Carta Visa: Table of Contents

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Title: Carta Visa
Author: Lingbahh
Language: Thai
Genre: BL, Romance, Comedy
RAWS

This is a story about me, the chaotic life of a fashion magazine photographer who one day had the bright idea to set out for a certain ‘iron curtain’ country as a means of gaining new and peculiar life experiences. However, God graced me with an enemy, one equally handsome and menacing, Alexey, a mafia in disguise as a civil servant. Not to mention, he’s not by himself. Accompanied by three particularly brutal bodyguards, this is most definitely going to be a life lesson costing me dearly.

Translator’s Opinion
Despite there being an (over) abundance of BL novels in Thailand, Carta Visa has always stood out to me as being the most enjoyable novel in a long time coming. Guaranteed to give you a Jolly Good Time™, this story is full of #bants which tastefully does not put off from the romantic heartfelt moments. The dynamics between Petch and Alexey is a delight to read. They clash like water and fire but in the most hilarious of ways. Petch is such a loveable character, and Alexey–I’ve got to give it to him–he’s way too hot *fans self*. Spanning five thick volumes, our main characters are in for an adventure, suspense but also a bit of mystery.

Volume 1
1st Round
2nd Round
3rd Round
4th Round
5th Round
6th Round
7th Round
8th Round
9th Round
10th Round
11th Round

Carta Visa: 11th Round

Bold: The characters are speaking in English.


I averted my eyes away from the front cover of the color newspaper held by a man queuing up for a visa at the Kazakhstan embassy, feeling hesitation and heavy uneasiness. The picture of the corpse with its brain splattered everywhere and its body obliterated from falling down twelve stories was an indigestible sight. When it came to movies, the censoring organization worked hard to dab stuff with a bit of tiger balm, be it boobs, guns or alcohol. They even went to the effort of censoring the logo of a cigarette brand on the side of a Formula One racecar. However, when it came to images of dead bodies, we got to see the bare bones, there was no need to use any imagination.

‘Russian man throws himself off building to defy love’. Unknown as to who wrote this headline, I couldn’t help but secretly chuckle from reading it. What crazy person would jump off a building after having a bullet pierce through the center of his forehead? The head was sliced open, not to mention, he was branded like a cow heading straight for a slaughterhouse… it couldn’t get any more cruel. But this wasn’t a zombie movie! Just recalling the memory gave me cold shivers. Yesterday’s incident made me sleep with my eyes open like an owl all-night long; despite how Alexey was (at least) kind enough to share his bodyguards with me, assigning them to look after the safety of my room.

“Next please.”

The glass door opens. I take a deep breath. Although I knew full well that my visa application was going to be accepted no matter what, I found it rather difficult to face the person who was going to issue said visa.

Mr. Marat was the official stationed at the visa desk along with one other Thai female official who was walking here and there. Spotting me, he dials the phone, speaking two to three words before turning to talk to me. “Wait inside that room, he will be arriving shortly.” The man then presses the intercom and calls for the next person. “Next please.

Regardless of how much I insisted that I didn’t need to see Alexey and was just here to get a visa, Mr. Marat stared at my face like he didn’t understand. “He will come out to see you shortly.”

Madam Yelena half-dragged, half-lead me into the same interrogation room that I previously played tag with the hottie in.  However, within the quietness of the room today hung an air of heaviness.

A stainless steel chair was dragged from behind, Alexey sits down and crosses his legs; a habit of his. He looked good as usual today, as if yesterday’s incident never occurred, aren’t you a bit too relaxed mister!?

“You understand what you need to do about the things you saw last night, correct?”

The first question was accompanied by a faint smell of cigarettes. Stunning grey eyes stared at me, expressing what seemed to be doubt and sympathy at the same time.

I swallow my saliva. My throat was as dry as a desert today.

“I have some useful suggestions for you, in case you think your life could be in danger.”

I listen attentively to the odd English accent despite being incapable of arguing back (and I didn’t have the guts to argue back either).

First, keep your mouth shut. Absolutely do not go spreading this matter around”

The initial question which popped into my mind was: Who was I going to tell? Was he expecting me to use it as a conversation starter among my drinking circles?

Second, keep a low profile. Don’t make yourself the center of attention.”

I couldn’t translate this part. And I didn’t dare to ask, afraid of being flung off the building as well; even though the embassy wasn’t that high up. But as I didn’t have special super powers like Spider-Man, I wasn’t brave enough to risk my life with the mafia.

Lastly, just forget about it. Wipe it away from your memory.”

Hu, that’s easy to say but difficult to do. The image of a person being killed right in front of my eyes, as well as seeing the head carved open and a bullet removed wasn’t as easy to forget as pressing the Delete key on a keyboard.

“Do you have any questions?”

“And what if the police come knocking at my door asking for a few questions? How do you want me to give my testimony? Telling the truth to the police is probably not going to work.” I posed the question which seemed most reasonable after spending significant time hanging out in the closet.

Alexey exhaled smoke, clearing his throat softly. “Then say that we were in the middle of doing a mission together.”

(TN: Mission – Alexey refers to sex, making love, etc)

“How about the evidence?” Also what mission?

“I can create fake evidence anytime, whenever you’re ready.”

Saying this without being ashamed of his own mouth, I moved my chair back, withdrawing up to the wall.

The hottie narrowed his eyes in my direction. “What crazy thing are you up to now?”

I’m scared that you’re about to create fresh ‘evidence’ somewhere in this vicinity woi, like you even need to ask!

“Just get me out of this mess in one piece.” I wasn’t afraid of anything except for getting beaten in the interrogation. If I was a policeman and had to choose between beating the truth out of two suspects, who would be stupid enough to choose this hottie–even if he was clearly the number one suspect? It was a million percent guaranteed that Petch was going to be questioned and beaten up…

“The Thai Police won’t be available to handle this case, believe me.”

“Why? …Are you implying that Thailand is not protected by the law?”

“The police have all gone to collect bribes, there’s no one left to take the case… am I right?”

Oh, he had a point. It was not only the police, even the average person was starting to feel colorblind, looking in any direction, it was yellow, yellow, red, red, yellow, yellow everywhere. Good grief! And why were we wasting our tax money on the police’s paychecks when reports of cars being damaged took as slow as a salt factory to investigate, and when it came to crime they could only catch goats… Thailand ought to open up a goat farm and export them overseas as punishment.

(TN: Even the protesters–the Red and Yellow shirts–collect bribes, such is the corruption of this country! Streets occupied by protesters prohibit cars from passing through unless you bribe them with money.)

I took this opportunity to change the topic. “I’m actually here to get my visa, this other issue is very trivial.”

Trivial indeed because I was hiding in the closet…

“Of course you’re only interested in the visa.”

“Is that not the reason why people come to embassies?” Looks like my mouth was itching to get into an argument today. However, if I’m unable to get a visa today, I was really going to have to scrap my travel plans. “I remember vaguely you telling me to go see Madam Yelena… so can I see her yet?”

“I’m not done talking to you.”

“Look, I don’t want to deal with anything related to yesterday’s incident… and it’s your problem to deal with, not mine. I’m a witness, regardless of this case’s outcome, it has nothing to do with me.”

Alexey’s stunning grey eyes looked at me from head to toe as if assessing, expression seemingly wanting to say something but refrained from doing so. He crushed his cigarette down on the glass ashtray.

Well… make sure all of your documents are ready.” The tone was more frigid than normal, reminding me of the first time we met. Alexey pulled out his phone, dialing someone. It was in the same moment which Madam Yelena knocked on the door of the room, opening it up wide. I could hear my name coming out of Alexey’s mouth two to three times, but that was it…

I craned my neck, eyes following the broad back, feeling as if I had just done something wrong…

Madam Yelena looked at my passport book, assessing the green banana leaf color of the Uzbekistan visa, before reading the other documents which came attached. She said nothing, collecting up the documents then disappearing outside, leaving me to sit alert on my own in the square room that was the size of a classroom. The table and chairs were stainless steel. A lamp hung from the ceiling and the faint smell of cigarettes still circled the room. I felt like a prisoner who had just chased his defense attorney out of the room…

I probably should have spoken more nicely to Alexey…

Importantly, I still hadn’t thanked him for hiding me in the closet while guns were being fired relentlessly outside…

I received the passport book back along with a red visa stamped with the mark of the embassy. I gave Madam Yelena a wide smile, but only received a cold one in return, the smile was exactly identical to her boss’. I pack up my belongings, pressed the elevator button and arrived at the bottom with a light body, feeling extremely relieved. Once reaching the bottom, I saw a long black limousine parked out in front. Three Russian-looking men were standing nearby smoking cigarettes. Alexey was sitting inside the car and talking on the phone, eyes reading a file while the hand which held the phone also pinched a cigarette. Our eyes met for a second… his grey eyes staring as if to reprimand me. The Kazakhstan ambassador who was in his late fifties strided over, cutting through the middle alongside two other officials, his secretary following briskly behind.

Alexey motioned with a finger and Leof shuts the car door, the waxy black film of the windows reflecting the strong morning sun. And then the car rolled away…

I wanted to know more about the other man… but now wasn’t the right time.

 

 

“Petch! What are you daydreaming about?”

The bright voice and forceful nudge from behind made me jump out of my seat. Editor Chid had a coffee mug in his hand and a ‘The Economist’ magazine pinned underneath one arm. His facial features consisted of a skinhead hairstyle trendily shaved on the sides, a goatee, a hooked nose like an eagle, and brown eyes which indicated that he had foreigner blood in him (but why in the world did his mother give him the name Lookchid? …I really don’t understand her). Combined together, from the outside Editor Chid looked more like an editor for a heavy metal magazine.

(TN: Lookchid – His name means ‘Sugar Palm’. It’s a very Thai name which contrasts against his quasi-foreign looks.)

