A roller-coaster of love, mass and deception
(v1.51) by Thai-C!
My first itch for Thailand dates back over ten years ago. It all started because of a girl (classic), followed by some small investment in a restaurant business (other classic), and later scratched by a decent academic position in Bangkok which gave me the opportunity to move to Thailand my physical body, to rejoin my soul that was already there.
My experience was all but linear, after few years of this job at university I got a better offer from a private school and tried my luck. Unfortunately the new position did not last long, and after having been laid-off I moved to the south to work in a food retail company connected to my restaurant investment. Then I had to take a long break to undergo a nasty surgery back in Italy, where public health is more reliable than in the south-east Asian counterpart.
When I moved to Thailand again after the long recovery, I took the first job that came up: high-school teacher in a small province 60 km south of Bangkok.
The following story takes place, actually, takes time between Summer 2017 and late 2018. It is a confession of how gullible I am and how many red flags I’ve deliberately ignored despite my bald claim to be always ‘in control’, a delusion built over a biased sample of more lucky experiences that delighted my Thai life so far.
Little did I know about the surreal path my life was about to take when I swiped her profile.
The poorly maintained public high-school in Samut was not as fancy as the modern University in Bangkok, but it paid as much, actually a little more. It was a decent way back to be a productive member of Thai society after my long absence, and gave me a starting point to look for better options.
I had a short working week, teaching only from Tuesday to Friday. I rented a small room right next to the school, nothing more than a bed, a desk and an air-conditioner, but I was only sleeping there three to four nights a week. My long week-ends were spent in more attractive destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, or Gaarawe’, this little jungle village in the south of Thailand founded few years before by a crazy friend with my financial help.
Indeed, I could define myself a partner of what turned out to be a zero revenue business. My other business, the profitable one with the restaurant, was not mine any more. I had resigned my shares and I was waiting for the settlement, which finally arrived with over one year delay just around Chapter 6 of this story. We will come back to that.
I did not have much of a social life in the little town. The only creatures awake after 10 PM were packs of street dogs and few lonely werewolves. After work I used to eat some cheap dinner at the local mall or in the street market and drive around on my motorbike without a destination, filling my soul with the emptiness of muggy air. I did not have any girlfriend or concubine around there, not at all like my old-times in Bangkok, when it was hard to take a breath of fresh air between the scent of one lady and the next. Only a few years had passed since those glorious times, but felt like eons.
My main grazing activity was online, as dating website are still quite popular in Thailand, especially for matching pretty Thai ladies with preposterous Farang (Thai slang for western foreigners). Every now and then I used to swipe a couple of interesting profiles, hoping someone will swipe me back. And they did from time to time, ladies from the big city were often the reason for my weekend trips to Bangkok. If not, I had to improvise.
She was chubby, a little overweight, and there is a universal law for which chubby girls tend to date older guys. Not sure if this is because old guys cannot get the slim and sexy ones, or because chubby girls cannot get handsome young guys since handsome young guys are attracted to slim sexy girls. Actually, I think the last part might be true because young guys don’t know any better.
Our age difference was close to the weird side, she could have been my daughter if I had unprotected sex when I was able to. But I was over 19 when I first had any sex, which made me feel like I’ve missed out when I heard about that TV show ’16 and pregnant’. But that’s beside the point. When we introduced ourselves I shaved off a few years from my age and she added a couple to hers, and both our fake identities looked pretty believable from the outside.
She was waiting for me at the Ratchada Night Market, a place where Thai people go to eat, shop or drink, especially during the weekend. I knew about that market because some previous girlfriend had taken me there, otherwise not many farang are seen around. And I knew the chubby girl from my dating app, we had chatted for a few days and then I happened to be in Bangkok just at the right time when she texted me. We hadn’t actually planned that date, but I had planned one for the following night with a much slimmer girl also from Bangkok, which I then had to cancel.
So, again, I was driving my motorbike along Ratchada Road and she was waiting for me at the entrance of the night market. There was a crowd of people walking in and out plus another bunch standing in front of a small kiosk that appeared to be selling pillows, but one figure in particular caught my attention.
A spherical mass of meat masterfully sculpted by a modern Botero into a gracious shape, heighten over some tiny shoes and with a sizable Gucci bag hanging from one side and putting the whole structure out of balance. On the top part, excessive make-up shaped out a nice round face with a cute smile, small Asian nose and chubby cheeks, warmly lit from below by the esoteric light of an iPhone screen, which she kept at the proper distance and orientation to provide the best shading effect.
