D R Faust Makes A Deal
David was somewhat out of practice but he thought he would chance his arm with the woman standing alongside him at the bar waiting to be served. Just turned 40, he still had a good head of hair and features that were not unpleasant. Hard physical activity had kept his body firm and trim and he still cut a decent figure. She was possibly a couple of years younger than him in her late thirties, a bit overweight and although he found the huge ethnic tattoo on her arm a little disconcerting she was quite pretty in an overblown sort of way. She was also a little the worse for drink.
“That's a lovely dress you are wearing, the colour certainly suits you.“
Her reply was as spiteful as it was unexpected “Dream on you old tosser, I haven’t got dolled up to waste it on a sad git like you, so piss off”.
David immediately coloured in embarrassment certain that everyone in the crowded town centre bar had witnessed his humiliation. Wishing a big hole would open to swallow him to cover his discomfort, David left his beer on the bar and made to the toilets to hide. As he neared the door of the gents his way was blocked by a young man wearing a black hooded jacket. At first David thought he was either going to be assaulted or offered drugs.
”I bet you wish you were back in Bangkok now” the young fellow said. David could not quite make out the man's features under the hood and feeling a bit uneasy asked. “Sorry what did you say?”
The young man laughed and repeated “I said I bet you wish you were back in Bangkok instead of having to suffer the nonsense of the silly tarts in here.”
David half recognised this young fellow from a local pub he frequented some Monday evenings. He recalled him sitting on the edge of the group when he and his friend Peter were recounting the exploits of their recent holiday in Thailand a few weeks ago. David relaxed and replied “Yes the women there are far more feminine than these mean spirited bitches in here. I can not understand why they have to be so nasty and aggressive in their put downs”.
David took a breath and continued. ”I do wish I was back in Bangkok, however with my current finances it will be a long time before I can afford to go again.”
The young man in the hood was silent for what seemed an eternity then remarked “Just how much do you really want to be back in Bangkok?”
David gave a small laugh ”The way I feel now I would probably sell my soul to be sitting in a bar in Soi Cowboy”
The hooded young man handed David a small piece of paper
“Deal done, I will be in touch shortly!”
With that the young man in the hoodie stepped back and disappeared into the gents toilets. David looked down at the piece of paper in his hand. It was a lottery ticket with one line of numbers which had been generated by a lucky dip. David stood for a time trying to make sense of the exchange. He turned the ticket over and written in light pencil was a name…”Nick Auld”.
David entered the toilets so he could get an explanation from the young man but to his surprise it was completely empty. He returned to the bar area but there was no trace of the fellow anywhere. Retrieving his beer from the bar he took a seat at a table in a quiet corner and reflected on his situation.
It had only been a couple of months since he had returned from his first and only vacation in Thailand but it already seemed a lifetime. The holiday had been the idea of his pal Peter to celebrate David's 40th birthday and the finalising of his divorce proceedings. It had been a big shock to David when his wife of 15 years ran away to Marbella with the next door neighbour. Fortunately they had no children to complicate things, the divorce was traumatic and costly enough as it was. The house was sold and the proceeds shared equally between the two of them although David collected the tab for all the legal costs.
David Reginald Faust owned a small building firm with two employees that had a reputation for taking on small but difficult projects the larger contractors would not tackle. With the matrimonial home sold David rented a small studio apartment, and in an attempt to forget his errant wife threw himself into his work. Twelve months on he had just completed building an extension to the prestigious offices of Goethe & Marlow, a European Banking concern that had set up in the town.
Peter was a freelance electrician and had been friends with David since school. He had never married having discovered the pleasures of Asian and oriental women early in his career when he worked in the Middle East in the oil industry. His co-workers introduced him to their routine of visiting Thailand to spend their hard won earnings. Although he had been out of the oil industry for five years now he had caught the sickness and continued to visit the kingdom twice a year. David's altered circumstances gave Peter the opportunity to introduce his old friend to the delights of the land of smiles and soft available womanhood. David's accountant friend Ernie had suggested with the lucrative project now complete it would be an opportune time to take a vacation and a fortnight’s holiday in Thailand seemed just what the doctor ordered. Arrangements were made and within three weeks they were aboard a Thai flight to Bangkok.
