Wednesday, April 30, 2008

China Says Go Home Dabizi

For years farang residents in Thailand have dealt with the ever-changing kaleidescope of immigration restrictions; most recently the elimination of the eternal tourist visa border run, however their seemingly anti-farang sentiment is much more liberal than the Celestial Empire to the north, for while China will welcome of horde of big-nosed barbarians for the Summer Olympics in Peking, the government's security arm has instituted a series of immigration controls destined to denude China of the nearly quarter-million foreigners residing in the country.

Multi-entry visas have been replaced by 30-day single-issue permits, which are no available at nearby Asian nations.

In other words lao-waii (the Chinese equivalent of farang) go home', especially the French.

lao-waii has no negative connotation unlike the rarely used zang-weii (foreign devil) or dabizi (big nose) or even less friendly laomaozi or (hairball).

Personally I've never liked hearing myself called farang

It's the n-word of Thailand, but at least we're still welcome.

Thai rak farang bahn wan or Thais love farangs some days.

GPS for Thai Girlfriends

Thai girlfriends are renown for their devotion to untruth, especially when it comes to letting their absent boyfriends know their whereabouts.

"I'm in my village with maih." I've heard this phone conversation from the bed of many a naked woman and Soi 6 is certainly not Isaan.

Many suspicious farangs increasingly hire detectives to track down their errant loves only to disbelieve the facts, however a solution to their girlfriends' mysterious travels might be available through the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority who have a surplus of 5000 microchips for dogs. These tracking devices would be perfect for implanting in retired bar girls.

GPS surveillance at all times from the comfort of your home.

"I know all and see all."

Just what your girlfriend wants to hear, because anyone who thinks they've know all the answers hasn't heard all the questions.

A Thai university lecturer tried to convince a female student to submit to an indecent oral exam in exchange for a better grade. The student escaped the dastardly professor and returned with the police, although unlike in the case of President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky there was no semen-stained black dress to act as the smoking gun. She went on the wire and the police arrested the instructor before any crime could be committed.

Sort of like Tom Cruise in MINORITY REPORT.

Score the professor with an F.

Whores or Virgins

Men come to Pattaya for one reason.

It is not golf or the beach.

They come for the girls.

"I never pay for it." First-timers say as they evict a bargirl from their hotel room without even taxi fare only to get a high heel thunked against their skull the next time the stiffed bargirl spots her cheap lover on Soi 8 0r 7. Blood everywhere, but he didn't pay for it, because he doesn't consider his date a prostitute as don't many farangs.

"She's only doing this to support her family." Many farangs make excuses for their mistresses or say, "Prostitution in Thailand isn't like it is back home."

Those statements may be true, but selling your body for sex classically fits into the world-wide description of prostitution ie money 4 Sex = Prostitution is a simple equation. She is not your girlfriend unless you retire her from a bar and then you're still obliges to cash her up, so it's more like a prostitute girlfriend than a girlfriend, although my friend Jamie Parker, the original Crassanova, claims, "All women are whores."

If that's true then all men are Johns, so stop calling a shovel a spade, but be polite about it, because a high heel to the skull hurts a lot.

Fat Guys In Prison

I've spent an hour in Pattaya jail awaiting trial for a civil suit. I ordered khao-gai for the jailers. As much as I wanted. From what I heard from those unfortunates incarcerated for longer periods than 60 minutes, the diet in Thai prisons is very lean. Rice and more rice but never enough, which would not be good for those obese prisoners in the USa who are complaining that they are being starved by their jailers.

One plump accused murderer has even gone as far as to sued the State of Arkansas for cruel and unusual punishment, since his weight dropped over 50 kilos during his 8-month wait for trial, despite the jail providing more than 3000 calories a day to inmates.

"After a meal my stomach starts growling an hour later. I'm hungry. The only reason I lost weight is that I'm being starved to death."

Hearing the inmates plight several hundred overweight people have applied for the draconian diet plan to lose tons of unwanted weight. The prison authorities say they haven't figured out a price structure for the treatment. expect a crime wave from the obese.

"You can never be too thin." - Babe Paley

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hashish farts 1

The Koh Samui emergency ward was surprised to discover the cause of a middle-aged tourist's stomach cramps was nearly a kilo of hashish worth approx. one million baht. After a two-hour battle to extract a long plastic bag extracted from the Englishman's intestines, police arrested him on charges of smuggling the Class 5 drug onto the island. In custody the UK resident explained he had been in pain for over five days and panicked upon his farts starting to smell like the drug, indicating that several of the sealed packets might have burst in his stomach. None of his customers wanted to take a bong hit from his butt and now he will be subject to the full measure of the law for his folly.

It is sold at 1,500-2,000 baht a gramme.

Police said Mr Jones would be charged and detained for interrogation.

Provincial governor Vinai Buapradit suspected Mr Jones swallowed the drugs when he was overseas so he could pass through drug detectors and sniffer dogs at airports and at the pier on Samui where boats leave for Koh Phangan.

Pinyo Thongchai, the deputy chief of the Department of Special Investigation, said trans-national criminal groups were rampant on Koh Samui.

As well as the Bandidos motorcycle gang, which recently faced a crackdown by authorities, there were also international mafia gangs doing illegal businesses in drugs, land and property deals and extorting money from foreign businessmen.

In June last year police on Koh Samui arrested Frenchman Pittet Pasca Maorica, 53, who was also admitted to Samui International Hospital after suffering from stomach pain.

Doctors found one kilogramme of heroin in his stomach.

Welcome back to New York

My export business in Pattaya failed after the cyber-crime police raided my house. I was without funds for the three months prior to trial for copyright infringement and my finances soon mimicked Zimbabwe. I could have toughed it out, except the economic climate in Pattaya was also dire. The westerners in this town pride themselves on not lending a helping hand to farangs in need mostly because it’s the one commodity Pattaya creates in surplus.

The only viable option was re-inventing my life in America and I bid farewell to my wife, daughter, and pregnant mistress. “I’ll be back.”

My flight from Bangkok to Taipei to Anchorage to JFK lasted the longest Sunday of my life. Gone were palm trees, elephants, mangoes, and the faces of the ones I love. Hello to Manhattan, my home of 27 years. My friends had promised a soft landing. I drank wine. They laughed at my stories. I went out at night. I thought this isn’t too bad. At a gallery opening Vlad, the young Russian warned, “You shouldn’t leave your bag unattended.”

“Not to worry.” I had placed it in the corner.

“This is New York. I can trust the people here. As far as my eyesight.”

Baby-faced Vlad was not so sure and his mistrust was well-founded, for in the blink of an eye someone had dipped their hand into my bag to purloin my camera along with my address book.

I cursed myself for being a fool. An old fool, then remembered what my Irish grandmother said, “Whatever you lose wasn’t yours to begin with.”

Welcome to New York indeed.

If I can’t make it here, I can’t make it anywhere.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The flight from Bangkok via Taipei and Anchorage to JFK lasted almost 36 hours. I wish the trip had taken even longer, however we landed on time ending the longest Sunday of my life. The immigration officer asked how long I had been out of the country.

"5 Years." All of it in Thailand.

"Welcome back." He stamped my passport and I entered the USA without any idea when I would see my wife and daughter again. The 12:05AM Skytrain to Brooklyn carried few passengers, mostly airport workers coming off the late-shift. They spoke my language. The air felt cold for late-April. This had been my city for 27 years. It should have felt like home.

My friend, Andrew, had promised a soft landing. His Ft. Greene brownstone was comfortable. His wife was willing to accept a guest for longer than 3 days. His daughter was the same age as my daughter. I went to sleep dreaming on rice paddies.

Over the next week I fought off the lingering effects of international jet lag and slowly connected with friends. They bought me lunch and dinner. Several lent money. They had heard about my arrest in Thailand. I visited several galleries with my Jean-Michel Basquiat sketch. Now was not the time to sell anything. Everyone was broke.

The weather was warmer with the sun and I wandered over to the East Village. I almost rang the bell of my old apartment. Someone else lived there now and I walked down to the basketball courts of Tompkins Square Park. No one was playing hoop. My friend JD said the games died several months after my departure. No one in the park knew my name and I headed down to the F train stop at 1st Avenue.

It was early evening. The sun still had another hour to set. The light glazed everyone with unearthly silver. Couples were kissing on the sidewalks. I thought about my wife. Singles were prowling the bars in search of a hook-up. They were young. Life had gone on without me. One person is nothing to a city of millions, especially a ghost of the past.

I was about to enter the subway, when I spotted a familiar face. Thomas was talking on a cellphone. I decided to wait for him to turn my way, thinking maybe he wouldn't recognize me. Five years is a long time, although we went back over 20.

We weren't really friends in the beginning. He was a neighborhood real estate developer and I was a pseudo-intellectual seeking to stop the gentrification of the Lower east Side. Our conversations were more arguments and we almost came to blows over the sale of a 2nd Avenue variety store, whose closure he viewed as progress. I bought my underwear there.

Several years later at a Christmas dinner for Ornette Coleman, we pigpiled on a TV News producer extolling the networks’ sense of truth. Thomas said that all TV News was lies. I called it propaganda. We saw we weren't that far apart and met for drinks occasionally. I even introduced him to his girlfriend. I was too poor for her tastes.

