Further Extracts From The Diary of Dr JA Earnshawe: The Honeymoon (Part 2)
The Phoenix Golf Course, Pattaya Thursday 31st March 2005
I am not a golf person. Nevertheless, Foreskin tempted me into a golf tournament by the means of a small wager. The winning team is to be exempt from all expenses incurred during their stay in Pattaya. I was partnered with Cummings; rather embarrassingly, still the spitting image of Gary Glitter with his rock and roll quiff, padded shoulders and platform soles. Our competitors were a seedy looking crew; Foreskin and Bluey, representing our Australian colonies, and the team from our North American dependencies was Dana, and a rather strange looking specimen who Dana introduced to everyone as The Galt, an example of the type who I believe is known to the natives as a ‘redneck.’
Although I am not familiar with golf, I have played rounders (a children’s game which was adopted by the Americans and quaintly renamed ‘baseball‘), but I understand the two games are similar, in as much as the aim is to hit a ball with a stick and then run. As golf is a game for the elderly, I believe the batsmen are permitted to just walk after playing the ball. I also understand that the ball is not thrown at the batsman as in rounders, as there would be a real danger of harming an old person. Instead, the batsman is allowed to strike the ball from the ground with an elongated stick which has a lump on the end.
I weighed up the sartorial strength of the opposition. Dana was dressed rather less flamboyantly than when I first met him at the bar of the Angels Disco. Apart from the cranberry red crocodile skin leotard and the desiccated chicken testicle hanging from each ear, he might well have passed as a resident our own galaxy. Mr Galt was somewhat more shabbily dressed, with trousers almost to his ankles. Hanging out of the seat of these trousers, a discoloured pair of underpants struggled to force itself into notice, as if asserting an equality of civil rights with the other portions of his dress, and maintaining a Declaration of Independence on their own account.
As for the Australian team, I could see immediately that Bluey, as a consumer of alcohol was at least the equal of Foreskin and would have certainly put our own Jonnie Walker to shame. Foreskin himself, already far from sober, turned up in his usual cowboy hat, from which dangled a row of bouncing corks. The hat is said to be a permanent feature of his dress – he even wears it in the shower (he always denies this but shamelessly admits to wearing it in bed). Surely we had nothing to fear from such ineffectual competition?
As a lesson in understated elegance to our subjected peoples, I dressed in what I believe to be the correct attire for the game; a checked waistcoat from Yves St Laurent, a worsted cap and, of course, traditional plus-fours, or ‘shit catchers’ as they are colloquially known, (and probably literally functional), among the lower classes of our island.
Cummings pointed discreetly to the fellow Galt in the American team.
‘See the sickly looking chap next to Dana?’ he whispered, ‘That is not Stickman.’
The redneck Galt was indeed a man of thoroughly of wretched appearance, who looked as if he had been rejected by the Broadmoor detention centre for the criminally insane on account of being too weird. But his appearance wasn’t really that unusual – not for an American.
‘I know he is not Mr Stickman,’ I pointed out, ‘everyone is not Stickman – unless, of course, you happen to be Mr Stickman himself.’
‘Yes, but this guy makes his living by being not Stickman. He feeds on the crumbs from Stick’s table, even has a website called nonstickman.’
‘How can anyone eke out an existence by simply not being someone? Perhaps it would be better for him if he were somebody – anybody at all. To live by just not being somebody is totally bizarre. It would far better to be nothing.’
‘Well he was nothing until he became not stickman, now he is well known – infamous in fact.’
‘He sounds a rather interesting specimen,’ I said, ‘perhaps I could submit my diary extracts to his site.’
‘Not a chance,’ Cummings said emphatically, ‘He won’t be interested in your diaries – the whole point is that he is not stickman, he can’t even string a coherent sentence together, and he probably can’t even read. He lives only because of Stick, and yet lives only to destroy Stick.’
‘But that’s madness,’ I pointed out, ‘it is never in a parasite’s interest to kill its host. A leech knows it’s a parasite; it doesn’t pretend to be the host it’s sucking blood from, and obviously, it will never try to destroy its host because if it does it will inevitably die itself. What could he possibly be playing at?’
‘Of course there is no advantage to be gained by a parasite’s by killing its host,’ Cummings agreed, ‘but a parasite is an animal, a sentient being, and animals just get on with their own lives without ever sulking or having big chips on their shoulders.’
‘So if Notstickman isn’t a parasite then, he must be a disease.’ I concluded.
‘I agree – but what kind of disease? Some say his website is just a front for some very seedy activities – sex tourism – for those seeking out very young girls, virgins and the like.’
‘But how do you know this?’ I asked suspiciously, ‘have you been on his site?’
‘Me! Of course not.’ he denied at once. ‘I only heard about it from a friend. I am not interested in that sort of thing.’
If Cummings no longer has an interest in young girls it was news to me.
