Readers' Submissions

Falling Into Blue


The goal I have for myself is to drink four beers before I go to to sleep, and decide which one is the best. If I do this, the day is a success. The beers are: Singha, Chang, Leo Super, and Phuket Beer.

Preparing for this important day I have previously acquired all four beers, and they are in the small fridge of my Ao Nang hotel room. It is a pleasure to look in at them from time to time. They are an attractive lot. In a way, it will be
hard to drink them. The glass sheen of the bottles sparkle. I would like to line up all bottles outside on the wooden shelf of the balcony and watch the light go thru them.

Anyway, this morning, I say hello to Miss Singha, and take her into me. It is early but she hits the spot. She isn't too heavy, she isn't too light. I like her, I like her a lot. Drinking good beer is a feeling of soothing rain in a kind of
heaven. If only I had such passion for the non-liquid world.

There was a storm early in the morning and as I walk along the shore, garbage is washing up. I see a piece of eggshell clumped with a cereal box and a couple of plastic bottles floating up on the sand and landing there.

As I watch, my friend Sam approaches. He is probably my closest Thai friend. I have been in this small town since forever. I have seen some locals over and over.

Only the tourists change now. The men are different in their nationalities and waist sizes and ages. Sometimes they start to talk to me. Lately, some of them, though, avert their eyes from me. But maybe this is my imagination. I'm really
not interested in them. That is, in the men. I still love to look at the female forms if they are in the range of tasty delight.

I admit I skip over the waddlers. I am partial to half moon curves of soft mountains and black silk hair that hangs down Asian femme silk backs

Sam is a soi dog. I don't know where he comes from, who takes care of him, why his fur is always filthy. I just know I usually make sure I have some leftovers from breakfast and give him some. And his somewhat empty looking eyes always seem friendly
to me as he eats.

I say Sam is my best friend, that is Thai, because I haven't really made any real friends among the native men. I mean they smile and sometimes we talk a little but after all this time I don't really feel I know any of them.

This morning I don't have McDonald's leftovers. I have eaten breakfast at the hotel. The usually dual menu of tasteless Western pancakes, and the Thai side of things, as usual, really didn't interest me, so I have just coffee and toast.

I'm sorry, Sam. My hands are empty.

I must admit Sam doesn't look too happy. In fact, after awhile, he just walks away from me. It seems without food I am just another smell of foreigner kind.

I feet thirsty. I know. I can go have a Chang at the 7 Eleven and feel I am accomplishing something important: my beer goal. And then later, I could have the Chang in the fridge to be extra sure when I decide on the best beer.

I go to the local shop and get a Chang and drink it on the white plastic chair at the white plastic table in front. A tut-tut comes by with banners announcing the coming of a Thai Kickboxing event. A car follows close with more banners and music blaring,
and in Thai and English announcing date and time and place.

I have been to one of these boxing events. Foreigners occupied the best seats in this old building housing a ring. A few cushions were around the ring and I recognised some local x-pats. I think these seats were around 12 dollars.

Each bout there would be a ceremony in the ring. Incense would be sprinkled among music and chants and colorful clothing. To me the eyes of each warrior seem deers in the headlight, but maybe this is just my projection. The fights themselves are brutal.
Fascinating, at first. But how strange they begin to seem somewhat the same. I know many people gamble on these things. And the looks of defeat or win on the faces of the warriors are seeds of drama. But, still, I leave after a couple bouts.

As I walk a part of the shore which directly parallels the street, a cab passes without shouting if I want to ride. This is because I have been here awhile and the drivers know I will say no. But some foreign newcomer, and they are hounded.

Ao Nang is dependent on tourists and when the town is not full of them there seems an air of desperation that seeps around. Then again, this may again be a projection.

I seep now a certain desperation myself, I think. I mean, how crazy is it that I'm not even sure I am desperate, or not.

This is what is happening. I can't decide to go back to My Filipina wife or not, to return to my 9 to 5 job in Amerika, or not. I thought I had a choice of maybe going to England to see a red fur young Scottish bred lass I had flinged with awhile
ago, but: last night when I usually phone her, I did not.

I knew I was doing something strange when I didn't ring her. Yes, I was drunk.

Yes, I was beginning to feel less wanting her, for some reason.

Maybe the reason was the form next to me. For the first time, it was the second time she was there. But there was probably not going to be a third.

Okay. Back to talk of desperation. Perhaps here I should say I am beginning to have money concerns. If I don't go back to Mz. California soon I will have no permanent job. This possibility scares me. I have come to Mz. Thailand as a tourist, and
should get my butt back and get my wife back and live the Amerikan day.

But maybe I don't want my life back. Maybe what being here has done is screw up my marbles. Maybe. But maybe somehow being here has opened up soul to the possibility that a life of environmental order and myth, and clean highways and soiled dreamways
of the Western World, end in the despairing eyes of older Americans I see as I walk off the Venice Pier in Santa Monica.

Maybe. Maybe not. In Bangkok I remember older Americans sitting in bars with eyes shot by too much liquor and nights turned to morning with sheets smelling of stale odors and leftover whiffs of perfume that seem depressing in the afterlife of the paid
femme.

I dwell a little on my financial situation as I go to massage. I can always sell another of my father's paintings he has given me. And then what? What would I do to avoid becoming the bum foreigner you sometimes see stumbling in Pattaya?

Teaching? My God, have I not read enough Stickman to warn me off. Of course, some, like Sawadee, find its inspirations.

During massage, the oil flowing softly out from her fingers, calms me. She is relief. Are we friends, by now, I wonder? Do not the intimacies she spreads upon me speak of a different dance than fantasy turns?

I see your smiles as I turn on my back. Your black pearl eyes look at me. I stare back and smile and daydream of you on top tipping.

I guess I am still not completely free of thinking about money concerns because I leave her a tip less than before.

I think I see her smile less as I leave. This may be a wrong impression.

The storm has now long passed. The heat is intense. I go in a store and buy one of those hankie things to wipe the perspiration off. It works for about ten minutes.

I seem to be sweating a lot now. I remember Sawadee writing of his heart attacks.

Is my heartbeat increasing now? Am I pale? My left arm does feel a little sore. Now for sure my heart rate increases. Stentsville and cardiac care are far away, and a surge of fear shoots thru me.

For some reason, but really, I know, because of the memory of her from last night, I head to the bar. I do not want to be alone. She is playing pool. She looks up. And like a magic my anxiety leaves with the quickness of the time it takes for her to see
me and begin a sweet smile..

There will be a third night later. No one knows of love finds. I know the bar girl warnings and I am no sap. Okay. I am a sap.

I head back to the hotel. I shall accomplish my goal with the other two beers, and the extra Chang.

And then perhaps I shall feel more steady of earth and hope.

P.S. Singha (In my opinion)

Stickman's thoughts:

A very nice reflective piece.