Our Man About Saigon
Guesthouse Phnom Penh Cambodia
Kevin is a five-foot-four thirty something American and former Navy man once stationed in the Philippines and Korea who is now another Saigon resident expat, and by all the evidence before me is also a confirmed alcoholic and weed addict, and first and foremost a flaming asshole.
Five minutes after I sit across from him to pick up more stories and more that I didn’t know about Saigon, and much more bullshit than I usually find tolerable, Kevin is openly buying a bag of weed that he gets from a round and pimply doe-eyed Vietnamese man who spends most of his time sitting on his motorbike waiting for business that doesn’t come. The money from Kevin in hand, pimply doe-eye walks a dozen yards and in plain view of everyone on the street gives the money to a dumpy middle-aged woman in black in exchange for the mild mind-altering drug, 80,000 dong (four dollars) for a small plastic bag enough for six or eight joints, depending on whether you like them fat or lean, short or long. As it happens, the same price I would’ve paid the night before after I did a playful word game with a young kid who was selling cigarettes, and certain brand boxes stuffed with stuff that is not what anyone over the age of 10 or 12 would call cigarettes.
Yeah, Kevin, the loud and mouthy lying shithead who loves to hear himself talk and who’s been living in Saigon for three years with his American-born Vietnamese wife. He claims to be teaching English for $3,000 a month, working sixteen to eighteen hours a week. He loves it, he will tell you three or four times in an hour, because he just can’t get enough of hearing himself talk. And, oh yeah, he wants to remind you that he doesn’t pay any U.S. taxes on his Saigon teaching; f@#$ no, not that shit for me, man. Does he know anything about how to teach English? From talking to guys like Kevin in Cambodia and Thailand and here in Vietnam, and listening to how they use their native language, I’d venture that they know as much about how to teach English as I know about how to instruct budding physics majors in quantum mechanics, something I’ve never had a course in and don’t know shit about. (And I have taught writing to university students for years.)
Kevin is the kind of asshole who even gives expats a bad name. Like so many of them in this part of the world, he’s allegedly working on some “promising business deals”, and when not doing any of these undefined scams that you know don’t exist, wants everyone to know that he’s very good at servicing three mistresses that he claims he keeps happy with $300 a month allowances and apartments that he pays for and can be found somewhere in District One or District Two, or District Thirteen, who knows where the f@#$ they can be found amid all the bullshit and obvious lies that he enjoys peddling. To hear Kevin tell it, he’s all cock–as he likes to say. I mean, he’s not mortal and disorganized and hard only half the time like most horny men who think about sex all the time, and horny men of all ages are aplenty in Vietnam and Thailand and Cambodia. Nope, Kevin rotates through his three mistresses on a predictable “f@#$ schedule,” he lets you know in his non-stop monologue. Somehow you begin to sense that he’s got quite a piece of meat; which, I’d bet good money is soft and small most of the time simply because he drinks so much. My money says that unless he’s superman he can’t perform no matter how seductively f@#$ happy mistress one, two or three are. And as for what’s left over for his wife, assuming that he’s not drinking as much as I infer and he wants everyone to know, and he’s banging Mistress One or Mistress Two, or Mistress Three on his “f@#$ schedule”—well, go figure.
I’m supposed to believe that Kevin has a very “hot and sexy” American Vietnamese wife who he convinced to buy into an unwritten but uncontestable pre-nup that allows him to support and have fun with three local Vietnamese women—his mistresses, as long as he doesn’t get a fourth one, in which case the wife has made it abundantly clear that she’s going to take a hammer to both his face and his happy-man always hard cock. All this good macho bullshit follows dubitable claims about getting a master’s degree in business from Arizona State University, which he would have you believe is good preparation for teaching English in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s like Cambodia these days, I’m to know. You can smoke all the dope you want and anywhere, and you can buy it in small quantities just about anywhere on the street. But don’t get caught touching heroin or cocaine, and don’t even think of going anywhere near a girl who is not eighteen. Yeah, never forget these two big no-nos in Southeast Asia: the real nasty drugs that you won’t live to do a second time if caught with enough in your possession, and the young underage girls who will get you more prison time than you can believe. At least this part of his story rings true, truths from all I know about as good as any in this part of the world.
For a guy with a wife and three mistresses and a love for alcohol that by midday tops what I drink in two or three days when I’m hard on the piss—which isn’t often, Kevin claims to know more about the local bargirls than an anthropologist who’s been chatting for a year with anything in Saigon that remotely looks like a woman or a girl. He’s got all the numbers on how much they cost short time and how much long time, and even which ones do soft kinky shit and which ones will take you over the edge with whips and cuffs and SM tricks that I’ve never heard of. Then he tells me with a straight face, a smiling straight face to be more accurate, that he’s never, ever, not even once been unfaithful to his wife. He’s never once paid a dong for a f@#$, not even with a dog so ugly that even dogs avoid it. Well, there are his mistresses, we can’t forget them; but they don’t count. Mistresses are special because they have their own apartment that people like Kevin pay for on an English teacher’s salary. Mistresses, I forgot to mention, that are on call anytime of the day or night. Even when they’re bleeding and sick and just got through f@#$ing someone else—a Vietnamese boyfriend or husband, you can be sure.
I can’t forget to mention that Kevin is the Saigon Man to also go to if you need sex gizmos and condoms for men with eleven-inch dicks, and anything else small or big that your twisted imagination demands. The little twist here is that despite all this knowledge that does take some time to acquire Kevin claims to have never, not even once, used a condom. If he did, after all, how could he possibly satisfy his wife and his three hungry mistresses, because as everyone knows if you use a condom and you’re thirty years old—to say nothing of being forty or fifty or sixty–you’re not going to be able to come four or five times a night, even if the last two shots are as dry as the Mohave Desert. He’s also never had an STD, or at least never had one until you—meaning me–screw up your mouth and shake your head and murmur: Now how the f@#$ did you pull that one off? Another double shot of something strong and then a long gulp on the unfinished Saigon beer, and he laughs like a crow and confesses: Okay, I have had the clap three or four times, or maybe it was…I don’t remember how many times I’ve had it. But the clap is no big deal, man. Anymore than it’s a big deal for anyone in Asia. Anyone who believes these new rumors about a drug resistant strain of clap on the march in Asia that’s not going to go away no matter how many drugs you throw at it–come on, man, that’s just sissy rumor and you’re not going to believe that shit, are you?
f@#$ing right I’m going to believe it: I ain’t that stupid.
Unfortunately we have our share of "Kevins" in Thailand too.