What the hell, I thought. I parked my motorbike and we went down to meet her. We walked the market, had a few drinks, talked about random stuff. She did not sleep with me that first night – serious girl, I thought – but we arranged to meet the next day. However, on the way back to my Bangkok outpost I couldn’t avoid picking up a less serious girl from the street.
Next day I moved from my outpost in Soi Nana to a more decent neighborhood on Ratchada Rd. As vaguely promised she actually called me in the afternoon and came to my hotel room. We had some early drinks, a swim in the pool, shower, and some sweet sex of course.
She wanted the curtain closed and the light off – serious girl – pretending I would not notice the excessive mass rhythmically shaking during the intercourse. Not many positions were practicable in that environment, but doggy-style turned out to be more fun that I used to remember. We had dinner that night, slept together, and met every other weekend since then.
She was not a top model but she had charm, remotely accredited by over 25 thousand followers on her Instagram account. She was somehow elegant in the goofy way she moved, she had a good style for dressing and make up, she liked good brands and expensive stuff and apparently she could afford it. Whatever her deal was, she appeared to have money, a lot of it.
At first she didn’t take me to her room. She said she was living with her mother in one of the most expensive condos in Bangkok: The River – Sathorn, which unfortunately I have never seen from the inside in more than one occasion: once or twice I drove her back and kissed her goodbye outside the lobby, another time I was supposed to enter the condo as an agent, but this is another story.
Instead, our weekends were mostly spent in expensive hotels around Bangkok, which she booked and paid for every single time: Lebua, Amari, Ambassador, Baiyoke. Plus she invited me to fancy dinners, expensive cocktails in poshy sky-bars, and the occasional presents such as a shirt, a wallet or other items from brands I would not be willing to pay for myself. From time to time I was contributing to the living expenses by supplying drinking water, Singha beers, or the occasional meals at a food court – old cheap bastard I am! About drinking water, she was one of these people who doesn’t panic if they don’t have in store at least two gallons to go through the sweaty night (note that tap water in Bangkok is not drinkable).
After a couple of months, she bought an apartment for herself in another quite expensive condo in the center of Bangkok. One of those high-rise buildings with a super-luxurious lobby: at least 10 m high ceiling, modern crystal chandeliers, abstract art objects, velvet sofas, marble tea-tables and a granite block front-desk equipped with two pretty Thai hostesses and a phone. A Duffy Duck dressed guard was standing at the entrance 24 hours per day (split in two turns of 12 hours each, as the observations I made seem to point out) just to open the door and give a military salute to everyone coming in and out the building.
She said she had bought it for investment, planning to stay there for a while and then sell it at a higher price next year – and actually condo prices went up exponentially in that area, due to the quick completion of a 40-storey office building that I’ve literally seen raising from the bare ground during the unfolding of this very same story.
What had I learned about her so far (the picture of her that was given me at that time)? She was born in Chiang Mai and moved to Bangkok still young. She graduated not long before in a good university and currently had free-lance jobs. Yes, I see the pun there.
She claimed to be from a wealthy family. Her dad was ex-army currently retired and living in a farm in Isaan where he did his service. Her brother was a police officer in the south of Thailand, in one of those Muslim infested provinces near the Malaysian border. Her real mother was dead, her step-mother was also retired and she was living between Bangkok, dad’s farm and Chiang Mai.
Together with her brother she helped managing the family investments such as lands and few luxury condos they owned in Bangkok.
Actually she did not do much work, she claimed there were sales agents working for them, and I have heard her calling them (or whom she claimed to be her agents) a bunch of times and flooding them with incomprehensible Thai jargon. She also did some work for Mr.H., a character to whom I would later be introduced.
It took me a while to get used to her size, personality and so on. I don’t know if it was love just yet, but I enjoyed the feeling of being taken care of, bills included. I slowly came to accept that she was about everything I have ever wanted: a young rich chubby girl from South East Asia with enough love and dedication to withstand a crazy old fart like me. Actually, a few kilos and a few millions more than what I was dreaming of.
In less than two months I had completely fallen for her. Our weekends were always spent together and bit by bit I moved half of my stuff to her room, which made me think about previous girlfriends having done the same with me and the irony of it. I still had my job and my little room in the suburbs, so a few days a week we were separated, but even in my free nights I couldn’t stop thinking about this weird chubby girl so full of mysteries and surprises …
When I was completely hooked up, the movie started. She first involved me in some tourist business where my task was to find the best deals on 5-stars hotels in specific location and dates, and make a list to be sent to the customer for choosing and finally to the agent for booking. My copy-paste task was as simple as a brainless monkey could do, nevertheless she paid 5-10 thousand baht easily for one hour work. Easy money, why not? She seemed to have more anyway.
