MEN’S BEST FIEND by Peter Nolan Smith

Last June I was in Pattaya’s Wat Chai market searching for fresh shrimp. Those sold at the big stores (BIG C, Carrefour, or Lotus) were tasteless. After purchasing a kilo of sea shrimp, I headed back to my bike, when a voice called my name.

It was Ort.

Neither Jamie Parker nor I had seen the lithe go-go dancer, since she hooked up with a farang at the Paris Go Go.

The Brit construction worker retired her from the bikini squad, bought a house in Prichit, gave her a brand new car and 10 baht of gold. “I thought you were going to England.” I glanced around the market for familiar faces. Mem was over in Jomtien, but she has spies or jah-rah-chon everywhere.

“No, my boyfriend leave me for a ka-toey.” Ort wasn’t wearing any gold. The odds were that she had hocked them to the jum-jam or pawn shop.

“Sure it wasn’t for seeing other men?” I had last seen Ort in the Marine disco. Her date wasn’t her muscle-building boyfriend. He had spies too.

“No, no, he leave me for lady-boy.” She seemed on the verge of tears and I led her into a t-shirt stall. I didn’t want people getting the wrong impression. “I not understand. I stop being pretty.”

“No, you’re still beautiful.” Ort was wearing pink hot pants and a startling skimpy top. Platform shoes added another three inches to her height. Deadly sexy.

“Then why he leave me?”

“Your boyfriend goes to the gym?” I didn’t have the answer, but could with the right questions.


“He use a needle?” I had seen him twice. Muscles like his didn’t come naturally in Pattaya. Ort nodded to admit he was a steroid juice junkie.

“He likes to have sex?” I felt like a palm reader divining the truth. “Many times.”

“And ate Viagra.” Most steroid muscle-builders can’t get it up without it, but also use ketamine to get a buzz. All too chemically ugly for an old stoner like me.

“Yes, and he want sex too much. He hurt me too much.”

“And that’s why he left you for a ka-toey.” Thailand unlike the States didn’t have a real hang-up about transvestites.

The Miss Tiffany World Show is televised live and the presenter is usually Miss World Thailand. The greeter at the biggest hospital in pattaya is a ka-toey and the most beautiful women on Walking Street are the lady-boys hanging out at the Jennie Star Bar.

“I not understand.” She wouldn’t because she’s a woman.

“Your boyfriend is a sex maniac. He wants sex all the time. But a woman can only have sex 3-5 times a week. Not so a ka-toey. A lady-boy can have sex all day long, because she’s a man and has man’s muscles and wants sex like a man.”

“How you know this?” All women are distrustful of a man wanting to tell them what he thinks of as the truth.

“Because I’m a man too.”

“And you’ve been with a ka-toey?“

“No.” I’ve drank with ka-toeys.” I’ve never really had a problem with TVs. I understand the medicines they take make them crazy. The psychological shift from man to woman isn’t easy either and I told Ort, “I wouldn’t trust one though. Not with money or your life, because they are between sexes and work with a different set of rules involving survival, but they tell me they can have sex all day long. Just what your boyfriend wants.”

“I hate ka-toeys.” Her eyes narrowed to daggers.

“You shouldn’t be too unhappy. You got a house, car, gold and let’s face you didn’t love him, right?” She was beyond listening to reason or excuses.

“Love him for what? He stupid farang.” Thai girls say that about a lot of men. “I go back go-go. Meet new farang. Not love no one. Only my baby. You want mia noi?“

Ort was 22. Her body was a solace for a middle-aged man search for youth. A fool I am, but not enough to fall for a girl thinking all men stupid. I wished her luck. Whatever man fell for her next would need it.

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