Thomas clicked off the cellphone and slipped the mobile into his well-tailored suit. Times were tough in the USA, but he appeared prosperous. For a second he seemed to look through me, then his eyes lit with recognition.

"Good to see you. When did you return from Thailand?" He took off the imported sunglasses to examine me better. "You have changed. How long has it been?"

"Five years. How's Cara?" I was wondering if they were still together. Her olive-skinned beauty was genetically designed to last a lifetime and she possessed an Iberian love of laughter.

“As lovely and difficult as ever. Up in the country right now." Thomas had purchased a farmhouse on 250 acres along the Walkill River. His property was the second largest in New Paltz after a New Age commune’s pig farm. "She'd love to see you. Anyway I bought a building on North Moore Street and redid the top three floors. 7200 square-feet. I'm having a house-warming this Thursday. You should come. Is your family with you?"

"No." I explained they were staying behind without mentioning about my deportation. The story was over for the moment. I was trying to start a new chapter. I showed Thomas a few photos. He casually excused himself by tapping his platinum Pate-Philippe. "I've got to run, but here's my card. Bring a friend if you like."

"You want me to bring anything?"

"No, just don't be late or else you'll miss the lobster." Thomas turned just in time to avoid a collision with a beautiful brunette. They knew each other. He didn’t introduce me. They walked away, speaking in whispers. After several steps she started crying and laid her head on Thomas’ shoulder.

It looked bad. I couldn’t tell Cara about Thomas having a mistress without proof. I tailed them for several blocks. They entered Balthazaar, where the maitre de greeted Thomas like he was the new owner. I could have been jealous of his new loft, high-paying job, house in the country, fiancée, and the tears of his mistress, except I had learned long ago the envy of other people's triumphs was best suited to those who had lost all hope of achieving their own dreams and planned on attending the housewarming with a Maine native's appetite for lobster.

My host Andrew accompanied me across the river from Brooklyn. He was an architect. Maybe Thomas could give him work. We arrived for the party with a 19th Century iron. It was out of place in the loft on North Moore Street. A Clifford Still hung over the river rock fireplace. Tropical flower bouquets sprouted from the corners of the enormous living room. A liveried bartender tended a well-stocked bar, while wild salmon and thin-shell lobster overwhelmed a long table. The display of wealth was well-mannered as the whisper of Cara’s silver sheath gliding across the teakwood floor.

I introduced her to Andrew. She kissed me on both cheeks and fingered the diamond solitaire hanging from the platinum chain around her elegant neck. Thomas had bought the D-Flawless diamond for an engagement ring and she sensed my concern. “Don’t worry, we’re still engaged and better yet I’ll persuade Thomas to buy me something extra special at Christmas. But enough about diamonds, I want you to meet someone."

“A friend?” I had offended hundreds of people during my twenty-five years in New York and prayed this introduction wasn't an attempted reconciliation.

“Only time will tell.”

I excused myself from Andrew. He saw two friends. Manhattan's upper crust was a small world. Cara led me across the room and unexpectedly introduced the brunette from the other day. "This is Tatiana. She works in film and I've been telling her all about you."

"Like what?” I feared the worst.

“Diving off a cliff at Lake Minnewaska.” Tatiana’s accent bespoke good schools.

"I didn't dive, I jumped." The crystalline waters had been irresistible.

"From hundred feet." My friends tended to exaggerate my stories and I smiled guiltily. "More like fifty feet, but it was high."

"Cara says me you're a writer." Tatiana’s clothes were worth more than I earned last year. I spieled out my latest novel’s outline, after which she arched a plucked eyebrow accusingly. "You’ve pitched that story before."

Before I could plead my innocence, Thomas joined us. "So you two have met."

Tatiana glared in fear Cara and Thomas might expect a liaison to birth from this encounter and departed to a gaggle of admirers. Winking conspiratorially Cara left for the kitchen and Thomas asked, "What did you think of Tatiana?"

"She is a goddess, but the other day I thought she was your mistress."

“Mistress?” He sneaked a peep into the kitchen, where his fiancée was instructing the help. "Cara would kill me, if she ever caught me with another woman."

"Why was she crying?"

"She bought her loft at the top of the curve and lost nearly 20% of value with the sub-prime crash. She's fucked like a lot of people."

"Guess we all can't be as lucky as you."

"We make our own luck. Like maybe you and her?”

Tatiana stood in the gentle light of the billiard room. Her devotees were obviously rich. "She looks like she’s hunting for a millionaire.”

"You underestimate what you have to offer."

"Those men drive BMWs to the Hamptons. I'm a penniless failed writer, who sells diamonds for a living." I didn't even mention my wife as an obstacle. She was half a world away.

"When we first met, you didn't care anything about money!"

"That crazy poet might have lost a little of his pride.” I refrained from confessing my setback in Thailand. Desperation didn't sell well in this city.

"I haven't seen any twenty-year olds dive off the cliff at Lake Minnewaska."

"I jumped."

"Dive sounds better."

"But it isn't the truth."

"People want to hear the truth as much as they want to tell it.” Thomas lifted his finger, as if to signal time-out. "You think I got where I am, because I told the truth?"

I examined the luxurious loft. "Hard work maybe?"

"Shit, hard work is overrated! Maybe that's not true, because you can’t grab the ring, if you’re not in position, but the business, the loft, and the country house all hinged on a lie told in the right place at the right time.” Thomas eyed the distance of the nearest guest. None of them needed to hear what he had to say and I was good at keeping secrets as long as I didn’t drink too much. “Almost sounds like a deal with the Devil.”

“And I would have taken his offer. Ten years ago I got into a tight spot. I owed the bank $650,000.”

"Ouch!" I was losing sleep over a five-figure debt incurred in Thailand.

"My only asset was that loft on 16th Street worth maybe $450,000. I told the bank I would sell it. They agreed to this deal, because my bankruptcy got them nothing. Unfortunately the best offer was for $650,000."

"Unfortunately?" I earned barely $30,000 last year. Everyone thought that was a fortune in Thailand and it was, until the police turned off my website..

"$650,000 settled my debt, but left me with nothing." He grabbed two champagne glasses from a passing waiter. "I had grown comfortable with the good life, so I decided to not tell the bank about the extra $200,000.”

"The lie?" We clinked glasses and sipped at the champagne. It was vintage.

"Not the important one.” Thomas wagged his finger impatiently. “My beautiful plan fell apart, because the loft board somehow informed the bank about the sale.”

"They demanded why I was giving them $450,000, when the sale was for $650,000." His eyes narrowed, as if he were trying to remember his exact words. "I said that a sale for $450,000 would lower the value of the other lofts in the building and never be approved by the board, so I lied about the $650,000.”

"And they believed you?"

"Yes, I had never lied to them before.” Thomas had done what he had to do. “That $200,000 bought a small property, which I flipped and soon was back in the money. I haven’t told anyone this. Not even Cara."

"So why did you tell me?" Too many grand families in America had sanitized the origins of their wealth, whether it be smuggling of opium, running whiskey or insider trading, for me to regard Thomas as a criminal.

"Just so you understand the true reward of lying!" He excused himself saying, "I have to see to my other guests."

My opportunities for ill-gained money were petty. No millionairess was marrying a pauper. Career women in New York had little patience for common men and I walked into the billiard room, where Andrew was speaking with several agitated men on how to best exact revenge from the perpetrators of banking crisis. A balding man in his fifties ventured with a grim grin, "We should confiscate their yachts."

"Who? The government. They'll only waste it on propping up Wall Street," a tall man in an exquisitely black Italian suit countered with what I deemed to be the voice of reason, until he added, "Better to let everyone fend for themselves."

"We do that and we'll have anarchy within a year." A third man with a frail goatee entered the fray. They had all been watching too much business news and Andrew asked me, "Can you come up with a solution?"

"Yes, have international write-off day. All debts cancelled. Nothing belongs to any other than what they hold in their hands." I had written a script about this. HEAVEN ABOVE. It had been rejected by several studios. Now might be a better time for such a tale.

"Anarchy a solution. Things will be better." The tall man in the black suit tsked, as if the White House had granted him the concession for selling foreclosed houses in Florida to the Chinese.

"But not this year." Gas would hit $5 this summer. The wars would go on without surrender or victory. I was broke. "So in the meanwhile let's drink champagne. Te moritum salutem."

"Those who are about to die, salute you." Andrew had studied Latin too, but the rest of the men's faces betrayed they thought I was mad and I wandered away onto the terrace and stared at the few stars dotting soft black sky. None would have been visible, if the Trade Towers were standing.

Someone put on U2's NEW YORK and a lump choked my throat. I had been born in Boston, yet loved this city and cried like a baby, until the paean-turned-dirge was replaced by Joni Mitchell's CARRIE. Something about her high-pitched soprano dispelled my sorrow, though not as much as the sight of Tatiana in the doorway with two champagne glasses.

"I just got something caught in my eyes."

She had the decency to buy my lie. "There's a lot of that going around."

"And will for quite some time." She was regarding me, almost as if someone had shed a revealing light about me to which I wasn't privy. "I just hope this crisis isn't forever."

"It's not the end of the world." I told my story of giving blood with a madman on 9/11. "If the insane can recover, then so can the sane. It only takes more time."

