Stickman Readers' Submissions June 9th, 2010

Rome And Juliet

Jack critically appraised his naked torso within the full length mirror in the Mandarin Hotel. He was in no way narcissistic, but even so quietly pleased and confident in what he saw. Jack stood a fraction over six feet tall and weighed 170 pounds. He had a shock of curly blond hair, piercing deep blue eyes and a strong jaw line. His wide shoulders tapered down to a 34 inch waist and as yet there was no sign of an emerging beer belly. Jack mused that many of his contemporises at Bristol University, from where he had recently graduated with a 2.1 honours degree, had not managed to keep themselves in such good shape. His friend and fellow graduate Nigel, who had travelled with him to Bangkok, was a case in point. They had both decided to take a gap year before completing their education. Jack was going on to study for an MBA. Six months of hard graft in various bars and retail outlets had secured sufficient funds for an extended break travelling through the Far East and then on to Australia.

Jack and Nigel initially planned to spend six weeks in Thailand, with the first ten days in Bangkok. The traffic, noise and pollution had not been to Nigel’s liking. When on the fourth day of their vacation Jack and Nigel met up with a group of Australians planning to attend the full moon party in Koh Phangan, Nigel needed little persuasion to cut short his time in Bangkok to accompany them. Jack on the other hand was enjoying the cosmopolitan atmosphere and decided to stay on to explore the city further. They had agreed to keep in touch through the Internet and meet up at a later date.

Staying by himself at the Mandarin, Jack was beginning to question whether he had made the right decision in not accompanying his friend to Koh Phangan. When originally built some 50 years ago, The Mandarin had probably been a grand hotel. It was this that had attracted him to it when he found it through a web search, unbelievably priced at £10 per night. Now he was not so sure it was such a bargain. It seemed probable that the hotel had little money spent on its maintenance since opening all those years ago. The cliental appeared to be mainly Chinese, all with a 50 a day habit. The carpets, curtains and walls were stained yellow through 50 years of accumulated cigarette smoke. Jack reckoned he had acquired at least a 10 a day habit, simply by sleeping in his room. It stunk! Compounding his displeasure, last night Jack had found two live cockroaches in the bathroom. Jack had then started to worry about bed bugs, remaining awake for most of the night plagued by imaginary itches. Before leaving England, his mother had given him the big lecture about the dangers of Thailand – prostitution, drugs, scams, thefts and violence. She even claimed that a couple of young foreign tourists had recently been found shot dead under mysterious circumstances. Jack had not once felt threatened whilst in Thailand, but in his present mood was beginning to miss the company of his friend Nigel. He resolved to visit Mah Boon Krong, do some shopping and then find an Internet cafe so that he could contact his friend.

He Clinic Bangkok

On arriving at Mah Boon Krong Jack’s mood lightened. After doing some clothes shopping, despite being a student Jack was not drawn to the low cost low quality tat on sale in the street markets, he entered a toy shop and began searching for something that might amuse his 6 year old brother, Tom. In one corner, a small crowd had gathered. Jack went over to find out what was going on.

A salesman was demonstrating a battery powered Thai soldier toy. It was crawling along on its stomach, whilst firing a rifle that would flash and emit a popping sound mimicking the discharge of each round. Jack knew that Tom would love this and that being quite small it would not take up too much space in his rucksack. As Jack was queuing up to pay, he heard a voice behind him say “isn’t he cute, I’m buying one for my nephew”. Jack turned around to be confronted by a sight of such feminine beauty, that for a moment he was lost for words.