“Uhh…” It was obvious that my mind was somewhere else. “I’m on a quest for motivation, senior.”

“Quit the lofty words, you’re actually procrastinating aren’t you, little puppy?” There it was. Editor Chid was the first person to call me ‘puppy’. P’Pun took a liking to the name soon after, saying that it complimented me perfectly. “Which piece of land have you gone to pick up motivation from, please dig yourself out of there and get back to work.”

P’Lookchid or Editor Chid held the position of Editor-in-Chief, he was well-known for his ruthlessness, being meticulous, punctual and obsessed with work. As he was forty-one years old and of the Bull Terrier breed– hua, no… he wasn’t that ruthless… he was highly respected by his juniors. P’Chid supervises roughly ten magazine titles, he was brave and had the skills to back it up, especially his skill to give out impossible orders (and to make the impossible into the possible, it was up to those below him). The magazines under his supervision mainly dealt with entertainment, women and travel on the more high-end side of things. P’Chid also had numerous connections to the upper class. The reason why I managed to land glamorous photography jobs, take photos of famous names, shoot at stunning locations and capture the most grand outfits was initially because of P’Chid’s connections. This was of course until I became the ‘darling’ of all the old ladies and widowers, accumulating connections of my own.

“Motivation comes from working passionately!” I grumble, turn back to the screen of my MacBook, and pretended to move my stylus around as if to edit work. “These days all you’ve been talking about is P’Pun this, P’Pun that, making me sit on the bench like a substitute. Only when there’s a shortage of people do you ever call for me. Even Michael Owens was forced to leave Real Madrid, please be considerate of my tiny heart.”

(TN: Michael Owens – The eternal ‘benchwarmer’ for Real Madrid football club; until he couldn’t take it any longer and quit.)

‘The Economist’ smacked the center of my forehead with a loud ‘pap!’.

“Quit speaking nonsense.” Why does everyone around me like to use violence? “You’re the one taking occasional leaves from work, Dad is going to send you to clean the toilets as punishment.”

“Good, I’ll go find my motivation in the toilets then.”

“Sure, how about I go talk to the HR department for you, hm?” Playing around and then acting serious all of sudden, this situation was getting scary.

I frown, repeatedly clicking the mouse to browse each photo. I had already looked through forty or fifty photos but wasn’t pleased with any of them. I photographed and directed them myself. But how did my skills drop to this extent?

Although there were a few pretty photos that I was pleased with, it wasn’t like they were useable. The photos in question were paparazzi shots of P’Pun and Sasha. All of them looked highly suspicious. A laughing photo with eyes squinted gleefully, an arm wrapped around a shoulder, or a shot where the other was taught how to take photographs. If not this, it was photos of the golden retriever–although he wasn’t as sexy as a certain Kazakhstani civil servant, he was something–just sitting cross-legged, smoking a cigarette at the edge of the shoreline, he looked undoubtedly more handsome than the three male models hired for today’s photoshoot. The lights and colors worked so well in his favor, good grief… handsome people are really pleasing to look at. It’s not as if I was jealous, rather I was compelled to keep these photos. I should try sending this photo to the modelling companies, in case he could be used as a model for a cigarette advertisement or something of that nature. As for the overly sweet couple photo, I could spread it around on a gay online dating website, the ratings are guaranteed to be a landslide.

I threw the files back onto my external hard disk drive. If I can’t decide on a photo then I might as well not decide at all.

The sound of a phone in the office was one factor which caused my motivation to transform into a mole, digging itself underground. I try to resolve this issue by listening to music, cramming the earplugs into my ears but it had no effect. This was entirely because of P’Pun who liked to bully me by yanking out the earplugs and shouting loudly to give me a surprise, making me nearly fall out of my seat.

Oh, speaking of P’Pun, he went drinking with Sasha yesterday and silently disappeared…

Did something happen…?

Did he manage to protect his sovereignty…?

Or did P’Pun and Sasha have a thing for role swapping, frantically taking turns to shoot each other’s goal…? This hypothesis was unsettling.

‘Pap!’ The exact same ‘The Economist’ smacked my face. Does P’Chid think I’m a cockroach or something? Smacking me over and over like this.

“Daydreaming again Petch, come have a talk with me in my room… oh, Pun you’re just in time, put your belongings down and follow us too.”

“What’s this about P’Chit?”

“About some adultery maybe!” Editor Chid finished his coffee in one go and walked off, humming a song into his room.

Boom… a bomb dropped.

Oh sh*t.

Everyone in the department went silent. The intern speaking on the phone stilled. Kai the camera assistant flinched from the screen of her Mac computer. Lookwa, Jaeng, Ped, Mild, Meuk, P’Boonggee, P’Ar, P’Waai, the assistant editor Mian, the maid, etcetera, etcetera, a total of eighteen lives turned to look solely at me. Jaeng nudged P’Pun’s arm, whispering loud enough that the whole office could hear.

“P’Pun… P’Pun did you not break up with P’Petch yet? That foreigner man even followed you to the set, can’t you see that you’re hurting P’Petch?”

P’Pun made a shocked face, the slender double-lidded eyes now huge like a goldfish’s.

As for Lookwa, she looked at P’Pun angrily. “Hu, you’re so fickle P’Pun.”

Afraid that P’Pun was going to get bombarded on more, Meuk turned to me instead. “Petch, and how about that rich foreigner… are you not going to confess to P’Pun that you’ve been cheating?”

Hua!

“Seizing and pulling each other in the parking lot, it was damned cheesy like a Channel 7 soap opera. You doing things like this, what would P’Pun think?”

F*ck!

“Huuu.” Mild, the one and only E cup girl in the office sighed. “Finding a good man is even harder than finding a good politician, and these guys are even competing with each other. Humanity is going extinct because of this.”

“Why are you guys saying such things…?” P’Pun scratched his head, seemingly troubled. Heading straight to my desk, when I made eye contact with my senior, he petted twice on this bullied puppy’s head. “Enough already, quit messing with my little one. Petch, let’s go find some coffee to drink after this.” And then he dragged me into P’Chid’s room. “Don’t pay attention to them.”

“Senior… yesterday night… were you drunk?” I asked because I was worried… scared that P’Pun had lost his backdoor.

P’Pun cocked an eyebrow, smiling, cheeks dimpled but refused to give a reply, making me even more concerned.

 

 

My mouth gaped open, shocked at the words I was hearing. It contrasted with P’Pun who had a small smile on his face, fully maintaining his handsome demeanor despite hearing the earth shattering words.

“P’Chid! You’re kidding!”

“Sit down Petch, I’m not firing you, and quit making that pale face!”

The Uzbekistan embassy had sent a booklet to me and my supervisor, P’Chid. To summarize, Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism was planning on organizing a campaign to promote tourism in Uzbekistan by producing a photobook as well as other published materials. The campaign was going to consist of photos depicting the nation’s geography and various landmarks taken by professional photographers from different countries, as well as novices with potential skill. With this, the booklet was an invitation letter, requesting that the company approve my participation in said project.

Oh Jesus Christ was this great. I was just a small-time professional photographer in the Thai media industry, accepting jobs on the basis of money, and doing everything from taking photos for graduation ceremonies, weddings, religious ordinations, and social events to fashion photoshoots for four magazines, travel segments for another three magazines, and anything else, you name it. Anyone who was willing to hire me for the minimum cost of five digits was definitely getting their job accepted. As for those who didn’t have the money for it, unless they were a close friend or a mentor of mine, they would be rejected immediately.

“I already accepted the job in your place. This is your chance to take photos on an international level Petch, I want you to do it.”

“But why me?” I asked, voice feeble. P’Chid made a confused face at my look of alarm which was tinged with fear.

“Look at that face of yours, do you want to be sent off to find motivation in the toilets? Okay, finish reading it.”

‘Altogether, the embassy will take responsibility for the visa, accommodation costs, and travel costs within Uzbekistan… Payment for the photography will be given a reasonable rate.’

Reading up to here, a certain wolf in the skin of a smiling golden retriever leapt and bounded into my mind. This was definitely his doing.

“P’Pun are you not excited at all?” I stammered. P’Pun adjusted his glasses, held up another letter to show the identical writing inside. My face went hot, body airy like I could nearly float, smiling to the point where my cheeks were on the verge of bursting. “This means that P’Pun is… going with me?”

“Yeah, you’re going together.” Editor Chid laced his hands in front. “I have no idea what criteria the embassy used to select you two, but… congratulations. Work hard, this is your opportunity to advance your careers to the national level.”

I flung myself at P’Pun, hugging him tight, wanting to shout so it could match my inner feeling of joy. P’Pun patted my head. “Okay, calm down, calm down. let P’Chid finish speaking.”

P’Chid’s words barely made sense to me after that. I listened to him rattle on about leave days, holidays, jobs which needed to be rescheduled, jobs which needed replacement photographers, and another three-hundred things. I felt confused, impressed and touched. Since being born, I’ve never loved this wolf disguised golden retriever so much until now… pulling connections like a pro, talk about creative!

I walked–steps light and airy–out of P’Chid’s room. Although we were ordered to keep the assignment a secret, my face probably gave it away already. P’Pun hurriedly dragged me into the office kitchen and brewed some coffee for us.

“That smile is as wide as a dinner plate Petch.”

“Your boyfriend Sasha is really capable of doing amazing things.”

P’Pun smacked my head. “Quit spewing nonsense, he’s not my boyfriend. We went out to drink, not to eat black beans.”

