Stickman Readers' Submissions August 20th, 2009

May Day Part 3

The next night I proceeded back to Soi Cowboy alone as I’d decided not to tell the others where I was going. I’d had the worst day of my life. I just couldn’t stop thinking about May.

I’d tried calling Dave in Singapore on my rental telephone but he hadn’t answered. I’d left a message telling him to come to Bangkok as soon as possible. May had done a disappearing act. I’d looked and asked around for her, but she’d vanished. The best I could do was talk to her sister and try and get some information.

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I walked into The Sting Ray bar wondering if she’d even be there. I sat on one of the seats away from the central stage area and ordered a beer. Within a few minutes I spotted Fon. She was on the stage, happily chatting with another girl.

I tried to smile to get her attention but smiling wasn’t proving to be easy. The sight of her, she looked exactly like May, was painful.

All I could do was look at her despondently. Time was extremely precious and every second counted. I impatiently stared at her with intense desperation but she didn’t seem to notice me. I frantically glanced around at the other girls in the bar. They all seemed to not notice me either. I drank more of my beer to calm myself and waited. Some of the other girls dancing next to Fon must’ve noticed my desperation as I saw two of them whispering in her ear and then Fon was looking straight at me. I gave her a thin smile.

When Fon finished dancing she came straight over and joined me.

I bought her a drink before she could utter a single word. I got the usual questions. I answered her questions in a zombie-like manner. I couldn’t stop thinking about May. The tension was killing me so I quickly got straight to the point.

“Fon, I know you’re sister May.”

“She look like me,” Fon said, not sounding surprised at all.

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I was stunned. Didn’t she have any idea of what was going on? I felt so tense I barely noticed the semi-see through bikinis that all the girls were wearing.

“Do you know where she is? I can’t find her?”

“I not know. Maybe she with customer.”

“Do you know she has lots of bruises? I think someone’s hitting her.”

“Maybe customer, some crazy.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Didn’t she know what was going on? Then I noticed the tattoo on her shoulder. I hadn’t really seen May’s tattoo, only a glimpse. I was sure this tattoo looked the same and was in exactly the same spot! Now I felt confused.

The atmosphere had turned surreal. Fon looked the same and sounded the same as May. I quickly drank more of my beer.

This girl had no bruises, so she couldn’t be May. Then I wondered if the bruises were faked. Were they some kind of make up job?

Was Brian right? Were we all just being scammed?

“Do you have a brother?” I asked.

Fon looked confused. “Why you ask?” She sounded very suspicious.

“Well, I just wondered if May had a boyfriend or if she was with your brother? A friend of mine likes May. He want’s to know.”

I knew she would most likely lie to a question like this, but I had to try.

“We have a brother but he crazy. I not know where he is. I not see him in many years.”

The situation had become clearer. May was protecting her sister. That was it! The crazy brother was beating lumps out of May and if May ran away he’d start on Fon. If they both ran away he’d probably come after both of them. I had an awful feeling in my stomach. What would May do? Would she try and kill him? And I still didn’t understand why she’d told Dave to stay away. I checked my phone. There was a message from Barry. He wanted to know where I was. I quickly sent a text message back. He responded by text message saying he’d join me.

“How often do you see your sister?”

“Not much. Once every week.”

I thought about asking for May’s telephone number but before I could ask Fon she had to dance again.

Another minute later Barry walked in.

“What’s going on?” He asked when he sat down.

“Some serious shit. Man, we need to find May. I think something really bad’s gonna happen.”

“Like what?”

“I can’t explain, but I saw her again last night. Her sister here tells me that they do have a brother.”

“I think your right,” said Barry after ordering a beer. “I met a chick last night that knows May. She’s seen May with Dave in the past. She thinks May has a crazy brother or half brother, she wasn’t sure.”

“Right, did you find out anything else?”

“Well, she had a theory that this crazy brother is getting way out of control. He’s got friends in all sorts of low places that have been giving May a hard time.”

“She told you that?!” I couldn’t take hearing that.

“Yeah, but it cost me. You don’t get anything for free around here and not only that, she could’ve been talking complete crap.”

“It seems to make sense though.”

