and was about to step out when Andrew ground the gears into reverse and stepped on the gas. The wheels spun and throwing gravel up underneath the truck, pinging against the steel flooring. They rounded a bend in reverse, sliding
all over the place.

Rick looked down the road. There were three men with rifles, bringing them up to their shoulders, in the firing position.

Rick grabbed his pistol, thrust it through the window and pulled the trigger as fast as he could. Andrew kept driving backwards as best as possible. Bullets clanged through the cab and whizzed around the truck. The roar of Rick's weapon
filled the air.

They continued driving backwards until Sonia yelled.

'Stop, there's another tree on the road.'

A large tree trunk had been toppled behind them. They were trapped. Andrew jammed on the brakes and they slid to a halt.

'Let's bail out. We're sitting ducks here.'

Rick grabbed Sonia's hand and opened the door. They jumped out and pressed against the side of the hill, hugging the dirt and rock.

Rick did not see Andrew. Are you okay? He shouted.

The drivers door opened and Andrew flopped onto the ground. His shirt was red with blood. Gunfire started above them, raking the truck. Rick grabbed Andrew and dragged him to the side, laid him down and ripped open his shirt. Andrew had been
hit in the chest just under the collar bone. Rick took Sonia's hand and put it directly on the wound.

'Hold your hand down and keep on pressing.'

'You're okay pal, just a flesh wound.'

'Sure, that's what they all say. I've probably got a huge hole in me. What the hell is happening?'

'Damned if I know.'

Rick looked up. A dozen men in green fatigue uniforms were hugging the mountain wall, coming towards them. He stood and fired his rifle, hitting two or three men before the all started shooting back. Rick looked the other way and more soldiers
were advancing towards him, firing as the came. Bullets flew by, filling the air like angry hornets. They were getting it from both sides.

The air was thick with slugs as Rick pushed Sonia behind him and huddled down.

They were going be killed any moment now, murdered in the middle of nowhere. An ignominious ending.

Stickman's thoughts:

A nice story.

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