(TN: Eating black beans – An expression: to have hot passionate sex)

“Oh? Then how about that kiss mar- ooooooops…”

“Are you talking about this bump here?” P’Pun stretched out his neck, pointing at a spot on his white milky skin. “Sasha said it was an insect bite. Also according to him, I was drunk and sleepwalking that night… I was kickboxing the air… then fell off the bed… dreaming that I had fallen out of the boxing ring, I then got back up to continue punching. Before he could get me to calm down, I apparently crawled and tumbled off the bed several times, it explains my strained back and how I felt sore all over the next morning.”

Senior, you believe that guy!? My mouth hung open. P’Pun seemingly read my thoughts and nodded, expression cluelessly innocent.

“Yeah, I believe…”

“And since when did know how to kickbox?”

“Umm…” P’Pun scratches his head. “No idea.”

Fine, believing is believing… What species of dung beetle can make a bite on the collarbone? If anyone knows, tell me…

Forget it, just let me scream first: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Sasha… when I see you, I’m going to give you three big kisses!

 

 

To celebrate my good fortune, I therefore heaved Singha beer out of the supermarket, intending to give the whole crate to Sasha as thanks; I also didn’t forget to buy a packet of original flavour Taro as a snack to pair with the alcohol. I was starting to see the wolf disguised golden retriever in a positive light. At least Sasha treated me better than ‘Sir Alexander the Great’; the latter couldn’t compare.

I pressed the doorbell of room 1206 and stood waiting briefly for the door to open up to the eternally cheery smile of the room’s owner. “Ah… Mr. Petch, hello.”

Neighbours are meant to speak nicely to each other, this was correct way of doing things.

“Hello Sasha, are you free to talk for a moment? It’s like this… I want to thank you for the invitation letter to Uzbekistan.”

Blue eyes looked at me endearingly. “It’s no big deal Mr. Petch, come in.”

I lift up the crate of beer and handed it to him. The owner of the room pretended to act clueless. “This is for…?”

“As a thank you… I may not be able to go out to dinner with you, but… drinking together once in awhile is fine. I brought some Taro with me too.”

Sasha smiled once and the world seemed brighter. “What a surprise…” The eyes which gazed this way was sweet and glossy and I couldn’t help but feel abashed. “However, now is a bit inconvenient, I’m discussing business with… the Rottweiler.”

“Hm? Who?”

I peered through the opening, seeing Alexey turn to meet my eyes in that exact same moment. The biting eyes which travelled past the four-inch wide opening of the door was so forceful that I felt like running back to my room immediately. “Then… nevermind, if it’s not convenient for you. Say hi to him for me.”

“You can come in, we’re done talking.”

The person inside offered to leave the room himself. I saw the menacing hottie fling his suit jacket over one shoulder and crush his cigarette down on the ashtray in a standoffish manner. “I’m going, what we talked about, I’ll leave it to you Sasha.”

“Hey, but… we’re not finished, there’s still that matter about Vivian…” Sasha made a confused face.

I sensed the situation turning south so I hastily seized this chance to dash off, reaching the door to my room and kicking myself inside, heart beating thunderously from seeing those sharp killer eyes…

Hua, but why did my front door open on its own? I didn’t even pull out my keycard yet.

Or was it… an intruder!

Among the silence I could hear an: oh my. Oh my? And why was the voice hoarse like an effeminate man?

It really is an intruder! Dammit Petch, you aren’t even the boss lady of a mafia group yet but you’re about to be assassinated by a kathoey.

(TN: Kathoey – I’ve opted for the direct wording instead of ‘ladyboy’ because it’s a distasteful English translation. Kathoey is a loose term used to refer to transwomen, gay men, cross-dressers, intersex people, etc. It is NOT a derogatory term and is widely used by people in and outside of the Thai LGBT community.)

“Petch dear~ You’re back? I’ve been waiting for ages.”

Pae– uh, Jessica sauntered out to greet me in her short iridescent green dress and towering four-inch heels. Green fly-like eyes, the result of eye-enlarging contact lenses stared at the hottie who was holding onto my arm and tore a wide splitting smile. The curled mascara-covered eyelashes blinked again and again.

Guten Tag! You’ve changed a lot Petch, I thought you didn’t like men? Ah! Hi Alexey.

Sh*t. Exactly how many copies of my keycard were there? And how did someone trail after me without me knowing?

“Welcome back Madame Baum.”

Jessica shifted from me to hug the hottie, gladly giving the other man a kiss on each cheek. “Thank you. And Alexey, please don’t call me Madame Baum. My husband isn’t with me today, calling me Jessica like usual is fine.

“Well, Jessica, it’s my pleasure to see you again.”

I watch this sweet scene unfold in front of me with an inexplicable feeling of wanting to vomit.

“Why back so soon Pae– Jessica? You haven’t been gone long enough for the airplane tickets to be worth it yet.”

Jessica rolled her eyes with disdain. “I’m back for business reasons and decided to come say hi to you that’s all. Alexey have you gotten to know Petch yet?”

Of course he has, but it’s not like I wanted to get to know him though.

“Yes, I have.”

“And Petch… you remember Alexey right?”

“He doesn’t remember.” The hottie interrupts all of a sudden, even staring hard at Jessica to dissuade her from speaking any further. This topic was growing more and more secretive. “Forget it, that matter isn’t important.”

My friend Jessica made a shocked face but complied to shut her mouth because of the pair of sharp imposing eyes.

“Yeah, okay, no worries. You can get to know each other again, isn’t that right Petch?”

I felt disheartened… I’ve already slept twice with this man and yet I still knew next to nothing about him.

Jessica looked at me who was trying to move away from the hottie and laughed. “I haven’t seen you for a few days but you seem to have changed a lot Petch.”

“Changed in what way?” If it’s this guy speaking, then it definitely wasn’t going to be good news.

“You look like someone in love…” Well you have no eyes and a horrible judgement. “Sasha’s a nice person isn’t he? To have so many photos of him on your computer, are you secretly in love but not brave enough to confess dear?”

How about I part the middle of your face with a wooden bat?

I glance at Alexey, seeing waves of cold-blooded displeasure roll off the man. This is looking bad, I needed to defend myself. “Was intruding my room not enough for you, that you also had to go through someone else’s computer without permission? This is getting to be too much Pae.”

Jessica was clearly twisting the truth. She never thought to mention the thirty to forty couple photos of P’Pun and the wolf in golden retriever skin, choosing to make a big deal out of the six shots I had secretly taken instead.

Jessica shrugged. “Your password was 123456. If I didn’t take a peek, would I have known that someone with a stubborn mouth like you was being fickle? Claiming everything from the guy on the left room to the guy on the right room… the left room is for hugging when you’re lonely and the right room is for taking you out on dates… how despicable.”

Grey eyes glared at me intensely.

Uu… I’m in a pickle.

I… look… uh… ah… ga… I’m not fickle okay…?

The end of that last section was just a joke! Who would want to kiss a golden retriever? No one, no one at all, really.

And if tomorrow, they find Petch with his head split open and his brain splattered like paint in the middle of Phetchaburi Road, then there’s no need to speculate about the person who was responsible…

 

 

“Petch dear~”

Quit that sweet voice, it gives me goosebumps! I gathered my MacBook charger, phone charger and the battery charger for my camera, placing them in a small cloth Le Coq Sportif bag, then slung my heavy three-kilo camera bag over a shoulder. Between my arm was also a tripod. I looked like a Karen immigrant even though our rooms were merely beside each other.

As for the backstabbing kathoey, she was sitting crossed-legged gracefully on the sofa, making a soft sweet voice while admiring her manicure. Her nails were long enough to do the Fingernail Dance, in what manner did she go about cooking for her dear husband?

(TN: Fingernail Dance – A Thai traditional folk dance where performers wear 6-inch long brass fingernails. These long fingernails work to accentuate the movement of each individual finger. Jessica’s nails are long enough where she probably doesn’t need the brass additions.)

“Are you sulking…?” Jessica made adorable eyes at me and rummaged through her brandname travel suitcase.

“I brought you a souvenir too~ Have a guess, what could it be? Tick, tock, tick, tock.”

“Probably a bomb, you arrived and instantly dropped a bomb on me after all.” I said sternly. “Your hands aren’t rowing and your feet is dragging in the water, hurry up and help me carry my tripod Pae.”

(TN: Hands not rowing and feet dragging in the water – An expression referring to a person that refuses to work and is also a nuisance)

“My feet can’t be dragging in the water Petch, my size forty-three feet wears Prada.”

“Oh sureeeee” I drag my voice out to get on her nerves. “Being the Devil is too nice, a person like you deserves to be called: Satan wears Prada.”

“You *** and *** and *** Petch.”

What the hell, I only teased slightly, there’s no need to curse me so vulgarly!

I send her a sharp angry look… Jessica suddenly beamed a sweet smile like everything was fine and dandy. For God’s sake… if she was hypothetically even half as pretty as Poyd Treechada, I wouldn’t have had the heart to use violence or shout mean things at her face. To add, I probably would have captured her and made her my wife; except I don’t think I wanted a kathoey as my wife. I cast my eyes at her again. This time, my best friend willingly rushed up to help me carry the tripod.

(TN: Poyd Treechada – A Thai actress)

She helped me carry it for roughly three seconds. As soon as Isakov entered the room, Jessica pretended to act frail, as if the especially light stainless steel tripod weighed heavy like a cement pillar. As for Isakov, was he weak to kathoeys or something!? You should help me first, it’s heavy woi.

I watch as Jessica strolled past, it was unpleasant to the eye. Her tall heels tapped the floor with a loud ‘kok, kok, kok’. Hair the color of espresso was styled into large curls. The nose which underwent plastic surgery to have its nasal bridge heightened was prominent, you could almost use it to point at people. Hua, if I knew during second year of primary school that my friend was going to turn out like this, I wouldn’t have shared my snacks with her to the point where we ended up joined at the hip.

“Finish whatever you need to say. I have a headache.”