Barry got his beer and drank half of it in one gulp. “This chick seems to think that May’s brother abused May when she was much younger.”

I was stunned. “Shit! Then can you work out why she told Dave not to come here?”

“Well, obviously the brother’s taking money from May. He knows about Dave. So my impression is that she’s tried to put the brakes on, she’s lied and said that she doesn’t see Dave anymore and the brother’s said Dave’s a dead man if he shows up in Bangkok.”

“I think you’re right. It would all make sense.”

Barry looked at Fon. “They do look the same, that’s amazing.”

“I’m gonna ask her for May’s number when she comes back. She must have it.”

Barry gave me a confused look. “Even if you get her number what are you gonna do? She’s not going to tell you where she is and if you find her she’s just gonna run away again.”

“I have to help her.”

“Maybe she doesn’t want to be helped.”

“I think she’s scared and confused. Man, we have to try and do something.” I said desperately.

We both watched Fon for a few minutes without speaking. She smiled at us.

“I’ve got an idea,” said Barry. “There’s no point speaking to her sister. Why don’t you come and meet the chick that knows May? She might know where she is.”

“You’re a genius,” I said. “Let’s go!”

I couldn’t wait to leave the bar. I paid for the drinks and when Fon finished dancing we told her we were leaving. I gave her five hundred baht. She thanked me then sat down and got back to the beer we’d bought her.

“So where are we going?” I asked Barry as we walked through Soi Cowboy.

“Not too far. Remember where you first met May? That’s the spot.”

I should’ve known. It was the obvious place.

When we arrived Barry couldn’t see his girl on the street so we ventured inside the nearby bar.

I bought a scotch to calm my nerves and watched Barry as he asked around for May’s friend. The bar was quite dark and there were a lot of girls standing around. Some people were playing pool. Eventually Barry found his girl. They chatted for a minute or two then the girl disappeared. Barry joined me near the bar.

“How’d you go?” I asked.

“Good mate. Just give it a minute and she’ll be back. She knows another girl who had May’s address.”

“You’re joking?”

“Don’t get too excited. She could’ve have moved. It could be a fake address, who knows. I had to give her a few thousand Baht too.”

“Nice work. I’ll give you the money later.”

“Never mind,” Barry insisted.

I saw the girl come back into the bar. She came over to us and spoke to Barry in Thai. I hadn’t realized Barry spoke Thai. They chatted briefly then the girl gave Barry a scrap of paper. Then the girl was gone.

Barry showed me the paper. I saw a line of Thai characters.

“That’s it,” he said.

I drank the rest of my scotch. “Let’s get moving.”

On the street we jumped in a taxi and Barry spoke to the driver in Thai.

“I think he’s a bit surprised,” said Barry.

“Why’s that?”

“Because of where we’re going, it’s off the beaten track a bit. A no-farang area.”

“Do you think it’s safe?”


“That makes me feel much better,” I quipped.

The traffic moved quite quickly for Bangkok. We followed a few major roads then eventually we turned down a side road and then another. After a total journey of twenty-five minutes we stopped along a darkish street with rows of shabby looking apartment buildings. I felt very uneasy. Barry hadn’t been joking about the safety issue.

Barry handed the driver some money and spoke in Thai.

The driver looked at the scrap of paper and pointed to a dark street opposite.

Barry gave me a confident look. “Alrighty, let’s go.”

I nervously got out of the taxi. I could see a few people hovering around here and there.

“Barry, I’m not sure about this, do you think it’s a good idea walking around?”

“Don’t worry, I told the driver to wait. If we’re quick we’ll be alright.”

With that we headed down the dark street.

We soon came to a five story apartment building with iron bars over the windows. I couldn’t see anyone standing around watching us.

Barry looked at the Thai writing. “This is it. I think.”

We went into the entrance and up two flights of concrete stairs. Some of the lights were flickering. Some weren’t working at all. The place was seedy to say the least.

We took a few steps along a central hallway and stopped.

Before I could say anything Barry had already knocked on the door. My heart was pounding. I so desperately wanted to see May.


Barry rapped on the door again.

We waited half a minute.

