My friend was not one to get easily discouraged. Once frustrated, he grew more aggressive and determined, accosting tourists on the main strip and asking where he might be able to find “something”. A hippy pointed in the direction of a rundown guesthouse at the end of the block. We entered, hiked up a dilapidated set of stairs, took a seat in a seedy lobby where we ordered two beers, and waited for any signs of action.
You could have found more excitement on Bingo night at an old folks’ home than in that miserable guesthouse. After half an hour, dé Dale banged his beer down on the low table and got up.
“C’mon, man, this is a waste of time!”
Back out on the street, we hailed a taxi.
“Patpong,” dé Dale told the driver.
Neither of us was very excited about going to Patpong; the district and its sisters, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza, reputedly the world’s largest red-light quarter, made Sodom and Gomorrah seem as wholesome as Disneyworld. It was, in a sense, a theme park: a Fantasyland for sex fiends of every stripe: sex-starved Germans—sweaty lust smeared over their faces like butter; scummy down-and-outers from Europe; your garden-variety British pedophiles; and kamikazegearheads like my friend and yours truly. The raw vice that had once made Patpong an amusing novelty, though, had in recent years been watered down and was now crowded with slack-jawed tourists, intrepid bargain hunters, and even parents pushing children in buggies.
The first time I visited the area back in the early nineties, both sides of the street were packed with go-go bars, girls in the skimpiest of string bikinis dancing on bar counters, shaking their little fannies to Eurobeat tunes.
If one of the girls gave you a personal hard on, you could “order” her, like a numbered dish on a menu, and take her back to your place for an hour or two or all night depending on how long you could go before your testicles, shriveled up into little raisins, cried, “No mas!”
As you passed, panderers and pimps would call after you in a dozen languages, watching your eyes for a glint of recognition.
“Guten Abend, Mein Herr . . . Konbanwa . . . Bonsoir, Monsieur. Buona sera, señor. Good evening, sir.”
A familiar greeting in your mother tongue can be surprisingly seductive: your eyes turn naturally towards voice and now the pimp has you in his crosshairs. “Good evening, sir,” he says again, reeling you in. Holding out a tattered gray card and he starts rattling off the smorgasbord of vaginal acrobatics and other “exotic” performances waiting for you:
“Ping pong pussy, sir . . . Pussy blow the horn, pussy smoke the cigarette . . . Pussy shoot banana . . . Pussy cut banana . . . Girl and girl . . . Girl and girl and banana . . . Man and girl . . .”
And so on.
I went to one of these shows way back when I was just a kid really. I had only been in Bangkok for three days but had been hounded the entire time by taxi drivers, tuk-tukjockeys, hotel bellboys, and common street pimps, all asking me the same question: “Sir, you need a girl?”
“You want nice Thai massage, maybe a little more, help you sleep better?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“How about a good-looking Thai boy?”
After three days of this constant peck-peck-pecking, my defenses were thoroughly compromised, so when a barker called out “Ping pong pussy!” I couldn’t resist. I had to find out what it was all about.
I stepped inside, took a seat near the stage, and ordered an overpriced cocktail. A Thai woman, rather long in the tooth, came out onto the stage, undressed and, lying on her back, proceeded to shoot ping pong balls out of her vagina into a martini glass several feet away.
Was I impressed? Somewhat. It was certainly more than I could do with my own genitalia. Was I turned on—and I do believe that was the point of the show, to get me so lathered up with sexual desire that I would take the prostitute beside me who was massaging my back to my hotel room—was I burning with lust watching the show?
To be honest, I found the whole thing rather depressing.
“You want to take me home?” the prostitute asked.
A ping-pong ball hit the rim of the martini glass and flew into the audience where a middle-aged Kraut caught it.
“Not really,” I replied.
The prostitute immediately stopped kneading my shoulder and started working on another man’s neck.
Easy come, easy go.
The first posting/chapter in this series can be found here.
Rokuban: Too Close to the Sun and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.