“I’ve got pain relief medicine, do you want some Petch?”

Pain relief medicine, no… I want to stamp my feet on your face instead. “No woi.

“I really did buy something good for you… come on, have a guess, have a guess.”

Looking at the kathoey make bright adorable eyes at me, I wanted to flick her forehead.

“Knowing you, it’s without a doubt that you brought me back a man as a souvenir.” I sarcastically remarked. “Sorry but I don’t like sweets, especially black beans.”

Jessica feigned anger. “And who told you to get close and chummy with my Alexey. Holding each other’s arms and hands in public, how despicable.”

Since when!!!

“You *** Pae…” My patience was wearing thin. “Look at my face and tell me. Do I look like someone who wants to open a male harem? Do I look like someone who wants to have a legit husband? Pae, sorry but I’m tired today, and that handsome Alexey of yours… oh f*ck it… I’m so exhausted, let me have some peace, please.”

Pae made a flustered face. She hurriedly pulled out something from her Prada bag and shoved it into my hand. The belongings I was carrying scattered onto the floor. But when I met her eyes, I was forced to let out a sigh. My best friend was brimming with tears… I think I’m going crazy. Stepping quickly, I throw the rest of my belongings down in front of the hottie’s door while tenderly hugging the square giftbox, the other hand pulling Jessica back into my own room.

“You are such a drama queen. Crying like this, do you expect me to comfort you?” Yet I was gently rubbing her back and shoulders, giving her tissues so that she could blow her snot. How miserable… you went and modified your entire body, wasting all that money when the image of you blowing your snot is still as ugly as the time in grade one.

“I’m not crying because of you.” Yet she was sobbing heavily. “My fake eyelashes got loose and poked my eyes.”

…The power of a kathoey is fearsome, deceiving me into actually feeling concerned. I fling the tissue box at her head and began to pick up my stuff from the floor.

“Petch… *sniff*… are you really not going to look at my gift?”

“Leave it for now.”

Heuk…” She was squeezing out tears again everyone. As a man lost to the trickery of a kathoey, I was forced to search for a cutter, slicing open the giftbox while complaining at the same time.

“Yeah, thanks Pae, but if it turns out to be something obscene, I swear I will… sh*t! Pae, youuu!!!”

This time Jessica’s face went pale. “Do… do you not want it?”

My hands trembled, heart beating fast. Carefully lifting up the gift, my sour mood from earlier dissipated into thin air.

It was a Leica 35mm lens which didn’t cost much, just 200,000. Hu, hu, hu, it was 200,000 baht! It laid still, calm with its eyes shut in my hand. I stay dumbfounded for several minutes, ears ringing, mouth trembling, unable to think of anything other than how if this was a dream, I wished to die as a sleeping prince right then and there.

“Pae… your daddy Baum… did he win a fifty-million baht lottery?”

Uwah, why would he need to win the lottery? This is your early Christmas present, in case we don’t see each other then.” She then retorted, unimpressed. “And for how long are you going to keep calling me Pae! It’s a blemish in my life Petch, call me Jessica. Can you spell it correctly? J-E-S-S-I-C-A, Jessica. Or do you don’t know how to pronounce it? You copied my English tests from elementary school up till the end of our undergraduate year after all.”

I was at a loss for how to argue back.

Yah, call me Pae one more time and I’m going to the university to revoke your degree.”

Hu… Jessica was getting haughty but for the sake of these lens, I forced myself to go with the flow for now. For the lens… for the lens…

“Honestly though, what made you think to buy this for me?” I trace the outline of the lens, feeling pleased. My mouth stretched into a smile, grinning ear to ear.

“I only swiped the card, you can pay me back in installments.”

Hua, I’m in deep sh*t then. I haven’t even finished paying off the apartment yet. So far, only the equivalent of the front door has been paid for.

“I’m joking, no need to make such a serious face.” Jessica patted my head. “Actually, it’s a secondhand lens, the previous owner cared for it a lotttttttt…” Pae tightened her mouth and throat, dragging the final word out like a typical kathoey. “And because it was reaaaaaally expensive… they were afraid that the buyer would end up toiling the fields and burdened with heavy debt.”

“So basically you rented a secondhand lens for me to test out, is that it?”

My best friend nodded. “I didn’t want you going out to impulsively buy a new one and… like… umm… sorry, I don’t meant to hurt you but WE are afraid that you, like… ummm. that your skills aren’t good enough.”

Dear listeners, can I kick her this once?

While I was deciding whether to cram my shoe into her mouth or not, Jessica hurriedly seized this chance to act like someone with the upper hand. She flipped her hair like one of those shampoo commercials (how f*cking dramatic), condescending eyes staring to intimidate me. “Do you want it or not? As soon as I say it’s a secondhand, your ears and tail droop! Three… two… one.”

“I want it! Even though it’s a secondhand lens, I’ll accept it with my entire heart!”

Whatever, at least it was better than nothing…

Jessica laughed like a victor. “With a heart that’s so easily-swayed, be careful when you meet a secondhand man Petch.”

…Even if the guy was a tenthhand man, as long as he was capable of buying a 250,00 baht Leica camera, a 200,000 baht Leica lens, airplane tickets to travel the world over, and cover my monthly apartment rent of 20,000 baht for the length of seven years, I would gladly surrender my entire body, really!

 

 

The sound of knocking at my front door urged me to turn and look, seeing Isakov standing there with a grimace, like a Yaksha from Jaeng Temple. “Petch, there’s a policeman here to see you.”

Eep! I’m not the one who drove past that red traffic light officer!

“He has a few questions about last night’s ‘accident’.”

In front of my room was a policeman who looked to be roughly my age. He introduced himself as part of the investigation team assigned to the case of the murdered nameless Russian man; the police finally came to the sensible conclusion that a person can’t jump off a building after being shot in the head.

Despite panicking on the inside I managed to project a dry smile, hugging the lens close. As for Jessica, she looked at me with confusion. “Did something happen Petch?”

Every strand of hair on my body stood on end. Jessica sent a sweet dripping smile to the officer. I hurriedly placed the lens back into its box. “Uhm, where should we discuss this matter?”

“Is your room not convenient Mr. Phachara?”

I surveyed around me. What to do? If he pressures me hard enough and I end up spitting out the truth…

“You see, my room is not convenient at the moment officer. If you don’t mind, could we use the room next-door?”

Isakov looks at me and bares his fangs. I bare my fangs back at him.

The policeman didn’t seem to understand, but went along with it anyways. He appeared to be a new recruit attempting interrogations for the first time. The clever officers have gone to do more worthwhile things like collect bribes after all.

 

The officer looked dumbstruck when he saw Alexey sitting and smoking his cigarette, tapping away on his Fujitsu laptop. The owner of the room glanced to look, grey eyes inspecting the officer standing behind me in an unfriendly manner.

“Keep your belongings in that room, not here. Don’t mess up my area.”

Still hugging the lens box, I knitted my brows. “Come in Mr. Officer.”

Who’s that?” You can clearly see the uniform he’s wearing, don’t try to play dumb.

The officer raised his hands to greet Alexey, stammering through his English. As for the hottie, he feigned the innocent foreigner act again and pretended to not understand Thai, placing an added burden on me as usual.

The hottie handed his name card to the officer, shook his hand coldly and stared without any intention of lifting his gaze. The officer took the name card, turned it over left and right, read Alexey’s appointed title and wiped his sweat.

The officer smiled sheepishly. “Um… is this not this man’s room Mr. Petch? The interrogation needs to be done in secrecy.”

“You see Officer, my room uh… was just… was just recently sprayed with insecticide.”

“But I didn’t happen to smell anything?”

“It’s a special scentless formula.”  If it can kill mosquitoes and cockroaches, you can bet that humans won’t survive too. “And this guy can’t understand Thai, there’s no need to worry Officer.”

“Is that true?”

“He can only say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’, just these two words.” I lied, eyes clear and innocent, saluting with two fingers like a boy scout to confirm. “It’s true, really.”

The officer nodded in acceptance. Looking to Isakov, he closed the door shut and approached to speak with his boss in some other language. The hottie nodded, face nonchalant. Within seconds, bodyguard number two whose name was Viktar appeared inside the room. The cast was almost complete. Hu… and will I be dead by the end? If I trip up on my words, these guys were definitely going to fling me off the building to admire the scenery on Phetchaburi road.

Allow me to explain the luxurious state of room 1202 in further detail. Alexey’s place was a corner room with twice the amount of space when compared to mine. Opening the front door, the left side of the apartment was a sofa set from Italy, a work desk, a closet (which after close inspection… the estimate cost of his wardrobe was roughly 850,000 baht; the cost of his shoes not included) and a built-in bookshelf filled with a hundred or so books organized immaculately. To add, the compartment in the center of the bookshelf was a home theater system by Pioneer. On the other side of the apartment was the bathroom and a small kitchen, perfect for a bachelor (like me). Inside the refrigerator was nothing but beer, vodka, strong liquors, and plain water, oh, there were also some fruits. The entire apartment was so luxurious that it made it seem like we were living in completely different condominiums. Several portraits hung from the walls, however I haven’t had the time to look at them yet for reasons that you, the reader, probably know.

As for the location where the murder occurred, it was not too close and not too far. It was next to that bed over there, beside the bulletproof window and balcony.

“Okay, so as to not waste any time, we can talk over here.” The officer chose to sit on the sofa with its back turned to the hottie. “Last night, can you describe what you were doing at the time?”

I swallowed my saliva stiffly. The hottie was peering from his work desk. I then began to slowly explain, paying utmost care to each and every word by starting off from the moment that I left the condo to go work at Hua Hin for the entire day. Driving back to Bangkok (in an embassy van), I dropped P’Pun off at the company before taking my own car back. From then… I stopped by Emporium to buy some goat cheese and other groceries for my refrigerator, drove back to the condo, then slept.

