9/11 plus 5 Pattaya Memorial

My wife has been out of town for over a week. She had gone up country to the rice paddies with my daughter to take care of a sick sister. Champoo, my dog, escorted on my nights at the Buffalo Bar. The bar on 3rd Road is a convenient five-minute motorcycle ride to my soi and no one usually bothered me there

There was a new set of farangs from the UK; beer louts with tattoos. They didn’t like the idea of a dog lying on the bar, but the girls loved my dog, since Champoo had a nah-lak or lovely face and none of the old geezers can argue with a pretty girl.

Last night I was sitting with New. She was 18 and I had promised her a role in my movie, MY DOG SINGS THE BLUES. Champoo was the real star, but I was not telling her who has the lead. I took taken off my glasses. I don’t need them to drink beer.

A thin man across the bar was wearing sunglasses. A stupid thing to do at night and he stared at me. Not in a BREAKBACK MOUNTAIN way. More like he knows me.

Being a pseudo-fugitive from America, his attention was cause for concern and I ordered my bill. Champoo was happy to leave, because a treat was waiting for her at home. I went out to the parking lot, but before I could reach my bike, the thin man in the sunglasses said, ”Don’t you recognize me?”

Jamie?” My eyesight was close to blindness and I put back on my specs.

“One in the same.” Jamie Parker smiled with his familiar wrecked grin.

We were friends from New York. Friends might be too strong a word to describe our relationship. He was someone who wouldn’t go away.

“What are you doing out here?” At the time of our last meeting the fifty-year old had been working as a global warming expert for the GOP.

“Couldn’t take much more bible-thumpery and gave up my spot to a missionary who believed prayer could cure the ozone hole.” Jamie dragged me back into the bar and glanced at Champoo.” What kind of dog is that?”

“A Shi-Tzu.” The toy breed had been my wife’s choice.

“You ever think about breeding it who a pit-bull?” Jamie ordered two vodka-tonics. The service girls eyed him nervously, for his madness was visible even hidden behind the sunglasses. “That way you’d get a pit-zhu.”

“Nah, Champoo took a vow of virginity.” “Like that girl you were talking to. New.” He nodded to the table where New was entertaining an elderly French man with dreams of seduction. “She’s a real cocktease that one. But nothing wrong with saying no.”

Her telepathic powers kicked in and she smiled at us.

“How you know her?”

“Hey, I know a lot. Like you’re going to be shooting a movie with a French crew and the mutt is going to be the star.” I had a big mouth and never saw keeping any secrets. “So are you out here on vacation?”

“Vacation? People like me don’t have vacations. We have prison bids and hospital stays.” He thumped the bar and a pair of bikers glared at the disturbance. Jamie didn’t scare easy, but didn’t want a fight either and he explained, “I’m opening a go-go in these open air bars off Soi Bukhao. Going to call it the Pigpen and have only fat chicks working the fire poles. They won’t cost much and fat girls are real popular with some guys.”

“And horny cheap guys.”

“When are you opening?”


“9/11?” It was almost five years on from that fateful.

“Hey, I’m a New Yorker. I can’t forget that day and for it my partner and I are putting on a show. You know those two big billboards in the vacant lot off Soi Bukhao?”

“Yeah?” The billboards had been erected to advertise a grand condo project which later went bust.

“Well, they sort of look like the Twin Trade Towers and I’m going to get these two radio-controlled airplanes and crash them into the billboards. Only my partner is going to be shooting sky rockets at the planes to knock them out of the air, the way the air force should of five years ago.”

“You got permission to do this?” The stint with the Republicans had rotted his brain to the core, but his plan made sense to me, because I had tried to replicate Princess Diana’s fatal accident in a rented Fiat. Only I couldn’t get the V-4 going fast enough to go aerial at the entrance of the tunnel. Probably for the best.

“Permission?” He drained his glass and ordered another round.

Champoo whined her disapproval. Midnight was past her bedtime.

“Hush puppy dog, ain’t as crazy as it sounds. I gave the owner of the property, this old Chinese guy, 2000 baht to rent the place for 30 minutes. That all it’s gonna take. Be over before anyone knows it.”

“You’re mad.” You wanted to keep a low profile in Pattaya.

“Ain’t that the truth?” He signaled a friend of mine to join us at the bar. “You know Fabo, don’t you? He’s my partner in the club.”

“Oh, this is perfect.” Now I knew why Jamie knew everything. Like me Fabo couldn’t keep a secret once he had more than two drinks.

“Are you coming to our night club?” The Belgium was always ready for a good time. “Et le neuf-onze fete.”

“I supposed I’ll have to come.” It sounded like an Attila the Hun night in the making and if my wife was still out of town I could live through it without a scratch.

“You know some people might get pissed at us for doing this.”

“That is exactly the idea.” Jamie raised his sunglasses. “I’m not forgetting that day and neither are you.”

“You’re right about that.” I had watched the first tower fall from my 10th street roof and the second from Canal Street. I had been too late to help.

Jamie and I clinked glasses. He patted Champoo’s head. She was a too good a dog to be subjected to this crowd and I snuck out the side exit, while Jamie went to the bathroom with a his most popular go-go girl. It would only be a question of time before we ran into each other again. But I would count those minutes as peace on earth.

A rare commodity.

Just like a good dog.

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