David was mesmerised by the smells, sounds and sights of Bangkok. Peter was an unreconstructed monger and knew his way around all the fleshpots of the big Mango. For two weeks David was caught up in a breathless whirlwind of debauchery. There was barely a bar in Patpong, Nana, Soi Cowboy or Soi 33 left unvisited and hardly a morning when he did not awake in a tangle of soft brown limbs. David suspected a love affair if not a full blown obsession was developing with that little corner of the kingdom of Thailand.
The euphoria of their trip was soon broken on their return to UK. David’s accountant pal Ernie was waiting with bad news. Goethe and Marlow had been caught up in the great banking crisis enveloping the globe. They had gone into liquidation owing David’s company almost £100,000. As unsecured creditors there was little likelihood of receiving more than pennies in the pound on the dissolution of the banking operation. With their own creditors breathing down their necks David’s company was in deep trouble. Ernie had begun negotiating with the parties concerned and had formulated a rescue plan for David. This involved dismissing his two employees before the Banks would extend his credit. David was reluctant to lay off his two loyal workers but instead agreed to the sale of his beloved Audi to pay their wages for another month or so. “I will just have to get accustomed to the taste of gruel for a time” he told his friend. The company had a couple of minor contracts to complete and David cashed in a small portfolio of investments and insurance policies his wife had failed to get hold of. This provided enough cash to keep the company going for a further month or so. David still had his battered old Transit van with the name of his company “D R Faust” painted on the side. He could use it for work and it would get him around in the absence of his car.
The next two months David embraced his new austerity and whilst his company continued to pick up jobs his resources were rapidly diminishing and he knew the end was inevitable. Reconciled that he would have to file for bankruptcy within the next few weeks he decided to go out for a few beers. A decision that bought him to the town centre pub he found himself in that evening.
The next morning David found the lottery ticket in his pocket and recalled the unusual incident with the strange youth in the hooded top. He also winced as he remembered the fat wench’s painful putdown at the bar. It was Sunday morning, the first Sunday he had not worked for a few weeks. Deciding upon spending the day in idle contemplation he took a gentle stroll to the newsagent to get a Sunday paper.
Whilst he was there he asked the newsagent to check the lottery ticket. Mr Patel was a quiet chap but on checking the ticket on his counter terminal exclaimed “Hey you have got a little win here” David thinking it was 3 numbers remarked that ten quid would come in nicely and pay for a couple of pints at lunchtime. But the newsagent continued “No Mr David, it is 5 numbers and the bonus ball you are having”. Seeing the look of shock on David’s face Mr Patel quickly said “Do not be getting too excited my friend, if you had 6 numbers and the bonus it would have been millions”. The disappointment on David’s face touched the Asian newsagent’s heart so he swiftly explained, “No maybe it will not be a million but it could be a few hundred quid, maybe even a thousand pounds dependant upon the prize fund”
The newsagent returned the ticket to David and gave him a telephone number to contact and register a claim. With indecent haste David returned to his flat and phoned the number to register that claim. By the end of the week he received a cheque for £64,627 as his share of a £1.4 million payout. With all good speed he deposited the cheque in his bank account and rushed to the office of his accountant Ernie in the town centre.
David spent the next morning in Ernie’s office thrashing through the numbers, making phone calls, negotiating with creditors, pleading with the taxman, prostrating himself to customs and excise and berating the banks. By the afternoon Ernie had sufficient agreements in place to declare to David that bankruptcy was averted. Ernie explained there was enough money to provide working capital for a further 3 months trading. He also affirmed it would cover his rent and living expenses for a similar period. Ernie leaned back in his chair and observed “It may be a good idea for you to disappear for a week or so”.
“In fact” he continued “there is a surplus of about two grand which will be enough to get you away for a couple of weeks….maybe a trip to Bangkok?