"How long you know Thomas?" Her eyes were steely sapphires.

"We go back," I answered, not wanting to reveal my age.

"He thinks a lot of you." She obviously valued his opinion.

"It wasn't always that way. One time we got into an argument."

"Over a girl?"

"No, intrinsic value."

"Intrinsic value?" She frowned with disappointment.

"This old variety store in the East Village sold every necessity. The landlord upped the rent and it was replaced by a tee-shirt shop, which Thomas considered the natural course of economic evolution. I argued that no one had taken into consideration the intrinsic value of what the store gave the neighborhood. It got a little heated and people had to hold us back."

"Over a shop selling tee-shirts?"

"Yeah." Neither the tee-shirt shop nor a Blockbusters had succeeded in the space.

"You are sure it wasn’t over a woman?"

"No." My soul-kissing his ex-girlfriend had been a joke.

"Men are stupid." She sneered, as if her half of the species was the only worthy cause for a fight.

"We were never friends, until I introduced him to Cara. They were meant for each other like Adam and Eve or Romeo and Juliet. I guess that's was my intrinsic value."

"Everyone has some." Her shadowed profile belonged in a museum and I almost reached out to make sure she was flesh, but she moved to the right like a sun-mirrored mirage vanishing from a desert road, only she stopped a pace away and said, "I can't stay here any longer. You mind escorting me to a cab? It’s just a cab ride. Nothing else."

"I can deal with nothing else." Her beauty canceled out her heartlessness.

Her suitors couldn’t hide their puzzlement of her departure with me. I had no intention of solving the mystery, for it was never good to question the unexpected, especially if the end result was simply a handshake. I waved good-bye to Andrew. I had keys and this was going nowhere. After all I was a married man.

After the elevator door closed, Cara lovingly embraced Thomas. “I didn't suspect that they would leave together.”

"I sort of cheated."

"You tell her he was the heir to a family fortune?"

"No, I said that he had the biggest____" Thomas whispered the rest of his confession into Cara's ear. She laughed raucously and several of the guests turned their heads with knitted brows of disapproval. Cara couldn't care less about what these gringos thought. "And does he?"

"Maybe." Thomas cocked his head to the side, as if it might be the truth.

"Why would you tell such a lie?"

"Because he looked so lonely without his family and I never repaid him for making me a happy man."

"Really?" Like every woman Cara didn't believe a single word any man said.

"Of course, but I still don't understand why he introduced us. It wasn't like he and I were good friends."

Cara pinched his cheek. "I told him to.”

"Why?" Thomas asked with all ignorance a man can possess about a woman's wiles. Cara could have hurt his feeling, but she really did love him. "Because you had big feet. Big feet, big shoes. Big shoes____”

"I get the picture.” Thomas stared down at his shoes. They didn't seem big.

"Would it have mattered, if they weren't big?"

"Of course not, my love.” They didn’t have to say another word on the subject. Both of them were happy with the way they were and no one could blame them. After all theirs was a perfect world and that was no lie.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

