Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 169
• New Times Maruika Hotel
• Pleasure Hotel Chengdu
• Prime Hotel Chengdu
• Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel
A GOOD SON
It's starless and moonless and colder than a mamasan's tit in a brass bra as the great silver bird stuffed with four hundred beating hearts starts dropping like a stone over Krung Thep. Everyone is asleep; drugged by too much to eat, and too much to drink, and too many boring movies, and too many air miles–the narcotics of the rich; flying coach and business class and first class and complaining, while people down below are tipping over rocks looking for grubs to eat. I'm not sleepy though. I'm calculating!
This 747 has 6 million parts and 171 miles of wiring but the only thing I care about is Rosco the Saint Bernard who is riding shotgun in the baggage compartment. About now he should be feeling poorly. His stomach is full of condoms stuffed with powder so pure it's like jet fuel. Mainlining this stuff is going to make swallowing fistfuls of yaa baa look like eating balls of sticky rice! All condoms double socked but one–one I made him swallow that had a hole in it. And full of rat poison. By pet baggage pick-up time, he will either be dead or will have heaved up all the condoms full of product in his traveling case. It's a question of timing and luck. Some big dogs are heavers–some just moan, kick, and die. If he has heaved when I get to his cage, I won't claim him. I'll just disappear like a katoey with a farang's wallet. If he is dead though, I'll claim him and take him with me.
In Boston, before I took him to baggage for pets; I first took him into the airport men's room and gave him his food dish with a special menu. One third dog food, one third water, and one third cement mix. I buried little broken bits of his favorite doggie treats in the mix to get his mind off the taste of the cement. In his gut the water will blend with the dry mix and form a cap of cement at the top of his stomach. If he is a heaver, this cement cap should keep the condoms down. This was my mom's idea. Always listen to your mother. Men's room conversation—
–Me: I love you Rosco but you ain't paying the bills and baby needs new shoes. Just look at this as your contribution to the greater good. Me! Or, I should say; Mom and I.
After I land in Bangkok, I go to pet pickup and am informed that Rosco is hard as a carp. Dead as a doornail. And he hasn't coughed up the game. Excellent. Just papers to fill out and I put his carcass on the top of a luggage cart and head for the curb. A live Saint Bernard on a leash is a big dog. Hell, they look like small ponies. But a dead Saint Bernard filling up with gases and his legs sticking straight out from rigor mortis on top of a luggage cart is really big. 'Holy crapola what is that thing?' big. No one in the taxi line says a thing and the taxi driver into the city does not say a thing.
You would think that checking into a high class hotel like the Nana Hotel (aka Mothership) on Soi 4 in Bangkok's finest geography with dog feet and dog legs sticking out of the top of your backpack would excite some comment. You would be mistaken. Not a peep at the front desk. 'Honk if you love roadkill' — they must have been thinking. Ditto the porter who helped me with my bag and my backpack and took me up to my room: although his eyes locked onto the feet and legs of Rosco and the bulge in the backpack like a bargirl locks onto a German tourist's wallet and he had a big smile for me. I think for the first time in the Kingdom I got respect. Honk if you love roadkill.
Anyway; check in and up to the tenth floor which is Nan, the trusted maid's, floor. Many times used and never a problem. Good runners are hard to find. Once inside my room I open up Rosco and take out the product. Next I clean the stuffed condoms in the toilet bowl and check for bubbles. Nan is a day maid who will make the pickup tomorrow around noon. Rosco will go back out tonight and get dumped over the construction site wall opposite the Marriot.
In the past I used to empty out a bottle of Spring water from the minibar and get a quart of petrol at the corner gas station–wrap the dogs in petrol soaked sheets–set fire to them and then heave them over the fence. But I'm short and the fence is kinda high and one night I had a flaming dog carcass fall back on top of me. What a postcard that would have made! This whole dodge was mom's idea in the first place so she is to blame for my new 'no eyebrows' look. Bargirl conversation—
–Bargirl: Did you pluck your eyebrows?
–Me: No honey, I had a flaming dog fall on me!
Some things are not translatable. We used to torch the dogs; Mom and I, to destroy any prints. My mother was a nutcase about fingerprints. Early on, when I was green and coming up in the family business and we were disposing of a basset hound (small dog–large stomach); I remember this conversation–
–Me: But Mom, how can you leave prints on a basset hound?
–Mom: Shut up and light the match.
So if you were walking down Soi 4 at night many years ago; and you got hit in the face by a flying flaming basset hound–don't blame me. Blame Mom. She was a small woman but she could grenade toss dogs out of 10th floor hotel windows like a 20 year old paratrooper. God, those were the days.
Anyway, it is just me now. Mom is retired and hates the constant travel. I've made a few changes. Bigger dogs and no more torching–but basically it is the same deal. It used to be that getting stoned on ganja, or jazzed on yaa baa, or liquored up with mom; and then heaving a flaming beagle out of a top floor Nana hotel room was part of the fun. A comedic highlight that became part of family lore and storytelling. Back then when we were using beagles, terriers, and daschunds as canine mules we were bringing in three at a time. One trip per month–three dogs per trip–36 dogs per year. The airlines thought we were dog lovers. Yeah, love'em, stuff'em, and heav'em. But at least you got some practice. I once saw mom clear the old pool at the Nana with a flaming Chihuahua.