That evening David phoned his pal Peter and proposed a trip to Thailand. Unfortunately Peter had got himself a lucrative six month contract in Saudi Arabia and as he was due to go at the end of the week he had to decline. Although disappointed that his pal could not accompany him David was determined to get away even if it would not be as much fun alone. Arrangements were made and the following week David was Bangkok bound.
The flight passed without incident and David arrived in Bangkok mid afternoon. He booked into the Nana hotel, showered and within the hour was in the Golden bar soaking up the sights and smells of early evening Suhkumvit. He felt he was back in his spiritual home. Requiring food to fuel his evening he took the short stroll to the Bus Stop restaurant where he opted for a simple green curry to get his taste buds acclimatised to Thai cuisine.
Suitably fed he took a motorcycle taxi which deposited him at Soi Cowboy. He stood for a moment to take in the ambiance of what many consider to be the best piece of real estate on the planet. He made his way to the Dollhouse hoping he may catch one of the guys he met on his last visit. He was not there so David availed himself of a couple of happy hour cheap beers and soaked up the atmosphere. There was as usual a bevy of delectable dancers on stage but felt it was a little too early to bar fine anyone yet. He took a stroll to Shebas and Suzy Wongs having a beer in each before making his way to his favourite bar the Tilac.
He took his favoured seat in the bar, made himself comfortable and ordered a beer. The noise, odd lighting and general mayhem of this bar never failed to delight him and he gave a huge smile to no one in particular. His smile was returned by a girl dancing coyote style on a small podium a few yards in front of him. And what a smile, it was as if the harsh bright lights suddenly dimmed in competition with that wonderful, dazzling pearly white beam David refocused his eyes and took a closer look at this tantalising temptress. From her dark flashing eyes and full luscious lips to her long exquisite legs she was the very personification of sultry sexuality.
She was without doubt the most exquisite creature he had ever seen in his life. He momentarily averted his eyes from her radiance and noticed she had the full attention of every man in the bar, most sat with mouth agape. She was quite modestly dressed in a white V necked T shirt and tailored shorts but her sensual movements could not have electrified the atmosphere with more sexual tension if she had been totally naked. David was mesmerised, then to his utter surprise and elation she pointed a long elegant figure at him, stepped off her pedestal and sashayed towards him. As he watched her walk with a feline grace he was certain his heart stopped beating for a full minute.
She took the seat next to him entwined her arm in his and whispered in a voice as soft and smooth as warm treacle on a velvet curtain “My name is Poot please can you buy me a drink?”
At that moment if she had asked him to cut off a limb he would have done so willingly and without a moment’s hesitation. He ordered her drink and luxuriated in her presence as she snuggled up against him. After she had finished her drink David asked if she wanted to move on to a disco or go for something to eat. To his delight she replied “we go to your room.”
Little did he know but he was about to undergo a once in a lifetime experience. Poot was one of those extremely rare women who actually delivered on the promised sexuality their sensual looks suggested. By the next morning David would be a metaphorical limp rag and feel ready to be taken home in a bucket.
Poot was an enigma, although she was one of the most beautiful and graceful women on the planet she was also possessed of the sweetest of natures and was surprisingly without guile. She was not employed by the Tilac or any of the bars on the Soi but they allowed her to come in and dance occasionally because of the effect she had on the clientele. She could be described as a freelancer but that did not begin to define such a free spirit. Like many girls in her line of business she had an entourage of gentleman offering to sponsor her but she declined preferring to maintain her independence. She would sporadically entertain wealthy Asian clients on a short time basis at high class hotels. She was frequently engaged by certain Japanese corporations to act as a hostess for corporate quests visiting the city. As a result she had become quite an accomplished karaoke singer. She regularly did photographic modelling work and had often appeared as an extra in a popular Thai TV soap opera. She made a comfortable living without being exposed to the worst excesses and hazards of her profession
At a photo shoot a few weeks previously she had been introduced to a young guy named Nick. He was a strange man who wore a hooded jacket even in the Bangkok heat. He had made her feel decidedly uncomfortable. However he had given her a lucrative engagement at the Singapore motor show. The job entailed two weeks as a hostess on the stand of a major Japanese car company. The job also called for entertaining important clients in the evenings, her natural allure and karaoke skills made her very popular with the senior executives. At the end of the two weeks she came away with enough money to pay her rent and living expenses for the next three months. She had just returned to Bangkok that day and felt so elated she felt the urge to dance, which was the reason she was in the Tilac that evening.
