5 Day Riptide (Working Title) Day 1
5 Day Riptide: Day 1
"So's...know what I did Chuckie? I shaved me balls, mate. Ain't that what you're supposed to do if you get the crabs?" I had told the gentleman before that I didn't like to be called Chuckie. I also don't like to be referred to as Chuck, or even Charlie. On the rare occasion that I give my first name, it is always Charles, never anything but Charles. I don't even like that. I prefer to be called Mr. Offenheim. However, I suppose that doesn't matter so much any more...what I prefer.
"That's a fascinating story, person," I replied. I had forgotten his name again. It didn't matter. I was completely disinterested in the fellow, and even less interested in his stories.
"Name's Mick mate, but all me friends call me Mickie. You can call me Mickie, yeah?" He was a short fellow, thick white hair that covered the stocky head with a too-red face and a large, bulbous red nose, and I couldn't tell if his face was an unhealthy red due to an overexposure to the sun or an over indulgence with the booze. I also wondered if he had ever heard any Rudolph jokes as that was the first thing that lept to my mind when I met him.
"Okay, Richard, I'll do that." He didn't catch the sarcasm.
"So...Chuckie, what brings ya to Patong? The ladies?'' He then giggled like a schoolgirl. "Oh, I know, ha ha, the ladyboys. You like a bit of sausage with the tatas?" He then proceeded to to laugh so hard that his impossibly red face became even redder.
"Business," I lied.
"Let me buy ya a beer, mate. Always good to mix business with pleasure, that's what I says, always. Others don't reckon that, but I do. Mix 'em up, Chuckie." He had a large pot belly, but managed to not gain any weight at all in his arms and legs. he looked almost comical, clownish.
"I don't drink beer."
"Of course ya don't, ya posh cunt, but I'll by ya one of your sissy drinks."
Long ago I might have enjoyed the company of such a person, but no more. I suppose I don't like the company of anyone anymore. Maybe back in my youth, before my heart hardened, before I came to the conclusion that life was a game and the goal was to work hard and make money and the winner was the one with the most money when he died. "No thank you, I'm going to bed."
"Sure ya are, right after you fuck a ladyboy, ain't ya?" He laughted again at his own joke. I truly didn't detect any malice at all. It seemed that this was just the way he behaved, at least when intoxicated. He seemed to have been drinking excessively all day.
As I contemplated getting up from my seat at the bar, my thoughts returned to a young woman I had met earlier that day. Mickie kept talking, but I had stopped listening.
Phuket, an island located in southern Thailand,once had the potential to be one of the most beautiful, tropical places on the planet, but that seems not to be and it's touristy as all hell. I arrived at 2:30 am. Knowing my hotel wasn't going to be open until 7:00 am, and not sure what would be open in Patong, I waited around the airport near the 7-11. They had some shit coffee, and since they were at the airport, plenty of seats to sit around in. Not too long ago, this wouldn't have happened as I would have had a driver take me to my five-star, luxury resort, at any time of day. Those things were no more.
While waiting, a bird decided to defecate on my shoulder while flying above me. I wondered if that was a portent of things to come and ultimately be the result of this, probably my last, trip.
When 7:00am rolled around, I decided to take the mini bus to my hotel. That meant that I had to wait utnil it filled up. Around 8:00 there were enough people, but I wasn't called on the first bus, even though I was definitely the first to book it. There was a time when I was listened to, respected, even feared. That time is over.They eventually were able to get me on the road by 8:30. We had to stop by a travel agency and hear their sales pitches on exciting cruises and different hotels, and as is standard, everyone on the bus declined. There was an accident, so we got stuck in some traffic for a time. I didn't arrive at my hotel until 11:30.
I had already been awake for about three days and I still didn't feel much like sleeping. A luxury of being a CEO at a large company is that you stay busy, very busy. I never had a problem sleeping, but I ususally had a problem finding the time to do so. A disadvantage of being an unemployed loser is that you have plenty of time to sleep, but for me, no ability to do so.
"Sorry, we don't serve no fancy cocktails. Want a beer?" The bartender seemed polite, barely. However, I was given the impression that he was tightly wound, something in his eyes made me believe he was just waiting to verbally abuse someone. I could recognize that because once upon a time I had been that way.
"I don't drink beer."
"We have wine, you like that? Maybe I can make you a Jack and Coke, but none of those fancy lady drinks. I'm sure you can find them elsewhere. Lots of bars around here."