Then we started some missions to Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi. We had fully paid trips, including meals and 5-stars hotel, to just walk around and personally check hotel prices as last-minute customers and compare with online ratings. This information was then organized in the usual excel, which was paid on top of the whole trip.
I still remember our first long weekend in the imperial suite of the Hilton Pattaya hotel. Just the bathroom was twice as big as my whole apartment in Bangkok, had a little pre-entrance room (but no guard, unfortunately), bath tub, shower, double basins and a marble toilet that I felt shame to dirty with the product of a poor man’s digestive system. There was a large living room with an oversized sofa, a stylish bedroom with round bed and two balconies with an amazing view of the sea, 30-something floors below.
Beside the huge breakfast, the imperial suit package included a gorgeous happy-hour in the sky-lounge with free snacks and drinks.
And I am not talking potato chips and Thai beer, but French cheeses, smoked salmon, Italian salami, fresh Sushi, just to mention my top selection items, and drinks like Champagne, Italian wines, Cognac, whiskeys.
With a freshly filled glass and half salmon platter, I have been wondering how can rich people withstand this ongoing orgy of delicacies and not get consistently wasted every single day. Fucking rich people! They totally miss the fun – or what a cheap motherfucker like me defines as such.
But I was fitting right in, at least that was my feeling over a bottle of champagne. Maybe not as much I did in the morning, splashing water like a stranded fish in the abnormally large swimming pool on the edge of the building. Rich people just sit around and look cool, casually reading a book or just looking straight into the sky or towards the sea, mostly wearing sunglasses.
And my girlfriend definitely seemed to belong to that race. She was not excited as I was about all the good stuff, didn’t need to swim three times a day or have more than a drink or two at the happy-hour.
Sneaking in and observing the life-style of the revered upper class was for me a fascinating experience, which made me re-think about my core values and the meaning of life itself. So much I had done wrong not to have earned my own place up there, so much could have been achieved.
Shortly after the trip I was introduced to Mr.H., a creepy Indian guy who appeared to be the chief of a legitimate rice export company. We were invited to his office because he wanted to discuss with my girlfriend some unclear business proposition. He knew her for a long time through her brother and used her for not better specified jobs related to rice export and tourism.
I saw him only once or twice after that since he did not play an explicit part in this story, being perhaps the hidden master-mind. His involvement is open for speculations.
The next chapter of the movie was even more ‘engaging’, literally.
When you mix-up a Nigerian prince scam email with a rejected Eddy Murphy’s movie script, you get something like this: “Marry the Chubby Girl and Win a Million Dollars”.
Once upon a time, a rich dead grandmother had left her testament money to her grand-daughter, aka my girlfriend, under the condition that she would receive it ONLY when married or at least engaged. It took her a few days to build this up and the story was supported by two more people who contacted me by chat and email, supposedly her brother and the family lawyer P’Ohm (the capital P’ in front of someone’s name is the Thai way to address elders or honorable people).
She did not push me or anything, actually she acted very cautiously and seemed shamed to ask something I might not be ready for. About me, well, I had already swallowed the red pill followed by a shot of brain-killing Thai rum.
She organized the event at her dad’s farm in the Isaan country-side, she bought me a nice shirt, arranged transportation, and so we went.
We arrived the day before the event and slept at the farm, where I met her dad: a calm small old-looking man whose history in the Thai army was accredited by a number of hanging photos and military decorations. However the house was not what I would have expected from such a wealthy family. It looked better than the surrounding slums but surely not a millionaire’s mansion. She explained that her father wanted a quiet life and a modest lifestyle in the countryside. Also he was taking care of some nearby land they owned, she said.
Apparently Thai people take this engagement thing pretty seriously. Half the town was invited at the ceremony, and we had food gathering, music, drinks and crates of beers buried in ice. Before I even woke up they had arranged a long gazebo in the backyard with tables and chairs for the numerous guests. We started in the early morning with the visit of a dozen of monks. They sat in a room carefully prepared for them with red pillow sits forming a circle, a bunch of jars later used for food littering, a menacing wooden stick and other Buddhist tools. We kneeled in front of the monks and listened to a few minutes of chanting, followed by some squirts of Holy-Buddha-Water and concluded by our offer of food and the offers of the guests. It is embarrassing what kind of cheap crap is given to the monks: canned goods, unhealthy drinks and industrially processed food embedded in tons of plastic, mostly from the local 7/11 source, and it is embarrassing how the monks tolerate such a wasteful charity.
