50 Beautiful Girls and One Ugly One
“Anybody seen the Holy Grail around here?” said Sir Gawain, as he clanked into the Dollhouse.
A few customers glanced at him, then switched their attention back to the girls without giving him a second thought – why should they? There were lots of farang-weirdos in Bangkok – beggars, fake monks, and assorted nutters who had lost the plot, so why should a guy in a suit of 14th century plate armour be any different?
The girls were equally unimpressed, except that they noticed that the armour looked expensive.
Sir Gawain sat down, and in a trice he had a bottle of Singha in front of him. He looked disappointed when he saw that there was no chalice – or even a glass, just a styrofoam koozie around the bottle.
“Been in these parts long, pal?” said the Mancunian next to him.
“Where is this?” said Sir Gawain, looking confused, “and why are those girls naked?”
“This is the Dollhouse in Bangkok, pal.”
“I was in the Land of Lyonesse a moment ago, on a quest for the Holy Grail. Then that vixen Morgana waved her magic wand at me, and…”
“Well you’ve found it, pal!”
“What you were looking for – the Holy Grail!”
Sir Gawain looked disconsolately at the styrofoam koozie around his bottle and shook his head.
The Mancunain scoffed: “Not that! This!”
Then waving his arm around in an inclusive gesture, he warmed to his theme: “This is the Holy Grail! Well it is for me. It’s what I’ve been looking for all my life! Especially after suffering all those loud-mouthed lard-ladies in Manny! See those girls there? All young, all slim, all beautiful – and I can have any one I want – long time!”
“Of course, you are speaking metaphorically when you refer to the Holy Grail,” said Sir Gawain, dismissively.
The Mancunian racked his brains, trying to think back to his school days. In the end, he gave up.
“Nope, we don’t do metaphor in Manchester.”
“Well, I can hardly turn up at Camelot with a girl instead of the grail,” said Sir Gawain. “In any case, I have taken a vow of chastity – I must remain pure to achieve the quest.”
The Mancunian shook his head in disbelief. “All young, all slim, all beautiful…” he repeated musingly.
“Not true,” said Sir Gawain.
“There’s a sign outside that says 50 beautiful girls and one ugly one.”
The Mancunian suddenly choked on his drink. “And she’s here now!”
Sir Gawain turned to see a woman sitting beside him. She looked at least 50, her hair was lanky, she had several teeth missing, her breasts were sagging, and her belly sagged even more. ‘Ugly’ would be putting it mildly.
“Send her away,” said the Mancunian.
But Sir Gawain could not do that. He was a knight, and had been trained to respect the code of chivalry.
“Hello, hansum,” she began, “My name Nok.”
“Good madam, Nok, how may I serve you?” he said, with a courteous bow of his head.
“Buy lady dlink.”
Sir Gawain waved his gauntleted hand at the waitress. A lady drink was served.
“Is there anything else, good madam?”
“Pay bar and take me back hotel.”
“Very well,” said Sir Gawain reluctantly, “but I have to warn you that there will be no…er…”
“If you mean relations of a sexual nature, yes, because I have taken a vow of chastity.”
* * *
Thirty minutes later Nok was sobbing on the bed and Sir Gawain was standing nearby still dressed in full armour.
“You think I ugly,” she cried. “That’s why no boom-boom!”
“No, Madam Nok, I assure you. It is because of my vow of chastity!”
“Turn out light – then I beautiful!”
“I cannot have sex with you because I will lose my purity. Then I must abandon my quest for the Holy Grail.”
“What is ‘Holy Grail’?”
“A chalice – a very special chalice.”
“What is ‘chalice’?”
“I have cup in my loom – you can have that.”
“You don’t understand…”
Nok put her head under the sheet and cried her heart out.
Meanwhile, Sir Gawain clanked up and down wondering what he should do. He was in a terrible dilemma. It was not that he was tempted – he wasn’t. Nok was ugly, and he felt no desire for her, but by spurning her, he was breaking his Chivalric vows. He wished she was young and sexy – it would be an easier battle then, and he’d win something either way, because even if he sacrificed his vow of chastity and his quest, he would gain a night with a sexy girl – but as things stood, he would lose – whatever he chose to do.
After much agonising, he came to a decision:
“As a true knight I must help a damsel in distress. Therefore tell me what you want me to do.”
“Make boom-boom,” came a little voice from under the sheet.
“Very well,” he sighed, and with a heavy heart, he started to unbuckle his armour. He thought of the quest he was abandoning, and wondered which knight would win the honour – that young upstart, Sir Percival, perhaps.
Then, naked at last, he pulled back the sheet and… she was beautiful! It was the same face, but transformed – with the hue of youth sitting “on her skin like morning dew” (as the poet says), perfect white teeth, and gleaming ebony hair. Her body had that intoxicating look of ‘first fruit’ that is called ‘nubile’ – sleek and slim where it should be, and invitingly plump where it should be – and nowhere else at all. Now he desired her. There was no vow now that could hold him back. The Mancunian’s words echoed in his mind as he leapt upon her: “This is the Holy Grail!”
He murmured the words again and again as he explored the chalice of her mouth and the chalice between her legs. He was lost in ecstasy – and more ecstasy – then sleep.
* * *
Grey dawn peeped through the curtain of the Nana Hotel. Sir Gawain sat up in bed, wondering if it had all been a dream. But Noi was standing there in her clothes – still beautiful – it was not a dream after all!
“What happened?” he muttered.
“I was under a spell,” she said, “cast on me by a wicked mamasan. You broke that spell when you treated me with compassion and courtesy.”
“I’m glad the spell is broken,” said Sir Gawain, but he was thinking of his lost quest, and there was sorrow in his voice.
Nok comforted him in words that seemed hardly her own, but mysteriously, sent from his own Arthurian world. Even her accent had improved.
“You showed yourself a true knight. You were sent here as a test. You passed the test, and this is your reward.”
She handed him her bag.
“Look inside,” she said. “I brought the cup from my room.”
He drew it out. It was much more than a cup. It was a chalice – and a much nicer one than in that film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
“The Holy Grail!” he said in awe.
“There is more,” she said.
He looked up at her – she was naked.
The moral of this story
Is not too hard to see:
It pays to treat all bargirls
With proper courtesy.
Note: This story is a Thailand-focused take on the 15th century ballad, The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle.
The author of this article can be contacted at : [email protected]