Have you ever been bitten by a cobra? One tried to bite me a few minutes ago and has been trying repeatedly ever since. It keeps hitting its head against the window. It doesn’t seem to know there’s a glass window between me and it. I can see its fangs. Its mouth is open wide. It’s now spitting venom at me and its venom is all over the window. I can’t get out of the house. Yes, I’m in Bangkok.
I’m sitting at the back of my friend’s house looking at the garden. There’s another cobra outside the front of the house too and that one is stopping me from getting out as well. Who said that one cobra trying to bite you is unfortunate, but two is negligent? I’ve rung my friend, but she’s not answering her phone. I’ll let you know as soon as she rings back. I want her to call in the snake catcher.
I’m sorry. I’ve been rude. You don’t know me. Let me introduce myself. I’m known by different names in different places. You look like a person of intense integrity, so I will tell you two or three of my secret, mysterious names on the condition you promise not to tell anyone else. Keep this between you and me. If you know you cannot honour this secret, then read, look and listen no more. Cover your eyes and close your ears. You’re still there. OK. You and I know what that means. One of my names, in translation, is The Mysterious Light, and another is Quick But Sure.
YOU! I know you. You owe me money. I didn’t know you were there. You were hiding in the dark You didn’t think I could see you. I can see you now though.You’ve been wondering where I’ve been. You want to know why you haven’t heard from me or seen me around. I will tell you. I’ve been attending the Dog Aversion Clinic. They’ve been trying to cure me of my dog aversion problem. They’ve been applying Dog Aversion Therapy on me for months. It’s otherwise known as DAT. They taught me how to write. I had to write stuff. I think I’ve been cured of DA now and I suspect that’s why the cobras are trying to bite me and stop me from leaving the house.
I wasn’t going to write today, but the cobras have made sure of it that I am. I was going to go out and take a stroll and think about Dog Aversion. I was wondering whether I was really cured of it or not. Then I was going to tell you about it, but that will have to wait for now. No. I’m going to tell you something else. I’m going to tell you what happened to me yesterday. You’ll be interested in that. I’ll keep telling you until my phone rings.
I was sitting in DaoNern (aka DN) in Lad Prao playing with my friend’s lap top. You might have seen me there. As you may or may not know, I sit in different places. I look, listen and get inspired. In DN, I usually sit with an empty cup, which I take there myself or borrow. Sometimes, people buy me a coffee and a sandwich. I look around hoping for the best
Let me backtrack a bit. I wasn’t going to get up yesterday. My friend said I could stay for free in her house as long as I liked after I was released. I was enjoying the comfortable bed, aircon and suburban Bangkok greenery. I was dreaming about klongs, parks, squirrels, cats and bananas. Then, rudely, as rude can be, I startled out of this reverie by a gigantic explosion. The aircon stopped. After a few minutes, courage overcame me. I peeped out of the window from behind the curtains. I could see a man peeing under a tree. Above him, on a branch, a green snake slithered downwards, then dropped on his leg. The man bounded backwards and screamed. Then I knew. This was a sign. I knew what it meant. It meant I had to get up and leave the house.
OK. Back in DN. There I was pretending to write stuff, looking around for some kind of opportunity when in walked, who I thought was, Wendy, but it wasn’t Wendy. I hadn’t seen Wendy for months. You know what it’s like when you’re expecting someone to turn up out of the blue and they all look like the person you’re expecting or thinking of. I met Wendy in Pattaya on the beach. I didn’t approach her; she approached me. We got talking, became friends and after that, she just turned up every where in places I hadn’t even told her I was going to. She would just come walking in. I don’t know how she did it, or does it. But yesterday, it wasn’t Wendy. It was just someone who looks likes like her.
The lady walked in the door, menacing. Stood still. Looked around, hands on hips, stiff faced. Then lasered on me, marched across and asked with a really noticeable attitude, “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting outside for an hour”. Now, I can tell you with hands on my head that I didn’t know who she was. But as she seemed to know me, I kept trying to think. Maybe she was someone I went to school with. Or perhaps, she had mistaken me with someone she’d met on an Internet Social Dating Site and I kind of fitted the description. She was beautiful though, as many are. Young, as far as I’m concerned, wearing a stylish, expensive black dress, not that I know much about fashion, carrying a black business bag. To me, she looked like a successful, rich business woman with tons of education as well. Her English was impeccable and she was clearly confident talking to an educated, rich looking farang like me, or so I thought about myself at that moment in time. Very often the way people treat me gives me an impression of what I think about myself and, in Asia, I’m treated differently to the way I’m treated in Fairy Land and vice versa. Maybe it’s the same for you.
I told her I didn’t know she was waiting outside and it must be a misunderstanding. She sat down, looked at me in the eyes and said I looked terrible. Now I know I don’t look so good. I’ve written about that before, but when you know you don’t look so good and then someone says you look even worse, something must be really wrong. I asked her what she meant. She said, “Look at you. Gaunt face, pale, pot belly, skinny arms and legs.You have to look after yourself.” With that, she walked off. I thought she’d gone for ever. I was beginning to wonder if she was some kind of nutter. I’ve met many nutters and still do. No, she came back with two creamy cups and a sandwich, which she pushed across to me.
“Don’t say anything,” she said as soon as I was trying to poke around finding out who she was. I had opened my mouth. I was going to ask her the old trick about how her sister was doing or her brother, but I didn’t need to. “I’ve got the money here in the bag, but first you have to listen to me.” Now, what are you thinking? Are you thinking the same as I was, yesterday? Maybe, I thought, she’s mistaking me for a blackmailer or perhaps an old friend from school or university or an old friend of the family. I didn’t know, but why did she want to give me money? I’m into this, getting free stuff, but this seemed like some kind of dream come true, even for someone like me.
I sat there, enraptured. In she came, I thought, looking beautiful, sexy, rich, caring and with attitude. “Why don’t we have a few drinks down at Khun Porn’s Pull Bar and, after that, back to your place?” I suggested. “And have a deep, meaningful, intelligent and interesting discussion?” she added. These words were never said. I just thought this and kept it to myself, but never said anything. Have you ever thought of something and just said it and then wished you hadn’t? Or, conversely, have you every thought of something you wanted to say, but didn’t, and, later, just wished you had? You and me too, but this time I was glad I kept the trap shut.
“You can’t go around expecting people to give you stuff for free,” she said. “You can’t go on like this for ever. It won’t last. I’m going to tell you how you can make money for yourself. Do you understand?” I nodded. I still didn’t know who she was, and I still don’t, but she seemed to know quite a lot about me and seemed to know who I was. She explained, I listened. I sat there entranced. I can still remember some of the ideas she imparted to me, even after a day. I’m going to tell you, and she gave me a huge amount of cash before we parted. Oh. The phone’s ringing. It’s my friend. Anyone who lets me stay at their house for free is my friend. I’ll answer the phone. I’ll tell you what the business lady told me later.