My export business in Pattaya failed after the cyber-crime police raided my house. I was without funds for the three months prior to trial for copyright infringement and my finances soon mimicked Zimbabwe. I could have toughed it out, except the economic climate in Pattaya was also dire. The westerners in this town pride themselves on not lending a helping hand to farangs in need mostly because it’s the one commodity Pattaya creates in surplus.
The only viable option was re-inventing my life in America and I bid farewell to my wife, daughter, and pregnant mistress. “I’ll be back.”
My flight from Bangkok to Taipei to Anchorage to JFK lasted the longest Sunday of my life. Gone were palm trees, elephants, mangoes, and the faces of the ones I love. Hello to Manhattan, my home of 27 years. My friends had promised a soft landing. I drank wine. They laughed at my stories. I went out at night. I thought this isn’t too bad. At a gallery opening Vlad, the young Russian warned, “You shouldn’t leave your bag unattended.”
“Not to worry.” I had placed it in the corner.
“This is New York. I can trust the people here. As far as my eyesight.”
Baby-faced Vlad was not so sure and his mistrust was well-founded, for in the blink of an eye someone had dipped their hand into my bag to purloin my camera along with my address book.
I cursed myself for being a fool. An old fool, then remembered what my Irish grandmother said, “Whatever you lose wasn’t yours to begin with.”
Welcome to New York indeed.
If I can’t make it here, I can’t make it anywhere.
at ;east that’s how the song goes.
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