I don’t usually get mail in hotels. But the dyke Chinese receptionist knocked on my door and handed me a post card.
‘Enjoy,’ she said. You could tell she was getting excited looking at the post card picture of lithe reptilian snakes on the dance floor in the form of pay-as-you-go sex machines.
I never thought I’d be in this shit hole again.
I caught the next flight out of Singapore that landed direct into Pattaya Playground.
There was nothing written on the post card on the back. But the ‘Welcome to our Fourth Anniversary’ on the front was a clue. The date was coincidentally dated today. I’d be there before Happy Hour began, I thought as the taxi dropped me off at Walking Street.
There was no rhyme or reason for this spontaneity I could think of. I opened my Kindle. I was about 48 percent though The Ambassador’s Wife, about the time that Tay visited Pattaya to meet a spook who would over the series be a very close ally of the good Inspector.
It was just a short trip. I really needed to get out more. It can get a bit boring sitting around cafes drinking milky tea. I have often thought that I might be losing that travel edge. I’m being hard on myself. But hanging around Insurgent infested border towns in little whore light areas wasn’t anything to brag about. If you weren’t in Pattaya, or Phuket, you just weren’t going the extra distance.
Now I can drink a beer as the next man. And I’ve got my fair share of tall stories. But I was wondering how I’d be received in this expat domain. Would they race me out for being a bull shitter?
Not if I met Tay’s shadowy contact who ran Baby Dolls.
Some wonderful writing. This is cinema in words. I had never heard Pattaya being called the carnival of the lost, but there you go:
It was a carnival of the lost and misbegotten. There were underage prostitutes on the hustle, over-aged hookers on the stroll, and incorruptible cops on the take.
And those lights bouncing off low clouds in the night, it really had to be Pattaya. The camera was always rolling, he could see her expression, now he couldn’t – it was too dark. If only the fuckers knew that Tay was born for investigating, they’d think twice about winding him up.
I arrived just in time. An Asian in black pants and a blue business shirt with his sleeves rolled up was looking very closely at a Western lady with wonderful calves in front of him. I could tell it was Tay; he’s a legs and cleavage man. It might sound sexist but he’s a sucker for pretty woman. He’s just not good at reeling them in.
A heavy black curtain opened up and they were lost in Baby Dolls.
I popped a Valium, thinking I’d need this. Fuck it; I popped a Tramadol for good measure.
The Carnival of the Damned, I thought, it had that lost world feel to it, as I was grabbed by long slender arms and pushed into the premises of Baby Dolls. I love the Thais forthright approach. Tay looked behind me. He knew I was undercover and continued making his way to an open balcony which led to a private alcove above the go-go stage.
I could see Tay sizing up John August. Well fuck a duck, I could hear him thinking, ‘he wears the same steel rimmed glasses as my creator.’ Agreed, he even had his hair slicked back. Tay thought he looked like a visiting Professor, but soon dropped that thought as one of the lithe reptiles flashed her pussy like she was on a ‘Gynecologist Pet of the Month’ photo shoot.
Cally, one sexy babe, Tay was thinking. He’s on role. First Susan Hoi, then Lucinda, now this bitch. Tay knew she was staking him out, but wasn’t sure if it crossed over to the personal realm. Now what the hell am I talking about? Read the fucking book. I’m just treading over impressions that grab me as a reader.
I’m not even going to try explain Pattaya. I’m leaving it to the best atmospheric writer around.
‘You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.’
That had to be Bernhard.
‘You did say to meet you in Johor,’ he said, that intrepid Kiwi miner who spunked up most of his hard earned cash in the flesh pits of Asia.
I put down my Kindle reader.
‘If you could write half as good as that bloke,’ said Bernhard who picked up my Kindle reader and flicked through some pages, ‘then you wouldn’t have to sell insurance anymore.’
Cut the crap, I said to Bernhard. I said he really had to meet Abdul, who ran this Indian restaurant next to a mosque.
‘I was thinking more along the lines of Pattaya,’ he said.
Next flight is midnight, you grumpy old fucker, I said. But I’m going to get some more dirt on Johor. At least it was real. Where neon promised those phantom fucks in Pattaya, neon here meant a cheap bowl of noodles at a street vendor. I just don’t think I was ready for Pattaya. I was more a duck into a border town type, and duck or dive out, depending which way the wind was blowing.
‘You fucking woos,’ said Bernhard.
Abdul put a milky tea in front of him and joined us.
‘You were talking about that Lebanese guy called Harry,’ said Abdul, well he’s just gone into the toilet.
Settled, I said. I got up and locked it from the outside. We drank many milky teas that night and eventually let Harry out just to see the expression on his face.
‘I’m really pissed off,’ he eventually said.
‘Now are you insulting my toilet,’ asked Abdul. He picked up a crusty hardened leavened bread and whacked Harry hard over the head with it. No one ever ate those crusty naan breads anyways, so it was good to see Abdul pointing them to good use.
‘Get back to Singapore where you belong,’ he said, as he whacked the owner of Harry’s Bar in Singapore a few more times for good measure. ‘This is no place for sissies.’
The former Hezbollah arms dealer was chastised and said if I ever return to his bar, ‘drinks are on me all night.’
That is if we don’t decide to deport your ass, I said.
There was justice in this world, said Abdul, ‘but it just needed helping along.’ A few more crusty and moldy leavened bread made contact with Harry’s head as he headed for the exit door.
‘And if find that you have replicated my toilet in your bar,’ said Abdul who wasn’t finished berating Harry, ‘then I’ll be wanting commission for intellectual property.’
I bet that got Harry the opportunist thinking and in recognition of a great idea he turned his head around one last time in mid stride for the exit door. ‘Blue glow neon lights and grungy piss colored walls,’ were his last thoughts as he received another crusty frisbee in the back of his head.
‘That got him thinking about how crappy your naan bread is,’ said Bernard, who slapped his new Paki mate hard on the back before saying his farewell. He said he’d be at Baby Dolls in two hours.
Three if you are lucky, I said as I handed him the postcard in case he couldn’t find the address.
‘Watch out for that BJ bar on Soi Post Office next to Pizza Hut,’ I said.
Bernhard feigned perplexed.
‘Unless of course you want to share a beer with a German with a hard-on.’
Even Abdul enjoyed that one, as we both threw Abdul’s abominably bad leavened bread at me old made as he made his way out of the restaurant with the world’s dirtiest toilet and over the causeway to catch that flight to Pattaya.