With no more dental appointments, Ariff my massage guy was hanging around the hotel foyer like a bad smell.

Maybe I’ll splash some money his way today. Surely if I invest in three bucks my currency, I’ll walk away with a story.

He’s a harmless no-good-massage man who doesn’t know the difference between a bicep and a calf muscle.

I had change from paying my room and thought I’d invite him upstairs to the cafe for a quick massage.

He started out well but kept gravitating to my head. You see, it’s easier to massage the head, less energy is consumed. He did a big sweep of my back and kept on aggravating a mole, that if wasn’t cancerous, is now after his intense rubbing of it.

‘Don’t do my head,’ I said politely while pushing my untouched plate of fried rice in front of him. I also ordered him a coffee.

His breakfast out the way, the thrump started massaging my head again.

The planned hour massage was cut to ten minutes.

I paid him up and wished him the best.

He got a free meal out of me and some change. But he wasn’t listening. I needed the back of neck massaged, not my fucking head.

I’m thick, but Ariff is proving even thicker than me.

I told him I’m going to Malaysia. He got that part. But he didn’t quite understand that I was returning two days later. He was quick to offer to take me out to the airport. He’s an ojek driver too. I had learned my  lesson the hard way in Medan and politely declined.

Two fatties on the back of a motorbike isn’t what I call fun.

I bet it would also be a tour of every whore house in Pontiniak and a missed flight.

The fucker rubbed his sticky smelly oil into my back again. It’s going to take days to wash it off.

But in the name of charity and friendship, I did use his services. The manager eyed him up as he arrived for work.

‘He’s not annoying you, is he? is exactly what that look said.

No he’s not annoying me. I’m not giving him enough time to annoy me.

I just wish it was that easy to get rid of that Muslim Batak in Medan, who rode my coattails extensively for three weeks. That was one humbugger I couldn’t shake off.

My flight from Bali to Pontianak was a result of another Balinese driver rocking up at my hotel every day, demanding money. He never asked, but they don’t have too. Once they establish the rules of engagement, its pay and pay some fucking more.

I’m here in Borneo now and the humbug factor is very low.

And I’m grateful for that. I really am.

Ariff didn’t have time to work on me. He was about to use all his power of persuasion to get a two-hour massage. He was looking at the dollars. But he wasn’t paying attention to the detail. If you don’t cough up a good service, usually the customer will either catch the next flight or look for a better deal.

I have no intention of running away from Borneo. I’m going to take a leisurely flight to Malaysia and a leisurely flight back. I’ve still got some exploring to do. The human condition is rich in this part of the world. I’d be an idiot not to tap into it.

These kind of stories that just drop on your lap don’t come too often, do they?

The mole is inflamed. I’ll have Ariff to thank for it.

‘Its red,’ he says.

And it’s fucking inflamed still from your last session.

That’s all lost on Ariff who should stick to what he’s good at, riding motorbikes. He aint no massage man. But I’ll give him credit for trying. I’ll never put a man down for trying. Well that’s not true. But I’ll only put him down in words here, and never to his face.  I’ll also make sure he never sees my posts.

It’s a lot kinder that way.

Ariff was fishing for porn. I said the internet was down. He didn’t believe me.

There’s dumb, dumber and Ariff. But I’ll never tell him that. He’s a martial arts expert, kung fu apparently.

Man, if he adopted more aggressive tactics like the Batak Muslim in Sumatra, he could be a rich man by now.

I’m not about to give a pro tip either. It will cost me too much.

I know he’s got it him to be a bigger humbugger. But management at my hotel shuns that kind of behaviour.

I’m going to be walking around all day with slimy oil on my back

‘Wash off after one hour,’ says my massage guy.

I would, if I could, I said, adding, ‘you don’t have any paint thinners do you?’

That was lost on my massage guy. He’s in that perfect place called ignorant bliss. How can you condemn a man who hasn’t yet been banished from Eden?

By saying a big thank you, and mumbling under the breath, fuck off.

In short, it’s what I did today.

 Ariff wasn’t convinced when I said he was my very good friend. I wonder why? It seems we are both as fake as each other.

Money really does corrupt, I’d be the first to say.

I winked at my man, saying again, ‘I’ll be back in three days, then we can look for big milk.’

Shhhhh, he said, acknowledging ‘can do.’ He was afraid management would hear him and ruin his squeaky-clean reputation.

Everyone on Jalan Siam knows me as Mr. Herpes and the staff wasn’t born yesterday. Everyone is on the make. And what makes my massage man any different?

‘I’m a holy man.’

Given he does pray before he massages me. I suppose that’s the appeal of his services. It isn’t just a massage, it’s a  communion with Allah.

And the fucking grease balls on my forehead. Man, Ariff just loves his fucking oils.

I’m gunna have to show a clip of my Japanese micro bikini girls. I think it’s right down his alley.

That’s my surprise for him for when I return. He’ll just adore Miyuki and Rinna.

This story officially cost me three bucks, a coffee, two cigarettes and a plate of rice. Not that I was intentionally itemizing things. But when I handed over the cash, he was pissed off. He was at it for 15 minutes, so he made a fucking fortune.

‘You very good man,’ he said again, but without the enthusiasm of former sessions when he was creaming it.

And Jesus Fucking Christ walks on water.

He was impressed.

The prayer session will continue another day, I said, meanwhile, get back downstairs and find another sucker.

I’m really sick of his company. He’s better in short doses, any longer, he’ll make me feel like the biggest assswipe for paying him above award wages.

He’s not a hot commodity anymore. And he knows it.

But in his defense, he’s very generous with his snake oil and white moisturizer lotion.

It’s the complicit nod and understanding that we are both screwing each other that makes this game so delicious.



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