It was a broad rainbow rising high into the sky from the distant sea to the south-west and seemed to be enduring. Maybe the breadth of its base or the fact that there seemed to be no rain anywhere explained this. Or maybe it was meant as a permanent backdrop to the small orange hulled fishing boat chugging slowly out to sea across the calm and clear ocean. But rounding the headland and for a moment the view obstructed and then back to full vision again but both the rainbow and small orange hulled fishing boat no more. Disappeared in their symbiotic cause of some purpose unbeknownst to a casual observer.
Tom got the gun in a small bar on the Soi Cowboy. He was in there one early afternoon before the dancers arrived or as was the case with many before they awoke from their slumbers upstairs in the communal room they all slept after a night of hard gambling after a night of gyrating round poles to whatever was the latest in pop numbers while staring blankly into mirrors on the wall opposite. Tom was in the bar nursing a sprite thinking about all that happened to him in his short time in the country. It had been a long surreal period even if in reality it had only been a few short weeks, but for now the quiet dingy bar sparsely and occasionally occupied was a good refuge. A place to sit and think and for once to sit and think without the leading distraction of alcohol. Tom needed this.
Thinking about Lek, Tom nursed his now warming bottle of sprite before pouring a little more over the ice in the glass and occasionally sucking on the little bent white straw that had come with the glass. Lek was Tom realised an obsession and one that wasnt going away any time soon either for him or for her. But in there lay the problem. Tom could no longer do anything or go anywhere without her. He remembered the night a few weeks ago when he had left her working in her bar and decided to go and explore a few more bars on the strip. She had actually paid her own way out of her bar and promptly found him with a beer deep in meaningless and rarely understood by either of them conversation with a bikini clad girl of diminutive proportions in another bar. Lek had proclaimed Tom as hers and promptly wrecked whatever exchange was happening by sending the girl off to the other side of the bar. Tom though did have admit to himself that seeing Lek in the tight black and white dress which made the most of Lek’s underwired figure and seeing her pert head cocked back as she disposed of the competition was after all quite attractive to him.
However, his uncontrollable obsession with her which was purely sexual and with little intent at that time of being monogamous in nature and her equally outrageous obsession with him as being hers only over the next few days seemed to lead away destructively from bouts of frequent and if Tom was honest not so enjoyable sex although tinged with a next time it will be perfect urge that comes with obsession and for Lek an increasing feeling that Tom was going to be a helicopter and be off with another woman or even worse one of her friends next.
One night in Mick’s bar, although at this point Tom hadn’t met Mick and didn’t know it was his bar, where Lek worked. Tom , while Lek gyrated round a pole for her 15 minute stint,sat chatting vaguely to Lek’s best friend Ann who was an older dancer, and hence had passable English, who could set the place on fire with her lack of inhibitions, gymnastic abilities and recognition that if you were going to do a job you may as well do it well to maximise your income whatever that meant doing. Ann who had a knack for knowing such things knew that Tom and Lek were having problems and wanted her friend to be happy and her friend wanted Tom. And with her possibly narrow but possibly accurate way of looking at men she knew sex could solve everything. And knowing that Lek was new to the job and a little reticent to do certain things. Never being one to be shy about such things Ann was forthright with her advice when Lek returned. You have to suck his cock she informed her and turning to Tom, and you have to shower first. Having clearly righted whatever problem existed between the two Ann was off turning cartwheels with bikini discarded and then hanging from various positions upside down to bent into impossible positions from whatever pole presented itself. Setting the bar on fire. It was going to be a night to remember for the customers.
Tom had been off in some kind of dream world not noticing what had gone on around him. The ice now melted into the warm sweet and suddenly unappealing Sprite. Next to him was a Thai man he hadn’t noticed there before. But friendly with the usual pleasantries of you like Thailand? you like Thai girl? exchanged. At least the guy spoke English, and in the absence of the American owner of the bar who was busy doing a border run which would actually end in disaster with a ban from the country that was only overturned on appeal months later leaving the bar to be run by his girls which was a recipe for extreme crowds over that period although whether the owner ever saw the increased profits or even any of them would be open to conjecture, was a blessing. Tom needed to chat to someone and like many before him talking about difficult subjects to a stranger in a bar was easier than talking with anyone who knew you.
Tom probably knew he was making a mistake when one night he took Noi from Petchabun out of the bar next to the bar where Lek worked. But having jumped into an air-conditioned cab and made it back to his room in the guest house he was staying it was both time to relax and enjoy himself. It was after 30 minutes or so that the knock came on the door and draping himself with a towel improperly wrapped around himself Tom opened it to see Lek standing there who promptly pushed her way in taking a look at Noi in the bed covered with a sheet. As Tom looked back the first blow hit and then a flurry of blows and then suddenly Noi was up and as equally suddenly dressed and asking if she could leave now. After politely being allowed to exit, the blows continued until with Tom sat back to the bed nursing the bruises from being hit repeatedly with a stool and with blood still flowing from a bicep bite wound and Lek resting against the wall after a headbutt had separated the two, the tears started. Rapidly followed by the most passionate and unplanned and unprotected sex they had had yet.
Still it was now with sober thoughts of this and memories of a few more gruesome threats of what may happen if Tom were to stray again that were uppermost as Tom explained all to his new-found Thai confidant who remained nameless. the stranger looked concerned and explained that Tom needed to be careful of Thai women as they could be quite crazy and that stories of men having their appendages cut off and fed to the ducks or tied to helium balloons were common as were deaths. Tom needed to take this all seriously and the stranger advised him he needed protection. Casting aside Toms first idea that this meant the Thai guy would help him the stranger soon made it clear that what he was talking about was something known as a Glock 9mm and it even came with 4 rounds. Just what Tom needed and all for a little more than 25 pounds.
A few days later Tom was indeed the proud owner of the thing known as a Glock 9mm or at least that was how it had been described to him and Tom knew little about these things, but another meeting with the man and an exchange of packet for money and it was all complete and soon stashed in a cheap backpack beneath a few dirty clothes and stuffed deep under the huge bed in Tom’s room.
A few weeks later after a trip down to the south with Lek in which in a drunken state and after vomiting all over a bar she managed to pick up another guy right in front of Tom only to be discarded by the new man in a moment of lucidity and good judgement in what became a drunken seeing in of the sunrise on the beach with Tom still an interested observer. Whether Tom felt relief or jealousy as he watched the destructive ending of their relationship by Lek is never made clear in the journal but he did take her back to Bangkok and leave her back at the bar. And of course Lek and what happened to her was going to have a big effect on Tom and however he felt for her at that point later events seem to show he never did get over the obsession.
Khao Sammuk where Muk had cast herself into the sea when seeing her lover marrying another woman according to local legend was intensely clear after the rain with the whites of the rising cliff contrasting for once with th light browns and as always with the deep and lighter greens leaving the stick building as we called it standing proud and erect reaching it seemed almost the top of the mountain from where Muk had jumped and where now a monk could be found in a shrine along with monkeys and at night trysts of those wanting to do something unseen by others. And looking up at the mountain thinking about the legend expecting to once again see Saen too having run from his wedding cast himself after the broken body of his lover from the heights at the top of the cliff.