THE JADE FALCON
A Story set in
BANGKOK & PHNOM PENH
‘David at bar’, she blurted over the phone in her shrill atonal Thai-English voice.
It was always the same. ‘David at bar. David at hotel. David shopping.’ She spoke in statements. Not that I was interested or cared about her tone. It was an aberration. Did all Thai’s speak in statements? It must be a language thing. She was the only Thai I’d ever met.
David had stories about Thailand. In the pub these little gems would float into the smoke filled air, little illusions of another life.
‘Bourbon Street Bar got voted the ‘Best Bar in South East Asia’ three years in a row.’
‘Did I know that?’
Did I even think about the best bar in south east Asia? I didn’t know shit about the best pub in Asia. I just drank beer on Friday nights after work. Four-thirty to six-fifteen. Drive home in fifteen minutes, six-thirty was dinner. It was the same routine for twenty-two years.
‘Pattaya is crazy, too many women, too many bars’. David would say.
‘Hotdog, on Soi 3 off Sukhumvit, had the best girls. For fifty dollars you got the girl and a room upstairs. The best deal though, was two girls and a room. Only seventy-five dollars.’ David’s words resounded in my little gray cells.
Two girls and a room for ninety minutes, just what I needed before dinner with the wife. Why ninety minutes? Was this the perfect length of time. Sixty minutes was too brief, and two hours beyond man’s endurance?
‘After two hours they knew you were on viagra, that was getting something for nothing.’ You always pay in Thailand, David remarked.
It was a chilly Friday night in July. Midwinter in Dunedin. The days were longer. On the shortest day the sun came up at eight fifteen in the morning and set at four twenty in the afternoon. That was the shortest day in mid June. Sunset had now moved to five in the afternoon by mid-July. The sun barely warmed you, if you saw it, forty-five degrees and raining. It rained for three weeks in May, three weeks of continuous rain. Your clothes gained weight from the humidity. In the pub if you stood in one spot in the pub for too long the cold creep through the soles of your feet into your ankles and up your legs shrivelling extremities in its path. Moving restlessly was the only solution.
David continued, ‘Too hot in April or May. October and November are the best months.’
‘What about December or January? It must be cooler. I have holiday’s in December.’
‘No, Euro-Trash is there Christmas and New Years. Fucking rude Germans.’
What did I know, ‘Euro-Trash’ at Christmas, of course.
I could feel my feet getting colder. It was six-ten, I had to leave in five minutes.
All this was in another world. David went to Bangkok fifteen years ago and came back with a Thai wife. End of story. It was only the beginning. Six months later he was off to Thailand again. Two weeks alone and two weeks with his wife.
That’s when the stories started. Soi Cowboy. Nana Plaza, soapy massages, bets with bar girls and all night pool games.
It was all bullshit. But after five years of storytelling, it all seemed real. Bourbon Street was still his favorite pub, the mamasan in Rawhide still played cards for drinks, and there was a girl in the Emmanuelle Sauna that gave the best blow job in Thailand, if not the world. She reportedly got over ten marriage offers a week, but she was really only into giving blow jobs. More money and freedom. Thank god he didn’t marry her. He’d have never made it back to Thailand again.
He kept saying, ‘Come to Bangkok. I’m going the first week in November, for a month.