Poot was also a consummate and gifted actress who but for an accident of birth would have been on the red carpet at Hollywood’s Kodak theatre collecting Oscars from the Academy with alarming frequency. Her favourite role and the one in which she excelled was that of the “Thai girl friend. “ She found herself inexplicably attracted to a certain type of mature western man, and she had an unerring nose for the men who would treat her with respect and affection. Whilst she only indulged this idiosyncrasy on rare occasions, if she saw someone who took her fancy she would bestow that most exquisite of pleasures, the full on TGFE (Thai girl friend experience). By a quirk of serendipity it was David who took her fancy that evening.
After the nights activity David had slept the sleep of the truly satiated. He was woken by a soft kiss on his forehead. Poot playfully avoided his attempts to embrace her and with a giggle pulled him from the bed towards the shower. An hour later they were taking a buffet breakfast in the busy Nana restaurant. David could not fail to notice the sneaky and admiring glances being made towards his striking companion even by the men who had their own escorts at their side. Breakfast gave David an introduction to Poot’s thespian skills with subtle displays of affection like buttering his toast and the imperceptible little touches which sent shivers of pleasure through his body.
That day Poot had planned to show David a few sights of Bangkok but firstly she needed to go shopping to spend some of the money that was burning a hole in her purse. So after breakfast David found himself being dragged around those temples to retail in Siam Square. Despite his misgivings for the first time in his life he actually enjoyed the act of shopping with a woman. He found himself caught in a pleasurable frenzy of activity. He was surprised (and relieved) that Poot refused all his offers to pay for her purchases. She was quite adamant about this. She even paid for lunch which was taken at the ubiquitous MK which Asian women appear addicted to.
Back at the room Poot laid out her purchases on the bed and began trying on each item with unconcealed joy. She was like a child on Christmas morning much to David’s delight. This innocent intimacy was a long forgotten pleasure and David savoured every second of it. That evening they went to the Sheraton and danced the night away to an excellent western band.
The pattern continued for the next week or so. David was introduced to the tourist sights he had missed last visit. His daytimes saw the Royal palace, Wat Arun, floating market, royal barge collection, Jim Thompson’s house, and innumerable retail emporiums all pass before him in a whirl of activity. The evenings were spent in a variety of restaurants and a diverse assortment of entertainments including karaoke, the nights spent in a glorious exploration of carnal pleasures.
One evening Poot took him to the Coliseum, reputed to be the showcase for the best of the Thai pop scene. The venue was pleasant but to David the entertainment could best be described as dire. It was as if a bunch of 12 year olds had taken over the running of the Eurovision song contest as a school project. However Poot was absolutely enthralled and David was himself enchanted by the smile she had on her face all night which would have illuminated a small village. To see a worldly wise 30 something woman become a carefree 16 year old was one of those experiences David loved about Thailand. He quietly reflected it was a delight that doesn’t come in jars.
Then one night he found himself alone in a bar he did not recognise but somehow he perceived to be a rooftop establishment. He vaguely remembered leaving the Huntsman with Poot but she was not with him now. He dimly recalled seeing the Nana hotel entrance but could not recollect making the diversion to this bar. He felt agitated, the noise and bright lights disorientated him. He felt drunker than the three beers he had would have made him. He feared that he may have been drugged. He leaned against a rail and took a deep breath. He realised he was peering into the darkness of a four storey drop and his head began to spin.
