The nuns at St. Mary’s of the Foothills had taught on the Judgment Day every soul from the past, present, and future will be assembled to witness a replay of your life, after which God will decided whether you spend eternity worshipping him in Heaven or burning in Hell. With some souls he’ll make in a snap decision. I think of myself as a marginal case, yet the most frightening aspect of this apocalyptic judgment is that billions of soul will have to view my behavior in the month following Ae’s departure to Koh Samui with the Italian.
“Thailand is the best place to break up with a woman,” Sam Royalle stated in the Carousel a Go-Go. Two naked girls were lathering each other with soap. They were beautiful and willing. “You want both?”
“A mere $50 paid for a night of pleasure. I waved off his offer, saying, “Neither.”
Both girls fully dressed would have caused car crashes in London.
“I’m not in the mood.”
“When a man is tired of fucking in Pattaya, then he’s tired of the world.”
“Sometimes it’s not all about fucking.”
Sam ordered two more vodka-tonics. “You are in bad shape.”
“The operative word is pathetic.” I drained my glass in search of oblivion. I found it three nights running. I hadn’t eaten anything in that period and ended up a Nu’s restaurant. She ordered food for me. I told her about leaving Ae. She knew all about it. Everyone did, because Thai girls love gossip, especially about tragedies. Nu wasn’t sure that I had left Ae for good, but I started seeing her.
Nothing more serious than going out to eat after she finished work. She refused my entreaties, saying Pattaya was a big town with over five hundred bars, discos, and go-gos, yet every town gets small, whenever two men fight over one woman and I was about to find out how small.
Ae threatened her with a hammer at the restaurant on the Beach Road. Nu stopped answering my phone calls and I was furious with Ae. We argued at her old bar on Soi 8. There was no love lost between us. “You have another man. Why do you want me?”
“Because I have two roads. One go Italy. One go you.”
“You have one road now.” Actually she probably had an entire highway system of men. “Ciao Bella.”
“Scatzo.” She tramped away in a where’s rage.
“Have a good life.” We were finished, and then she showed up at dawn in tears.
“Why you look other woman?” She broke a bottle to slash her wrists. The cuts were diagonal. Serious was lengthwise, still I wrestled away the bottle. “Stop it.”
She cried, “I love you. Only you.”
We went to the nearest hotel. She used tricks she had learned with other men. Each was a hook to my libido. She resisted no perversion. I tested her endurance. She passed each test. When she left in the morning, Ae said, “I go one hour.”
I could have followed, but after two years in Pattaya I had an extensive spy network. Her cousin from Hot and Cold confessed that Ae dealt ya bah. A motorsai taxi driver from Tony’s Disco said that every night the Italian bought girls for her husband, whom he mistook for her cousin. I might have laughed, expect I had accepted her sah-mee as her brother.
A policeman from Soi 9 had intoned that the Italian was dealing ecstasy and Ae was eating up the profits. Her old mama-san from the Tahitian Queen told me at a happy hour. “Ae beautiful, fun, she no good. Her mother leave her____?”
“I’ve heard the story.” A bad childhood didn’t excuse her wickedness.
A travel agent passed on information about her getting an Italian visa. Her leaving was simply a matter of time. I should have been relieved, but one morning after she had shown up unexpectedly for sex, I asked, “If you love me, why are you leaving with this Italian?”
“I not want go, he tells his father he marry me. He send money and I take care of my babies.” She wiped away her tears. Her lips had kissed the Italian earlier in the day and perhaps her husband as well. Her treason was unforgivable. She didn’t accept my resistance and crawled against my legs. Her skin smelled of cheap perfume and cigarettes. I carried her upstairs.
We made love five times in the space of two hours. Afterwards we lay tangled in each other’s limbs and she said, “I not finish with him. Not one time. He have small penis. Not big same you.”
“So you’ll live with me?” The words felt like they fell from another person’s mouth. It was the magic. I couldn’t puke it out or sweat it out. It was stuck in my gut was a stupid question, for the tourist police’s ledgers are filled by the good intentions of ex-working girls paving the road to disaster for thousands of farangs.
“Sure, I love you 100%. I tell him about you. We live together. Same before.” She rose from the bed and starting dressing. She asked for 1000 baht and I realized she was working two shifts for her family and husband, gambling that her body could control two westerners’ lusts. I had rolled snake-eyes. “How long before you come back?”
Ae looked at the clock on the wall. It was 10pm. “Midnight. Give me one hour.”
“You come by midnight?”
“Stay with you forever. You not go out. I not want him fight with you after I tell we finish. Okay?”
We both knew she wasn’t saying goodbye to the Italian in two hours and I didn’t bother to watch her walk down the street, nonetheless I waited for her call. Midnight passed without the phone ringing. An hour later I shut off the TV and went into the garden. The karaoke bar was pumping out an N’Sync hit.
Ae had been dancing to the same song our first night.
My wisest choice was to go inside to bed and let the Italian Plan work its magic. Unfortunately the vengeful snakes inside my skull were hissing too loud to allow any insane man sleep. I got on my bike and rode to the beach. I was once more cursed to dance alone and no one could stop me from dancing on the sand at Jomtien. No one cared about another crazy farang.
Not in this town.