I wasn’t going to shake off Bernhard.
I actually had no intention. It was like trying to shake yourself off. And I’m a swell guy and why would I want to do that.
The Kiwi miner was always good to bounce ideas off.
He seemed to know more things than most.
He was a Dark Horse.
‘I’m a fucking Kiwi,’ he said again, where was he going with this? ‘And if you visit the Land of the Rising Moon, you might realise we don’t all bash our wives and do the Hakka party trick before a gang rape.’
The Land of the Rising Moon. That was news to me.
As I was saying, I thought The Big Mango was twenty years head of the game.
‘Now how the fuck did you come to that conclusion?’
We were now in Bangkok. Bernie talked me out of exploring China.
‘You’ll turn into a dumpling if you stay any longer, and you are already a fat cunt.’
We were at a bar called Royal Crown in a place called Patpong.
The bar set up outside tables and next to it was Foodland, and across from it was a massage parlour and a chemist — hands shacking, it was so tempting to ask if they had any Tramadol.
As I was saying, the book hasn’t dated.
Bernhard raised his eyebrows, he was going to be silent until I had something original to say.
‘Well if you threw in some smart phones, Wi Fi and a few social media sites, the book would just slot in effortlessly.’
‘True,’ he said, ‘it was the time of chunky mobile phones and pagers back then.’
An old expat hobbled by, with a young honey colored Siamese feline, who was sashaying her supple limbs a few paces behind him. The holding hands game was passé apparently.
She was pouting and eyeing off any man younger than eighty. Were we in for a running chance?
The ancient Bangkok Warrior had short cropped dye blonde hair, a botox bloated face that was lifted one floor too high and a gut that said I was a relative of a keg of beer. What I noticed most, though, was a pager attached to his belt. It’s almost like he had been transported twenty years later into Planet Bangkok and no one told him that the pager service hadn’t been operational since 1999.
‘I see he’s got his polo shirt tucked in his pants,’ observed Bernie,’otherwise how else would we notice that he’s wearing a pager.’
Good pro tip.
It was quite the trend back in the day, and it got me a few gigs. It was always nice to call back and hear a nice female Thai voice tell me that Big John was looking for me and if I didn’t call him back he’d make arrangements to meet a .22.’
I never did call back Big John.
‘I hear Eddie Dare is still floating around,’ said Bernhard, who took no notice of my bullshit as I ducked into a steaming hot cow pat.
And here we were, two old farts, in The Big Mango.
‘While Eddie is probably having a cocktail with a pink umbrella at the Phuket Yacht Club.’
We could always try and track him down, I suggested.