He turned around and standing in front of him was a dark figure he instantly recognised. His hooded jacket now seemed unfeasibly long and almost reached the floor like monk’s habit. The hood itself all but covered his head but David could clearly see his eyes sat in hollow pits in his face. From the depths of the hood came a voice that despite the humid heat chilled him to the bone.
“Hello David, I hope you hadn’t forgotten our little deal? What I gave I can take away.”
David looked into the chasm where a mouth should have been and a sensation of terror enveloped him. He backed away as he felt a bony finger push against his chest. His back touched the low rail and he lost his balance. In a moment of sheer panic he fell over the wall and descended head first into the dark abyss. Screaming in horror David clawed at the air in a futile attempt to grab anything that would halt his descent. As he plummeted to his obvious doom he heard his tormenter laughing
“A deal is a deal and I will be coming for you soon”
David hit the bedroom floor with a bump. It took him a few seconds to realize where he was. Poot was awake and looking concerned at his prostrate form on the bedroom floor. David quickly assured her that he was ok; he just had a bad dream and fell out of bed. He got to his feet and climbed back into bed. Suitably reassured she wrapped herself around him and returned to her slumbers. Sleep did not come so quickly for David he still felt quite shaken; it had been a dream but a very vivid and disturbing dream none the less.
The last day of his vacation was spent in leisurely indolence and quiet reflection. David had just spent the most wonderful two weeks of his life. His biggest surprise was that he had spent considerably less money with Poot than he had on his previous visit. Although he had paid for all their food and entertainments, Poot had refused all but minor gifts and had been resolute that she did not want anything, especially money from him. Whether this was that she genuinely was not interested in the filthy lucre or by not taking money she could maintain the illusion of the girl friend experience. It could be for some other reason but David had ceased trying to understand the vagaries of the female mind a long time ago.
He found he still had nearly £500 in his wallet. Keeping aside £50 for his homeward journey he placed the remainder in an envelope and whilst she was in the shower secreted it in Poot’s handbag inside her passport.
David recognised the experience for what it was. It was undeniably a once in a lifetime event but he was not stupid enough to think it could be repeated. He knew he could never be able to hold on to a girl like Poot. She was a chimera, a fantasy but one he would remember for the rest of his life. It is said there are certain experiences and defining moments in a man’s life that he will always remember such as his first adolescent love and witnessing the birth of his first child. David considered the first encounter with the Thai girl friend experience must rank high amongst them.
The morning of his departure Poot accompanied him to the airport. They deliberately kept their farewells short knowing that it could become very emotional if they didn’t. As David made his way to the departures terminal Poot felt for her passport and found the envelope inside. She had decided to spend a few days with her family in Cambodia. She knew she would have no problem getting a flight to Seam Reap but also knew she faced a long and arduous journey to her village from there. She opened the envelope and on seeing what must have been around £400 inside, gave a wry smile. 2 ½ million Cambodian Riel would help towards the irrigation system she was funding for her village or even replace the roof on the orphanage.
David made his way through the airport to the designated departure lounge. There were not many passengers which suggested the flight would be almost empty. He found a seat away from the gate and made himself comfortable or as comfortable as the seating would allow. Realising he did not have a book or newspaper to read to help the time pass he looked around to see if there was any eye candy to rest his eyes upon. He was disappointed to see there was not. He looked up at the clock which read 11.58. Only another half hour or so till they called the flight. A woman with blue rinsed hair took a seat a few rows in front of him. He gave her a smile which she returned with a gratuitous look of disdain as if she had an unpleasant smell under her nose. She augmented the sneer with a pursing of her lips like a cats arse. She is definitely English thought David; all English women develop that sneer at the onslaught of menopause as their vaginal apertures begin to dry up. Thank goodness we only have half hour to wait I would hate to have to look at that miserable bugger for any longer.
