Alex was talking into a microphone.
‘Cheap and great quality clothes,’ he repeated over and over.
Hello, I said, as I stopped at a garish clothes shop that stocked mostly sticky polyester merchandise, which wouldn’t even qualify as thirds at a Chinese rag trade.
He had three hot staff working for him, young, white and the type that makes you dip into your wallet even if you don’t want to.
Alex and I went outside for a smoke.
For the next ten minutes he showed me pictures of himself, him in Boracay, him in Crabie, him in Jakarta, him in the jungle, him having a picnic with his friend.
But before he showed me that last picture, he showed me pictures of five jeeps, three Harleys, a Jaguar (or was it two Porsches?), and trail bikes. He even pointed out the one parked outside his shop.
He said his friend in the picture was into import-export.
I said surely you can’t make that much dough selling clothes. Given, he had three shops.
‘I move cargo too.’
So did his friend.
He’s now investing in legitimate businesses like real estate and hotels.
I didn’t want to know much more.
Back off, I said.
‘Please don’t tell me how you really make your money.’
I know it sounded lame but it worked.
The conversation got around to Iban, the local natives of Borneo, known for their Christian beliefs, white skin, and big boobs.
‘Get an invite to a longhouse,’ he says. ‘Then buy a week’s worth of pork and chicken. Then eat with them. Then fuck their woman folk. It would be cheaper than staying in town and paying for a whore.’
But I’ve got to wait till June, he says, ‘when they go back to their villages.’