“I guess this wasn’t such a good idea,” I whispered. “She could be anywhere…”

I felt something solid slam into the right side of my head. Then I felt the concrete floor rush up to me and slam into the other side of my head. My vision instantly blurred and all I could hear was a ringing sound. I instinctively tried to push the ground away from me but my whole body felt like lead. Then I became vaguely aware of Barry scuffling with someone. I kept trying to move but I was almost paralysed.

I felt my face started to throb. Then I suddenly threw up.

I thought I heard some shouting. The next thing I knew I was staggering down the concrete stairs in a dream like state. Everything seemed surreal, the dirty yellow walls in dim flickering fluorescent light, the cobwebs, a shabby wooden door. In actual fact I wasn’t staggering, Barry was almost carrying me as my rubbery legs were hardly moving.

The taxi must’ve waited because I suddenly found myself sprawled across the backseat. I could see Barry sitting in the front. I could hear the driver yabbering in Thai. To my great relief I felt the taxi start moving.

The drive back to Sukhumvit gave me time to get over the shock of what had happened.

What had happened?

I didn’t feel like trying to speak so I remained lying across the back seat like a drunken tourist. Both sides of my face were killing me and I still felt nauseous.

I could see Barry talking on his mobile phone. I couldn’t tell if was speaking in Thai or English he was speaking so fast. He made several calls.

The next thing I knew we were at the entrance to a narrow soi in Sukhumvit.

Barry helped me out the taxi.

“You alright mate?”

“I think so,” I heard myself mutter. My legs were still like rubber.

I staggered down the soi with Barry keeping me from falling over.

“Don’t feel embarrassed, you just look like another drunken farang, that’s all.”

I smiled, hurting my face in the process. “Don’t make me laugh, it hurts.”

“Sorry mate. How is your face? Do you need to go to hospital?”

“Nah, I just need a scotch.”

“That’s the spirit.”

“Nice joke,” I groaned.

Barry chuckled. “Almost there mate.”

We passed a young elephant and then I fell into a couch outside a bar.

Barry blabbed away in Thai to the three concerned bar girls. Moments later I had a scotch and coke and two girls holding cool moist towels to my face.

“What the fuck happened?” I said at last.

“Guess-who turned up. He must’ve followed us. I didn’t see him, he appeared from nowhere. I turned just in time to see him punch you square on the cheek.”

“Shit. Did you clock him one?”

“Sure did. I got with an elbow twice. That softened him up a bit. Then he ran off.”

“Shit. Good thing you’re a huge bastard.”

Barry guzzled almost a whole beer. “We survived, that’s what matters.”

I started to calm down. The scotch and the cute girls were the best medicine.

“Who’s needs hospital?” I joked.

“You do!” John said, appearing at the bar’s entrance. “Look at your face! Staying out of trouble I see.”

“It’s my fault,” Barry insisted.

“What the hell did you two do?”

John ordered a beer and slumped into a couch. Barry explained the night’s antics. John looked at me and shook his head.

“You shouldn’t have gone to her apartment, not just two of you anyway. He knows who you both are now.”

I felt bad. I was on holiday but Barry lived in Bangkok. This was bad news for him.

“And you hit the guy!” John said incredulously.

“I had to!” Barry said sounding annoyed.

“He’ll get you,” John warned.

“Not if I get him first. I know what he looks like.”

John looked astounded. “You know what you’re dealing with here?”

“Yeah, I’ve lived here longer than you. I know.”

I felt bloody awful. I caused so much trouble for everyone. John asked me if I needed to get to hospital.

“I’m ok.” I said.

Barry’s mobile rang. He answered in Thai. He spoke very quickly. His expression soon became very serious. He looked over at me as he spoke. My stomach instantly knotted. Something bad had happened. I just knew it. I couldn’t understand what he was saying but his tone scared me. John had a grave expression. He understood Thai.

“What’s he saying?” I demanded.

John shrugged his shoulders, “something about a hospital.”

I knew that he knew more but didn’t want to tell me anything.

Barry finally hung up. He’d turned white.

“What is it!?” I demanded.

Barry took a deep breath. “It’s May. She’s been found dead…I’m sorry Rob.”

Everything turned black and I couldn’t hear. I could only feel myself vomiting.

Punched again, only a million times harder.

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