Once the monks left, together with the red pillows and the Buddhist stuff, the room was refurbished with carpets and other non-red pillows for the next-to-be engaged and few intimate guests to sit on. I could hear the rest of the crowd still chattering outside, and I learned afterward that they had been enjoying the gathering. A well dressed guy came in, sat in front of us and he asked me with some pre-made Thai formula if I was ready to take care of my girlfriend and promise to marry her, and also what I had to offer in term of stuff and money. They say it’s tradition. Luckily I got that part covered: my girlfriend showed up that day with two boxes of jewelry that were placed in front of me during the ritual, as if I was giving it to her, and I had been practicing my script in advance, achieving such an immaculate pronunciation that I could notice a little tear of commotion in her father’s eyes.
Finally we went outside and joined the party where I was forced to take photos with every damn relative, friend and passer-by.
We spent there two more days, my long weekend was gone and I was engaged. It was mid November.
After the engagement we got much closer, maybe because of the excitement for this premature yet serious promise made in front of the monks. I moved from the school town into a more modern yet affordable condo in the outskirt of Bangkok, right next the highway that was taking me to school in about one hour and back in about two. This way we could stay together all the time, at my place during the week and at her place or some fancy hotel in the weekend. It felt really good and I miss that time the most, when life was easy and deceitful.
In December we planned a Christmas trip to Italy so I could introduce her to my family and spend the holidays with them, after two rough years where things did not quite work out. Of course she offered to pay for the trip and possibly for a small tour around Europe. What a treat!
With all that in mind and a chubby rich girl nightly grinding over my hips, I was so high in the clouds that I almost forgot to use my brain. Indeed, my foolish idea of happiness was about to get kicked right in the balls.
Since my first job in Bangkok I had opened a Thai bank account, mainly to get my salary in and the occasional shares from the restaurant business when the company was still profitable. In normal conditions the account had never been above a hundred thousand baht. However, not long before the engagement, I had received the settlement from my once little Phi Phi Island investment, which in the meantime had grown to be a quite decent amount of money. The money was paid by the new owner of the company after the manager had been convicted for murder, in a long and intricate story that would take the focus away from mine.
I am pretty sure I had never mentioned about my settlement to her. The money was just standing in my account, which I admit I hadn’t been checking for some time since everything was paid for and I had cash money from those brainless little jobs. When I finally did check my account, in late December, over one million Thai baht had disappeared into the blue.
I started to panic. (Of course) she came up first in my list of suspects, for how much I loved our fairy tale so many details did not really fit, starting from her big ass in these tiny underwear. Then I realized I had lost my card, or maybe I realized that I had lost my card and called the bank to find out about the missing money. It is hard to remember the exact order of events.
I called her immediately and asked if maybe I had left my card at her place and if she knew anything about my bank account. (Of course) she denied and immediately came to see me and offered to help. We went to the bank where I learned that my money had been transferred via ATM to other accounts. I claimed that I did not make those transactions and that I had actually lost my card. We were redirected to the police station where we submitted a request for further investigation.
Then Christmas came. Despite the bank trouble, we were still up for our trip. I had a little fight with the school in order to get my Christmas vacation, but I did not care much since it was not my intention to keep that job for much longer, and our upcoming honey-moon was well worth the trouble.
A few days before our supposed departure she showed me some sort of digital ticket with our names on it and her European visa still valid. We went shopping for souvenirs and clothes for the cold season, and we made a tight plan for the next day to park my motorbike at her room, grab a taxi and go to the airport.
The day of the departure, while driving back from work, an unknown number called me. A Thai man speaking relatively decent English introduced himself as my girlfriend’s lawyer and said that she just had a problem with one of her real-estate agents, and she needed to appear in court right on Christmas Day in order not to lose the trial. Thailand does not celebrate Christmas, but the coincidence sounded a little fishy.
When I went to her place she was red-eyed and pouring tears like an onion slicer. She told me again about the court issue and said she didn’t want to cancel the trip. Maybe we could postpone it for a few days, she said. Useless to add that she ended up missing the Christmas appointment and the trip was finally canceled.
We ended up spending our holidays in the jungle village with three Chippendales off-duties, whose muscles had been put to good use in excavating the trench for the irrigation system. For those who aren’t into male show business, like I wasn’t, The Chippendales are a troupe of super-muscular strippers from the US who had just concluded a round-the-world tour devoted to women’s entertainment. Three ‘performers’ had decided to spend their holidays in a wild remote location just like our little village (listed on AirBnB) and volunteered to help us out with the ongoing projects. If you can picture them shirtless and sweaty in the middle of a tropical field, you have a good idea of how gay my trench excavation looked like.
