Stickman Readers' Submissions June 7th, 2008

See Phuket And Die, Chapter Fourteen

The police cruiser pulled down Jip’s narrow soi; Goby and Jip jumped out of the back seat.

It was good to be home and Jip’s motorcycle was repaired and parked on his front porch. Jip’s next door neighbors, three bar girls and a katoey, were sitting on their front porch as was half the neighborhood. It was hot and not one of the small one room apartments had air conditioning. At least on the porch there was a breeze and they could gossip with each other, one of their major daily past times along with watching the afternoon soap operas on Thai television.

Like in America the sagas were ongoing and always continued until the next day or week or year. The difference being that ghosts and spirits both good and bad played a large part in the Thai soaps, that and there seemed to be a constant supply of hysterical theatrics, screaming and crying. Most Thai girls were fully absorbed in the dramas while back in the

States it seemed to be the province of middle-aged housewives.

Hey Jip, where did you go?’ The girls cried out all at once.

Goby, what are you doing in that white robe?’ The katoey smiled demurely and brushed back an imaginary stand of hair from her forehead. The Katoey’s name was Jamie and she had tried be a close friend to Jip.

She wanted to do his laundry, give him a message, clean his apartment, give him head and the best sex that he would ever have in his life. She was so attracted to his lean muscular body she thought she would die if she couldn’t have him.

But once the boy came she started to realize that Jip was not a good prospect. There were other fish in the sea so to speak.

She would not rush this one and besides Jip would have a fit if he found out. She would start slowly paying more and more attention to Goby until he trusted her and then she would ask him if he wanted to play a game with her. Goby put his head down, pushed against the front door and waited silently for Jip to open up. Once inside he took off the gown and threw it on the sofa. Jip left the door open to let out some of the hot air and musty smell from the room being closed for so long. Goby went to the small bathroom, stepped out his shorts and used the small plastic pail to pour water over himself from the barrel that was almost as high as he was.

Don’t forget the soap, it’s right there’, Jip shouted.

Goby made a face and began rubbing the soap over his body. He had never washed with soap before and he didn’t see why he had to use it now. Goby dumped more water over his head, dried himself with a small towel, put on his other pair of underpants and found a pair of shorts. Jip was sitting on the sofa, patiently waiting for him.

Jip patted the seat next to him. Sit down for a minute, I want to ask you something.’

Jip continued speaking as Goby sat on the sofa cushion with his legs crossed underneath him. If you want to continue your religious education there is a mosque not far from here. You can study there if you like.’

Goby shook his head and folded his hands.

What do you want to do with your life?’

I want to be a policeman like you.’ Goby looked up and smiled, his bright white teeth flashing against his dark skin.

If you do you will have to go to school and learn how to read and write. I will send you to school here but you must study and go to class every day. Do you understand?’

Goby continued his big smile and nodded his head yes.

Okay, I’m going to wash up and take a nap for an hour. Wake me at four-thirty.’

Jip had been in the same clothes for days and let them fall on the floor as he made his way into the bathroom.

It seemed that no sooner had he laid down on the bed that Goby was shaking him awake.

There was a metal clothes stand against one wall and Jip took a neatly pressed uniform from a hanger and started to get dressed. It seemed that every third house or apartment took in laundry which was convenient for Jip. He didn’t have time to do his own washing and at ten baht for a shirt or pair of slacks it was affordable. Jip polished his shoes, strapped on the black leather belt and holster that carried his revolver and picked up his dress cap.

I may not be back until early tomorrow morning. Please wait for me here; don’t make me worry about you.’

I have to eat. There’s no food here, I’m hungry.’ Goby put on his lost little boy look as he peered up at Jip.

Okay, okay but don’t go to far.’ Jip eased his bike off the porch and kicked it to life. He knew that Goby could not sit quietly at home all night but once he got him into school he would not have so much energy to run around. Jip turned his Honda Dream towards the station house. There was a good deal on his mind. He was going to have to work with Colonel Sanitasut for the next few days who would no doubt be in a foul mood having just lost his job.

