A Girlfriend Experience
It was 5:20 in the afternoon. Kung was playing with her iPhone when her computer beeped; a Skype call. She trained the mouse on Accept and clicked. The screen flickered, and the caller’s face appeared. She noted he was young and good looking. “Thai Lovers, good afternoon,” she said with a smile. “My name is Kung, how can I help you?”
“Hi, Kung,” he said, returning her smile. “I shall be coming to Thailand in February for a month, maybe longer. You can help me by finding me a nice companion.”
“You want for month, like girlfriend?”
“Then you want the Girlfriend Experience, our GFE package.”
He grinned.”OK. But with a ladyboy, a lovely ladyboy.”
“That is no problem. We have many beautiful ladyboys as well as girls. You have visited our site?”
“The URL is ThaiLovers.org. Please visit the site and join our membership. On the site, you can view the girls we have available for serious relationship, marriage, GFE and, of course, the lady boys.”
“OK, I will do this and get back to you. Thank you.”
“Thank you,” Kung smiled. The caller disconnected. Kung wondered about him. Why would such a handsome guy, who could have any lovely girl he wanted, want to rent a ladyboy? What a crazy world it is. She went back to her phone, and the game she was playing.
At 5:30, the desk phone buzzed. She picked up the receiver. “Thai Lovers. Good evening.”
“Hello, Kung, Ying peaking. Is Ricky there?”
“No, he is not,” Kung said sharply.
“Then please tell him I called,” Ying hung up. Kung replaced the receiver. She didn’t like Ying. She went back to her phone game.
At 6:00pm, she yawned, stopped playing, put away the phone and closed her computer. She tidied her desk and was preparing to leave when the door opened and Ricky entered. “Sawadee, khrap, Kung,” he said. “Just leaving?”
“Sawadee, kha, Ricky. Yes, I’m just leaving.”
“Yes, a good day. Your girlfriend called.”
Ricky grinned. “Ying, is not my girlfriend, Kung. She’s a girlfriend.” He went over to the coffee table and began preparing a cup. Kung watched him. She liked Ricky and considered herself in to be love with him. He was everything she wanted in a boyfriend. He was tall, slim and so very handsome. He was always happy and laughing, never angry. He was also farang. And what Kung wanted most of all was a luuk krung baby, a baby that only a farang could give her. And Ricky, in her mind, was the perfect boy for the job. But in nearly a year, despite her best efforts, he’d never made a pass. She took out her makeup kit and started putting on lipstick using a tiny mirror.
Ricky carried over two cups, placed one next to her and sat down. “Did Tuk come in today?”
“Yes,” she said and put away her makeup. “She left at three as she have dentist appointment.”
“So you had a busy day then?”
“Yes. We have sixty seven new members join today.”
“Not all: some Japanese. Also, we have eight definite GFE bookings; one asking for GFE with ladyboy.”
“Good,” Ricky grinned and drank coffee.
She reached for her coffee. “Soon Thai Lovers will be the biggest dating site in Thailand.”
“Maybe. We’re doing well right now.”
She took a sip of coffee and pushed the cup away. “Too sweet, Ricky, I told you about that,” she scolded. Checking her watch, she stood up and took up her bag. “OK. I leave now?”
“You’re going partying?”
“I’m meeting Fon for gin khao.”
“And then partying?”
“Maybe. You want to come with us?”
“I’d like to, but I’ll be busy. I’ll call you if I can come.”
She smiled, knowing he would not. “I go.”
“Have a good night, Kung.”
“See you tomorrow, Ricky,” she smiled and went out, her heels tapping a rhythm on the tiles as she walked to the elevator.
He drained his cup and went into his office. At a small bar, he fixed himself a Jack Daniels whisky over ice and a glass of Cola and sat down at his desk. He booted up his computer. This was the part of the day he enjoyed most; doing the accounts, checking out the day’s activities, reading the profiles of new members and reading the testimonials; taking care of business. He had six new requests for banner-ad space; now, that was real good. Thai Lovers made serious revenue from adverts for Bangkok restaurants, clubs, bars and other entertainment venues.