Oy was about five feet two, slender with shiny black hair that reached half way down her back. Her complexion was flawless, almost like a porcelain doll. She wore designer clothes, emphasising the swell of her petite but shapely round breasts. Oy threw Jack a dazzling smile revealing her pure white teeth. She then introduced herself, explaining that she was in Bangkok by herself for a few days before travelling north to visit her family in Chiang Mai. Once he had re-gathered his composure, Jack ever the gentlemen, introduced himself to Oy and asked whether she would like to have a coffee with him. Oy explained that she did not drink coffee as the caffeine in it made her heart race. She would however love an ice cream. As they left the toy shop together, Jack asked Oy about the origin of her name. She explained that Oy was not her real name, but a nickname given to her by her family, which everyone now used. “This is quite common in Thailand” she told Jack, “most Thais have nicknames”. When Jack enquired as to what “Oy” meant in Thai, she explained that it translates to “sweet” as in “as sweet as sugar cane”. Jack thought this to be a perfect name for the beautiful girl he had just met.

CBD bangkok

They found an ice cream parlour on the ground floor. Once Jack had brought the ice creams, he congratulated Oy on her excellent English. Oy explained that she had been educated in England, first attending Roedean’s school for girls near Brighton, and then progressing to Durham University where she obtained her Bachelors degree. Jack’s family home was in Sussex so he knew the Brighton area quite well. With both of them also having attended “red brick” universities in the UK, they found they had much in common. It transpired that they were both members of their respective universities amateur dramatic societies, so were able to compare notes on the plays they had been in. Jack found Oy to be delightful company. This was enhanced by her sense of fun and mischief, coupled with that dazzling smile which was never far from her lips. Jack had never before felt so comfortable with someone he had just met. They were together in the ice cream parlour for more than two hours, but the time flew by and to Jack it seemed just a matter of minutes. He completely forgot about his intention of finding an Internet cafe to send a message to Nigel. Eventually Oy checked what Jack noticed to be a Rolex watch and asked Jack whether he had any plans for dinner. When he answered in the negative, even if he had plans Jack would have cancelled them without a second thought, Oy was genuinely delighted. Good she said, “please meet me in the lobby bar at the Novotel in Siam Square at 7 o’clock” and with that she was gone.

Back at the depressing Mandarin hotel Jack was barely able to control his mounting excitement at his forthcoming date. Although never short of female interest at University, Jack had never met a girl who had even come close to the lovely Oy. As he showered and changed, Jack wondered for the hundredth time whether Oy really intended to meet him at the Novotel. When he got into the taxi Jack tried to steal himself for what he now believed would be the inevitable no show. He consoled himself with the thought that he would lose nothing but the price of a taxi fare and could make arrangements to travel to Koh Phangan tomorrow. Despite this, hooking up with Nigel again, which had seemed such an attractive option this morning, no longer held much appeal.

Jack arrived early at the Novotel, just after half past six. It didn’t take him long to find the lobby bar, where he nursed a cold beer, sipping it slowly. At quarter past seven he was certain that Oy had stood him up and began making plans for what remained of his evening. At that moment something made Jack look across the lobby and he was rewarded by that dazzling smile. As Oy slipped into the seat beside him, Jack inhaled sharply. He realised she was even more stunning than he had remembered from their earlier meeting. Oy was wearing a simple black Dior dress offset with a matching clutch bag. The Rolex watch had been replaced with a Cartier. If Jack had known anything about shoes, which he didn’t, he would have recognised the Jimmy Choo brand. After Jack had settled the checkbin, the Bell Captain saluted Oy and waved forward a taxi to take them to their destination. Oy suggested they have a seafood buffet, if Jack was Ok with that. Jack thought he would be happy to eat an undercooked dog steak in a dodgy Korean restaurant providing he was in Oy’s company. When they arrived at Baiyoke sky hotel, they took the elevator up to the 76th floor. Oy smiled again, she thought that perhaps Jack would enjoy the view. Jack chose a good bottle of white wine, putting aside the effect this would have on his budget. They dined heartily on the seafood on offer, talking about anything and everything. Oy asked Jack whether he had ever tried oysters and when he responded negatively brought one over for him to sample. “Some say they are an aphrodisiac”, she said smiling coyly.