After New Year we moved back to Bangkok and in the following months I grew extremely suspicious. Too much shit had been piling up, and even blind-folded as I was I started noticing the smell. We had a few fights, but every time she pretended to be on my side and always had an explanation. I was not sure about what to think, but we kept seeing each other.
To help me earn some extra money she gave me small jobs about real estate, such as checking market prices and visiting available properties, but I was not earning nearly as much as in the beginning. We had good moments again, like this time she took me to visit a penthouse in the diamond-shaped building (Marque), or another crazily expensive suite at the 63rd floor of the glass tower (MahaNakon).
Sometimes she still treated me with the occasional 5-star honeymoon like the good old times, not that often now. Little cherries in a stinky pile of shit.
I had to wait over two months to get the police report. I don’t actually think it took so long, despite the slow pace of the Thai police and the Thai people in general. The issue involved the bank security system, which I picture as some sort of digital database where this kind of query can be accomplished in a few clicks by any sys-admin with middle-security clearance. But since she was the only one in direct contact with the bank and police, I just waited for her to tell me what to do. I was totally ‘in control’, wasn’t I?
Now I know that I could have waited forever. Until one day, it was the 5th of March I remember, I said nothing and went to the police station on my own.
The bank report had been there for a while, and it showed the full list of transactions that I claimed to be fraudulent and had photos taken from the ATM cameras where my card was used for those transactions over a period of five days. Not all the pictures were clear. At first I recognised a shirt, than a Gucci bag, and finally there she was, her chubby face standing in front of the ATM, while using my card to transfer money to two unknown Thai people.
She must have spied on my code using her phone, snagged the card from my wallet while my pants were down, and used it at the nearest ATM with the excuse of going out to buy stuff. The last time she even forgot to put the card back. The Fucking Bitch!
My sight went red and my blood was boiling while I quietly left the police station, started my motorbike, and drove straight to her room.
I said nothing at first. I walked in, took off my shoes, then I casually picked up her iPhones (she had more than one) and put them in my pocket. She realized that something was wrong, so she asked if I had gone to police – somehow she knew already.
I never beat up women, but I think that a well-placed man slap on the face has a better effect on the guilty girl than a thousand words. So I released my heavy hand and waited for her blunt eyes to look straight back at mine with that beaten dog expression, then I yelled: “What the fuck have you done?!” It took a few hours and another good slap to make her talk and when she did, it surely wasn’t the full story. Even now, after collecting and putting together sparse bits of information, I still struggle to understand the whole picture – this is the main reason why it has taken me so long to write it down: how can I tell a story that I don’t really know?
Her new story went like this: the aforementioned family lawyer P’Ohm was actually a Mafia boss who owned money from her family and had forced them to get involved in his dirty business. He got favors from the police thanks to her brother and had her working as his personal assistant in barely legal matters, such as using her name to register apartments in Bangkok, probably to hide part of his laundered money.
She said that this person had asked her to do things in the past (she was never too explicit about what, but I got some ideas) and when he learned about her new boyfriend (me), he pushed her to involve me in this roller-coaster of bullshit with the apparent purpose to test how much money he could steal from me. When he had a clear estimate of my possessions he used his leverage on my girlfriend to make her transfer my money to his people, who she claimed she did not even know.
In few words, I had just been victim of a clumsy yet quite elaborate scam, perfectly orchestrated and masterfully executed for over six months. And everything else was also a lie, or was it? It is pretty hard to set a sharp boundary. Clearly the testament was bullshit, as was the bullshit about her large capital and wealthy origin, not a respectable family from Chiang Mai but a bunch of poor farmers from the Isaan country-side (also known as the incubator of Thai prostitutes). But the engagement was real, with real monks, real relatives and half of the fucking town invited.
The tourism business was definitely made up even if it paid real money, that was just to keep me away from my own bank account, I guess.
The real estate stuff is unclear, indeed the supposed boss may have had real estate investments and might have been interested in checking new properties, but why send me? And all these ‘ghost’ contacts, there were real people behind these chats and emails, other than my girlfriend. I even spoke to a ghost myself, a Thai man’s voice that she could not have faked – but he could have been played by the same actor impersonating the lawyer who spoiled my Christmas. I will never know.
Also, why make a plan for Christmas and then kill it? Or why make a plan for another trip to Dubai and then cancel at the last minute? I don’t see reasons other than deliberately playing pranks on me. Is this the main entertainment of Thai Mafia bosses, sending flocks of chubby girls to play pranks on gullible farang?
But the most notable thing was the money, all she spent on our luxurious trips was damn real and she had it before stealing mine.