West 47th Street was open seven days a week from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. Sales people, guards, elevator operators, schleppers, cutters, setters, polishers, and even ennie the Bum slaved throughout the holiday rush in hopes of scoring enough cash to pay their debts. Stores extended their normal hours to entice late-night shoppers. Thieves and gypsies made up more than 50% of the walk-ins.
Hawkers fought over the Gs or goys. Old customers were as faithful as a runaway on rack and chiseled us for every dollar. Salesman cut prices to the bone to make a sale. Diamond brokers ran out of stones worth selling. When the beautiful jewelry were gone, my boss Manny would shout, “Sell what you got.”
Moving dreck jewelry was impossible. My sales were down 30% from 1997 and I would have been suffering from a serious dose of the Grinch, if I hadn’t a little business on the side, slinging studs from an upstairs Israeli broker. The diamonds were slightly included to the naked eye and the price was right. I made $100/pair and sold about 30 of them to friends seeking to stall Ms. Perfect for another year.More...
Our Christmas party was on the 23rd. I drank too much and kissed the daughter of Manny’s partner. The next morning I showed up to work with a bacon and egg sandwich. Manny’s son, Richie Boy joked that I was going to be his partner soon.
“I’ll kill the goy first” Lee drew back his cashmere jacket. He had never pulled out his Beretta, but today his hand rested on the catch.”
“Don’t worry. I know how to keep my place.”
Elise called in sick. I wish I had done the same, except I wanted my salary, bonus, and commissions. Manny took one look at me and said, “Don’t let the goy touch anything valuable.”
“That’s fine by me.” I needed little encouragement to ‘lb’ or ‘look busy’ for the rest of the day. Customers came and went without my leaving the back office. Richie boy sold a 5-carat off-color pear-shape to a walk-in, a $15,000 diamond necklace to a G or customer, and a 20,000 sapphire to a showgirl, and then he spent the rest of the afternoon fighting with his father. We were ready to go home. So was everyone else and at 2pm Manny called it a day. "Lock the front door. We’re going home."
“Don’t have to be told twice.” I plundered the jewelry from the front window like a Pirate of the Caribbean.
“You going home for Christmas?” Richie Boy asked, packing a box with diamond rings.
“Never fail.” At 48 I had only missed one Christmas with my family. A drunken weekend in the Isle of Wight.
“You could always celebrate it with us.”
“I’d love too.” Richie Boy’s clan was infamous on 47th street for its familial dysfunctions. “I think I’ve filled my quota for time with your father.”
“Me too.” Richie Boy would have to deal with relatives and wife on his own.
Once the merchandise was locked in the vault, Manny handed over my salary, commissions, and holiday bonus. The first was on the money, the second required some cursing, and the third was less than I had expected, although more than I had feared for an off year.
“Thanks, Manny.”
“I wish it was more.”
“Yeah, we all do.” My fellow workers and I shared a quick shot of whiskey, then I dashed to the Port Authority bus station.
The conga line at Gate 84 snaked into a steady stream of north-bound buses. It was a little past 3pm by the time the bus rolled onto the crowded streets. The sun set over New Haven at 4:30. The traffic was stalled before the Sturbridge tollbooth and the bus arrived an hour past schedule. The payphones in South Station were ten deep, so I skipped calling my older brother’s house. The clock said 8. Milton was only 30 minutes away.
I caught the MTA-Red Line to Ashmont. The T was crammed with last-minute shoppers and travelers completing the last leg of the journey home. Detraining at Lower Mills I walked up the hill past brightly-lit mansions. Snow crunched underneath my shoes. I was hungry and the scent of burning wood from spurred my pace.
Cars crowded the driveway to my brother’s house. The walkway was unshovelled. Glowing windows framed friends and family huddled over a table overrun by food. Tonight no one was worrying about diets. Children chased each other around a Christmas tree drooping with shiny ornaments.
I pressed the bell. A muffled scream of ‘Uncle Bubba’ sparked a stampede of nieces and nephews. The front door opened and warm hands pulled me inside. This was my Christmas. Everyone had a name, until a dreadlocked dog nipped my ankle. "Who’s this?”
"That's Coco." My eleven year-old nephew patted a hyperactive toy poodle.
"Coco's no name for a dog.”
My brother entered the room. He looked good for a man edging toward fifty. “Dog? I don't see a dog."
"Coco's certainly not a cat."
"I wanted Fang." My brother posed his foot for a mock field goal attempt. "The shelter only had Coco."
"But we love him." My nephew clasped the squirming puppy to his chest.
"We'll find out about love, when he needs a walk." My brother pointed to the kitchen. "Go help your mother and sister with the plates."
"Uncle Bubba just arrived and I don’t want to get my hands wet."
My nephew dropped the dog.
“Good excuse.” He was a good kid too and I hugged my nephew.
“Go help your mother.” My brother and I never questioned my father.
Do I have too?” These were different times.
"I'm not leaving yet, so obey your father or else Santa Claus will be late tomorrow."
"Santa Claus is never late." He confidently skipped into the kitchen looking over his shoulder at my brother.
“So what’s with the dog?”
“The kids wore down their mother.”
“Mom never would have.” Our mother held no affection for animals.
"I ever tell you I almost bought you a dog for Christmas?" My brother handed me a glass of wine. He had stopped drinking two years ago. “But Mom said she’d have to take care of it."
"And you listened to her?"
"You were a little careless then."
"A dog might have cured that.”
“Let me guess." My brother lifted his eyes in mock deliberation.
"You might have settled down?"
"It wasn’t out of the question." A wife, two kids, a job with the Boston School System, a vacation house in Maine, and a Volvo station wagon should have been attainable goals for a prodigal uncle. “After all a dog is man’s best friend. I would have sat by the fire. That’s pretty homey.”
"You were free to buy a dog after you left home.” My brother upheld that my vagabond ways arose from smoking marijuana.
“Somehow I never had the time.” HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW was replaced by Tom Rush’s version of URGE FOR GOING.
“And you don’t now?”
“I have plans.” After the New Year I was heading to Thailand. Bangkok, Chiang mai, and then maybe Tibet.
“Plans. More running away. You can blame your lack of commitment on not owning a dog all you want.” He rolled his eyes. “But the real reason Mom refused you a dog was that you were scared of them."
"No, I wasn't." Afraid of the snakes under my bed. Never a dog.
"You mean you've forgotten."
"Forgotten what?"
Several voices cried out, "Coco."
My brother placed his water on a coaster. "Sounds like time for a damage control."
My nieces, nephews, and their friends raced across the foyer. Coco had a Pokemon t-shirt in his mouth. The posse gave up catching him at the stairs and my brother asked his son, "Why you stop the chase?"
"No one breaks a sweat over Pokemon," a smart-aleck ten-year old answered and I scolded his snide ennui, "You were so into it last year."
"Pokemon is as dead as Barney." The kid was growing up fast.
"No, dead as Beanie Babies." And he had friends.
"No, dead as Power Rangers." The children ran into the living room, laughing at their parents' attempts to placate them with consumerism, while my nephew forlornly retrieved the shirt from the panting Coco. "Why they stop loving Barney? I didn't."
"Sometimes people outgrow their toys." I would have gone $1000 into credit card debt to hug my one-eyed teddy bear or my hillbilly girlfriend from 1978.
"You won't outgrow me, will you?"
“Not this year and any one of this century."
"Thanks, Uncle Bubba." He joined the other children opening gifts.
"He's a good kid.” I liked being around him. “Makes me wish I had a family."
"It's not too late."
"Not if your wife has her way.”
His buxom wife approached a glass of wine in her hand. She had yet to join my brother’s league of temperance.
“Uncle Bubba, I was someone I want you to meet.” She was an incorrigible match-maker and optimistically hoped her resolve might convert me into an honest man. “Meet Laurie.”
An attractive blonde in her late thirties followed in her wake. She was smart, twice-divorced from professional men, and admired my traveling around the world. I entertained her with tales from the diamond district. When she left for another party, I promised to call her. For her safety I threw her number in the fireplace.
My father and I spoke about my late mother. He got weepy and I comforted him. We drank a little more wine than we should and fell asleep on the couch. I woke, when the logs crumpled into the glowing coals. Guests were leaving for Midnight Mass. Fathers held their daughters’ hands. Mothers ruffled their sons' hair. I had no wife. No family. No house. Nothing to show for my time on this earth. As I reached for my wine, Coco licked at my hand.
Scratching his skull, I pondered my brother's earlier accusation of dogophobia, for a little puppy to call my own would have completed my life as a ten year-old boy in the suburbs south of Boston.
My next-door neighbor, Chuckie Manzi, had owned a fluffy-tailed mutt. I had pretended he was mine, if only part-time. I threw Skippy sticks and wrestled balls from his mouth. At dinnertime he faithfully tramped after his master and I would ask my mother, "Why can't we have a dog?”
"Because you won’t take care of it.” With six kids she didn’t need any more work.
"I'll walk it in the morning and use the money from my paper route to feed it."
"And when you're at school?" That question stifled my pleas, but a 'puppy' perennially headed my Santa list. The toy soldiers, plastic airplanes, hardcover books, stylish clothing, and $20 bills were no substitute for a yapping puppy, although one spring my mother eased her edict against pets.
Tossing Coco off my lap, I warmed my hands before the fire and said, "Rabbits."
Winters in New England are long and even longer for ten year-old boys. , but the snow season of 1962 finally released its grip on the South Shore of Boston in late-March. The warm air thawed the ice-hard ground and soon fragile green leaves sprouted from the trees throughout my hometown. Shortly thereafter Spring officially arrived with the Red Sox’s opening day loss to the Indian.
The next day the Fenway team followed the debut defeat with a 12th inning win. This victory rekindled our eternal hope for a successful pennant run and the neighborhood boys congregated for the first of many under-teamed baseball games in my back yard. Last year’s gloves were stiff from neglect and the Christmas gift baseballs shined in the afternoon sun. My brother, Chuckie Manzi, and I played ‘pickle’ waiting for the others to fill out the five-on-five sides.
My next-door neighbor, Chuckie, was my best friend. His dog chased the tossed ball. Soon seven boys were laughing carelessly at Skippy’s running back and forth. The dog was faster then any of us, but couldn’t leap high enough to snag the ball.
“Your dog’s crazy.” I yelled winging the ball to my brother and Chuckie shouted, “Dogs are supposed to be crazy. Just like us.”
Three more boys ran into the field. Baseball caps on their head. My older brother, Chuckie, and I played on the same side as my two cousins. They attended St. Mary’s of the Foothills like us. The opposing five went to public school. It was almost even, except my cousin Russell could really whack the ball, even though he was three years younger than the rest of us.
The ground rules were simple. Any ball hit into the woods beyond the first base line was an out. A foul ball into my other neighbor’s yard was also an out, since they were in a property dispute with my parents. Two strikes and you were out. Two outs and the other team came to bat. The game was over once someone’s mother yelled for dinner. The team at bat had to provide the catcher. The rest of the rules were adjusted according to the score.
A flip of a quarter decided first-ups. The public school team scored two runs before striking out twice. Russell drove the first pitch over the centerfielder’s head for a homer. My brother ran out a weak hit to second. Chuckie squibbed out a single. I came to the plate with two men on.
“Wait for your pitch.” My brother was patient and I told myself to be the same.
The pitcher tossed a curve outside the strike zone by a foot. I lunged to make contact and the bat swatted the ball sharply toward the Manzi’s house. It missed a bedroom window by inches and plunked into the thicket of rose bushes. The leftfielder scrambled to field the ball. It was beyond his reach.
As I crossed home plate, he yelled from underneath the thorny branches. “Rabbits.”
We looked at each other. “Rabbits?”
Our suburban development was surrounded by deserted farmlands. Raccoons ate the garbage and foxes chased the chickens at the nearest stables. Last winter my brother thought he saw a rattlesnake in the front yard. In the darkness I imagined the wavering shape was a rattler too. The police appeared at the house with guns drawn and discovered the deadly serpent was a loose sheet of cardboard. Chuckie had a good laugh about our mistake. So did my parents.
Rabbits weren’t dangerous and we ran to the Manzi’s house. The ten of us kneeled on the ground. Damp seeped through the jeans. Chuckie held back Skippy, because against the concrete foundation of his house lay a furry pile of bunny rabbits. None of them bigger than a Twinkie and I told Chuckie. "Get a box.”
He returned with a milk crate and I plucked the baby rabbits from the dirt furrow. Seeing them in the box, my brother asked, "What are you going to do?"
Skippy yapped his suggestion and I held the rabbits over my head. "I'm asking Mom, if we can keep them."
"You think she’ll say yes?" My brother's timid voice betrayed his guess was 'no'.
My mother either feared or hated animals. Spiders and butterflies inside the house deserved death by newspaper. My father joked that TVs would never replaced newspapers, because you couldn’t swat flies with them.
My mother didn’t think his joke was funny and anytime we asked for a dog or cat, she scowled as if we had tracked mud into the living room.
“We won’t know until we ask.” I looked over to our house. The door to the laundry room was open. We trooped to the clothesline and my mother exited from the house with a heavy basket of wet sheets. She looked at the box with a frown. "You touch them?"
"Then their mother will abandon them, because they have the smell of a human on them."
“So can we keep them?” I envied Chuckie for having a dog. Skippy went everywhere with him. My mother would never accept a dog, but I prayed these rabbits were different.
My mother put down the basket of sheets. "You'll take care of them?"
"I will, I will." To prove she had not misplaced her trust, I fed the baby bunnies warm milk from an eyedropper. My older brother laughingly called their wooden home a 'bunny jail', but Chuckie volunteered to be a bunny guard. Bunnies were definitely cuter than Skippy.
When Mrs. Manzi yelled for dinner, my friend asked, "Can I take care of a rabbit tonight?"
They’re a family. Families stay together.” I replied and lay on the lawn with the bunnies curled on my chest.
The sun dropped closer to the horizon. My brothers and sisters watched TV in the den. My mother prepared dinner in the kitchen. Mr. Manzi came home from the dry cleaning shop. He waved to me and entered his house. Several minutes later my father walked toward the house with a troubled weariness on his face. Years would pass before I realized he hated his boss, but tonight he smiled at the bunnies. “Your mother say you can keep them?”
“Yeah.” I lifted a bunny and he patted its head.
“That’s a surprise.”
“Yeah, a good one.”
“They have names yet?” My father liked things in their place.
“No.” Rabbits didn’t have souls, so I didn’t have to name them after saints. “I’ll name them after the planets.”
“None of them look fast enough to be called Mercury.”
“Not yet.” Mars was the one with the reddish ears.
A bark ripped from the driveway. A large black dog lurked behind the lilac bush. His eyes shined with hunger. My father picked up a rock and chucked it at the intruder. His aim was good and the dog yelped into the woods.
"Better keep those rabbits inside or a dog’ll get at them." My father patted the rabbit in my arms. “Get inside. It’s time for dinner. And wash your hands.”
“Okay.” I walked inside the garage and placed the bunny jail atop the station wagon. Throughout dinner I couldn’t talk about anything other than the rabbits. Before dessert I asked, “May I please leave the table?”