At 7:30, he was finishing up when a Skype call interrupted. He accepted the call and the image of a man sitting at a desk appeared. He was around thirty five, short hair, dark blond. Wearing a turtle neck sweater and tinted glasses, arms folded over the desk, he looked cool and in control and reminded Ricky of the actor Steve McQueen in the movie, The Thomas Crown Affair.
Ricky smiled. “Thai Lover’s. Good evening.”
“Good evening,” the man said. “I spoke to a young lady a short while ago.”
“That was Kung she’s gone for the day. I’m Ricky, maybe I can help you.”
“OK. My name’s Julian: Julian D’Amour. As I told Kung, I’ll be spending time in Thailand in February, mixing business with pleasure, and I’ll need a companion; a ladyboy companion.”
“Have you checked out our website?”
“Yes. I filled in a membership form with my details. I also checked out your ladyboys.”
“Did any appeal to you?”
“No, they didn’t, not a bit. Nearly all are pre-op she-males. I’m looking for a post-op ladyboy: a transsexual.”
“We have them.”
“I found four on your site, none of whom I fancied.”
“Well, Julian, you should understand that most of our clientele want pre-op ladyboys. That’s why there are only a few post-ops with us. But there are many in the business. I could look around for you if you like.”
“That’s fine. My criteria are these: post-op, no taller than five feet three and no more than one hundred and ten pounds. And she has to be exceptionally feminine and very attractive.”
Ricky nodded. Why in the fuck don’t you hire a damned girl and have done with it, buddy. He smiled and said. “You should know that, as a rule, ladyboys are taller and heavier than ladies. Finding one to match your criteria will require a little work. But I’ll get on it. Can you give me a few days?”
“I do have some very lovely Thai girls if….”
“Not interested. Been there, done that. I have glamour chicks coming out of my ears.”
“OK,” Ricky stifled a laugh. “You’re American, right?”
“You got it. You’ll find all you need to know in my profile.”
“OK, I’ll read it.” D’Amour was sitting before a wide picture window which showed what appeared to be mountains in the distance and aroused Ricky’s curiosity. “Not that it matters, Julian, but where you calling from?”
Julian D’Amour placed his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chair and grinned. “Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado. It’s a fine winter’s morning here. We had lots of lovely fresh snow overnight. It’s 6:40 in the morning and minus fifteen Celsius. And I’m about to get ready for some fine morning skiing; maybe find me some good powder. I have a home here, right in the thick of it. That’s where I am.”
Ricky smiled. “Lucky guy. For the record, in Bangkok it’s 7:40 in the evening, thirteen hours ahead of you, and thirty two above, hot and humid. OK, Julian, I’ll get on your case and get right back to you. Take care.”
“Ciao.” Julian grinned, waved a hand and the line closed.
Ricky found Julian D’Amour’s file in less than a minute. And in less than thirty seconds he knew that D’Amour was someone out of the ordinary. He went into Google and discovered more about him.
D’Amour was Ivy League stuff: private tutors, private schools in Switzerland, Yale business degree. A natural athlete, he was an excellent tennis player, a pilot with advanced ratings and a blue-water sailor. And to top everything, his father Dominic, was a billionaire who headed a multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. This boy was high born, seriously rich and had just about everything; even his own plane. And now he wanted a petite post-op ladyboy with the looks of a film star. Ricky smiled and shook his head. He went to the bar and fixed another Jack Daniels. He came back to the desk and began thinking about Julian D’Amour and his ladyboy fantasy.
Ricky had met and known hundreds of ladyboys, many post-op, but none that had all what D’Amour was seeking. One had been close; Zena, a post-op he’d encountered in Casanova’s, the ladyboy hangout in Nana Plaza. Zena was small with a beautiful face, a lovely body and legs that were superb. But, with chicken shit where her brains ought to be, she walked, talked and acted like an outrageous drag queen. Ricky took a long sip of whisky and smiled at the recollection.
What D’Amour was seeking was a high concept sexual fantasy that didn’t exist. It was a fantasy shared by many men; to meet and engage with an incredibly lovely Oriental woman, beautiful in all departments who had once been a fully functioning male. But, Ricky smiled, he’d give it a try. He took up his mouse and began surfing the Bangkok ladyboy escort sites.
After an hour, he’d had enough and shut down the computer. He’d try tomorrow, but it looked like Mister D’Amour’s criteria would not be matched.
