THE SLEEP OF THE DEAD by Peter Nolan Smith

Two weeks after my arrest by the Thai Cyper-Crime Unit in 2008 I was drinking at Donovan’s Sports Bar on Pattya’s Sai 3. Most of the clientele was watching a golf match, while I concentrated on drinking a vodka-tonic. Golf meant nothing to me.

After Tiger Woods birdied a hole, the TV went to commercial break. Conversations of a normal nature resumed between the drinkers.

An oil worker complained that his new girlfriend slept most of the day.

His friends said that their girlfriends suffered from a similar somnalepsy.

The oil worker hailed from Texas. He was overweight and bald.

“And when she wakes up, she eats like an escapee from a concentration camp, then watches Thai soap operas before dropping into a coma.”

“Same with me.” His two friends were also dumbfounded by the malaise.

“Sleeping 20 hours a day has to be a disease.”

“I’m just glad that it wasn’t infectious.”

Donovan’s owner had a 4-handicap. To the oil worker this skill was genius and he asked Steve, if he had any idea why their girlfriends slept like the dead.

“I don’t have a girlfriend.” Steve was the smartest man in the bar. His Thai waitresses understood more English than they let on and he changed the subject. “Think Tiger Woods will play the Hong Kong Open?”

The golfers bailed after another drink. Their tee-off at Khao Kheo Golf Course was scheduled for 9. I paid my bill. Steve forestalled my departure with an offer of another vodka-tonic. He knew my story. The police might not have thrown me in jail, but their geek shut down my website. I couldn’t leave the country until my trial. My money was very tight.

I accepted his buy-back with gracious humility.

Steve and I discussed Eli Manning’s Scramble in the Super Bowl, which gave the Giants the win.

“In the regular season he would have been whistled dead. Caught in the grass. Then again rules are made to be broken by the refs in the Superbowl. They had a lot riding on the game.” Steve felt that the only people who can fix games were the officials.

“The secondary stopped playing defense to watch him get his.” I believed that the NFL officials were also on the fix.

“Never stop playing until you hear the whistle.”

We clinked glasses and I asked about his bachelor status.

“I don’t have a girlfriend, because I hear too many stories from my customers about theirs.”

“I won’t ever tell you about winning the Worst Girlfriend of the Year in 2001.”

Bee had left me for an Italian five times in two months. I wanted her to go. She just couldn’t say good-bye. She was stuck in my life like gum in hair. She had to be cut out in the end.

“Thanks, my head filled with enough unhappy endings to write a soap opera, but I have a question. Why you think Thai girls sleep so much?”

His question echoed off an unspoken affair whose mysteries defied his rational mind. I speak Thai. I know bar girls on a platonic level. They tell stories about ‘customers’. Some of them might be true.

“The most obvious answer is the one no one wants to believe.”

“Which is?”

“You try spending a night with a drunken farang sucking down beers and tequila like the Taliban were at the city gates. I promise you that you would be a little slow to get out of bed.”

“But that’s not the real answer, is it?” Steve wasn’t accepting the easy way out.

“No, their sleeping sickness is either pretend or a reaction to having to spend so much time with a farang. Faking sleep keeps a farang off them. Not many people have a fantasy about sex with a sleeping woman. The second option is that they are so freaked by being with a farang that they wrap sleep around them like a blanket. You have to think of it like astronaut in suspended animation for inter-planetary travel only Thai girls sleep after they’ve landed on Mars. They have no interest in the Martians.”

“You mean us?”

“Did you ever see BOB CAROL TED AND ALICE. Ann Margret sleeps throughout her affair with Jack Nicholson. Why? Because she didn’t want to be there. So what do you do when your girlfriend sleeps?”

“I certainly don’t wake her.” The peace during their slumber was priceless.

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”

“As long you’re in bed for when they wake up.”

We clinked glasses again and another drink was pushing my budget, but I ordered it anyway.

Mam was already asleep. She was so cute under the sheets. She was safe and so was I. Tomorrow morning was another story.

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