Stickman Readers' Submissions October 2nd, 2007

Restless In Rawai

I’m not sleeping that well. I wake up at all hours of the night. Sometimes when I am wide awake I get up, put my clothes on at four or five in the morning and have breakfast. I figure, what difference does it make what time I go to bed or get up. I’m retired and I am not going anywhere. I don’t even leave the house that much anymore.

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So, I’m lying in bed and it’s 3:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. Down here in Phuket, the bars in Rawai, Kata and Karon close at one o’clock. I had heard about this open-air bar near Nai Harn Beach that does not even get started until after one AM and stays open until six in the morning. Who can stay up that late? But I was awake and I thought that I would check it out. By the time I get to Nai Harn it’s almost four in the morning and I’m thinking, I must be crazy, the place will be closed up tight.’

I turn the corner, spot the bar and all I can see are arms in the air, everyone dancing, music blasting.

There’s an attendant in the street, trying to direct traffic. I locate a parking spot and squeeze into the bar, a waitress finds a stool for me someplace, I order a drink and look around. I didn’t realize there were so many young Westerners here.

I refuse to use the F’ word at all anymore, especially in conversation. It’s degrading.

Lots of Thai girls are here too. They must float over this way when the bars and massage parlors close.

Everyone seems to be younger than me and then I think, hell, I could say that anywhere.

Not to be deterred, I wave over a girl and she completely ignores me. I keep looking and an attractive girl comes over.

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Would you like a drink?’ I say.

Yes, a Heineken. Can I have one for my girlfriend?’

Typical Thai bargirl stuff but I say yes. Her girlfriend stays where she is. She looks quiet and shy, unlike the one that has just sat on my lap and the beer hasn’t even arrived yet. We start kissing and making out.

Everyone is oblivious, no one cares.

I want you to come home with me tonight.’ I say.

I can not tonight but I will come to your house tomorrow.’

I give her my card and she tells me her name is New.

I no want short time. I want to stay with you long time,’ she says. I want to live with you. We just come today. She points to her girlfriend.

Where’s your suitcase?’

No have.’

It’s amazing I think, how these girls come down here on a wing and a prayer, no money in their pocket.

I say to her. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow and then we can talk.’ I know the girl has not just fallen off a cabbage truck as her English is pretty good. I start to look for another suspect and she goes back to her girlfriend. I stay until six in the morning and by this time it’s broad daylight out. The bar efficiently and quickly wraps it up and I drive home wondering how much it costs to be the only bar in town open after hours. A cash pay-out to the local cops of course and by the amount of people there in off-season it looks like they can afford it.

The girl calls at eight the next evening, tells me that she has just started working as a waitress in a bar not far from my house and can I come over for a drink.

I go over and sit at a table with her girlfriend from last night. The poor girl looks like this is the last place in the world that she wants to be. New comes over and asks what I want to drink. As I order, an older Thai woman sits down.

Excuse me, girl just start tonight, I must explain duties to her.’

I shrug my shoulders, I could care less, but I wonder what the poor scared looking girl is doing here, unlike New who looks like she has been around the block before.

New tells me that since she is just a waitress, I can not bar fine her out but she will come to my house after work at one in the morning. Okay by me. I finish my drink and leave. At one in the morning the phone rings.

I have to stay and clean the bar, I will be over at two.’

This is Thai-speak for I’m going to do a fast short time before I see you.

I don’t care, I can’t sleep anyway. New does not show and after a few hours I go to bed about three.

I’m just getting to sleep when the phone rings, it’s New.

Before I come, I just want to make sure you will pay me two-thousand.’

I’m tired by now and this price is way over the limit. I say never mind and hang up.

The phone rings exactly every hour until I shut it off.

New calls the next day. Can I come over.’

No thanks,’ I hang up.

The phone keeps ringing. I don’t answer it.

I have cards printed with my name address, phone and email. It’s so much easier to give it to the Thai Airways clerk or whoever needs your address, say if you buy a new television and have it delivered. But I really should have more discretion when I hand these out to people.

A few hours later, New shows up at my front gate on the back of a motorbike driven by a Thai man about thirty years old, looks a little on the rough side. There’s a cement block fence around my house with a wrought iron gate.

I always keep it locked. But I’m not worried about the man, I have a full time live-in guard.

You owe me two-thousand baht,’ says New.

I smile and say, Why?’ Although I can see already that this may be nothing to smile about.

You say I can make you boom-boom and then you say no. You must pay me.’

I turn to walk away and the Thai guy starts to shout at me. My German shepherd who was sitting there quietly and is about the size of a small pony goes nuts and tries to eat the guy through the gate. The man hollers at me in Thai.

It’s difficult to hear what anyone is saying as Louke is roaring now and sounds more like a bear than a dog.

The girl says to me, My friend says if you don’t pay you will have a problem.’

The guy is about my size. Up to him,’ I say and I nod my head in his direction, look right at him.

Damn if someone is going to come to my house and intimidate me. I know he is not jumping over the fence right now, that’s for sure.

At one time I lived next door to a small shop that repaired long tail boats. There was a piece of steel drive-shaft about four feet long on the ground. It looked like left over scrap but was the perfect size for me. I pointed to it and asked the price.

Five-hundred. Jeeze we all must look stupid. I threw the guy two one-hundred baht bills and took it home with me.

There was this Italian weight-lifter guy a few years back, trying to find me because I went out with his girl.’

Yeah, right. Me and half of Phuket but somehow he settled on me. He was way too big to fight, way too big.

But if it came to me getting a beating or him having some old Thai lady spoon feed him oatmeal everyday because of a brain injury, it was not a difficult choice in my mind. Luckily for everyone he and his girl’ kissed and made up and that was the
end of the story but I still have the steel drive-shaft leaning against the inside wall near my front door.

I have iron bar in my house. Man come over fence, I break his head.’ Many men come. I kill them.’ I am reduced to speaking in broken English to the man and woman at my front gate. My dog listens well and I order him in the house and walk away.

I keep my dog in the house with me in case anyone wants to throw poisoned meat over the fence. I have not seen the girl or the man in a week and I am starting to relax but I decide to go to the bar where New works to assure her that if anything happens
to my dog I will kill her and the man. I really mean this, run them down in my car. I’m not kidding.

Thankfully she has long disappeared.

Welcome to Thailand.

Stickman's thoughts:

That type of extortion by the girl and her monkey are way out of line. A weaker guy would have given in to them. Good on you for sending them on their way penniless.

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