Julian should bite the bullet and try a lovely girl of which Thailand had plenty. And Ricky knew some real beauties: Ying Pantip for example. Ying was devastating; easily the most beautiful girl Ricky had ever met. And she was available. But as she was a woman, D’Amour would reject her. The crazy thing was: if Ying were a tranny he’d go ape shit for her. But what if he didn’t know? What if he believed Ying was a post-op ladyboy; a true transsexual who’d made the transition with perfection? Now, that would really blow his mind. Ricky, chuckled, fixed himself another drink and called Ying on the office landline phone. She answered on the second ring.
“You are still in the office, Ricky?”
“You know I am. Had I used my cell you’d ask: where are you? And if I said: at the office, you wouldn’t believe me. That’s why I used the landline.”
Ying giggled pleasantly. “You are working, or playing with Kung?”
“I never play with Kung. In any case, business and pleasure should never be mixed. I am working, and I’m alone. You called earlier?”
“Yes. I wondered if you had anything for me.”
Ricky grinned. “Such as?”
“A nice interesting man to spend time with me.”
“You mean a nice rich, interesting man to spend time with you.”
“Rich would help,” she laughed softly.
“Yes, it would. So, you’re getting restless. Perhaps I do have someone. Would you like a drink?”
“OK.” He checked his watch: 8:50. “Meet me at the usual place at 9:45.”
“The Landmark Hotel lobby, OK. Where we go?”
“I suggest Oskar Bistro.”
“It’s on Soi Eleven, opposite the Landmark.”
“OK. I see you, Ricky.” She hung up.
Ricky finished his drink. From a small wardrobe, he selected a pair of ivory chinos, a dark blue cotton shirt, under-shorts and his toilet bag and towel and went out and down the hallway to the bathroom. He stripped and showered under water that was cold and invigorating. He toweled down, dressed, slapped on some cologne and went back to the office, his mind on Ying Pantip and the role he hoped she would play in the little ruse he was concocting. His last act was to download the profile of Julian D’Amour, print it and print off copies of his six photographs.
As arranged, he met Ying in the lobby of the Landmark. She was, as always, dressed superbly. Beneath a black silk jacket, she wore a white silk shirt, long sleeved and open at the neck revealing a modest, but well defined cleavage, a black silk pleated skirt, cut above the knee and cinched at the waist with a dark red belt. On her feet, black leather pumps, were trimmed in red. A small, black purse hung from a shoulder. She proffered a hand and Ricky squeezed it in both his and kissed her cheek. “Let’s go,” he said.
They crossed Sukhumvit using the Nana Skytrain station and headed down toward Soi 11 and into Oskar Bistro. Inside, heads, both male and female, turned to eyeball Ying as Ricky guided her toward a table by the bar. The bar itself was, as usual, a crowded meat-market of young Thai women and farang men. Ricky appraised the bar crowd and acknowledged several of the men whom he knew.
For Ricky, the men who hunted in Oskar dressed well and were a cut above the Singha singlet wearing white trash sex hounds that populated places like Big Dog’s, Lucky Luke’s and the go-go bars of Nana Plaza, and gave Bangkok such a bad name. Most were older and of a certain age; mainly expats with a sprinkling of tourists. But youth too had its representatives.
A waiter attended them with menus and Ricky ordered two Mai Tai’s. Ying studied her menu, flicking over pages. “What are you having, Ricky?” she asked.
“I’m going to have the Caesar Salad with Salmon.”
“It is good?”
“Will I like it?”
“Yes you will if you like salmon. It’s the best in Bangkok in my view; try it.”
“OK, I will.”
Their Mai Tais arrived, and Ricky placed their order. Ying tried her cocktail, smiled her approval and surveyed the bar crowd. “Many of them they look at us,” she said.
“You, you mean. You’re the eye candy.”
“What is ‘eye candy’?”
“Eye candy is something lovely to look at; a feast for the eyes. It could be a lovely car or a beautiful boat. But most often it means a pretty girl.”
“Or a beautiful man,” Ying purred. She smiled, widely and drank some Mai Tai.
Ricky handed her the photographs of Julian D’Amour. “Like this guy?” he said.
Ying picked them up. “Yes, he is handsome, very good looking. He is eye candy. Who is he?”