“Why did you travel by an embassy car Mr. Petch?”

I scratched my head. “Um, that’s because my own car was at the company.”

“Mr. Petch your answer is not in line with my question.”

“Um, well…” I rolled my eyes. “It’s a matter that has nothing to do with the case.”

“During the time of the incident, what were you doing Mr. Petch?”

I swayed my head. “I don’t actually know when the incident happened though. I only found out later in the newspaper.”

The policeman was starting to feel annoyed. “I’ll put it this way then, can you specify what you were doing between 10 PM and 3 AM?”

At that time, I was of course rolling around on that hottie’s bed since I had nothing to do.

“I wasn’t doing anything, just rolling around here and there.”

“For five hours? You probably rolled around so much that your back has become sore Mr. Petch.”

“I rolled and rolled, then slept… maybe. Like I said before, when I woke up again it was already seven in the morning.”

“Where?”

“In this apartment.” Of course, if the police inspected the area and found traces of my DNA, how would I go about correcting myself?

The officer noted the information down in his booklet. “The resident from room 1102 said they heard the sound of a gun being shot, how about you Mr. Petch?”

A knocking on the door could be heard. Bodyguard number three Leof and Sasha entered into the room together. Sasha beamed a wide smile once he saw me, but walked past, speaking something indescribable in Russian. The policeman shifted. “I think… this room is getting far too crowded.”

“I didn’t hear any noise.”

“You were rolling around weren’t you? What were you doing at 1:30 AM?”

“I was sleeping.”

“But even room 1104 heard the sound of a gun.”

Yet I was still adamant about not hearing any noise.

“I might have to bring you for an ear check-up Mr. Petch, you aren’t helping with the police’s investigation at all.”

“Like I said, I didn’t hear anything.”

“According to room 1402, they opened their windows to look below where they believed the source of the noise came from, instead meeting eyes with room 1002. This means that the incident must have happened between these two floors.”

A large palm slided up to grab my shoulder. I flinched, seeing Sasha who was up to something crafty soothe my head in an intimate fashion. He asked the policeman in fluent English whether he could join in on the conversation, simultaneously handing him his name card. “I live in room 1206.”

“It’s not time for your interrogation yet, why did you show up?” The policeman frowned. But my eyes were glued to a certain ‘Ambassador’s Consultant’ sitting behind the Fujitsu laptop instead, feeling a shiver run down my spine.

Alexey swiftly tapped away at his keyboard, however his eyes were trained on me, beautiful lips sneering, gaze murderous as if ready to slit my neck.

“Mr. Petch, you still haven’t answered my questions, what were you doing at the time of the incident and did you hear any gun noises?”

“I… uh, I was…”

What to do….

Sasha, figuring out his duties straightaway used the back of his hand to brush my cheek, eyes glancing annoyingly at the officer as if to say… It’s better if you didn’t know…

“I didn’t hear… because…” The cheek that was being caressed sizzled with heat. I wasn’t feeling shy, really, I swear. Rather, I was scared of being killed by that menace!  “Because… I was… umm… ah…. was… in the middle of… doing… like, a ‘mission’…” My face was red, looking so embarrassed like I wanted to curl up like a cooked shrimp. Someone notice my acting skills and give me an Oscar, please?

This time it was the policeman who was at a loss, his face red like a traffic light. He hurriedly scribbled something down in his booklet, his eyes staring at the wolf disguised golden retriever playfully biting my ear.

“Just a… love affair… you know what mean.”

Although this was just an act, I was really embarrassed, wanting to split the earth and disappear underground. Sasha’s large figure hugged my waist and placed a kiss on my neck.

“…To speak bluntly officer, we didn’t hear anything at all… because this guy… was moaning and whimpering so sweetly… why would I focus my ears on anything else?”

I glance to look at the hottie. He seemed angry but also equally amused. His face was red all-over from trying hard to contain his laughter. As for Isakov, the vein on his forehead throbbed.

“Um… a final follow-up question…” The officer’s face was bright red like a ripe tomato. He purses his lips, trying to not display any emotion. However, I was very confident that he wouldn’t to be able to sleep tonight, imagining all sorts of obscene things. ” After that… what did you do?”

Sasha winked at the officer.

“…I was dead tired but Petch was begging and pleading for a third round… how could I resist?”

 

Goodbye… my pride as a man…

 

“Are you done asking questions Mr. Officer?” I asked, voice weary. “I don’t think my private matters have anything to do with the case.”

“Final question.” The officer lowered his face to avoid eye contact, pointing the end of his pen at the hottie. “Mr. Petch, why were you…uh… carrying out your ‘mission’ in this room if the owner of the room wasn’t… uh… taking part? The owner of this room is Mr. Alexander, not you.”

Room 1206’s hottie raised his eyebrows high.

“…When did I say that there were only two of us? …My friend Alexey is very generous… and Mr. Petch likes it too…”

 

The officer darted out of the room, as if he feared that he wasn’t going to make it.

 

As for me? …3P with hotties from the left room and right room at the same time… I’d rather gargle some insecticide and die with mosquitoes thank you very much.

 

 

I was sitting on the same sofa, hand swiping the touchpad of my MacBook while my eyes continued to browse through each photo. However, my mind was in a different space altogether since my ears were occupied with listening in on the nearby conversation spoken in some alien language. Sasha sat crossed-legged on a small chair in front of Alexey’s work desk while the owner of the room was reclining in another chair. Isakov in a pink apron was wiping some pint glasses, the outfit complemented him perfectly, no lie. Between the two men was a large stack of documents, it looked to be official papers too. Alexey didn’t talk much, choosing to listen on the most part. As for Sasha, he was resting his chin in his hand, simultaneously talking and snacking on fried beans, along with his Corona Extra beer. He was enjoying himself like nobody’s business.

The reason why my mind was in a different space altogether was because of this. Although I had my back turned to them, I could sense both of their intense gazes on me. One pair thought to claim me, I had tacit understanding of this. But as to what the other pair was planning on doing, I had no clue… or was he debating over which method to murder me with?

Their diplomatic-esque style of speaking demonstrated that they were really professionals. For the first time ever, I got to see the hottie discuss work outside of embassy grounds. He was awfully neutral. Despite wearing a v-neck t-shirt and soft, stay-at-home pants, he still looked uptight and serious. Even if I was reborn, I could never be this cool.

“Mr. Petch.” A voice whispered next to my ear. My hair stood on end. Lifting up my face, I met the cheerful (and deceiving) smile of my neighbour from room 1206 at close range.  “I’m really surprised to find you here.”

“Well… why?”

Clear blue eyes slid across to look at the owner of the room who was standing two feet away, as if trying to challenge the other man. “You are not his type.”

“Halt die Schnauze!” …Shut your mouth… Alexey growled. He yanked the door of the room open and forced Sasha out.

“What did he mean?”

Grey eyes stared at me from head to toe, looking next at the screen of my laptop. It happened to display a secretly taken photo of Sasha from the back. How can someone be this unlucky? I didn’t know how to correct myself so I tried to divert the matter by changing topics. “And is that policeman not going to interrogate you? You’re way more suspicious than me.”

“I’m the one who should be interrogating you more Petch.”

“About what?” I made a clueless expression but that hottie didn’t seem convinced. “I was simply doing my work, that photo…” I nod to the MacBook. “A person at the set asked me to take it for a ‘behind the scenes’ collection.” The hotties raised up one eyebrow, it was clear that he didn’t believe me in the slightest. I hugged my chest and turned my face upwards. “If you don’t believe me then that’s your problem, it’s not my duty to report to you.”

“…”

“Try asking Isakov. When I arrived at the set, Sasha was already there.”

“…”

“Also uh… you should already know… that night… you and I… were together…” Why did I feel the need to reinforce this point? We weren’t even close to being lovers! “If you don’t believe me, suit yourself.”

Alexey stared into my eyes. I answer back with a stare of my own. Of course, I had nothing to hide after all.

“Okay… then answer me this, why do you want to go Kazakstan so badly? …I want to hear it straight from your mouth.” The tone of his voice softened as if not wanting to argue any further.

The topic changed so suddenly that I couldn’t prepare myself. Regardless, I breathed out a sigh of relief.

“If I tell you this, you might not believe me, but I’ve never been overseas before… Whenever I see someone leave to do a photography job at this country or that country… it’s really enviable.”

“You envy them because you don’t get to go travelling? What a childish thought.”

“Wrong, I envy these people for being entrusted with challenging work. You’re a civil servant so you might not understand that for a photographer, advancing forward, and opening our eyes and ears in new places is unbelievably important. In your line of work, you process documents day-by-day and attend meetings day-by-day, but it’s different for me. If I don’t produce work which stands out more than other people’s… is better than other people’s… then no one will see my worth.” I didn’t know why I bothered to explain all this, but the man seemed very desperate for an answer.

“That’s it? …You want to go to Kazakhstan because almost no one has gone there before?”

“No… me going overseas is one thing… as for wanting to visit your birthplace, that’s another thing.” I stop speaking. Inside my mind, someone’s gentle smile surfaced. The face already faded from my memory, however, my first impression of meeting him, never faded. “There’s this one photographer I admire. He told me that his home was Kazakstan. And although he wandered across Europe according to the demands of his work, he wished to return to his homeland and convey its beauty to the entire world… Truthfully, anybody can say these words, but do you know? Alexey, I really want you to meet him… I want you to see his work. His photographs look just like heaven, it sounds like an overstatement doesn’t it…? They’re stunningly beautiful, dream-like almost.”

“Then what? Are you going to go find him?”

I smiled shyly. “Like that’s even possible. I don’t even remember his full name, and we barely got to talk to each other because of my English.”

