The Thai police are a law unto themselves. The ‘Tam-Luak’ plunder the Thais with a pirate’s greed. If they find no infraction, then the boys in brown will manufacture a crime to reap ‘tea money’ for their superiors. In their eyes no one is truly innocent.

Most farangs know well enough to avoid the Thai police. After nearly 20 years in Thailand I know none. I have Thai friends who know police. I’ve never asked for their assistance. They are experts at turning a small situation into a costly one.

At my old local on Pattaya’s Soi Concrete one of the lads from England had been dating a female cop from Bangkok’s District 8. Richard said that Lee?s squad investigated corruption. I maintained my distance, since my popular online clothing site featured non-authorized copyright goods. No one at the bar knew what I did, but Lee regarded all of us as potential suspects. The farangs of Pattaya had a sullied reputation. We were who were were.

No apologies, but everyone flew under the radar.

Lee was not undercover. We were too small-time for her bosses in Bangkok.
None of us saw what the mid-20s long-legged beauty saw in Richard. He was on the wrong side of 50. The ex-punk rocker hailed from Plymouth. His pub featured live bands. The 50 year-old died his hair black like the lead singer of The Damned. His friends called her ‘Angie Dickinson’ Her friends named him ‘Sid’.

“She’s a good girl,” Richard had been dating Lee several months and she hasn?t asked him for a dime. “There are no sick buffaloes in her family.”

We nodded out heads with smiles, knowing that there is always a sick buffalo out in the rice fields of Ban Nok for both Thais and Falangs. Lee came for a hi-so or high society roots. People like that had never toiled in a rice paddy. Their ‘sick buffaloes’ were a failing businesses. Sick buffaloes were cheap by comparison.
None of us attempted to warn the punk rocker about her family. Love was blind, especially when your eyes need glasses to read the small print.

We wished him ‘chok dee’ or good luck and hoped for the best. Stranger things had occurred in Thailand.
Richard professed to never having cheated on Lee. I believed him, since we had bar-hopped through the Last Babylon without his ever paying a bargirl a fine. No geeks. No short-times. He was no butterfly.

Richard had purchased a CRV pick-up and a small apartment on Soi Concrete. He trusted Lee to take care of the car while he?s back in the EEU playing retro-punk to dissatisfied university students.

“If I can’t trust her, who can I trust?”

“None of us ventured an answer.

“After a two month stint touring UK pubs with his punk quartet, Richard planned a 20-day stay in Thailand. He phoned Lee. She was up-country attending a police academy a good 8 hours. She said she would meet him on Tuesday. He arrived and took the bus down to Pattaya. After one night of staring at go-go girls, he settled into listening to old punk rock classics at the local and drinking beer. It was a pleasant way to pass the time in Pattaya. Both of us were experts about doing nothing and we spoke about The Clash, Sex Pistols, and Sham 69.

Tuesday came without any sign of Lee. Her phone service is off. No signals. Richard calls Lee’s friend. No signal. Phone service up-country was notoriously bad. It was also Buddhist Lent and the bartender at our local suggested that Richard’s tee-lat may have gone home to offer prayers at the village temples. Richard got worried, thinking that Lee has had an accident. She had the truck. No one at the bar mentioned the possibility of her having a Thai boyfriend. Richard was too in love to hear the opposite.

The next morning I ran into Richard. His face was edged by worry. I doubted if he had slept the previous night. I knew better than to ask him if everything was alright. His face said the opposite.

“I’m thinking about going up to Bangkok this afternoon.” Richard was gaunt. He wasn’t eating anything.

“What for?” I had a bad feeling about this.

“To her station to see if they know where she is?”

“Bad idea.” I shook my head. Thais are very careful about letting other Thais know about their relationships with farangs and even more so if they are the police. While it would have been best to send Richard on his way without warning, I felt compelled to tell him, “She’s a cop. Her life at the precinct is being a cop, not some chick dating a westerner. You show up and the other officers will think she’s a whore.”

“So what am I supposed to do?” The boys at the local are constantly rehashing tales of cheating Thai girlfriends. These stories were echoing in his ears. This time the name was Lee.

I said, “Ignore them and trust your heart.”

“Do nothing?”

“Tehre was another option.

“Or go to Soi 6 and get a BJ.”

The short-time street of easy women and cheap beer night not cure a broken-heart, but it was certainly a good start, but I said, “Lee’s a good girl. She isn’t fucking some Thai boyfriend. She’s probably at the temple on her knees, praying to Buddha for your luck.”

Every Thai woman wants good for their man,knowing how bad men can be. Those words were what he wanted to hear and I said, “Wait a day. Call her office tomorrow. Don?t go up there. The coppers will think you’re a crazy farang stalking their co-worker and throw you in jail. She’ll show up when she shows up. This is Thailand. Have a jai-yen.”

“Jai-yen?” His Thai was non-existent.

“A cold heart. Thais don’t like hot-blooded reactions. Makes them lose face.”

“Really?” Most farangs couldn’t accept that Thais lived by a different set of rules. They thought everyone in the world had been taught how to act by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. They were wrong and so wrong that they would never be right in Thailand.

“Really.” I patted him on his back. “But if you want to go up there and make a fool of yourself and have her lose face, knock yourself out.”

“So it’s a bad idea?”

“As bad as Sid Vicious going out with Nancy Spungen. ” The Sex Pistols’ bassist and his murdered girlfriend were made for each other.

“Okay, I’ll play it cool.”

“You’re a punk. Punks don’t care about the future. I know your mind is racing about what Lee is doing, but there is probably a very good explanation and you’ll get it when you see Lee. You want a beer?”

“No.” It was only 11 and Richard wasn’t much of a drinker. “Thanks for the talk.”

“Are you okay?”

“I?ll be fine.”

I waved good-bye and headed to the post office to ship shirts to Germany and Italy. My ex-wife was up-country too. I didn’t call her and never asked about the company she kept. It was better that way, because I had been a punk too.



Anything can happen, but it?s better if you think it won’t.

Jai yen.

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