Free Love for Fools


Several years back I sipping an afternoon tea at my Pattaya local off Soi Concrete. My kidneys were extremely fragile after the previous weekend’s industrial drinking at the Buffalo Bar of Sai 3. As I finished reading the sports in the Bangkok Post, a thick-bellied Australian waddled down the steep stairs. The local rented rooms by the month, week, day, or hour. Stanley was a long-time resident. We played pool on occasion and the bauxite miner rubbed his eyes sitting at the bar.

“Gu’day.” The bald Aussie signaled the bargirl for a beer. It was the expat breakfast of champions in the Last Babylon.

“You too.” I folded my newspaper and signaled for the ‘chek bin’.

“What time is it?” Stanley scratched the stubble on his face. His nails were long for a man, but they were strong enough to mow his beard.

“Almost 3.” Stanley was boring, but I liked seeing him in a bar. He was 59 and looked all those years and then some. Stanley made me feel young, but his dilapidated condition doesn’t prevent him from getting into trouble.

“Where’s your girlfriend?” Stanely was a loner, but for the past three weeks he had been entertaining a matronly bargirl from Khorat.

“Told her to piss off.” Stanley stared at his Singha beer, as if he was contemplating a softer greeting to the day.

“What for?” Girls don’t last too long with Stanley. Only the desperate tried to conquer his geezer heart.

“Went to Koh Lann yesterday. The sheila brought a friend. I paid for the boat, food, and they ate Ethiopian orphans. At the end of the trip my girl asked for me to barfine them.”

“200 baht?” It the going price for a bar girl her age.

‘Yeah, but I only wanted the one.”

“What time was it?”

“8ish.”

“That’s why. They were late for work.”

“So?”

“So if they’re late for work they get fined by the boss.”

“That really so?”

“Yep.” I ran down the situation of life as a bar girl. “The women are paid 2000-5000/month. They get two free days a month. Not weekends or holidays. If they want to take a day off it costs them 200-300 baht.”

“You’re joking?”

“No, and some places stipulate that they have to go with a man four to 10 times a month or pay fine for each missing the quota. That goes for drinks to customers too.” Stanley was as thick as a plank. Bargirls don’t do anything for free and hate getting stiffed by farangs. it boiled their blood and even a 45 kilo spinner can level a 100 kilo miner from Western Australia with a good swing of her heels.

“You’re shitting me.” Stanley had been here many times, yet never thought about the price structure of the bar workers. To him like many farangs they were simply cattle.

“Hey, they’re a thousand times better off at a bar than working a brothel. That’s a prison.” I finished my tea. “So your girl was only trying to avoid a fine. Same as you.”

“I’ll go straighten it out. I’m a cunt. But not a bad cunt.” Stanley was also done with having to find a new ‘sheila’ every night. His reputation as a cheap charlie was widespread. His girl was as good as he was going to get this year.

“Good man.” Stanley wasn’t a good man. Neither am I and I try to do as little bad as possible. That way I’m not going to get beaten by an irate bar girl in the middle of the street.

They wear those high heels for more vicious reasons than making them two inches taller.

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