When it came to settling the checkbin, Oy put her hand over Jack’s as he reached for his wallet. “My little treat” she said, producing a black American Express card. After the meal they went up to the observation deck on the 77th floor. It was here, whist admiring the Bangkok skyline together that Jack and Oy enjoyed their first kiss.

wonderland clinic

They took a taxi back to the Novotel where Oy had taken a suite. Oy asked Jack whether he liked to dance and squealed in delight when he answered in the affirmative. She took Jack by the hand and led him down to the CM2 nightclub, which is located beneath the hotel. The girls at university considered Jack to be a good dancer, for a man. Despite this he felt as if he had two left feet when compared to Oy as she gyrated seductively in perfect time to the music. When the DJ played the first slow number of the evening she positively melted into his arms. It was then they enjoyed the second kiss of their relationship.

Afterwards in their hotel room, Oy slowing undressed whist Jack watched transfixed. The perfection of her body astounded him. Her small firm breasts were offset by a flat hard stomach leading down to her dark pubic triangle sculptured through a recent bikini wax. Oy’s dark nipples were tort and erect, engorged with blood. Her skin was light brown and creamy, and as Jack was soon discover smooth as silk to the touch. Oy turned around slowly to reveal a pert rounded bottom, again flawless. Once she had finished undressing, Oy then undressed Jack, pausing to kiss and caress each part of his body as she did so. With a mischievous giggle she pretended to be intimidated by the size of his ramrod hard manhood, concealing it briefly by balancing an open magazine on top of it.

Once they had showered, together, they made love. At first their lovemaking was frantic and furious, reflecting the desire that had been building throughout the evening. Jack was surprised, both by the power of her movement and also of her subsequent orgasm. Afterwards they lay in each other’s arms, softly exchanging endearments. Then they made love again, this time slowly and tenderly, building to an explosive crescendo. They slept late into the following morning before making love again. Jack then left her briefly to sleep some more whilst he retrieved his belongings from the odious Mandarin hotel.

Over the coming days they became inseparable. There were trips to the Grand Palace, the floating market and Jim Thomson’s house. In the evenings there were visits to the cinema, dinner at a venue presenting traditional Thai music and dance, and taxi rides to bars where Filipina bands played western music. Often they just enjoyed a romantic meal out together, afterwards dancing the night away at a club. One day they took the train to Ayutthaya to visit the ruins of the old capital city, the Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 until 1767 when it was sacked by the Burmese. They also visited the bridge over the River Kwai and searched together through the Allied cemetery to find Jack’s Great Grandfather’s grave. He had been taken a prisoner of war and did not return from the conflict. When they found the grave, Oy left a wild orchid at the gravestone, which she had picked earlier in his memory. They both shed a quiet tear together. Other than this one sad moment, there was laughter, always laughter. They rejoiced in each other’s company, clowning about and playing little tricks on one another. Above all, there was happiness and laughter.

One day, Oy suggested that she and Jack should escape the city and spend some time at a little hideaway she knew in Koh Chang. She explained that Koh Chang, or elephant island, so named for the elephant shape of its headland, is the second largest of the Thai islands, located some 200 miles from Bangkok. She knew of a small development of beach hut dwellings on a remote part of the island, which would afford them total privacy. It would be possible to hire a small motorbike to get around the island and once there they could do as they please. Jim was delighted by the idea, for much as he was enjoying the city, he had always intended to take time out to chill on one of the Thai islands and what could be better than doing so in the company of Oy? He thought guiltily for a moment about his friend Nigel, who he had failed to contact since the beginning of his whirlwind romance. Just as quickly Jack dismissed it from his mind, knowing Nigel was probably having a whale of a time with his Australian friends. There would be plenty of time to catch-up later!

Oy made all the arrangements and they were soon on a mini bus bound for Koh Chang. It was a long and somewhat tedious journey, but they were buoyed up with the knowledge that they would soon be on the island. Following a brief ferry boat crossing, they had arrived. Oy quickly secured a rental motorbike and they were on their own. The roads were in an appalling state of repair; heavily potholed, twisting and turning in all directions, with steep inclines and descents for good measure. Oy clearly knew the island and was used to piloting a motorbike around it treacherous roads and tracks. Despite being nervous to begin with, Jack soon gained confidence in Oy’s ability to control the small machine and relaxed. Physically it was quite tiring supporting the weight of a heavy rucksack on his back. Despite this he was enjoying the people watching and the scenery, together with the knowledge that Oy’s delectable bottom was clamped firmly between his thighs.