Just then the PA system announced the flight would be delayed for an hour due to technical difficulties. The delay was dispiriting enough but “technical difficulties” is a phrase that puts fear into heart of all travellers but even more so for someone travelling on a Thai airline. If the stories of how Thais got their jobs through nepotism and patronage were only half true, it did not fill one with confidence in their competence to maintain a complex piece of technology like a Jumbo jet.
With only the memory of his last two weeks with Poot to sustain him, the delay and a 12 hour journey ahead of him, David resigned himself to a period of serious tedium. He looked around the unreal world of the terminal building. Its functional design was intended for the efficient transit of passengers and made no concession to aesthetic considerations. It screamed efficiency but was heartless and completely without soul. It was as if Lucifer himself had designed it as a transit area for the kingdom of Hades. David reflected to himself “This has how I have always thought Hell would be. This is definitely my image of purgatory!”
David was suddenly startled by a figure standing before him. It was a figure he instantly recognised. But this time he was clad in a full grim reaper hood and long gothic robe rather than a hooded jacket.
“It is funny you should say that because that is exactly what it is …your own personal purgatory”. A metaphorical holding area before we ship you down below to the fiery flames and tormentors with pitchforks…you know the sort of thing.”
David tried to get up but found he could not move and was stuck firm in his seat. He looked at the clock which now appeared fixed on 11:59, he also noticed that no one around was moving. All was at a standstill like a macabre tableau in a wax museum.
“Who or what are you exactly? He asked. The figure pulled back his hood slightly to reveal his sunken coal black eyes and replied. “You know me as Nick Auld or more accurately Old Nick but in the good old days I was known as Mephistopheles”.
He seemed disappointed that David had not reacted to this disclosure so continued. I work for Big Louie himself. I am a dark angel although I prefer to be addressed as a Soul procurement executive. My job is to collect souls. If you recall, you agreed to sell your soul to me. The price agreed was the price of a lottery ticket and the promise of a trip to Bangkok.
David began to protest but Nick stopped him. “Sorry but it is all done and dusted and the deal is done. But you know what I find amusing is how cheaply you Thailand aficionados give up your soul, I have found you easier than even investment bankers and shady politicians to corrupt. In fact it is only African despots and Chinese businessmen who sell out faster. I told the boss creating Pattaya was a good investment, probably his best since Sodom and Gomorrah, if you ignore the TV series Pop Idol of course”.
“You know what I find most ironic?”
David didn’t but had no doubt this loquacious spectre was about to enlighten him
“Until I met you in that pub you had led a good and blameless life with an unblemished record. You were destined for the other place with the pearly gates, fluffy clouds and all that. In fact the virtuous Poot your little Cambodian cutie is already certain of her position amongst the choir invisible in about 35 years time (although I have had her great-uncle Pol safely incarcerated in my care for the past 12 years)”
David was beginning to think an eternity in torment could not be any worse than listening to this garrulous gargoyle when he noticed the clock on the wall. The time had moved back by one minute to 11:58. He pointed this out to his hooded tormentor who suddenly looked a little less comfortable and rather sheepishly continued.
Ah I see you noticed that. Well it seems Gabriel and the boys above have lodged a complaint about my little transaction with you. They have a few bright lawyers of their own. Obviously not as many as we have downstairs, you just would not believe the veritable hordes from the legal profession who have ended up down there littering up the place.
Sorry where was I? Oh yes …apparently the opposition lawyers reckon I had not fully explained the terms and conditions of the contract to you at the point of sale. I am clearly getting sloppy in my old age. The result is there is currently an appeal procedure underway.
David seeing a glimmer of hope asked his antagonist “So what does that mean to me?
Nick lifted his hood and scratched his head before replying “Well, whilst the petition is being heard you will have to sit here in limbo in the minute between 11:58 and 11:59. If the appeal is successful you go upstairs or you could be returned to resume your life. If the appeal fails it is down to the inferno and don’t spare the horses”
With a ghoulish grin on his face Nick turned to David and said.
“Well I will leave you to get comfortable. The appeal process shouldn’t take too long but don’t worry I will return in a couple of decades to let you know how it is progressing”.
Very nice indeed!