“His name is Julian: Julian D’Amour. It’s a French name.”
“Yes I know. D’amour means of love, as in affaire d’amour. He is from France?”
“No, he’s American. But probably has French in his background.”
Ying held up a photograph. “He looks very kind.”
Ricky grinned. “He can afford to be. His father is a billionaire; one of America’s richest men.”
“Money is not everything, Ricky.”
“No, but as you said, it helps.”
“Tell me of him.”
Ricky handed her a folded sheet of paper. “That’s his profile. Read it when your home.” Ying placed the paper in her bag.
“He called today,” Ricky continued. “He’s coming to Thailand in February. He’s coming for a month. He wants a companion.”
Ying chuckled softly. “He wants the Girlfriend Experience.”
Ricky laughed. “Yes, but with a difference.”
Ying raised her eyebrows, but said nothing.
“He wants it with a beautiful ladyboy.”
“What?” Ying’s smile turned to a shocked expression.
Ricky raised a palm. “He doesn’t want a she-male: a chick with a dick. He wants a post-op ladyboy. He wants a transsexual, a ladyboy who’s been, as the Americans put it, ‘sexually reassigned’.”
Ying’s expression was now one of disbelief, but Ricky continued. ”He wants her to be small and slim and very feminine.” He took a sip of Mai Tai and leaned over the table. “What Julian wants doesn’t exist; I know that. He wants a stunningly beautiful girl who was once a boy. It’s a dream, a fantasy. And he wants me to find her to live the fantasy. And I, of course, want to give it to him.”
Ying didn’t comment, but her smile had returned. She sipped her drink, and her smile widened. “Go on,” she said.
Ricky took a long sip of Mai Tai. “The only way I can, is to give him a beautiful girl and convince him she’s a transsexual. Once he’s got it in his mind she’s transgender, it will be fine. It’s all in the mind; his mind. And he’ll pay a lot of money.”
“By beautiful girl, you mean me?”
“Who else? You’re the most beautiful girl I know.”
She chuckled. “Thank you, Ricky.”
Their order came; the table set and the food placed. Ricky ordered two glasses of white wine, and they settled down to eat. They ate in silence; Ying immersed in thought, Ricky patient, watching her, both enjoying the food.
Ricky knew Ying well, perhaps better than she knew herself. She was the offspring of a love affair between a young Dutch geologist and a Kanchanaburi lady schoolteacher of great beauty; a beauty she’d passed on to Ying. From her father, Ying was gifted a more prominent nose, eyes of slate grey, a dimpled chin and two small cheek dimples that appeared only when she smiled. Following an education at one of Bangkok’s finest, and most expensive, international schools, where she excelled in all subjects, she was on track to attend Edinburgh University Medical School when a light airplane, carrying twelve geologists and engineers, crashed in mountains near Bandung, Indonesia killing all on board including her father. His loss devastated her. And without his support, without funds, her dream of becoming a doctor ended. She now had to work.
As she was fluent in English French and Dutch as well as Thai, and using her international school connections, she sought teaching work as a governess among Thai elites in Bangkok. She was quickly disillusioned. The pay was poor and hours long. She was treated like an indentured servant, made to live in, her free time controlled. In addition, her youth and beauty caused further problems; she was constantly sexually harassed by male employers behind their wives backs, some offering her the role of mia noi. Being the girl she was, she quit that path. And from then on she had little time for Thai men.
Ying was no hooker or even a good time girl. She was, in Ricky’s eyes a modern courtesan. She was not on Thai Lovers’ list of GFI girls. But if a special man applied, Ricky would contact her. Most of the time she would decline, but from time to time she accepted.
“So, was it to your satisfaction,” he asked, when they’d finished.
“It was as you said, very good.” She took a sip of wine and nibbled on a piece of garlic bread.
“Ying, I think Julian D’Amour is a very fascinating guy. I think you’ll enjoy a month with him. You’ll travel and have fun. And he’ll pay a lot.”
“Yes. But what if he asks things about sex change and things like that.”
“I’ll prime you. I’ll write up a simple story you’ll remember easily. Just realize this; he wants to believe. Read his profile and visit the websites I’ve written down. And then phone me and tell me you’ll do it.”
