Pattaya is not Venice and certainly no one on the Coasta del Crime pretends to be a reincarnated Thomas Mann writing a Thai version of TO DIE IN VENICE. At least no one I know, however plenty of people die in the Last Babylon. Thais and farangs. Many of natural causes. Some by misadventure. Dying is what makes us mortal.
None of us live forever.
Murder, accidents, and suicides are headlined by the morbid editorial staffs. Their photographers barge into the bedrooms of the deceased to chronicle the sad events like Cheap Charley Weegee. One tawdry rag reported on a senior member of the German community hanging himself over indebtedness to his Thai girlfriend.
Flat broke and 65.
The man couldn't face going back to his Heimat.
He had nothing or so he thought, because there's always a reason to keep on breathing and i learned that secret over 30 years ago traveling out of Mexico out a Tres Estellas bus. The driver stopped in a small mountain village outside of Monterrey. Church, cantina, market. I ate a couple of tacos for dinner and then got back on the bus. We arrived at the Mex-Tex border at sunset. I booked a cheap room at the nearest hotel. My stomach was pitching, as if my innards were in a typhoon. I ran to the toilet countless times. I made each time with a second to spare. My body was whacked by spasms. Sweat spewed from my flesh. I tried to read my book. HP Lovecraft's THE TERROR AT INNSMOUTH.
The gothic horror tale troubled my soul and a wicked fever accompanied me to a fitful sleep.
I had no watch in my dream. The light belonged to the realm of limbo. I stood in a rusting garden. The rotting flowers smelled of iron. Mumbling voices belonged to shuffling zombies. They weren't fast, but their numbers were countless.
The living dead chased me through the garden. Their green teeth clattered like plates on a tile floor. Their stomachs were empty. I was dinner. The ghouls trapped me in a gazebo. Their nails scrapped at the fly screens. Grave dust filter through the metal. I was two seconds from screaming like a Hollywood extra, when a thin man barged through the mob of flesh-eater and demanded, "What is the secret to human life?"
My Philosophy 101 grade had been a C+. I was no Nietzsche and the leader of the undead offered a once in a dream opportunity.
"If you give us the secret of human life we will let you live another 60 seconds."
"I know and I'm not telling."
"Then," he turned to his tortured minions. "Bon appetit."
My scream woke me from a horrible fate and I shook in terror but also armed with the truth that no matter how bad things might be we want to draw that next breath until there's no sense, despite how in THE COMEDIANS Graham Greene writes about how suicides are great mathematicians since they calculate the odds of ending it to be greater than going on.
There is always a reason to end life and begin it. I have always considered every delirious drunk to be a life and death experience. Living through a hang-over breeds another rebirth.
"It's not the despair I mind so much as the hope." Woody Allen.
Is that what killed a Hollywood actor this week.
He had it all; fame, fortune, everything common people strive for without success and he killed himself much like the German. Because it got too much and it can be anything.
Life is that intense right now.
So hold onto your minds. We will ride out this storm. Most of us and for those who pick the fast way out, "Via con dios."
And you know I'm not a religious person?
Even In distress.
My SOS will be sent to the bartender.