“His name?”

“Eisbär, I called him Mr. Yeti or Snowman, funny isn’t it?” It was curious that Alexey started laughing along… his eyes looked this way with a gentleness that I could feel. “I never got to meet him again… never sent an email, never talked, but the feeling still remained in my heart… I really want to go to Kazakhstan, to determine for myself the beauty of his country.”

(TN: Eisbär – German for Polar Bear)

I look at the man sitting in front of me. “It sounds ridiculous but this should be enough to satisfy your question.”

“Far more than enough. I hope to meet him someday… the person that holds your heart.”

I stand up along with my MacBook, feeling odd about his words, but I didn’t dare ask.

“Hopefully you’re done asking questions, thank you for the visa, I truly wanted it… and… thank you for several other things… goodnight, I’m heading to bed.”

How stupid, my heart skipped a beat from his eyes…what is with that look of endearment?

Not even past the front door yet, the hottie’s voice stopped me in my tracks. “When are you leaving?”

“This Sunday.”

“Have you finished packing?”

I nodded quickly. “My suitcase has been ready for three weeks now.”

“Why the hurry?”

“I really wanted to go ah.”

It was the correct answer. He pulled me back inside the room and held my hand in his large strong one.

At first, I was going to pull my hand away because I felt horribly embarrassed.

But leaving it like this was also nice… there was nobody else to see us after all… right?

Alexey lead me by the hand to the closet, looked at my face, then tilted his head, making a difficult expression.

“What does that look mean?” I couldn’t resist asking.

“Short.”

Hua!” Is he looking for a fight again? “Well excuse me, 177cm is the average height for a Thai male entering manhood.”

“I don’t understand.”

(TN: Petch uses a very a difficult term for ‘manhood’ that’s not commonly used in casual conversation.)

Fine, it’s my bad. “It’s hard to explain, manhood is like the age for…. reproduction.”

“Sounds like you’re talking about cows and water buffaloes.”

Now you act like you totally understand! I was about to open my mouth and argue but Alexey sifted through the closet and handed me two gorgeous overcoats, stopping me with confusion.

“As it’s the beginning of November, the temperature over there is nearing minus zero degrees. Take it, I guess they fit your size.

I took the two overcoats into my hands, gently stroking the rim of the hood that was lined with high quality animal fur. Hu… it’s crazy soft and warm! Turning it left and right, I saw the brand and almost dropped dead.

Estimating the height and size, Alexey wore shirts larger than me by one and a half sizes. “These are expensive clothes… is it okay? They don’t seem to belong to you too.”

“Nevermind about who the clothes belongs to… simple stuff like this can be bought anytime.” The hottie didn’t bother to answer my question at all. “Last night you got to explore my closet for a while didn’t you? …An adventure in the closet, was it fun?”

“Fun with the ghosts probably.” I grumble incessantly but smiled, cheeks close to bursting.

I realised at this point that this mafioso… can also be pretty kind.


Visas check and accounted for! We’re roughly 150 pages in, is our Petch finally going overseas?

 

Carta Visa: 10th Round

Bold: The characters are speaking in English.


5 AM sharp.

The sound of a phone wailed cacophonously. Punnaphob opened his eyes wide, startling awake in a completely dark room to a familiar noise ringing next to his ear. But still drowsy from sleep, he had no intention of finding its source. He lifted his head up, then let it fall back again as if weighed down by lead. A slender hand fumbled around, finding something soft… like… a person…

Who…?

And… where was he…?

Slender eyes surveyed around the room.

Hua, why was it so luxurious… why was there an extravagant lamp on the ceiling… a 44-inch plasma TV over there… a white curtain next to the bed… a white bed… and a white body with golden hair…

Was he dead? And why did his spirit not have a single piece of clothing on its body? Also, what was God thinking, sending him to heaven… was God also drunk?

“Answer the phone, it’s noisy…” The person laying beside him mumbled a complaint.

Pun looked at the phone sitting nearby. Who was calling him? Was it Saint Peter calling to inform him that he had won a grand prize ticket, a three days and two nights trip to heaven?

Looking closely… what Saint Peter? It was editor Chid! This means that he wasn’t dead then, oh god!

“Pun!!!”

A furious voice blared out of the call. Pun bounced straight up from bed, reaching for his glasses while securing the phone between his neck, then crossing over the body which belonged to… what was this guy’s name? …Forget it, he’d better grab a pen and paper first before his editor scolds him.

“Pun, when are you and Petch going to arrive? Everyone’s waiting woi.”

“I haven’t seen Petch yet sir…” It was the most polite answer that he could conjure up at five in the morning… (wasn’t he in heaven?) “That said, why are you waiting for me P’Chid?”

“You’ve forgotten haven’t you, your memory is as short as a goldfish. It’s about what we discussed in yesterday’s meeting, you and Petch are to act as replacement for Mew and Mr. Dave. Didn’t you accept the job wholeheartedly yesterday? Anyways, speaking anymore is a waste of time, the fashion department called to rush us, the car is about to leave for Khao Takiab and they’re going to be late for the appointment with the model.”

(TN: Khao Takiab – A popular tourist destination with a temple and tons of monkeys on it. It is located in the beach resort town of Hua Hin.)

How unlucky… He forgot about this completely… Pun scratched his head and adjusted his glasses back in place. “I’ll go and call Petch then.”

“His phone’s turned off and he’s not at the condo either.”

“Oh.

“Did he pass out drunk at your house?”

“Umm, no P’Chid.”

“I have no idea then. If you can’t find Petch within fifteen minutes, you’re doing this job on your own.”

Hua, aren’t there going to be seven female models and another three male ones? It’s impossible to do this alone.”

“Well that’s your problem, go get dressed already!”

‘Bang!’

 

Pun scratched his head with confusion, looking at the piece of paper in his hand which had the name of a four star hotel on it… what happened yesterday and why was he sleeping in this place? Flipping the paper over to the back, there was a map of the hotel and its surrounding area… It was three hundred meters away from the night bazaar, turning right at the four-way intersection was the way to Pran Buri, turning left it led to the highway and Hua Hin Airport…

This was still a dream right…? Lets go back to sleep…

The sound of the phone from hell rang out again. This time, before he could even pick up the call, the device was stolen out of his hand.

“Hello…?”

The Thai accent was odd, like milk and butter. He focused his vision and saw that it was Sasha, bare-chested with an expression of sleepiness plus agitation.

(TN: Like milk and butter – Like a caucasian foreigner)

“…Listen to me, Mr. Pun is already at Hua Hin, he’ll cover for Mr. Petch too… Don’t worry, he can make itYes… Call again when you arrive, but for now please stop calling him. I need some sleep!”

“Punnn… answer me this instant, who’s this foreignerrrrr…”

Sasha made an irritated face, throwing the phone back in Pun’s hand. “He wants to talk to you.”

Punnaphob swallowed his saliva… he was done for, the editor was definitely going to bite his head off.

 

 

“P’Pun, P’Pun…”

A young girl who was in charge of makeup approached him politely. Pun detached his eyes from the camera that was taking light measurements and looked up at her, his state half-asleep and half-awake.

“P’Pun… your friend over there… um… can I borrow him…?”

He could only blink his blurry eyes. “Are there not enough technicians to move the lights? Yeah, you can go ask him.”

The makeup artist rolled her eyes and lowered them. “Idiot! P’Pun, he’s as handsome as a model, why I would ask him to move the lights. Have you been making him lift sandbags like a ricemill laborer? I never assumed you to be the type of person who could use a good-looking man so cruelly.” Why did her words sound oddly erotic?

“Well how am I supposed to know?”

Pun furrowed his brows and turned back to the camera, his trusty Canon 5D Mark II. He thought to thank God for last night as he happened to bring his camera bag along to drinks with Sasha. It was twice as fortunate that his fancy new expensive lens was also sitting in the same bag; he was still obsessed over it. Thus, the fashion photography job which lacked zero physical, mental and equipment preparation ended up proceeding smoothly. If not, he’d definitely be killed alongside Petch.

The effects of the alcohol was still thick in his blood as he was sending sweet glossy looks to everyone today. It was to the point where a female stylist had to whisper and ask him:

“…P’Pun is something wrong with you today? Your stare is making the model feel bashful. She’s already passed along her phone number, do you want it? And will that friend of yours find this a problem? Or does he like ‘swinging’…?”

(TN: Swinging – A.k.a. Partner Swapping, people in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity)

Swinging? Your f*cking father! He cursed in his heart but simply answered back with a smile.

Hua… P’Pun you’re secretly evil… an innocent face with a villainous heart, I never knew.”

This is getting out of hand woi… Pun scratched his head, eyelids heavy. Inside, he thought to curse his beloved junior, Petch who disappeared without a trace. When he gets back, that puppy will need to be taught a lesson. How irresponsible.

“Then if you don’t mind, I’m going to borrow him P’Pun, he’ll be an honorary model.” The same girl demanded an answer.

“Be my guest, put him in your Tom Yum soup, curry or whatever else.”

“Do you not care?” She said while wiping away her drool. How scary, Sasha was going to get his liver eaten by a Thai girl.

“And why should I care? He’s my friend, not my husband.”

“You have stubborn mouth P’Pun. It’s difficult to find a man that’s handsome, has money, and is a sweet talker these days.” The makeup artist paused slightly and then lowered her voice. “Now that I think about it, does P’Petch know? About your boyfriend with godly good looks. He’s going to feel severely neglected.”

“He’s not my boyfriend.” Pun wanted to hang himself. It was only three days since he became single but his reputation was already tarnished because of the foreigner who was smoking a cigarette, sipping beer and sitting leg’s crossed reading a magazine nearby… he loathed the other man’s good looks.