From a rough calculation, this scam cost them at least half of the money they have taken from me (just the Hilton’s fare for our long weekend was twice my teacher’s salary).
Taking into account the manpower involved and (most important) the full use of the girl included, I am not quite sure this scam had been a good deal for them. It looks to me like a huge set-up which didn’t pay off nearly as much as they committed to it – cheap bastard I am.
And when I think about it this way, it was not such a bad deal for me. If I had known in advance, I would have been perfectly happy to pay that kind of price for a six-month-long, all-inclusive, 5-star honeymoon with a young chubby girl who pretended to love me with such dedication. If I had another million to spare, I would probably have gone for a second round!
Back to the interrogation: after telling her new story she started enacting a sort of deep regret, being sorry for what happened and swearing that she would never had done such thing from her own will, but she did not have a choice.
She even said that she wanted to fight this Mafia guy because she was sick of being her ‘robot’ (she did not use the word ‘slave’) and so on. But at that point I did not believe a word she said any more. The whole castle had fallen, and so did the queen. A queen so stubbornly committed to her part to live in a distorted reality, as much as she distorted mine. She couldn’t step out of it.
Indeed, after she started talking she never stopped. She wanted to explain some more, maybe feed me even more fabricated details to improve on my confusion.
I was afraid that one more minute of her bullshit would have resulted in a murder charge against me. So I collected my stuff and left, saying that this was a matter for the police and she would better save her explanations for them.
In the following days she tried to buy some time by promising to give my money back in a ‘short while’. She had asked for help to her brother, her family, and she even mentioned this shady rice exporting guy. We set a date for the payback to happen, if not I would have gone to police.
As logic goes, one would expect the story to be over by now. She would cut my contact, disappear, and neither me nor the police could do nothing to get to her or to my money ever again. But logic does not apply to Thailand.
When it came the time to seek police assistance I started feeling a little scared, having heard plenty of bad stories about farang who got framed and arrested in Thailand. And once you are in jail there is little chance to ever get out, as it happened to the ex-manager of the Phi Phi company (#1). Anyway, I did not want to become one of these unoriginal stories.
I hired an Italian lawyer and made my criminal report to the police. This made me even more paranoid. I started acting weird, sleeping sometimes in hotel rooms instead of my home and always bringing an emergency bag with clothes and my passport, ready to fly away at the first glimpse of trouble. I even got rid of all the weed, so that if they wanted to frame me for drugs they would have to bring their own.
About the end of March the school year was over and I was not going to renew my work contract nor the rent of my room, so I packed my stuff once again and moved to the jungle. It actually took me a few extra trips to Bangkok and visits to three different police stations to get the case started. They could not decide if it was the jurisdiction of the area where the crime had been committed, the area where my girlfriend was living, or the station where I made the first report. Even after the case was submitted, progress was unbearably slow. I had to wait almost three months before she received notification from the authorities, and much was about to happen.
But let’s go in order. After I moved away from Bangkok I did not talk to my now ex-girlfriend any more, however none of us had deleted the other’s contact. My official excuse was ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer’, but the real reason was that I still had a little hope deep down in my heart, if she was innocent as she claimed she would find a way to fix the problem and come back to me.
For some obsessive reason I kept following her profile updates, mostly to get angry about her nights out, drinks and enjoyment which I had probably paid for. Later on she justified herself getting drunk every night because she was feeling so bad about what happened that she could not sleep. And once in a while I wrote a few angry words of comments (‘enjoying my money? you scamming bitch!’, and such), mostly when I was missing her. Another time I got angry because she posted pictures with some guy, which she later admitted to have fucked too.
Not that I was being abstinent. However, I found it pretty difficult to re-establish my naughty habits, having developed a general resentment for Thai ladies, but mostly because I missed those post-coital chubby hugs. Those bitches were so fucking skinny!
I went to Phuket as a single man again and rode the Bangla Road up and down for a few days, mostly with mediocre results. The Sketolene Beach Project mindset (ref: sketolene.orgfree.com) was completely gone and for the first time in years I started looking down at my questionable entertainment that kept me hooked (literally) for almost a decade – what a wonderful waste of time!
During one of my trips to Bangkok to see the lawyer and take my case yet to another police station, not completely unintentionally I happened to meet my chubby ex-girlfriend in some entertainment area along the Sukhumvit. She immediately left her friends and showed a clumsy but unmistakable affection for me, quite dramatically enhanced by her level of drunkenness. She kept falling on me, and hanging from my arm asked me to join them in some disco club. And when I didn’t, she walked away crying.