“OK. I’ll think about it.”
After putting Ying in a cab, Ricky took another to his place, a simple single storey old house in a quiet lane off Sukhumvit Soi 60. He fed his three cats, drank a cold Singha beer and went to bed.
It was 1:15, and he was in a deep sleep when his cell phone rang. He awoke on the third ring and picked up the phone, saw Ying’s number and opened the line.
“Good Morning, Ying.”
“You were sleeping?”
“Would that be unusual at this time?”
“I’m sorry, Ricky. I should have waited till tomorrow.”
“Yes, you should. Bad news always goes down better after a good breakfast.”
“You’re not going to go with it.”
“Oh no, I am. I want to do it.”
“Really?” Ricky grinned, pushed back the sheets and swung his legs out of bed. “You gave it a lot of thought?”
“Yes. I read his profile. I also read about him on his family company websites and other internet sites. He’s cool.”
“He’ll treat you like a queen. And he’ll pay Thai Lovers a nice fat fee that I haven’t yet decided on.”
“You will prepare a cover story for me.”
“I will later today. Right now I’ll email your pics to Julian and blow him out of his shoes.”
Ying laughed, softly. “I will speak to you later, Ricky. Good Night.”
“Good Night, Ying.” He closed the phone and went into the kitchen and fixed a coffee. He sat at his computer and logged on. In Ying’s file, he selected twelve photographs of her; some color, some monochrome. He wrote a quick email note to Julian D’Amour, introducing the lovely Ying Pantip, attached the photos and sent them. It was 1:34am: 12:34pm the previous day in Aspen, Colorado. The ball was rolling. He smiled, eased back in his chair and savored his coffee. Then he went back to bed.
He was wakened at 5:10 am by the jarring ring of his phone. It displayed a private number. “Ricky Hill, good morning.”
“Good morning, Ricky; my apologies for the early call.” Julian D’Amour sounded breathless.
“No problem,” Ricky said. “You sound like you’ve been running.”
“I just finished my last ski run of the day. It’s been a long one. But, hey, I got the pics of Ying.”
“Good. And what do you think?”
“She is incredible. Absolutely lovely.”
“I’m pleased you like her. She is some lady.”
“Ricky let me get back to you on Skype in say two hours. Is that OK with you?”
“Yes. I suggest 7:30 Bangkok time. I’ll be in my office.”
“Great. Ciao, Ricky.” The line closed. Ricky got out of bed and headed for the bathroom.
He left the house at 6:00 and took a bus to Soi 20. Already Bangkok’s streets were alive and bustling, the traffic dense. On Sukhumvit Road, office workers pressed on past the night’s human detritus as, under the urging of police officers, the all night street bars were being packed away, and plastic chairs and tables piled into waiting vans and trucks. And, like cockroaches before light, the last patrons and hookers scurried away with their bottles, to squat down on shop doorsteps. Bangkok was shedding its night and embracing the dawn. After picking up some barbecued chicken with sticky rice and some soup from a street vendor, Ricky headed up to his office.
He made coffee and ate breakfast at his desk listening to the BBC World Service on a radio. At 7:30 D’Amour came through as arranged. “Hi, Ricky. Good Morning to you again.” He was at his desk before the picture window.
“Good Morning, Julian.”
“This lady, Ying,” D’Amour held up a photograph. “She’s absolutely lovely. How did you find her?”
“I worked at it, followed some leads and contacts. I was lucky really.”
“Tell me of her.”
“Ying is Eurasian. Her father was a Dutch geologist and her mother a Thai schoolteacher. She’s very well educated. She was going to study medicine, but her father was killed in an airplane crash which ended that. She’s fluent in English, Dutch and French as well as Thai of course. She was a fine school athlete, as well. You will like her as a companion. I should add that she’s seen your pics and profile and is delighted. She says you’re very handsome.”
D’Amour laughed. “Great,” he said.
“Would you like me to continue looking at others?”
“No. No, definitely not. This is the one.”
“I’m pleased Julian. She will be available for you.”
“She will need a passport.”
“She has one.”
“Good. I shall email you my full travel itinerary before the weekend. I’ll be staying at the Oriental Hotel when I arrive in Bangkok and that’s where she can meet me.”