But what actually happened last night…? He remembered that Man U lost and the other man told him that he was friends with Alex Ferguson (It would be crazy to believe such a blatant lie). He drank uncontrollably, hailed a taxi home, told the taxi driver to call Petch… and how did he wake up in the bed of a luxurious hotel by Hua Hin Beach? The time which was lost, what exactly happened?

Everything was white like a blank slate… except… his hips hurt… his waist hurt… his shoulders hurt… or was this a sign of ageing? Getting extremely wasted and waking up old all of a sudden…

He’d better ask Petch about this later. That said, what did he get himself into while drunk that made his entire body hurt like this?

RRR…RRR…RRR

The number displayed was unfamiliar but he picked it up anyway, hearing the petulant voice of a grade three preschooler whining loudly.

“P’Punnnnnnnn… I’m lost!”

His worry dissipated into thin air. Pun shook his head, exasperated at the owner of the voice before smiling to himself, dimples full-blown.

“What a silly fool, this puppy. Where are you?”

Suddenly, a luxurious looking Volvo van rolled up in front of the set, parking on the side of the road. An out-of-place man in a black suit and black sunglasses stepped down from the driver’s seat.  The tall large figure pulled the door open and grabbed the arm of a disoriented Thai man.

“Um, I’m… Uwa, Isakov what the hell are you doing? We’re not there yet.” Petch’s cries caught the sole attention of everyone on set. “P’Pun hold on– let me go woi. I’m filing a police report: Foreigner kidnaps juvenile.”

“Your mentality is what’s juvenile. You’re a twenty-seven year old with the brain of a seven year old.” Although his Thai wasn’t perfect, it was downright spicy.

“Keep on talking, when this job is over I’m going to punch you till all of your teeth fall out– oww, owww. Ah… P’Pun, how did you get here? Hello, hello? Can you see me?”

Look at this puppy, standing there with a wide smile, waving his hand back and forth. Pun wanted to use his size forty-three shoe to fling the other man into the ocean, seeing  as he came so well-dressed; how detestable. Trying to be all ‘Korean’ in that outfit, wearing a turtleneck, a beret and knee-length shorts to the beach. If this was someone other than Petch, Pun would have scolded them.

 

 

“Petch, can I ask you something?”

The hand which was in the middle of cleaning the camera lens flinched. My heart was beating loud inside my chest.  Glancing at the person next to me, I saw that he was also preoccupied, focused on taking light measurements with his camera.

“That mafia-foreigner isn’t my boyfriend, senior.”

“It’s not about that matter woi.” P’Pun smacked the center of my forehead with a ‘Pak!’.

I made an obtuse face. “Don’t hit so hard, what if my brain falls out?”

“Oh yeah, you don’t have very much of it remaining too, now can you shut up and listen to my question already?”

I jutted out my bottom lip. It looked cute (as if!) for a man in his latter twenties like me.

“Tell me then.”

“Last night…”

Hua! Oh sh*t, don’t tell me that P’Pun knows…

“P’Pun, how much did you pay for this lens?”

“Thirty-seven thousand baht, now about last night…”

“Thirty-seven thousand? Really? Can I borrow it?” I quickly interjected, fast like lightning, hoping to crash two planes with one cannon.

(TN: Crash two planes with one cannon – A play on the expression ‘Kill two birds with one stone’. To succeed in achieving two things in a single action.)

“You can’t woi! Can you shut up and listen to me already? Or are you looking to get hurt?”

Seeing P’Pun’s large double lidded eyes glower back, I quickly stitched my mouth close in spite of my rapidly beating heart. Please don’t ask. Don’t ask me. I beg of you, don’t make me recall the memory from last night, about the things that feral hottie did to me. The more I thought, the more ashamed I felt, performing a live action film on the car with two extra spectators! And could I stop myself? No! My life is over.

“Last night I got wasted like a dog, when I woke up again my body hurt like hell. You… umm… did you tell your next-door neighbour that we had work at Hua Hin today?”

The question was a winding one but it was the complete opposite to what I had anticipated. Accidentally holding my breath, I hurriedly breathed air back into my lungs fast. If not, my brain was going to stop functioning, making me even more stupid.

P’Pun’s double lidded eyes looked at me naively. I shook my head side to side.

“Nope. Maybe you accidentally told him in your drunken stupor?”

“Hmm, but I really don’t think I told him.”

I wrinkled my face. If you didn’t forget, you probably wouldn’t have called me late last night. But w…woi… the images from yesterday night were returning to me snapshot by snapshot… both sound and sensation… that hottie was… way too sexy. It’s infuriating, I felt angry at myself for not being able to resist temptation.

“What’s wrong, your face is red, are you sick Petch?” My kind elder brother rested the back of his hand on my forehead. “It’s kind of warm. Have you taken any medicine yet?”

“No… I feel fine, yesterday um… I slept late!”

The handsome face similar to that of a Korean drama protagonist crooked his head to the side and inspected me. Now the hand was placed on my cheek and neck. From there, it returned back up to the area underneath my eye, pressing lightly with a thumb. It would have been an extremely romantic scene if not for the following words… you would have looked very handsome if you didn’t say anything Mr. Punnaphob.

“Your eyes are swollen, did you watch too much porn or something? You look tired.”

Um… When P’Pun bent down, the collar of his shirt fluttered open. I saw something odd which did not belong there… it looked round.. bruised… red.. like a… to say it outloud is embarassing but it looked exactly like the ‘inheritance’ that Alexey left for me last night (this is why I had to wear a turtleneck to the beach today, oh how fitting with this weather!)

To say that it was a mosquito bite, the mosquito would have had to be as big as a dung beetle in order to make such a mark.

I whipped my eyes to the corners, seeing a foreigner that was as handsome as a descended god reading documents on a cloth bed near the edge of the beach… something was bothering me but I couldn’t tell what it was… or did P’Pun’s ‘backdoor’ get knocked down already? Is he just putting up an innocent act?

“P’Pun, what’s that mark on your neck?”

I concluded that my senior was pretending to act innocent so I teased him by asking cluelessly, thinking it would give me some good hints. But who would have guessed it, the person in question made an even more naive expression. His handsome face looked as if it was pleading… for god’s sake, why have I been paying close attention other men’s attractiveness lately?

“Oh, it’s probably some insect bite. I woke up and it was already there, maybe it’s an allergic reaction to alcohol.” P’Pun flexed the muscles at his neck loud with a crack. “I’m sore all over Petch, have you ever been allergic to alcohol and had this happen to you?”

Ra-rather, I think you’re allergic to foreigners.

And should I be happy or sad that P’Pun still managed to protect his innocence?

“Oh Petch, another thing.” He lowered his voice and whispered close, tone serious. “These days, are you at the level where you have to be accompanied by personal bodyguards? Don’t tell me that you and that… that hottie from room 1202…”

It eventually comes back to this matter! Isakov’s tall figure casted his eyes in my direction, sending a wide annoying sneer at P’Pun. The person who glanced just in time to see it wrinkled his face. P’Pun turned back to look at me disapprovingly but refrained from saying anything.

I wiped my sweat.

Dammit, I really didn’t want to lie to P’Pun… but I also didn’t want to confess that this matter had already gone too far.

I smiled dryly. “Pshhh, why would that be the case. That hottie prefers someone with way higher standards than me.”

P’Pun narrowed his eyes… abandoning his earlier innocent act.

“Don’t let me find out.”

Hua!

“If I do, he’d better be prepared because I’m demanding a heavy bride price.”

(TN: Bride Price – The opposite of a dowry. The groom is expected to give money to the bride’s family as a cost for asking their daughter’s hand in marriage.)

Senior, are you opposing or encouraging me to get a husband, which is it!?

 

 

The set was loud and chaotic. Five makeup artists and another three assistants were running around frantically… touch up her face… fix her hair, the sand is blowing everywhere… are the lights ready yet… can you brush the sand off the model’s feet please…

“Another three minutes everyone, the sun is about to set, we won’t be able to take anymore photos.”

I shouted to my team while looking at the brightly-colored Casio watch on my wrist.

P’Pun was occupied, not too close or faraway from me. I estimated the remaining time in my mind while squatting my butt down. I received a cold cloth from a staff. Looking at the sun which was descending closer to the surface of the calm ocean, a gust of the sea wind blew a long thin cloud slowly across the sky. The orange-red sky looked fiery but also lonely, empty…

“Who are you thinking about Mr. Petch?” A deep voice with an odd Thai accent sounded from behind, along with a large hand which rested lightly on my waist. I flinched. Looking back, I was met with a cheery man whose smile stretched to both cheeks. “Could it be me?”

I was taken aback, wanting to back away but I was cornered as I happened to be standing in front of a light. The clear blue eyes looked at me gleefully in the same manner as the smile on his face.

“Why the extremely shocked face? I only came to say hi.”

It would have be great if you greeted me three and a half meters away, I argued in my heart but tried to mind my manners by only bearing my fangs. “Yes…uh…”

“Last night’s dinner with Mr. Pun was very enjoyable, Mr Petch you should have come along.”

“I… I wasn’t free.”

“Has work been busy?”

“Um, yeah. Oh, right, last night… I… had to watch football.”

And I shot a ball in my own goal too, huu huu huuu…

(TN: Goal = ‘Backdoor’)

I glanced at my watch, another ninety seconds. “Can we talk later? Mr. Sasha… umm, I’m still working.”

The handsome face raised his eyebrows high before unfolding a smile. If I was gay and single, I would have melted at his feet. Ei… either way… stop smiling already, you’re making me weak.

“I have to get back to Bangkok, the ambassador is summoning me for an emergency.” His clear blue eyes were smiling, sweet and glistening. The tall figure bent down to whisper something next to my ear while pulling at my hand, squeezing it tight.