“To look at those animals?” My mother seemed to regret her earlier decision.
“Yes, ma’am.”
“This better not interfere with your homework.”
“It won’t.”
She nodded her dismissal and I ran to the garage. The rabbits were where I left them. Safe in their box. “I’ll be right back.”
I completed my homework in record time and then remained with the rabbits late. Once they were older they would race each other for carrots. The losers would get the same amount as the winners. Close to 11pm I crept upstairs. My younger brothers and sisters were asleep in their beds. My room was dark and my brother out cold. The door to my parents’ room was open.
My mother was under the covers. My father had been asleep for hours. The television was on low. The news showed Kennedy talking to his wife. My mother liked her, but had voted for Nixon. FAILSAFE lay on her chest.
“How are the rabbits?” Her insomnia had nothing to do with my father’s snoring. I had the same genes.
“I think they’re sleeping.” I whispered and my mother looked over to my father. “Nothing can wake your father once he’s asleep. Bunny rabbits too. They’ll be fine in the garage.”
“I hope so.”
“Get me some potato chips and OJ.”
“You’re a good son.”
“Thanks for the bunny rabbits, mom.”
I watched a little of Johnny Carson monologue and slipped into my bed with THE AGONY AND THE ECSTACY. The reading was easy, but my eyes grew heavy. It was late and my first dream was of bunny rabbits adorning the Sistine Chapel.
Waking early for my paper route I rose from bed and dressed quick in my school uniform. Grabbing a bottle of milk from the refrigerator, I entered the garage as anxious as a brand new father. My hand slipped inside the box to touch air. It was empty.
“Bunnies.” I called out. “Mars, Pluto, Venus.”
Bunny rabbits don’t make a lot of noise, but I heard the tiniest panting and kneeled on the concrete floor. Their little bodies lay underneath the car. They weren’t moving like baby bunnies should and I screamed.
My father rushed into the garage, his tie undone. "What's wrong?"
I blubbered out, "The rabbits."
“Under the car.”
“Yes.” They were out of my reach.
My father picked them up one by one and laid the bunnies on the hood. "Two rabbits are dead."
Mars and Jupiter.
The survivors were breathing like they were in a race. "Why they try to escape?"
“Son, you can't stop animals from running wild and the other three are too hurt to live. We'll have to put them down."
"Put them down?” I had read THE YEARLING and seen the movie of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ tale of a boy’s love for a baby deer. His father shooting the boy’s pet in the end proved Man has a much greater control over Death than Life.
"I'll give them whiskey. They won't feel a thing."
“Can’t we bring them to the hospital?”
“Wish we could, but it’s better this way.” My mother didn’t liked liquor in the house and my father went to the tool cabinet, filling an eyedropper with Canadian Club. The smell reminded me of Red Tate, the drunk who hung around the nearest grocery store.
“You want to say a prayer?” My father held Venus.
“Only to make them live.”
“They will in another life.”
A squirt into their mouths stilled her. Pluto and Mercury were next. My father laid the five bodies in the box. My older brother stood at the door. “What happened?”
“The rabbits tried to escape.”
“Oh.” His expression said God didn't want us to have pets.
I cried and my father held me close. “Go do your paper route and we’ll bury them when you get back.”
My paper route delivered the Boston Globe and Herald to 54 houses in the neighborhood. My father thought a boy should have his own money. I got about $5 a week. My brother had 64 customers, but they were a little farther away. He earned over $6. We rode Raleigh English bikes. Every other kid had a Schwinn.
Normally I read the news. This morning the words Civil Rights and Cuba were simply smeared by tears. I entered the house thirty minutes later, wiping my eyes with my sleeve.
I came back wiping the tears from my eyes. My father had already left for work. My mother was waiting in the back yard with an open shoe box. “Here’s the bunnies.”
They looked like they were sleeping. My brother had a shovel. My sisters were dressed for school. The sun was heating up the day. My mother checked her wristwatch. “Better hurry up, the bus will be here soon.”
My attendance record was perfect three years running.
“I’ll do it as fast as I can.” Chuckie trotted across the grass. He had heard the bad news. Skippy wagged his tail. Chuckie whacked him. “Go back inside.”
Skippy scurried back to his doghouse and we trudged into the woods with my younger sisters carrying the bunny coffin between them. Rituals were second nature for Catholics back then. My brother hacked at the ground with the shovel. Soon the hole was about a foot deep. My older sister placed the box at the bottom and my brother covered my one day pets with dirt.
Wiping the dirt from his hands my older brother made the sign of the cross. “Shouldn’t we say something?”
“I can’t.”
My sister held my hand and started singing HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL. The rest of us joined the song, but didn’t get to second chorus, because the school bus blew its horn.
“Get on the bus.” My mother yelled and the others’ conditioning had the others running across the lawn to the house. They grabbed their lunch boxes and school bags.
I lingered at the edge of the woods, clutching the shovel in my hands. My mother called my name. She was going to explain why birds and bees stop flying. I wanted a miracle and returned to the woods.
Nature is cruel. The black dog from last night had a dead bunny in his jaws. The fur was white. I raised the shovel and yelled, "Stop."
With a growl the black dog mauled Venus’ lifeless body into tufts of fur. He wasn’t scared of me.
My mother arrived and grabbed the shovel. The dog recognized her hatred of animals and scrambled into the woods. I gathered Venus’ bloodied fur in my hands. My mother shook her head. “Now you know why I don’t want you to have pets.”
“They were only bunnies.”
“I know. I had a cat when I was young and it ran away. All my tears wouldn't bring it back.” She held the box in her hands. The other four rabbits were untouched. “Go get the bus, I’ll bury them deep, so no animals will get at them. Go.”
She wiped my face and I ran for the bus. I didn’t speak to anyone on the way to school. My older brother cleaned the blood off my hands. He also made sure no one ridiculed me. He was my best friend really and Chuckie was just a friend.
Both of them knew to keep their distance and the death grip on my school bag frightened the other students from thinking about sitting next to me on the ten-minute ride to St. Mary’s of the Foothills.
The black dog had forced the rabbits onto the car roof. Their deaths were its fault. An eye for an eye was best exacted in secret. No one. Not the teachers, my friends, or family needed to know my plans and I said nothing throughout the school day.
My teachers and friends were used to this mood. The called it black and had seen it pass, but that afternoon I bicycled my paper route in search of the bunny-killing dog. He was evil spawn of the devil and remained a ghost on my circuit of Harborview, Ridge Road, Sassamon, or Neponset Streets.
I soon forgot him.
The afternoon weather was balmy. My friends would be waiting in the back yard to play baseball. I readied to heave the final Herald onto the stairs of number 157 Sears Road.
A bark thundered across the lawn and the black dog bound out of a garbage can. It was Satan. I swung the rolled-up paper at his frothing head. The snarling jaws snatched the newspaper from my hand, nearly yanking me off the bike.
Regaining my balance, I pedaled to the end of the street. The black dog had given up chase in favor of annihilating the paper. Its shreds covered the lawn like confetti and his feral glare warned to stay off this street. If it had been a bully, I might have obeyed, only he was a dog, and my genetic code demanded another course of action.
When I drove down the driveway to my garage, my brother was playing catch with Chuckie. We had been raised as Irish twins. Thirteen months apart and he could read me like a comic book. "I know you’re thinking about doing something crazy.”
"No, I'm going to the Canyon." The black dog had to come from a house near the old sandpit and I was finding out which one.
"You want me to come along?"
"No, I’m just going to mess around in the Canyon." This was my fight.
The Canyon was a sandpit overrun with small trees and weeds. Water oozed from the eroded slopes to form a stream alive with polliwogs. A dog barked from a nearby yard and I scrambled up the sandpit to peek through a hedge.
The black dog nipped at the blue sundress of a laughing girl my age. I had seen her at church. Her family was the new to the neighborhood. She was pretty.
As I inched forward, the leaves rustled and the black dog lunged in my direction. I leapt into the Canyon and tumbled to the stream. The black dog barked from the rim. I jumped on my bike and didn’t brake until I was halfway home.
This was no normal dog. My revenge would require drastic measures, yet if I succeeded, the girl in the sundress would hate me, the police might arrest me, and my parents would question what kind of child they had raised, but I wasn’t arguing with the ghosts of five bunny rabbits. In my family’s garage I wrapped a short lead pipe with a newspaper and tape.
"What’s with that pipe?" Even at age eleven my brother liked a good line of questioning, which would serve him well as a lawyer, although today I wasn’t divulging any secrets.
"Making a blowgun," I replied and he shrugged, figuring my weird project was no more harmful than his arson experiments.
The neighborhood was quiet the next morning. Families slept as I delivered the Globe and Heralds. I reached Sears Road with four papers, instead of three. My weapon was crude and effective. Killing him would be easy after one whack of the lead pipe. At number 157 the beast charged from under a tree.
I swung the weighted newspaper. The pipe clunked harmlessly off his skull. I pedaled for safety, his teeth chomping at my heels.
That evening my father demanded, "Why didn't you deliver all the newspapers papers?"
"A dog attacked me. That dog you threw the rock at. He belongs to the new people on Sears Road."
"Get in the car. We'll have a talk with them." Within a minute our station wagon parked before the house. Three girls played with the black dog. The car doors opened and his ears perked up. Keeping our distance, my father asked, "Is your mother or father home?"
"My mother is," the oldest girl replied with the dog by her side. "I'll get her."
Her mother came out in an old cotton shift and hair rollers. She was as beautiful as her daughters and well aware of her effect on men. "I'm Mrs. Rolla. These are my three daughters. We moved from New York."
"Welcome to the neighborhood." My father saw no reason not to be polite.
"Can I help you?" The woman recognized this wasn't a social visit.
"Seems your dog has been attacking my son on his paper route."
"DJ? He's dumb as mud." The woman patted the dog and DJ grinned idiotically. "Sure, all dogs bark.”
“And barkers bite___”
The woman circumvented my protests. "I'll keep DJ inside in the morning. Your son can deliver us the paper. Is that okay?"
“I don’t___”
Mrs. Rolla's youngest daughter smiled, as if school had been let out early for summer.
Delivering their newspapers meant collecting the subscription money every Friday. The young girl might answer the door. The opportunity to speak with her beat out the revenge for the bunny rabbits. "I'll drop the papers in the door tomorrow."
"This arrangement makes the world a much happier place. It was nice meeting you." Mrs. Rolla leaned against the door, studying my father with a covetous interest. He stammered out a good-bye and we walked to the station wagon.
Opening the door, I almost yelped in terror, for DJ's eyes stare with almost human jealousy. The youngest daughter slapped him on the head. "DJ, stop that."
It was too late to tell my father they were aware of DJ’s ferocity.
On the way home he complimented the mother on raising such nice girls. Thankfully she held true to her promise and DJ vanished from my morning and afternoon paper route.
As April turned to May, the fear of DJ was replaced by my desperate desire to attract the attention of Mrs. Rolla's daughter. She blissfully disregarded my acrobatically riding on the handlebars or waving to her at Sunday Mass. With each failure I withdrew deeper within into my pubescent cocoon. I stopped playing 'army' with my friends, fluffed my homework, and disobeyed my parents. One afternoon my mother warned, "Wait till your father comes home."
My father’s harsh words were much more frightening than her smacks with the wooden spoon and I dashed out of the house to the sandpit. Bees buzzed between the wild flowers and birds flew after insects. Becalmed by nature I took off my shoes and waded into the cool water. The mud squeezed between my toes and the sun was warm on my skin, then a dog growled across the stream.
It was DJ.
His bark signaled that running wasn’t an option. This was a final confrontation. When I grabbed a flat stone from the ground, a girl’s voice asked, "You're not throwing that at my dog, are you?”
Fearing DJ, I didn't turn my head. "If he attacks, I will."
Not yet tanned by the sun, Mrs. Rolla's youngest girl’s thin legs stuck out from under her sundress like two white rails. Her brown hair was pulled back into a bouncy ponytail and her eyes were two green pearls. DJ had witnessed hundreds of boys’ reaction to the Rolla girls and smirked with yellowed fangs, as she licked at an ice cream cone.
"DJ, stop that." She smacked her dog's head and DJ plopped by her feet. "See, he's a pussy cat.”
"DJ's not a normal dog, is he?"
"No, we found him eating our garbage” The girl offered the dog her cone. He gulped it with a shark’s ferocity. “He itched and smelled horrible. I think he loves us. We’re not so sure, so no one messes with him at foodtime, but he won’t bite a friend and you're a friend, right?"
The dog obviously obeyed her whims and I asked, "You had him attack me, didn't you?"
"Yes," she admitted guiltlessly. "It was an easy way to meet you. My name's Kyla. You still throwing that rock?"
"Huh?" I was mesmerized by chocolate smeared around her mouth.
"I mean if you throw that rock, you might hit me.” She stood with one foot tucked behind the other. “You want to hit me?”
I dropped the rock and told her my name.
"You can come over my house. My mother will give you an ice cream cone." She snapped her fingers and DJ dashed into the undergrowth. We walked to her house and my neighborhood became a paradise populated mostly by her Eve and my Adam. Our Eden lasted to the last year of high school.
My father’s snoring returned me to the present. The fire was dying and I went into the kitchen. My brother was washing dishes and I helped him dry. "I remember DJ.”
“And how one Thanksgiving Mom cooled the turkey in the garage and DJ ate it on the front yard after you had left the garage door open."
"I figured it cooled faster that way." DJ had buried his muzzle inside the turkey carcass. We had to eat at a hotel. "After that Mom told you to stop playing with Kyla."
“Only for a short time.” Kyla and I were sweethearts almost all the way through high school.
"What are you talking about?" My nephew asked from the door. He loved hearing stories about the stupidity of adults, which were the only stories to tell on a Christmas Eve after the non-family members had gone home.
"This girl ate ice cream and smeared chocolate over her face. And Uncle Bubba would kiss her. My brother and I loved making each other uncomfortable.
My nephew wore a funny expression like he had a crush on a girl as messy as Kyla. Before he could ask a troubling question, I stuck Coco’s head inside the turkey carcass on the table. The puppy squirmed in terror, and then barked with delight from within the Promised Land. "Bad Coco."
My niece and brother laughed. My brother less than anyone else. He really did like Coco. His wife came into the kitchen with a load of plates and reproached me with a playful slap. "Bad Bubba.”
She was only angry for not asking her friend out on a date. We laughed harder to the cheers of 'bad dog' and 'Bad Bubba'. My father came to see the commotion. I freed Coco from his prison and he snapped at my hand. My father said the dog was dangerous, breaking up us again. Coco was no DJ.
Two minutes later we were rehashing my abandonment at the Kittery tollbooth. Tomorrow really was Christmas. I was with my family. Coco licked my hand, partially because I tasted of turkey, but also since man’s friendship was forged by dogs’ willingness to forgive our sins, which is why they will be man's best friends for now and forever.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Muddy Waters $700