“I’ll tell her that. Would you like to contact her?”
“No. I want to meet her in the flesh at the hotel and enjoy a big surprise.”
Ricky chuckled. “That’s fine.”
“OK. Good Day, Ricky.”
Ricky sat back and grinned. It was definitely on. He poured a fresh coffee.
Ricky handed Ying an envelope. “This is his itinerary. He’ll be travelling to Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Hanoi, Saigon and Jakarta: that’s just his business trips. He plans on seeing as much as he can of Thailand. He mentions leasing a big sailboat in Phuket. He may even rent a plane. You’ll have lots of action. You’ll be active.”
Ying smiled, widely. “It sounds like great fun.”
“There is, of course, a problem; a unique problem,” Ricky said. He drank some wine and watched Ying across the table. “Do you know what it is?”
She shook her head, a faint smile on her lips. “Tell me.”
“The problem is your monthlies. Lady boys and transsexuals don’t menstruate. They don’t have babies. But girls do. You didn’t think about that?”
“Yes, I did. I thought about it. It’s no problem. I can handle that.”
“Are you sure? Julian will be here a month, maybe more.”
“Don’t worry, there are ways.”
“Just be aware of it. So, you’re ready.”
“He arrives Friday night around 8:00 flying Thai Air from New York; first class of course. It’s an eighteen hour flight, so he may be jet lagged. He’s booked into the Oriental; he’s probably rented a suite. He wants you to meet him there. I’ll take you there around 9:00. The main thing is; keep me posted. Any problems contact me. Need advice call me. Clear?”
“Clear. Ying smiled, showing her dimples, and Ricky’s pulse quickened.
During the first week, Ying did as he asked and sent emails with attached photographs from the various cities she visited with Julian. Then, apart from a brief email from Singapore, Ricky didn’t hear from Ying or Julian for eighteen days. He began to worry. In the normal run of things, this would be business as usual; Ricky had no contact with GFE customers or the girls during the vacation. The punters rented the girl, paid their money, did their vacation and went home invariably well satisfied, many returning later for more of the same. A few may write a testimonial, but other than positive or negative comments Ricky might get from the girl, that would be it. But in Julian’s case, it was a little different. As Ricky was playing a ruse, he liked to know all was well.
It was Julian who eventually broke cover with a phone call from the cockpit of the sail boat, an ocean going sloop he’d rented in Phuket. “Hi Ricky,” he yelled above the sound of wind and rushing water. “We’re on the Andaman, south west of Phuket, making for Krabi. And I’m teaching Ying to sail.”
“By the sound of it you’re taking on water,” Ricky said.
“We’re in a blow, four foot swells and a strong sou’wester. But this boat is a big strong girl so no problem. Ying is at the wheel, in harness, tied in, secure and as happy as a child. Here she is, Ricky.” There was a fumbling sound then Ying came on with a squeal. “Oh, Ricky I’m having so much fun. I was scared at first, but now I just love it. We’re south of Phuket heading for Krabi. This is fantastic.”
“I’m glad for you. But be careful. And call me.”
“Yes, I will. Bye, Ricky.”
Julian came on again. “OK, Ricky, right now we have some hard sailing work to occupy us so we’ll talk later. Take care, we’ll be in touch.”
Ricky chuckled. Thai Lovers was making money and growing fast. He was happy. And Julian D’Amour was happy too, enjoying his ladyboy fantasy, big time.
The following week, Ricky was home watering plants in his yard, listening to The Doors and Jim Morrison deliver Riders on the Storm, when Ying called. “He wants to take me to America.” she said.
“Wow,” Ricky said. “When?”
“When he goes back home. At the weekend.”
“That’s in three days. Are you going?”
“For how long?”
“I’m not sure.”
“He’s falling in love with you isn’t he?”
She didn’t reply.
“Ying this is not how it’s supposed to be. You’re being foolish. Decline. You’ve had fun. Let it go. Tell him to come back again someday.”
“I can’t. I’ve promised him.”
“Change your mind.”
“Ying, you’re not thinking straight. You’ll get caught out. I want…..”
“Ricky I must go. I’ll call you later.”
”Yes,” she hung up.
“Shit,” he cursed.