But the most important thing was to track down the black SUV, if indeed Goby was right and it was here in Phuket. He would throw up barricades at both ends of Patong and seal off the few side streets that went through. Every car that wanted to drive into the central part of Patong had to get by the roadblocks. This seemed like the same extreme measures taken all over again but the stakes were too high to take a chance. If Doctor Hussein was here, he had to be brought into custody as soon as possible. He would have his men do everything they could to facilitate the traffic but all vehicles had to be at least looked into and of course every single black SUV had to stopped and searched.

How many days and nights could he keep this up? Not many he thought. Suppose the Egyptian saw the road blocks and decided to wait it out, just hole up someplace for a week. All of these thoughts bounced around in Jipthep’s head as he tried to think if there was anything else he could do. Was there anything else that he had overlooked?

Jip drove his bike into the parking area of the police station, parking it just to the left of the front door. There were a dozen bikes there already signaling that some of his officers had arrived for duty. As Jipthep entered the station house, the desk sergeant jumped up and saluted, a big grin on his face.

At ease Sergeant.’ Jip threw a salute back. We can’t do this every time I come in so let’s not stand on formality.’

The sergeant remained standing and glanced towards Sanitsut’s office. Jip’s eyes followed the sergeant’s glance. There in fine gold lettering on the opaque glass window were the words, Captain Jipthep and underneath, Commanding Officer.

Very nice Sergeant. Where’s the colonel?’

Sir, he cleaned out his desk this afternoon. I think that he left.’

Okay, please come into my office.’ Jip nodded to the sergeant and opened the door. How many times in the past few weeks had he stood at attention in front of this desk listening to the colonel shout about one thing or another.

Who would have thought that he would be on the other side.

Have a seat please Sergeant. I’m going to need your help starting right now. Anyone with any brains knows it’s the desk sergeant that really runs the station house.’ It was half true and Jipthep needed every bit of cooperation he could muster. Jip sat back for a second and felt the softness of the high backed leather chair. He noticed that his personal papers, clock and pens had been neatly placed on the large mahogany desk.

The sergeant anticipating his next question, pointed to a cardboard box on the floor. Colonel Jammeri did not leave much behind.’

As soon as the men are assembled, assign four to blocking off the beach road near the Holiday Inn and the back road should be blocked off at Sai Nam Yen Road. This will effectively seal off the entire Soi Bangla area.

Try to keep the traffic moving as rapidly as possible but every black SUV must be stopped. Issue everyone with a copy of Doctor Hussien’s passport photo so they know who they are looking for. Remind everyone to use extreme caution, the doctor is to be considered armed and dangerous. We all know what happened to Officer Nopi. Put a dozen men on and around Soi Bangla and a few in front of the Banana Disco. If the doctor means to strike,I’m sure it will be in this area. The rest of the men can report to their regular posts. I’ll be staying here with you to coordinate the men. Where is Ritak? Have you seen him?

The sergeant shifted in his seat uncomfortable. Well sir, I only saw him for a few minutes last week. He was in the office looking for Colonel Sanitasut and I told him that the colonel was up by the Sarasin Bridge.’

Thank you Sergeant. If Ritak comes in tell him to report to my office. You can start assigning the men now.’ After the sergeant left his office, Jipthep sat back and sighed. Captain Ritak was another problem to be solved. He would have to contend with the man one way or another, hopefully the issue could be resolved in a peaceful manner.

Jip paced his office and the front lobby for an hour before the inactivity got to him. He jumped on his bike and drove to the beach road to inspect the barricades. The traffic moved slowly but he made it through on the small motorcycle. He pulled up near the wood horses and parked his bike as the police officers sprang to attention.

Carry on, carry on,’ Jip waved more cars through himself, trying to keep the flow moving.

Sir, do you know how many black suburban utility vehicles there are in Phuket? One of the officers saluted at the same time that he spoke. There must be a thousand and it seems that they are all out tonight.’

Jipthep nodded. I know, I know. Keep up the good work and be careful. Don’t go sticking your head in anyone’s vehicle. You can ask the passengers and driver to step out if you can’t get a good look at them.’

Jip swung his leg over the seat of his Honda. He would go over and check out the other traffic stop and then he would drive around a bit to check on his men. He hoped that he would spot Doctor Hussein like he did last time. But that would really be too much to ask for, wouldn’t it?

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Stickman's thoughts:

A superb story!

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