Muddy Waters just sang,

On the seventh hour
Of the seventh day,
On the seventh month,
The seven doctors say
"He was born for good luck.
And that you'll see."
I got $700
Don't you mess with me.

If you can lay your hands on $700, nobody can fuck with you, don't even adjust for inflation. It's Nature's law.

I met Muddy Waters for one minute. He was sitting with David Johanssen at CBS records. I walked up and asked him for his autograph.

He signed his new album. I said thanks extravagantly and walked away. It's the only autograph I own and I've lost it.

As I'm leaving, David says, "Hey. What about me?"

I said, "Hey, let's not be greedy."

Girly Burdy too Skimpy for Thai Culture

Ministers of new governments tend to issue inane proclamations to showboat their talents for the electorate and Thailand's Culture Minister promoted himself to front page by stripping the teeange singers Girly Burdy of their spokesperson status after performing for the Songkran crowd on Bangkok's San Road in what he deemed inappropriate attire.

"Cultural campaigns need consistency and presenters who lead by example. Without both elements, it is better to do nothing.''

Skimpy tops and hot pants for the much-promoted Cover-Up-For-Songkran campaign are not up to the high moral standards set by the Thailand government currently competing for last in the fight against corruption amongst ASEAN nations.

Mah-yah-wee means hypocrite in Thai versus ah-nah-jaan for immoral.

Personally I prefer Girly Burdy.

Pattaya Bar Etiquette Lesson

Somehow when men from the West come to Pattaya they lose whatever manners their parents had beaten into them as children. Bad behavior becomes almost a prerequisite for a good time. drunkenness, rowdyism, and macho stupidity are usually forgiven by our Thai hosts, but the other night a foreign patron at Lucifer’s Discotheque overstepped the lines.

The Swede had touched a woman's behind, unaware that she sang for the establishment. When the police arrived at the scene of the crime, she demanded that he be arrested despite his profuse apologies. The local gendarmerie obliged by taking the offending hand and its owner to Soi 9 for the charge of groping.

At the police station the irate singer demanded his incarceration and the Swede was sentenced to a night in jail. The next morning the judge assessed a small fine and warned he didn't want to see him again.

The Swede's only defense was that he thought the singer was an ex-girlfriend., which means fondling ex-girlfriends is an old Nordic tradition.

Some men can't keep their hands to themselves.

Like GW Bush groping Chancellor Merkel of the Porsche Reich.

Par 4 at the Killing Fields CC

In a move that might make the late Cambodian despot Pol Pot spin in his grave _ if he had one _ former Khmer Rouge cadres in their stronghold of Pailin have embraced a plan to cash in on the country's tourism boom and build a golf course. Not that they know much about the game. If football is the beautiful game, to the ultra-Maoist former guerrillas, golf is the mysterious one.

Last week, golf fanatic Prime Minister Hun Sen visited the remote area, more than 100km of rugged dirt road from the nearest city of Battambang, and proposed a golf course for the municipality. More...

Pailin is perched on the nation's north-western border with Thailand and is just four hours by road from Bangkok, but up to 10 hours from the Cambodian capital.

Hun Sen is possibly the only country leader in the world to list his golf scores on his website.

Cambodia is so serious about developing golf as an industry that it has appointed a special representative to the Council of Ministers. The former Khmer Rouge are ecstatic.

Once rich in gems and timber, these resources were all but stripped bare by the Khmer Rouge as they tried to keep the remnants of the rebel movement alive by selling them off before the rebels finally conceded to join Hun Sen's government in 1996.

Even journalists don't bother to go there any more since four of its most infamous residents _ former Khmer Rouge leaders Ieng Sary, his wife Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea _ were arrested on orders from the court set up to try them. They are now in a Phnom Penh jail.