Jack realised just how basic the infrastructure on the island was when they stopped for petrol. There was no petrol station as such, simply a stall by the side of the road selling petrol in bottles. Rather like a row Molotov cocktail, Jack thought. Eventually they turned off what passed as the main road and onto a small track that led down to the beach. Oy stopped the bike and went into a small office building with a blue van parked alongside, coming out a few minutes later with a key. Jack meanwhile was stretching and massaging his aching back. They continued on along the track for about two miles, on the way passing several beach huts. At a point where the rough track finally petered out, Oy parked the bike on some hard standing immediately behind the final hut. Jack noticed that it was at least 400 yards beyond the last hut they had passed. The beach hut was a large wooden structure raised on stilts about five feet above the ground, with a small veranda to the front, facing the sea. Oy explained that the stilts were needed to avoid flooding resulting from a high tide or storm. They also provided some protection from poisonous snakes and insects that might otherwise crawl into the hut. When they got inside, Jack was surprised to see that despite its primitive exterior, the interior was quite luxurious. The hut was served by electricity and running water, with a sewerage outlet to take away waste. The layout comprised of a bedroom, a living area, a kitchenette and a modern bathroom with a flush toilet and shower. “I’m impressed” said Jack. “Not your average beach hut and certainly not what I was expecting!” “I’m glad you approve” laughed Oy. “I like to come here sometimes for the solitude, it’s owned by a friend of the family.” “Let’s get that heavy rucksack off you, have a shower, and then I’ll massage your poor back with tiger balm to make it feel better.”

The following days were idyllic. Jack and Oy used to motorbike to explore the island, picnicking by waterfalls, playing hide and seek in the rainforest and snorkelling over the reefs. Sometimes they would eat out at the open air restaurants they found in the villages, at other times preferring to prepare a meal in their kitchenette, eating al fresco on the veranda and watching the sunset together. They would then take a blanket down to the shoreline and make love under the stars with just the gently lapping waves for company.

The tenth day of their vacation on the island found them sitting on the veranda discussing their university days. They had recently been swimming and were enjoying the soft sea breeze which was gently drying them. Jack had just served himself with a cold beer from the fridge. He had brought a diet coke for Oy. As she was talking, Jack was once again admiring Oy’s long black shiny hair. It was still damp, and the droplets of water trapped between the stands shimmered in the late afternoon sunlight. Jack thought to himself, again not for the first time, that these last few weeks with Oy had undoubtedly been the happiest in his life. He wished they would never end, for he doubted his ability to exist without the joy in his heart that was Oy. With a struggle Jack re-focused his attention on what Oy was saying. She was reminding him about the time she played Juliet at university, which she had found to be a profound experience. “Don’t you agree”, she continued, “Romeo and Juliet was the ultimate love story because of the tragedy that befell them?” “The beauty and purity of their love for one another was defined in the manner of their loss, for if they had grown old together then the intensity of their passion would surely have been diminished through comfortable familiarity.” “Yes, I suppose so”, responded Jack neutrally, for the intellectuality of her argument was at odds with his mood. “I’m so glad you agree my darling” responded Oy triumphantly, as she reached into her beach bag. The small Beretta pistol aimed between his eyes was Jack’s last living memory!

Oy placed the smoking gun gently on the table and again reached into her bag. This time she extracted a mobile phone and made a brief call. A few minutes later, the blue van that had been parked by the office was cautiously picking its way down the rough track. Just like the others before him, it would take Jack’s body off the island. Jack would later be discovered by the side of a road, more than a hundred miles away.

Stickman's thoughts:

Wonderfully put together.

nana plaza