Indeed I was still reluctant to hang out. I was fearing conspiracy at every corner and I did not feel safe around her, mostly because of my weakness for certain attributes and attentions. If we had to meet, it was only for formal purposes, such as talking about her way to pay me back (she always came up with new unsuccessful ideas) or ask her one of the many questions I still had about her story, which I wrote down in my amateur criminal report.
Finally she did find a way to get my attention. She had started some unspecified design work and she earned some decent money. I would not have believed her if, before telling me, she hadn’t already transferred some money to my bank account. Not much, about 2% of what she had stolen, but it was a start. She claimed that keeping a steady income from this job she could have extinguished her debt in less than two years, if calculations were right.
It was May and I was all busy in completing the irrigation system at Gaarawe’, sweaty and covered in mud and mosquito bites (and not nearly as sexy as the previous workers). When I received her phone-call, inviting me to Phuket for a casual all-inclusive honeymoon, it wasn’t a fair choice to make. The irrigation system didn’t stand a chance.
She offered to pay for a taxi but I opted for some extra cash and I pushed my motorbike to the limits along the 200 km winding road that separates the wild jungle from glittering Phuket. We met at the airport, drove to the beach side, and almost forgot our problems for the entire weekend. I did miss her – I missed the idea of her before that early March doomsday, a lovely weird chubby girl with a dark secret.
We fell in love again, or at least I did. She claimed she had never stopped.
We swam in the luxurious pool, we ate fancy dinners, we slept in a finely decorated room. And in the heart-shaped clouds of love and deception, we made love more times than I had condoms, while a little devil in my mind was suggesting the most despicable plan yet: why should I care?
After the long weekend I drove back to the jungle and went on with my dirty work like nothing had changed. But it had, we were together again. Keeping in touch every few hours with a line of chat or a picture. It was again like we had just met, and I flew to Bangkok the next weekend, then once or twice in the following month.
One morning I noticed her talking a little strange, like she had something to say but was holding it back. Maybe this went on for another day, I don’t exactly remember the timing. But I remember that one night she sent me a picture of her hand, which I recognize from the chubby fingers and the thick layer of colorful nail varnish with fat chunks of crystals stuffed in it like chocolate chips into cookies, holding two white sticks in front of a shiny city sky-line background slightly out of focus, but still distinguishable as the view of Bangkok from her balcony.
The amazing photography was not the most stunning part of the picture. A closer look revealed the two sticks to be pregnancy tests with a clear positive result on both. She added that she had tried another one before and the result was the same, but she wanted to double-check again just to be sure.
It came not as much as a shock at that time, and also from her side I did not feel much of a worry, but the effect was going to grow over time. Especially after having learned that it was not just one baby but they were twin boys. We started to fancy the idea of starting a family, and I became confident that she was on the right side too, finally. I was ready to forgive all the lies and deception of the past, but how could I expect her not to lie to me ever again? For a Thai person this is the most difficult thing to do.
I spent the last half of June in Bangkok with her, waiting for my planned trip to Italy where I would have enrolled in a well-paid, summer school job. I did not have a clear plan after the summer, but the idea was to fly back to Thailand and hope that our newly re-born love would fix everything.
In the meantime she kept paying me back bit by bit, getting to a total of almost 10% of the stolen sum in a little over two months.
She also helped me selling a bunch of natural sponges produced in the jungle, which I carried all the way to Bangkok in a suitcase, bleached in her bathroom and gave her to pack with some bar of soap and advertise online.
She was good again, was she?
We enjoyed the big city, went to a Paradox concert (Thai rock band), visited a bunch of sky-bars and fancy restaurants again. Then I was on my way to Italy. Tears and good-bye kisses and I was gone, never to come back.
What happened next? I will rush a bit over this part because there isn’t much insight to gain or fun to be had.
And I must advise the inexperienced reader that the end of this story is going to be totally anticlimactic (a word that I cannot spell and I probably misinterpret). The OUCHs, the BOOMs and the WOWs have long passed away in the brittle shadow of your short-term memory, only BAHs are left.
I went to Italy, started my job, and waited. I kept in touch with her, but for over a month she did not transfer any more money. She claimed that her business went down and she needed more time for the next installment. Shortly after she came up with another way to pay me back much quicker, by obtaining a loan from the Government Bank with her ex-army father as guarantor. She would get the money and then fly to Italy to join me during the hot summer and arrange our next steps.
It wasn’t much of a surprise when the date came and she did not do any payment but had plenty of last-minute excuses. I went silent for a few days while she insisted about her good intentions to do more work and slowly pay me back as originally planned. Despite all this, she came to Italy anyway. She paid for everything herself, including the EU visa which she only asked me to sign as guarantor, and I dumbly did.