But Ying did not call. He heard nothing. The departure deadline passed, and he assumed she’d gone with D’Amour to America. There was nothing he could do about it. He pushed it out of his mind.
It was two weeks later, on a Friday; 8:45 in the evening and Ricky was at home watching a video of the Newport Jazz Festival when the Skype call came through. It was Julian D’Amour. The American was seated, as usual, at his desk in Snowmass. But his expression, taut and creased, told Ricky he was far from relaxed, or happy. He offered no greeting.
Ricky smiled. “Good Evening, Julian. Good to see you.”
Julian D’Amour stared intently into the webcam. “What the fuck were you thinking about, buddy.”
Ricky stared back, but said nothing. He knows. By Christ, he knows.
D’Amour placed his elbows on the desk, his chin on his hands. “You fucked me, you shit. You took my money and fucked me over. And it almost worked. It almost worked.”
Ricky felt a sense of unease, a slight frisson of discomfort. This guy could hurt you.
“Do you know what these are?” D’Amour raised a small paper box. He read the label: “Ciricol, feminine oral contraceptive pills.” He waved the box and grinned at Ricky; it wasn’t a pleasant grin. “There’s also these.” He tossed three slim Tampax menstruation applicators on the desk top. “You know what they are, don’t you?”
Ricky swallowed, his throat dry. He was tempted to disconnect, but held his hand. He’d take the shit and offer D’Amour his money back.
“Julian, I’m sorry.”
“Sorry. What the fuck does that mean?”
“Julian. I will send you a complete refund.”
“A refund?” D’Amour roared; his grin became lupine. His fist thumped the desk. “A refund for the thousands of dollars I spent on her; clothes, travel, and entertainment?”
Ricky felt crushed. So much for the refund idea.
D’Amour drank from a glass. “I asked for, requested, a fine and beautiful lady boy. Remember? And you send me a fucking girl. Ying is a girl, Ricky, a female. You fucked me over. But I’m gonna pay you back for it.” He stared hard and long at Ricky. Then, he smiled and held out his hand and Ying came into the picture holding a coffee mug; she was also smiling, dimples prominent. She wore a black turtle neck sweater and tight black ski pants. She looked ravishing.
“Yes, you pulled the wool over my eyes, Ricky,” D’Amour went on. “But I’m so glad you did.” He reached for Ying’s hand and pulled her to him. She sat on his lap. “When I found out, I was shocked and angry, but then I saw the funny side of it. I also realized I’d fallen hopelessly in love with her. She is beyond doubt the most beautiful and exciting girl I’ve ever known. I’d met nothing but glamorous floozies until now; Long Island Bimbos, spoiled high society bitches, trust fund brats and others. And then I meet Ying, and she’s given me back my faith in womanhood. My parents adore her. And it’s all thanks to you.”
“Ricky, Ying has agreed to marry me. We’d like to tie the knot here in Aspen, a small wedding right here at my lodge with just my friends, but my folks won’t hear of it. So, it’s going to be a high society do. We will marry next month at my family compound near Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. Everybody is going to be there; the State Governor, the Mayor of New York and a whole who’s who of well known athletes and entertainment people. And you Ricky will be there as my personal guest of honor. I’ll email your ticket, all expenses are on me. Now, do you accept?”
Ricky felt dazed and reached for a water carafe, filled a glass and took a long drink. He scratched his head and smiled.”Yes,” he said. “Of course I accept. It’s a big surprise for me. Thank you, Julian, and my sincere congratulations to you both. I hope you will be very happy.”
“Thank you, Ricky. We’ll talk soon,” D’Amour said.
“Bye, Ricky,” said a smiling Ying and the line closed.
Ricky shut down his computer. He shook his head, feeling amazed. At his sound system, he took out a CD, Edward Elgar’s immortal romantic piece Salut d’Amour; so very apt he thought, and slipped it into place. In his kitchen he selected a red wine from his refrigerator; a Frontera from Chile, inexpensive and quite lovely. He took a big glass, filled a bowl with potato chips and went out onto his verandah. He turned on the two fans that kept unpleasant night raiders at bay. His three cats joined him on the bamboo couch. He opened the bottle, filled the glass and looking up at the big moon that covered Bangkok, drank a toast to Ying Pantip and Julian D’Amour; and another successful romance for Thai Lovers.