Several years ago America lost the Little League World series to Taiwan, Japan, and the Dominican Republic. NBA All-Stars were second-rate in the World Championships, however the USA was shocked by Takeru Kobayashi beating scores of heavyweight Yanks at Coney Island’s fabled hot dog eating contest and the diminutive Asian clung to his title like Michael Jordan and the Bulls, culminating with his 2006 feat, 53 3/4 frankfurters in 12 minutes.
Thankfully an equally thin Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California regained the title with a record downing of 59 1/2 hot dogs and the world. This year the competition was open to all-comers and on the 4th of July I was sitting at Pattaya's Pigpen A Go-Go with Jamie Parker.
The New Yorker expat hadn't seen Ort in a long time and had gained back a little weight since his Ice episode with the lithe go-go dancer. Neither of us mentioned her name, but she was still on his mind, even when he said, “This morning on TV I saw that Jap hot dog eater win his another title at Nathan's. All these fat American contestants upchucked hot dogs, while the damned foreigner calmly sucked down weiners like he was from Dusseldorf. Even weird, his stomach showed no sign of expansion and the audience had no idea where they were going.”
“Very impressive.” I had watch the same TV show and attempted to imitate the Jap's style, only managing three in a minute. My stomach had yet to recover from the effort and I asked the bar owner, "Who here do you think would win?"
Jamie looked around the bar. His skinny farang clientele liked the fat dancers wobbling around the steel poles. I didn't understand the attraction.
"Ei-Yet." He pointed to the the ancient forty-kilo cashier. "I've seen her eat non-stop for hours."
"It's a Thai genetic trait. They eat as if there's not tomorrow." My wife was a very healthy eater. Mam could eat with the best of them.
More than me any day.
“Who in Pattaya wants to watch skinny farangs eat hot dogs?”
“Fat farangs looking for a free meal.”
Bars offering free food floated balloons and Pattaya's free food crowd were called balloon chasers.
“There’s enough of them here.”
"No, but there would be more if better you held an erotic hot dog eating contest including bar girls. Remember how Kenny at Living Dolls had the girls fellate banana.”
“And how they carved them into penises with their teeth.” The British manager had revitalized showtime on Walking Street with his gift for the perverse.
“Sheer artistry.” Jamie also had a fine aesthetic for the erotic arts. “But I’ve always thought nothing was sexier than a girl eating a hot dog at a baseball game. Struggling to keep the relish and mustard from falling down her chest.”
“You do?” My extensive research into porno websites had never turned up this fetish.
“A lot of men do, but don’t realize it.”
“Really? I thought they were more burger fans.” Girls don’t like sloppy.
“Doesn’t matter what they are. We can host a combined erotic hot dog eating contest with a hot dog championship. We could pack the bar with guys and also video the event for sale on the Internet.”
“I don’t know.”
“We’ll hold it at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time for the stockbrokers getting ready for lunch. Once a week. Different girls and you can vote online.” Jamie was breathing fast. "We make tee-shirts of the winner and then hold contests between different bars. Then it's on to TV. I'll be the Chuck Barris of Hot Dog Eating contests."
Jamie weaved on his stool.
“Are you all right?”
I signaled Ei-Yet for a glass of water. The forty year-old ex-stripper and I went back years. We had both seen countless farangs keel over at bars. The water came in seconds and Jamie sucked it down
“Fine, I just got a glimpse of the future.” He envisioned the money rolling into his PayPal account.
“Better I leave erotic hot dog eating in my head, because the idea would become ruined by commercialism. All dreams are.” He settled down and drank his beer. “Maybe next year the world will be ready for it.”
Jamie was right.
We will be waiting, because hot dogs are sexy.
"Never ketchup, for as my grandfather said, "Never trust a man who puts ketchup on his hot dog."