I looked back at Mr Nonstickman; I could see now the evil clearly etched in his bloodshot eyes; it sent a cold shiver down my spine. The outward appearance suggested a man, but the body was not quite developed in evolutionary terms beyond that of an amoeba, quite unable to react towards its surroundings in a manner which tended to promote its own survival. Not quite sophisticated enough to be classified as a disease, more accurately just a bundle of rogue chemicals, yet lacking the capability of reproducing itself like a virus, simply a loose collection of protoplasm broken away from a more complex organism destined to forever wreak havoc in its environment. Nonstickman was less than nothing – so it wasn’t even possible to feel sorry for him.
The club house at the Phoenix golf pitch has a cathedral-like grandeur. The enormous domed glass roof is not dissimilar to that of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in the city of Liverpool where I researched for my doctorate. The intricate crystal design reflected dazzling beams of coloured light on to the polished teak floor below. What something like such a dome would cost to construct I can hardly imagine.
With some amusement on my part, Foreskin informed me that a caddy is compulsory for each competitor. I found this rather amusing because caddies are used only for keeping teapots warm in England, and the necessity of a caddy in order to play golf was a mystery to me. Foreskin also pointed out that we would also require teas, incorrectly written on the notice board as ‘tees’ here (but what could you expect?). No doubt teapots, spoons, milk jugs and short-bread biscuits are also supplied. Golf seems to have nearly as much ritual attached to it as a game of cricket.
Each competitor was also obligated to hire a set of bats and balls, whereas I believe one of each would have been ample. However, I was determined to come out on top and thereby win exemption from paying at all. An additional curiosity was the presence of young woman dressed in green suits and foreign legion style hats to carry our bags of bats, balls and tea sets. Foreskin pointed out that these ladies were, in fact, the caddies.
‘You mean we are going to use women to keep our pots warm?’ I asked Foreskin; although I was much more immune to surprise than when I first arrived in Thailand.
‘Of course mate, they’ll warm whatever you ask them to.’ he said with a lewd wink.
When we got out on the pitch, since it was my honeymoon, I was kindly given the honour of batting first. However, just as I was about to strike the ball Foreskin asked me if I wanted a tea.
‘A good idea,’ I agreed, ‘it was rather a long walk to the golf pitch, and I think a spot of refreshment wouldn’t be altogether out of order.’
To my surprise, Foreskin then handed me a very tiny plastic cup on a long stem, which to be honest, didn’t even appear to have anything in it. I thought he was putting me on and so I went along with it, pretending to take a sip before handing it to my caddy. Instead of keeping it warm she just stared at me – not surprisingly, she was not quite in tune with our sense of humour.
I then dropped my ball and took a tremendous swipe at it. However, I didn’t keep my bat far enough down and just felt a swish as I missed completely – just striking out frustratingly at fresh air.
As I got ready to hit the ball again, Foreskin asked if I needed any help to address it.
‘No thank you,’ I explained, ‘I’m such a novice at this game I doubt if I’ll need to. If it goes so far that I lose it I doubt I’d get it back whether I address it or not.’
I took my second big swipe at the ball, this time with a lot of back swing and follow through. I definitely felt my bat make contact on this occasion.
Shielding my gaze from the sun, and with a great deal of inner satisfaction, I looked up high into the sky as the tiny black silhouette rapidly disappeared into the horizon.
‘Good gracious!’ I exclaimed, ‘talk about beginners luck! Maybe I should have addressed it after all.’
‘A smoother swing mate,’ Foreskin accepted, ‘but it’s a better strategy to hit the ball rather than just a divot.’ Sure enough, when I looked down my ball was still there alongside a huge crater in the turf.
One shot left, I thought to myself, I’ll have to run at least to first base this time whether I hit the ball again or not.
‘By the way,’ I asked, before I took my final strike, ‘where is first base?’
‘What the club house?’ Foreskin yelled, ‘Strewth! You’re not thinking of throwing in the towel already mate?’
‘Not at all,’ I said, ‘I just want to know where to run to if I don’t hit this one clean.’
Foreskin looked at me curiously again. ‘Are you sure you don’t want your caddy to help you address the ball correctly?’
‘I beg your pardon?’ I said, trying to restrain my indignation. The humiliation of having someone whose first language isn’t even English help me write my own address was almost too much to take. This coming from an Australian at that.
However, my thoughts were suddenly distracted by my caddy unaccountably wrapping her arms around my waist and taking a hold of the stem of my bat in both her hands.
‘You do like this,’ she whispered seductively, ‘and move body like this. You must try harder if you want to get it in hole. Now you take stick and I hold balls for you.’ She instructed me by moving her hands to my hips and gently maneuvering my body.
What was happening to me? I thought. My amorous propensities were spontaneously aroused by this strange encounter. Yet I was a married man on my honeymoon – who hadn‘t as yet even experienced carnal knowledge of my own wife! I was very embarrassed, but when I looked around for my competitors I could only see Cummings chatting to his caddy; Dana and Nonstickman had apparently disappeared into the rough with their caddies (to count their balls, they informed Cummings) and Foreskin and Bluey had collapsed inebriated in a bunker. We English have for too long been dominated by our colonies in sport, I was now determined to seek revenge for two centuries of humiliation.