I shook my head and wandered off. So much for the bar at my hotel. After I had gone to bed for three hours and not slept at all, I had gotten up, had a shower, and gone to the hotel bar. After that proved to be fruitless, I wandered off into the street.
Patong is the biggest, loudest, liveliest, craziest, and most seedy beach on Phuket. When I used to come here with my wife, when I used to have a wife, we usually avoided this place, often staying in resorts on different parts of the island, or...on other islands entirely, like Phi Phi. This was my wife's favorite vacation spot, Phuket, not Patong Beach, and that as one of the reason I had come here.
Patong was a deliberate choice. If Phuket couldn't make me feel or care by stirring up something sentimental and reminiscent of the past, then Patong could stir something else, some other feeling, maybe it could make me feel. I needed to be able to feel again. If I could feel, I could sleep, if I could sleep, I could think, if I could think, maybe I could get back into the game again. It was all about the game. I lived to work and couldn't live without making powerful and intelligent decisions, without raising a company from nothing and watching it flourish. The same way one might tend a garden, I tended my company. Loving care, common sense, knowledge of what you are doing, much attention, and they can grow.
As you walk along the streets of Patong you will get aggressive offers from people trying to make a quick buck. Most times you will meet people who claim to be tailors offering to make you a suit, or at least a shirt, or you will get offers from massage parlors. The ones who offer the clothing are a little more agressive, as they hurriedly try to make a rapport with you, some sort of connection so that you can listen to their bullshit. The massage girls usually just yell out, "Massage," and are much easier to ignore.
As I walked down Rat-U-Thit Road, a major thoroughfare in Patong, I suddenly felt like making a detour, it was almost a pull. I usually rely on logic and not intuition, but every once in a while, even in business, gut instincts can lead you in the right direction. There are a number of alleys in the Patong area, some of them lead to big hotels and have a lot of small shops and eateries in them. I wasn't sure where exactly this one led, but I walked down it nonetheless.
That is when I saw her. I am not sure how to describe it, but it was almost like I had reached a goal, like I was supposed to be there because I had just defeated an opponent or won in a challenge, and this was to be my reward.
The sign hanging above her head stated simply: "Massage." I stopped walking, and for a moment, just stared. This is a prime time to pounce, when a tourist stops walking, when he has your attention, when you are making eye contact, she did nothing, but just continued looking at me.
I would have to say, she was beautiful, and if I hadn't lost my ability to experience emotions, or even physical reactions, I might have felt lust or even a certain attraction for her. Her face was almost triangular in appearance, this was due to her bangs, her slight chin, and high cheekbones. She wore a simple pink Tshirt with nothing on, no clever words, no advertisement, no silly Chinglish nonsense that was becoming so popular in Asian countries, just a pastel and seemingly forever pink, and some tight, blue shorts. She was petite and slender, barely any breasts, but that did not detract from her beauty.
"The riptide is strong this time of year," she finally said, then smiled.
"Okay," I stated. Under normal circumstances, I would have probably found that statement bizarre without any prelude of small talk first, but it felt like it should have been stated and was perfectly normal, coming from her.
"Would you like a massage?" she finally asked after several seconds of silence.
"I'm not sure. I thought I did. Now...I don't know." I was beginning to feel something, but what I was starting to feel certainly didn't make any sense. "I'm sorry, I have to go."
"Come back when you are ready."
I left the alley, walked down Bangla Road to the beach, found a halfway decent bar, then ordered several Old Fashioneds, in an attempt to return to my state of numbness.
"Ya know, when I fucked me stepmom, she liked me to stick it in her arse," said Mickie with all the pride he could muster. "I'm not keen on that usually, but she did good by me."
"Jesus Christ, man, don't you have a filter between your brain and your mouth?" I asked, suddenly coming back to the world, back out of my thoughts.
"Me stepmom liked to use her mouth, not her brains so much, ha ha!" He then reverted to some more out of control laughter.
I thought about going back to find the girl. The feeling was fading. Maybe I needed it. It was just odd and unexpected.
"Another girly drink for the ladyboy-fucker? Ha ha!"
"Chuckie'll have another sugary tart, girlie drink,"
Maybe that feeling was good enough to get me back on track with other feelings. I could do that. All my prior life experience could not explain exactly why I felt what I did actually start to feel that afternoon.
The feeling, inexplicably, was fear.
Anyone reading: My apologies. I currently have no word processor, insisted I do everything I had in mind for that section, so I typed directly onto ABC Tales. Please forgive any typos, but this took me about three hours.