Pailin's biggest draw is currently its mainly Thai-owned casinos, which operators say draw up to 10,000 Thais per month. But they lie within a quick sprint of the border and more than 12 rough kilometres from Pailin town, so most gamblers drop their money there and go no further. Nor does Pailin have the attractions of other former Khmer Rouge border strong-holds such as Anlong Veng, which at least boasts the makeshift cremation site of the movement's leader Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge military commander Ta Mok's home, complete with war room. So the former hardline communists, who drove the country to destruction in their 1975-79 failed bid to turn the nation into an agrarian utopia bereft of social classes, which left up to 2 million dead, have joyfully embraced a new ideology _ golf.

''We don't understand this game and at the moment it is just a speech by the prime minister, but it would be great for Pailin,'' says local Information Chief Kong Duong, once a Khmer Rouge propaganda chief.

He says he has never seen a golf ball, except on television. ''We don't know where we will put [the course], or how big it should be, but the idea is good.''

Pailin Tourism Chief So Korng is candid. He freely admits that to him, an iron is for pressing clothes, a wood is something you cut down to make furniture, and Tiger Woods is a place you never go alone or unarmed. But he agrees that the concept is attractive.

''People will have more jobs, and many people inside Cambodia and from overseas will come to visit Pailin and also see our natural attractions like our waterfall, gem shops, mountains and our agricultural programmes,'' he said.

Revenue from the golf course may even pay for a road to the municipality's remote waterfall, which currently offers little more than precarious four-wheel drive access.

A former soldier who fought the Khmer Rouge in the early 1990s says the now-tamed rebels should also make good caddies.

''I've seen them climb mountains with two B-40 rockets strapped to their backs, so golf clubs should be no problem,'' he says. That would be a whole new revolution for a movement better known for its infamous black pajama uniform than plaid and plus fours. But not everyone is convinced. A spokesman for local non-government organisation Buddhism for Development says golf is for the rich, and he doubts there will be much trickle-down for the impoverished former Khmer Rouge farmers in the area.

''The former Khmer Rouge are poor. They are too busy farming to have time to play golf,'' he said. And then there is the image problem. In a 2006 interview, a senior Pailin tourism official laughingly admitted that the very concept of tourism remained somewhat alien. ''Before, our orders were to kill them, but now we invite them to visit and please spend money,'' he said. dpa

Nightmarch by Duncan Stern

Still Cheap as Chips: The Sisterz ogling den (Walking Street) has recently increased its happy hour times from 8:00 to 10:00PM and although prices have gone from an almost unbelievably low 35 to 45 baht, the house liver wasters are what they term 'big shots'. The former Honey is well-run by the amiable Rambling Ricky and, apart from liver wasters, the prices apply to some bottled amber fluid, Thai rotgut, and lolly water. Ricky is attempting to cater to all tastes and budgets and, judging by the customers from the early to the middle part of the night he's certainly doing something right.
The dancing damsels really are a mixed bunch, from ageing veterans of the chrome pole market to a few nubile young ladies, and everything in between. The dress code, or more correctly, the undress code, features a different style of 'uniform', one that suits some of the better-proportioned dancers, but on a few of the others it looks like a slingshot on the slack.
One big improvement from its early days, at least as far as the first part of the night is concerned, is the better quality of music coming out of the speakers. The soap suds and les-be-friends and mix and match show that takes place in the glassed booth at the back of the den is well worth a look.
In Second Place: While the above-mentioned Sisterz has its crazy hour, just down the street the New Living Dolls 1 ogling den (can I respectfully say that it's about time the joint had a name change to something a little more simple) offers an 8:00-10:00PM happy hour with most libations at a mere 39 baht. The place is absolutely awash with ladies of dubious virtue almost dressed in the standard g-string and boots, and the shower tub at the entrance is fairly well used all night.
I've never seen less than 30+ dancers in the den in the early to middle part of the evening so for a choosy customer there really should be a good chance of finding someone who takes your fancy in the collection. While I'm not wrapped in the music, the den is usually well-patronised and the overall ambience quite good.
Trainee Firemen: One of the best dens of the chrome pole away from the central fleshpots of Walking Street is Sexy Girls, located at the Second Road end of Soi 8. It's been an ogling den for many years and has changed styles and ownership a few times. The current management have worked hard at improving their little niche and pretty much have the concept right.
The music is good, if a little loud, draught amber fluid is 65 baht all night while house liver wasters are 100 baht. The dancing damsels are an athletic and very clean crew: there's a well-used bathtub at one end of the long stage and girls waiting their turn at hugging a chrome pole go upstairs and slide down onto the stage, fireman-style.
As far as the quality and number of dancing damsels is concerned it rates as the best of the four dens situated in Sois 7 and 8.
Overpriced and Overrated: The two Silver Star ogling dens, one in Soi 8 and the other in Soi 7, are run on pretty much the same lines and although they are good for indulgers in draught amber fluid, with glasses of the murky froth retailing at 65 baht all night, the prices of their other libations leave a lot to be desired. 130 baht for house liver wasters in an off-Walking Street den are ridiculous, especially as the joint in Soi 7 is populated by damsels of rather inflated girth.
Around the Poles: Yet another den of the chrome pole is set to open its doors on Walking Street. This is to be another one upstairs in Soi Diamond and will be called Locket so I'm led to believe. It's due to open in mid-February and will have one of Pattaya's most experienced managers attempting to draw punters up the steps.
I certainly hope the new place will be better than the Tiger Club and Shark Club dens, both situated up the stairs at the Walking Street entrance to Soi Diamond. While the barkers at the bottom of the stairs do their best to attract customers, handing out little paper vouchers offering a buy-one-get-one-free offer on house liver wasters and Thai rotgut, both places looked pretty desperate. Tiger Club was full of cats while Shark had only five or six dancers, although one of the serving damsels claimed a whole swag had been bar-fined.
Away from Walking Street, Club Oasis (corner of Soi Buakhow and Soi Chaiyapoom) continues to do pretty good business and its most recent line-up featured a mixed bag of some real stars, a number of average lookers, and the regulation porkers and aged veterans. In other words, something for everyone. The top-shelf liver wasters retail at 125 baht while the house liver destroyers are 100 baht.


Welcome Back to New York

My export business in Pattaya failed after the cyber-crime police raided my house. I was without funds for the three months prior to trial for copyright infringement and my finances soon mimicked Zimbabwe. I could have toughed it out, except the economic climate in Pattaya was also dire. The westerners in this town pride themselves on not lending a helping hand to farangs in need mostly because it's the one commodity Pattaya creates in surplus.


The only viable option was re-inventing my life in America and I bid farewell to my wife, daughter, and pregnant mistress. "I'll be back."

My flight from Bangkok to Taipei to Anchorage to JFK lasted the longest Sunday of my life. Gone were palm trees, elephants, mangoes, and the faces of the ones I love. Hello to Manhattan, my home of 27 years. My friends had promised a soft landing. I drank wine. They laughed at my stories. I went out at night. I thought this isn't too bad. At a gallery opening Vlad, the young Russian warned, "You shouldn't leave your bag unattended."

"Not to worry." I had placed it in the corner.

"This is New York. I can trust the people here. As far as my eyesight."

Baby-faced Vlad was not so sure and his mistrust was well-founded, for in the blink of an eye someone had dipped their hand into my bag to purloin my camera along with my address book.

I cursed myself for being a fool. An old fool, then remembered what my Irish grandmother said, "Whatever you lose wasn't yours to begin with."

Welcome to New York indeed.

Eat Less Advice from Samak

While governor of Minnesota Jessie Ventura suggested to those constituents suffering from obesity that they should push themselves away from the table to lose weight and now Thai PM Samak has told the nation that they should do the same to cope with the rising food prices, since the increases are simply part of the supply and demand curve.

"If you sacrifice and pay more for rice - a bit more, not much more - it will benefit farmers."

Thais have already responded to the hikes by buying only what they need, hoping for prices to fall once Viet-Nam and India re-opened their harvests for export, and no one is cooking more than they need as they realize that there's only so much rice to be grown year after year. Few Thais believe that the country's 3,600,000 farmers are benefiting from the rice crisis, especially after the mysterious disappearance of 200,000 tonnes of rice from government rice stocks. only one group of people always profit from the misery of the poor and that's not the poor as far as I can tell, but then again I'm not rich or fat like the PM.

Well, maybe a little pudgy and I could eat a little less and drink less too.

Thanks for the advice.

Just remember what happened when Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake."

200,000 Tonnes Of Rice Vanish Overnight

Thailand had stockpiled nearly 2.1 million tonnes of rice against any shortcomings in future rice harvests, however Thai authorities were at a loss to explain how a 10% of the supply vanished without a trace from government warehouses. With fragrant rice selling at 135 baht a kilo, this loss has been calculated at 3.2 billion baht or $137 million probably making this the biggest thefts of all time as well as the one taking the most time, since the thieves would need to make over 200,000 trips in a Isuzu pick-up to haul away that much rice.

And no one noticed anything at the government warehouses.

Must have been pesky field rats fattening up for the season.