But you had to plan for it. You had to have a running path in the hotel room. You couldn't just stand at the window and wing them–you needed momentum. Think Olympic discus throw for small mammals. So it was up against the wall with the king size bed and clear the furniture. Picture this: Me and mom hammered, jazzed, and disoriented on ganja, yaa baa, and whiskey. Half-naked, sweating like pigs, and laughing like hyenas. One of us really, really short and the other much shorter; bent over double trying to lift the king size bed up against the wall. Usually this went well.
Sometimes this went very badly and became a near-death experience. In case the picture of a king sized bed falling on a mother and a son amuses you, let me tell you there was nothing funny about it. It would turn your average yaa baa, whiskey, flaming dog party into a yaa baa, whiskey, flaming dog panic party! First would come the awful realization; then the rush of air, the crashing sound, the crushing weight, and then the terrible darkness. Over the years mom and I learned to scramble like squirrels in front of the headlights of a car. If I live to be a 100 years old I'll never forget the words:
"Run, son. Run!"
Once the floor was cleared the thrower would stand at the hotel room hall door with the 'evidence' in his/her hand, the other would light the match. Then it was run across the room and grenade toss out the window. Mom was always better at this than me. Misjudgments on the run up meant unfortunate smashups with the aluminum window frame. Flaming dog 'bounce-back' was always a problem.
Sometimes as the canine 'evidence' would leave the window mom would lean out and shout INCOMING in case there were any 'Nam storytellers walking down soi 4. This used to make her laugh so hard she would have bladder control problems. Ah, mom. What a kidder. But those days are gone now. Now with the move to bigger stomach capacity that has all changed. I don't care how big and strong you are, you aren't grenade tossing a 100 pound Great Dane or a 150 pound Saint Bernard. They just drop like bombs onto the car park below and usually take out a couple of freelancers. I know. I tried.
So now it is just hard work and no partying. You mature. Carry the dog out through the lobby like a giant hairy teeruk toy, around the corner onto Soi 4, through the Rajah hotel parking lot, over to the construction site fence, and then–well, you know. Work. Work. Work. I wasn't smart enough to get into medical school, and I didn't have the organizational skills to be a pimp. You do what you know. It's a small business. We aren't taking pack trains of product out of Burma, or sponsoring streams of Spanish woman with dubious suitcases landing in Miami; but it has always been a steady little earner.
Coals to Newcastle? Not a bit of it. It was just a sideline business Mom and I ran called Deals Gone Bad Inc. A few bullets here and there and deals went 'bad'. Time to disappear for a while and luckily (timing is everything in business) free product was available to finance the trip. Honk if you love capitalism and serendipity. My mom: boy-oh-boy don't get me started–hard nosed and practical in business, feminine and pretty in her personal life. Look up the word 'perfect woman' in the dictionary and there would be a picture of her. And three day old panties? Sweet Jesus on a cracker what a perfume. Come home from work all beat up and tired: kick back with a gin-and-tonic in one hand and a pair of my mom's panties in the other hand–I'm a lucky son.
Yessiree, honk if you love muzzle flash and powder burns and the final solution. You've got an MBA from Milktoast University do you? Did case studies on substituting soybean oil for canola oil in the Guatemalan candy bar market? Get serious. You don't know anything about business until you know how to eliminate the competition and turn a 'business meeting' into an opportunity for free inventory. That's why it wasn't Coals to Newcastle on these dog flights to Siam, but serendipity and additional profits. God bless mom. A business reddy teddy who didn't flinch at reduced profits.
"Son, never be a business snob and don't be greedy. If it's additional flour in the flour barrel it counts."
I never ever dreamed about taking over the family business. It was strictly Batman and Robin and I knew and loved my place because I knew and loved my mom. I had crocheted throw pillows at home on my bed that said: "Happiness is a warm gun" and "Happiness is a warm mom". Slept like a baby.
Anyway, I have always been a saver and man of moderate appetites–so another 40 Great Danes or Saint Bernards or Newfoundlands or Wolfhounds or Mastiffs should clear me for retirement. I never successfully mated so there are no little Danas or Danaesses to continue the family business. Too bad, you meet a lot of nice people in dog pounds. Mom wants us to retire together in Ko Samui but I am partial to Bali –post terrorist bombing real estate values look attractive. You've got to adapt. We'll see.
Nan, the tenth floor trusted maid, makes the pickup on time and makes the connection with Omar the Indian who owns the five floor cult hotel around the corner on Sukhumvit. Two days later the crisp, multiple series US $100 bills are in the cut-out foam seat of my hotel room chair. I have been cheated on the total but only a little. It is enough. I'm clean; Rosco's a dead witness, and there are no live witnesses. Nobody saw anybody do anything! I loupe the bills and they are genuine. It looks like Omar wants to do more business. The missing money I just call slippage or the 'Thai factor'. You've got to be practical. I'm my mother's son. As soon as I proofread the bills; I pack and scram. I'm out of the hotel in 15 minutes–cash all the way–and no prints behind. Honk if you love the Third World.
A quick trip to JP Travel around the corner to pick up my airline tickets, and then I am off to Ko Samui for a three week holiday. Mom is flying in and I'll have plenty of money to be able to show her a good time.
I try to be a good son.
I have to ask….where on earth do you come up with this stuff from?!