Kamis, 05 April 2012

GOOD AS IT GETS FOR GERMANS by Peter Nolan Smith

My friend Fabo had heart of gold and the young Belgian oil explorer was happiest with a Heineken in his hand and his eye on Gai, the Rubenesque beauty of the Buffalo Bar. He had loved her forever. She loved him too in her own way, whenever she could do so.Gai was a popular girl.I liked drinking with Fabo, because he didn’t talk the usual farang bullshit, ie how bargirls were bad or Thai were lazy or how Pattaya sucked. He was happy with his life and with good reason. Fabo worked on seismic ships trawling the ocean bottom for pockets of oil. His tours ran one month off-shore and then one month in Pattaya. His haunts were the same as mine; Welkom on Soi 3 in the daytime and Buffalo Bar nights.Two years ago I found him in Welkom Inn’s garden. Six empty Heinekens were on the table. The Belgian did not look happy. Most farangs flee sad faces, because most sad faces are caused by either bad love stories or no money. The first they have heard too many times and listening to the latter means that sooner or later they would be asked for a loan.Fabo had a good job and I was broke, so there was no danger of my having to shed money for his company. I sat down and asked, “Why the long face?" “Poo’s been arrested for ja bah.” Poo was his wife. They had met at the Welkom Inn. "What for?" I already knew her crime."The police came to the house, because of a family disturbance.""You were fighting with her?" Fabo forgave Poo everything."Not me." He was hiding something, but not all the truth. "The police tested her urine. It came up purple for ja-bah. They took her straight to the monkey house."The telephone rang and lifted his finger. “I have to go. My German cousin is helping me get her out of jail.”The German was no cousin.I said nothing, as Fabo got on a motorcycle to meet the German.Better him than me, because the German had a hair up his ass for me.Why?Because he came from Hamburg.The German was Poo’s ex. He had left his Doberman with them, because pets weren’t allowed in his apartment. The German showed up every few days to make sure the dog was okay. It was a strange arrangement. Pattaya has thousands of them. Something sounded familiar about Lucien and when Fabo had a birthday party for Poo, I realized why.Lucien was my height, but his muscle were pumped by a gym. No steroids. Gym only. The German was no fake tough guy. His body looked like he had been dropped through a meat grinder. His left arm bore the scars of many knife fights. His crooked nose followed the route of an alpine pass. His eyes stared at me with the promise of murder. I greeted him in German.“Why do you speak German?” His voice reeked of suspicion.“I lived in Hamburg in 1982. Worked at a nightclub for a pimp. Nigger Cali.”“Nigger Cali?”I didn’t say the name often.Nigger Cali was the head pimp for the Gmbh, Hamburg’s biggest gang. He had been shot too many times to die from anything other than a peaceful death. “Yes, he worked for Thomas Bond.”“Thomas Bond was my teacher.” Lucien’s eyes narrowed to razor blades."I met him once." I stood to get a beer.“You stay here. You not go away. Are you police?” His fingers dug into my thigh like icepicks.“No, I was the Tursteher at a nightclub on Eppendorfer Weg.” I had earned my living as a doorman in New York, Paris, London, and Germany. I was no criminal. Nearing Christmas a pimp, SS Tommy, presented a bill for 20,000 Marks.For sleeping with a girl.Astrid's never saying she worked for him didn’t matter to SS Tommy. He wanted his money. I gave him the keys to my VW and said I would have the rest tomorrow. I caught the midnight train to Paris that evening. I didn’t mentioned his name to Lucien“I don’t believe you. You are maybe police.” He stared at me with his head tilted. “You can’t look me in the eyes.”“I never lie.” I could only see one eye. “Telling the truth is easier.”The leader of a Thai motorcycle gang showed up. Lucien stood up to wai his comrade. I decided this was time to leave.Fabo later said Lucien missed me.I missed him too like anyone misses someone wanting to kill them, for he was a man to avoid and be seen avoiding, however after that teary departure at the Welkom Inn, I met Fabo at the Buffalo, which he calls ‘le campange’ or the country. It had once been surrounded by coconut trees instead of the townhouses of today.He was in a better mood. Gai was at his side. She was free tonight.“Now I can tell you story.” Fabo ordered us beers. “You know Lucien leaves dog with Poo. He comes every day. Friends of Poo are no good. They do jah bah. One day they start fight with Lucien. He beats them up. They decide that if they kill the dog, Lucien won’t come see Poo.”“That’s some stupid thinking.”“I did not say they were smart.” Fabo shrugged pleasantly, as if he acknowledged he was glad not to have seen this scene. “Lucien discovers his dog is dead and beats up the boys again. The police come. They are friends with Lucien. They arrest the boys, who say that Poo is taking jah bah.”The story was getting sordid and it was heading toward more sordid.“She had to go to jail. Now she comes out. 20,000 baht. She has to be clean one year. If not, back to the monkey house. Lucien helps me with the judge. He knows everyone.”“Good.” I could have told him the truth ie that Poo won’t be able to say off the gear for a year. No sense in that. He knows the future already, but I was surprised at how good Lucien had been through the entire affair. Fabo had been driven back and forth to Chonburi prison on the German’s bike. Many times."But tonight she stays in monkey house, so I stay here with Gai." Fabo hugged Gai's ample hips.He was a a lucky man.And they say there are no good Germans.Even the bad ones are good sometimes, especially if they make Fabo happy.

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