Eat Less says Samak

While governor of Minnesota Jessie Ventura suggested to those constituents suffering from obesity that they should push themselves away from the table to lose weight and now Thai PM Samak has told the nation that they should do the same to cope with the rising food prices, since the increases are simply part of the supply and demand curve.

"If you sacrifice and pay more for rice - a bit more, not much more - it will benefit farmers."

Thais have already responded to the hikes by buying only what they need, hoping for prices to fall once Viet-Nam and India re-opened their harvests for export, and no one is cooking more than they need as they realize that there's only so much rice to be grown year after year. Few Thais believe that the country's 3,600,000 farmers are benefiting from the rice crisis, especially after the mysterious disappearance of 200,000 tonnes of rice from government rice stocks. only one group of people always profit from the misery of the poor and that's not the poor as far as I can tell, but then again I'm not rich.

Hashish Farts

The Koh Samui emergency ward was surprised to discover the cause of a middle-aged tourist's stomach cramps was nearly a kilo of hashish worth approx. one million baht. After a two-hour battle to extract a long plastic bag extracted from the Englishman's intestines, police arrested him on charges of smuggling the Class 5 drug onto the island. In custody the UK resident explained he had been in pain for over five days and panicked upon his farts starting to smell like the drug, indicating that several of the sealed packets might have burst in his stomach. None of his customers wanted to take a bong hit from his butt and now he will be subject to the full measure of the law for his folly.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Do Retired People Do All Day?

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. Well, for example, the other day Margaret and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and said, 'Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?'

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a selfish little thug. He glared at me and began writing another ticket for having worn tires. So Margaret called him a goose-stepping Nazi. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care. We'd come into town by bus. We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.

This joke is thanks to Big Al Harlow

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Safe Sex in Pattaya

On my first visit to Pattaya in 1991 I went to the Marine Disco and picked up a girl. We had sex. More than once. Nothing bad happened. She didn’t get pregnant. I didn’t contract an STD (sexually transmitted disease) and we didn’t get married. We were lucky, since she took no contraception and I hadn’t been wearing a condom.

No one comes to Pattaya for the water. Not the beaches. Maybe the golf. Mostly men past their prime arrive here with expectation of fulfilling fantasies previously available only through fast-forward action of a porno DVD. Girls. Girls Girls. More girls than you can shake a stick at. And almost all of them will say yes, but yes does not mean yes to everything.


“Feels like taking a shower with a raincoat.” Many men quote from an anonymous source about condoms.

Wearing a ‘French envelope’ might be not as pleasurable as bare-backing your tattooed pierced sex kitten in a cheap short-time hotel off the Beach Road, but the casual tourist has to consider the risks of this action, which is not easy after swilling a dozen beers and ingesting 2 Viagra.

In the early 90s Thailand was beset by AIDS. NGOs blamed the pandemic on the sex trade. The real reason was that the DEA had eradicated opium plants and the hill tribes started shooting heroin with swapped needles. The sex trade was also at fault and the government waged a very effective publicity campaign to educate women of the benefits of using a condom.

Condoms are now a fact of life in Pattaya. While not 100% effective, they cut down on the risks of catching anything you wouldn’t want from a toilet seat.

Many men complain about ‘rubberitis’ i.e. the touch of latex leading to dreaded loss of wood before coitus-a-g-go. I suggest cutting down on your alcohol consumption, having sex before 3am, or take a blue boy to adjust any chemical imbalance. (caution – it is rumored that scores of middle-aged farangs are admitted to the local hospitals after suffering a heart failure as an after-effect of taking a Viagra). While condoms diminish pleasure, you can still achieve ejaculation and that’s all men are really after in sex. If a woman wants a friend, then she can buy a dog.

Here’s some pointers about Condom Use

Use latex condoms. Brands such as Lifestyle, Trojans, Kimono, or Durex are usually reliable. Natural skin condoms feel good, but do not prevent diseases. If you or your partners are allergic to latex (it might give you a rash or irritation), try the polyurethane condom called Avanti.

Get the right size. In the USA the condom makers downsized their product one step to make men think they had bigger penises. You might not be the XXL you thought you were, so check the size first. Also some girls will offer you a smaller size if only to cut off the blood from its appointed destination. If the shoe doesn’t fit don’t wear it.

Lubricate! Most condoms come with some lubrication inside. Whether you believe it not most of the women you bed in Pattaya are not into sex because you look like Brad Pitt. Spit is nice in your videos, but Thai girls think it’s disgusting. And butter despite Marlon Brando using it in LAST TANGO IN PARIS ruins hotel sheets.

For the pleasures of intercourse without discomfort, you will probably want to use additional lubricant on the outside of the condom… use only water-soluble lubricants that do not irritate you or your partner… never use petroleum-based lubricants or other oils or jellies because these will rot latex and cause damage to your condoms.

Use care to roll the condom down the shaft of your penis as soon as you get erect. (If you’re uncircumcised, you’ll probably need to pull your foreskin back before putting the condom on). Pinch the reservoir at the top of the condom so that there’s no air bubble trapped inside the condom (air bubbles can cause breakages). Some girls are orally adept at equipping your member and you’d never know it happened until after the moment of joy.

Beware of jewelry or sharp fingernails as these can cause small rips or tears in a condom (which later lead to breakages). That also goes for larger objects too.

Keep the condom firmly on your penis until you ejaculate. Then, if you are inside your partner withdraw and carefully remove the condom and dispose of it. Use a new condom each time you come inside your partner. Unless you are really cheap.

If you want a kid or a dose of the clap, try some bare-back bronco riding.

Nothing like that first burning sensation or getting a phone call from your mia noi.

"We have to talk."

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Health advice for Pattaya beer worshippers.

Entering Pattaya on Sukhumvit it is hard not to notice the recent expansion of the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital. This annex is being prepared for the expected arrival of retirees moving into the thousands of houses being constructed from Naklua to Jomtien. The proposed name of this extension appeals to the spiritual background of the patients.


Gra-dai teung sawan or Stairway to Heaven Wing.

I’ve spoke with several western doctors about the new project.

Most seemed to think that this new addition to the hospital could only help the health of the Pattaya residents, although one doctor bucked the entire trend of health addicts and wrote up the following advice to the bar stool sitters of Pattaya.


Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it… don’t
waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay
and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine,
that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one
to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular
exercise program?

A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!!… Foods are fried these days in
vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around
the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger.
You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It’s
the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! ‘Round’ is a shape!

The doctor ended this session with the following advice.

I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have
had about food and diets.

And remember:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather
to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO, What a Ride”

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Old Men Love to Rock Pattaya


I'm 55 and this afternoon I was listening to Jefferson's Airplane's SOMEBODY TO LOVE on Pattaya's notorious Soi 6. The trio of sub-20 Thai girls wanted me to visit an upstairs short-time room. "You sexy man. How old you. 40?"

Even through beer goggles my mirror doesn't lie more than 49.

My wife thinks I'm ancient, however Pattaya is a refuge for men not wanting to face their age. To misquote TS Eliot. "As I get old I shall wear my trousers rolled where the women don't speak about Michelangelo."More...

No one in Pattaya mentions Michaelangelo unless he's a Ninja Turtle fan. No one wants to show their age, but I've been old for a long time, but the old age truck never blows its horn when it backs up over you as I learned in 1986.

I was working at the Milk Bar in New York. Our clientele favored cokeheads, artists, and models. Everyone went home with someone. Not me. I was living under my next-door neighbor's curse of celibracy and Mrs. Adorno wasn't in a mood to forgive my eviction of a Madrid flamenco dancer. Months passed without my touching a woman. I was reverting to being a virgin, then one night I told a 19 year-old mulatto singer the story. She took pity and accepted my offer to take her home. I wish I could remember her name, but that loss of memory isn't the first sign of old-timers' disease.

Upon entering my apartment on East 10th Street she said, "I've been here before."

Deja-vu, n'est pas? No. She had been here with my subleasee. A Swedish male nurse. He liked black chicks.

"When I came here the first time, I wondered who lived here."

"Really?" My flat was a classic homage to the 1920s.

"Yeah, I was sort of cool, but looking at the records I figured the guy who lived here had to be a hippie."

"Hippie?" I had long hair once and hitchhiked to San Francisco in 1970 three years too late for the Summer of Love.

But better late than never and what was wrong with liking Quicksilver Messenger Service?
Who do you love?

The mulatto girl was right. I was an old hippie.

But this afternoon on Soi 6 the fountain of youth was flowing with the unabashed compliments of working girls. "You very sexy."

No one in America has called me sexy since high society interior designer Tony Ingrao bought a 20-carat Burmese blue sapphire from me. At our celebratory dinner he cooed, "You're very sexy."

Tony only wanted sex. Not much different from the Soi 6 girls. They were strictly after money. Still I liked hearing what they had to say. Only other place I might hear those words would be on Palm Beach from an 80 year-old crone with a billion dollars in trust. "Come here, young man, let's see how sexy you are."

Just a gigolo.

So if all else fails then I'm on the Gold Coast of Florida a couple of months a year working the ageless Botox turtles at the Breakers. I'll do most anything for a lobster roll and my wife would understand. After all you're only as old as the woman you love.

By the way the name of the waitress from the Milk bar was Shane. My memory is back, if only temporarily. Do you think I am sexy? Girls on Soi 6 think so.

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