It was hard not to think about the ongoing problem and her incessant flow of lies and made up stories, but I tried to be calm and gentle, taking care of her for what she was, a chubby young girl from the Thai country-side with a visible three months belly impregnated by a stupid farang she had just scammed. The overall feeling was not bad. I showed her around, we went to the beach, I cooked for her, took her shopping, but this Italian honeymoon felt kind of dummy and ephemeral.
I was not sure how to introduce her to my family, and in the end I didn’t. They knew only half of the story, I hadn’t fully disclose the issue about my money because I felt shame, and because for a second there I had faith in my girlfriend promises. If that was the case, my parents could have happily lived unaware of her criminal past.
But parents have the skill to understand people and situations without the need to talk much, even long distance. They had a bad feeling about my chubby girl since the very beginning and after Christmas they knew something was definitely wrong.
The canceled Christmas trip became a major incident. What should have been the opportunity to meet and recover a long deteriorating parents-son relationship, became instead a big disappointment for both.
Overall, the Italian setting was a good reality check for me, far away from the twinkling illusion of Bangkok the boundary between truth and bullshit sharpened a little and whatever story the chubby girl told was nothing more than a fascinating hypothesis.
Before she left we talked about her plans of payment and I was firm on the idea that I would not return to Thailand without my money. Up to her the responsibility of the babies and up to me to swallow such an immoral choice. And she was gone.
She made up a last option to pay me back: the luxury apartment where she was living was still registered in her name, or so she claimed. She would get a replacement copy of the property document (which was not in her possession but safely kept by the boss) and put the apartment on sale slightly below market price.
In over a month she had done all the above, and a potential buyer was ready to sign the agreement in late September. Tension started growing exponentially when the calendar was closing in.
When the day arrived, she calmly claimed she had done the deal and sent me a scan of the bank check for several million baht. She needed two days to clear the check and then she would do the transfer. She also claimed to have applied for a European visa as she wanted to move away from the creepy Thai criminals she was in contact with.
Two days passed, then three, then a week.
She failed again, she lied again, she fucked with my ingenuity again. That was enough, even for a dumb asshole like me.
I blocked her contact, sent all her fake documents to my lawyer, and our deceptive romance was over.
How could I be so gullible, still believing that a chubby pregnant girl could steal a luxury apartment from some mafia boss and run away with a grumpy old farang. I do like fairy tales.
At this point the story really comes to an end (#4). Most questions are still unanswered and will probably never be. Who was she? Who was she working for? Who were we against? Who was I against?
One thing is sure, it is not safe for me to ever set foot in that sick corner of the world again.
But I was already preparing my plan B and by the end of September it was well on its way.
With the guidance of an ex-colleague from the academy, I sent job applications to a few positions within the EU and finally got lucky with a contract as a Research Assistant all the way up in Scotland.
So, I packed my stuff in a small trolley and flew over to start a new life, the fourth so far – and they haven’t yet implemented a display to show how many I have left.
I was a little reluctant about coming to this cold colorless country, especially after Thailand.
Here, the sun hardly ever appears, the food sucks, people behave like impeccably polite machines in the day and drunk crazy animals at night, and the other mainstream entertainment is heroin.
But overall it is not that bad, a quiet place to recover from my emotional (and financial) scars before the next adventure.
It took me few months to get settled. I have a decent room just next to work, not with a fancy pool, but university staff privileges include one free access per week to a wellness facility nearby, with pool, gym, sauna, and even more gadgets than those included in most Bangkok’s luxury condos.
I manage to score some weed from a local dealer. I have located a few decent pubs nearby and, among all the blonde Scottish beauties, I started dating a young but not so chubby Asian girl. Like an old wolf.
Deep down in my hearth I never lost hope for my Chubby Girl to come back to me with the babies and the money. But none of that is there any more. What hurts me the most is that I was shown a beautiful life and I lost it. I had it all for a while, or so I believed.
And what about the babies (#2)? Were they even real? And about her? And the police case (#3)? And Mr.H.?
And what about the whole fucked-up, garbage filled, whore infested, corrupted, exploited, stinky, humid, shitty, lovely Thailand?
I won’t answer these questions but close my story with a punchy, yet unoriginal, poetic ending: I always knew that a part of me would forever stay in Thailand. Now I know which part(s), since my soul had finally left.
#1] he recently got out due to the intervention of the embassy.
#2] they’d been aborted since before she came to Italy, but she pretended till last November.
#3] she became an alleged offender and an arrest warrant is on its way.
#4] it does not. As odd as it sounds, we are still in touch.
The author can be contacted at : firstname.lastname@example.org