In a kind of a wild frenzy, brought on by a combination of patriotism and anger in my third and final effort, I really took the most massive swipe imaginable at the wretched ball – yet again I missed it hopelessly – and with the momentum of my follow through my body began to spin like a top in perpetual motion. As my circular motion accelerated to a maximum, I felt the bat slip from my grip and fly upwards towards the roof of the clubhouse. When I finally stopped spinning, despite my dizziness, I began a drunken run staggering in the general direction of my bat, hoping I could get to first base before I was stumped.
As I ran, I could hear the shouts of Cummings – but I couldn’t really make out what he was trying to tell me as I was so dizzy and exhausted, and putting all my concentration into getting to the club house.
By the time I got to the Club House I was amazed to see the floor showered with shards of broken glass. In the centre of the debris lay a golf bat not similar to my own. Imagine my surprise when my caddy came in picked it up and tried to present it to me. I attempted to fake any knowledge of it (thank heavens I hadn’t addressed it!) but my caddy persisted in trying to give it to me, attracting the attention of several curious onlookers.
Suddenly, a number of officials from the Club House began running towards me. Although I was sure I could not be responsible for breaking the roof, my first inclination was to bolt out of the nearest exit. I leapt into one of the many tiny white vehicles lined up outside (sort of electrically powered buggies), and as my caddy got in alongside me, I took off towards the main road. We went just fast enough to keep ahead of my pursuers, probably because the drive leading to the highway was a steep downward incline and my caddy had the foresight to knock the buggy out of gear.
Horns blared at us as we sped down the highway at almost 15 mph. Back in the Diana I immediately went to find Nok in our honeymoon suite. However, her little sister Tao told me on the way, that Nok was with in bed with her brother Tic, so rather than disturb them I went back to my own room.
What happened next was totally beyond comprehension. My caddy began to actually undress in front of me! I asked Tao to bring her sister immediately to remove this woman before anyone got the wrong end of the stick.
But goodness knows what message little Tao had delivered, because Nok came running in carrying a machete and was turning her anger upon me, not on my now naked caddy, who had finished undressing and had climbed in to our bed.
All I could think of saying was the clichéd and ineffective.
‘Darling, this is not how it looks.’
Nok darted at me angrily with the machete. I knew from Cummings, who had good insight into Thai culture, that my penis was about to be removed – Isaan style – which meant, apparently, from the root, scalping away as much pubic hair as possible.
Suddenly, little Tao interrupted my penidectomy by introducing the leading line to a very old joke;
‘Uncle John – a man, him at door with bill.’
‘Don’t be silly,’ I said, unable to resist the punch line in spite of my predicament,
‘It must be just a duck with a hat on.’
Fortunately, the police had called to arrest me, I assumed for criminal damage, for stealing a buggy and for the less serious charge of kidnapping a caddy. They had brought the manager from the Phoenix who indeed had an enormous bill – for two million baht – the cost of reglazing the dome of the clubhouse.
The senior police officer informed me that they were not interested in the damage to the clubhouse, or the other misdemeanors I had committed, and explained they were largely civil matters that I had take up with the manager of the Phoenix. He said he was here on another, much more serious matter.
‘We have reliable information,’ the officer informed me, ‘that among your companions is a convicted paedophile who has recently escaped from prison.’
‘I knew it!’ I said, ‘That Nonstickman chap had to be an evil child abuser. How could anyone possibly look like that and not be?’
We all hurried quickly back to the Phoenix. All my golfing competitors were now sitting in the now cleaned up, but draughty clubhouse, around a large table near the bar. Immediately, I identified the Galt or Nonstickman chap to the chief police inspector. Imagine my surprise when he completely ignored Nonstick and walked immediately up to Cummings, placing his hand firmly on his shoulder:
‘Mr Gary Glitter, I believe,’ he said to Cummings as his subordinates handcuffed my stunned colleague. ‘I am arresting you under international law. You will be returned to the Vietnamese authorities so that you can be sent back to the prison from which it seems you have escaped.’
After some time Cummings was able to provide enough evidence to the police to prove that his identity had been mistaken, and he was released from custody. But what is far more important is that a prolonged discussion in the bar with the management and my golf competitors, led to an astonishing decision. It was decided that Cummings and I had won the tournament by default, because I had scored at least part of a rounder by running to first base. None of the other competitors had taken even single strike at the ball – being too preoccupied with other matters. Apparently, Cummings, Dana and Nonstick spent the whole afternoon rolling in the rough with their caddies, while Foreskin and Bluey characteristically boozed in a bunker before collapsing inebriated.
Our victory meant that I was exempt from liability for the repair of the roof, which under the terms of our agreement the cost was to be shared among the other competitors. But of course, it meant much more than money to a proud Englishman. It was the first time we had beaten an Australian team at any sport since 1783.
It is in such enlightened means that the bubbling passions of my country find a vent.
THE END (almost)
J A Earnshawe BSc PhD
I laughed loud!