“Please give me a chance Mr. Petch… I’ll be waiting.” Before placing a soft light kiss on my ear without any warning.

Next thing I remember, a red passport book the color of pig’s blood sat in my hand. A luxurious Mercedes-Benz started its engine, then drove away.

“Thirty seconds everyone, are the cameras ready Pun? Petch?”

My heart was beating thunderously. I turn to look at P’Pun and secretly let out a sigh, he was still preoccupied with cleaning the front of his lens.

“Petch, are the lights too strong…? Petch, can you hear me…”

“Petch woi! The sun is about to set, are you gonna take the photos or not!”

‘Pok!’

P’Pun’s strong knock on the head called back my consciousness effectively. I collected my senses that were strewn across the floor and got back to work; in spite of the look of mockery that everyone on set gave me. Hmph! Have you never seen a guy being flirted at before? Hu!

 

 

When I got back to the condo, I found a small note inserted under my door with a very short message written on it.

‘Take your passport to Madam Yelena at the embassy. I’m going to Malaysia.’

There was no name signed at the bottom… Didn’t you just get back? What kind of person doesn’t keep his promises!

I looked at the bread which I bought for two people and opened the door wide. Beckoning Isakov inside the room, I portioned the Au Bon Pain bread and goat cheese into a separate bag. “Give this to your boss.”

Isakov made an expression which said he didn’t understand. I elaborated, “I saw that your room’s fridge is almost empty so I bought this, it’s nothing much.”

After shoving the bodyguard out, I sat dejected at the edge of my bed for a long while, rolling around left and right. I turn on my MacBook to do some work, made coffee, edited photos, called P’Pun, called Ma’ and Pa’, and chatted with Phai. I did all this but the hands of the clock still moved suspiciously slow. So I called P’Pun for the second time, getting ridiculed loudly.

“Oh you poor puppy~ You’re depressed as if your owner has abandoned you.”

“That’s not true! What nonsense, a person like me never gets lonely.”

“Yeah sure, if you’re not lonely then you’re not lonely.”

“How about you senior, are you going anywhere tonight?”

“Drinking.”

“You can’t! Didn’t you promise to quit drinking with me for Buddhist Lent?”

“Your next-door neighbour from room 1206 was the one who called to invite me out.”

“Whaaat…?” I whined, unimpressed. “Are you so in love that you’re deciding to abandon me?”

“In love with your father!”

This confirmed it… P’Pun wasn’t taking any Benlo… Hua, I mean… P’Pun didn’t seem to be having a hidden affair with Sasha. Thinking about it made my heart heavy. My plan to cram sugarcane into the mouth of an elephant utterly failed. How troublesome, now I’ll have to think of a new plan.

(TN: Benlo – A legendary cure-all medicine for women. He’s saying that P’Pun hasn’t become a ‘woman’ yet.)

“Oh come on Petch, I definitely won’t steal your man.” Look at his words, should I be happy? “And I promise to not drink any alcohol.”

“You’re only allowed to have snacks and sodas.” I ordered.

“This is getting extreme Petch, are you my friend or my wife? If you’re my wife, be prepared to stock up on condoms because I’m heading over right now.”

Arent you just teasing? Why the serious voice?

And so P’Pun ran away by turning off his phone. It was a typical of single guys to turn of their phones when going for a night out. But to do this to someone as lonely as me, ears drooping like an abandoned puppy, how could you!

Finally, I heaved my body to knock on the door of room 1202, meeting Isakov who was in the middle of changing the bed sheets, along with another bodyguard (an unfamiliar face, I’ll call you bodyguard number three) who was meticulously hanging up suits in the closet, it was a very odd scene to witness.

“What do you want” He asked, as if speaking to a stranger.

I didn’t retaliate. “When is he coming back?”

“Excuse me, but this is none of your business.”

“It is my business because I want to know.”

Isakov took one step back and silently closed the door. I perk up my ears, hearing the sound of a phone call. Less than two minutes later, he opened the door again, handing me the device.

“Boss wants to talk to you.”

I look at the screen, it displayed a private number. “Hello?”

A deep voice coughed. In the distance, I heard the sound of the airport’s Final Boarding Call announcement. “What do you want?”

“You said you were back.”

“I had important business to take care of.”

Hearing this ought to make me angry. You can come back to do ‘this’ and ‘that’ with me but when you promise to come back and have a meal with me, you can’t do it.

“Do you have anything else to say?”

“No, I’m just calling to annoy you. I’m frustrated, hungry, and mad at someone who stood up our meeting.”

“Get Viktar to cook something for now, I’m hanging up, it’s boarding time.”

I felt dejected… ears drooping… tail hanging low… I probably looked very pathetic because Isakov agreed to open the door and let me in, entrusting bodyguard number two whose name was Viktar to find something for me to eat. After finishing a plate of spaghetti meat sauce which tasted like a luxurious hotel meal, I was in a better mood. Moving to roll around in the spacious bedroom, it was annoying how uncomfortable the pillows were, they weren’t soft at all. But regardless, I fell asleep soon after.

 

I woke up in a daze due to the cold and saw a back full of tattoos lying sideways next to me. Looking again, oh, I kicked the blanket off the bed. Reaching a hand down to bring it up, I covered the hottie with the fabric as well; not wanting to be accused for being inconsiderate.

The person sleeping next to me accidentally woke. Alexey blinked twice before flipping over to my side. Strong firm arms gathered me in a bare embrace. With the pale arms, tight with muscles hugging me, I felt warm to my very core.

“It’s not morning yet… sleep.”

I was sleepy and tired… yet my heart drummed wildly inside my chest… I turn my face to look at the balcony door with its curtains left open, seeing Alexey reflected on the glass. How can one person be this sexy…

His soft lips kissed lightly at my neck, I hurriedly brushed it away. “Uu…

The handsome face was a single inch away, the grey eyes beneath the array of coffee-coloured eyelashes was so beautiful that I forgot myself… allowing him the chance to steal a kiss from my cheek.

The tall large figure shifted on top of me, looming above in full view. I quickly pulled the blanket up, covering my body completely, leaving exposed only two blinking eyes. “Don’t do anything to me.”

Alexey laughed ‘hu hu’ in his throat. “Can you stop me? Haven’t you been waiting for this?”

Hu, how biased towards yourself, I was waiting to have a meal you actually.”

“It’ll be morning soon… what’s wrong with letting me eat before that?” Large hands tugged the blanket down and slithered underneath my t-shirt. “Lately you’ve been behaving very cute Petch.”

“Wait!”

“What’s the fuss now?”

“There’s a weird shadow outside.”

“Maybe its Batman spying on us.”

“I’m not joking around woi.

I pushed his rough chin away and jumped up to the glass door of the balcony. I peered outside but couldn’t see anything. Yet it inexplicably still lingered in my mind. Before I could touch the latch, my hand was grasped. The figure of the man who was bare-chested embraced me from behind and buried a heavy kiss on my neck.

“Can you not go around opening and closing doors in other people’s homes? You restless little monkey.”

I look at the reflection in the glass and hastily lowered my face. This is f*cking crazy, did they put marijuana in the in-flight meal? This hottie was acting childish like a (wolf) puppy. How weird… That said, this room also seemed weird but I couldn’t put my finger on it… it was even weirder when I noticed the lock, it had a fingerprint scanner installed instead of a normal keyhole, the security system was overly strict.

“There’s no need to open the balcony door unless you want to smack your head on the cement pavement.”

This hottie really had a foul mouth, good grief.

I turn my back. The corner of my eyes caught a black shadow moving outside. Suddenly, my body crashed down against the carpet flooring hard. The black shadow outside revealed itself to clearly be two people that were about to…

Hua, a gun!

Bang! Bang!

The balcony door composed of an entire pane of glass fractured with bullet holes. Alexey pulls a gun from under a pillow and shouted something loud in Kazakh, followed by English for me.

“Petch, get out of this room! Right now!”

I was at a loss for what to do, only able to stand there in shock. Looking at the two shadows, they seemed taken aback by something outside. One of them stood on the balcony railing, preparing to jump, this of course being towards the direction of my room. As for the other person, he seemed hesitant, turning back to look in the same direction as if panicking.

“Petch, get out now!!!”

The blood in my body ran cold, nearly becoming ice. Although I wanted to get away from here, I couldn’t move a single fiber of my body, not even my fingers!

Alexey seeing the hopelessness of the situation quickly closed in, yanking my arm up before cramming me into the closet, slamming the doors shut with a bang.

I peered through the opening of closet which was slightly ajar, seeing Isakov in his pajamas cut in front of his boss and fire back one bullet. The bulletproof glass bent with the force it sustained but still managed to maintain itself. The tall figure scanned his fingerprint to open the glass pane, intending to capture the suspicious person who was loitering around without an escape route. However, before he could grab the body, the sound of a bullet cut through the air, the piercing noise making my hair stand on end. The black shadow fell forward, stiff in front of me, his eyes unfeeling.

And everything ended…

Alexey watched as his closest underling dragged the soulless body into the room. Fresh blood was flowing from the forehead which was hollowed by a round hole. The expression of the man was blank, lacking any emotion of shock or panic. Receiving gloves from his personal bodyguard, he got down to searching every nook and cranny of the body by himself, throwing the items found into a black bag. Isakov used a digital camera to photograph every part of the body. The other two bodyguards appeared in the room. Viktar took out a surgery kit, slicing open the forehead and removing the bullet which had just stolen a person’s life while the third bodyguard who’s figure was large, almost two meters tall, and name was Leof waited to clean up the mess.

“What should we do with this boss?”

Alexey whipped his eyes to the corners, looking at me briefly. “…Mark it, so they’ll know to not stick their noses in our business…”

I had no idea what they were talking about. I could only see the pair of cold grey eyes stare down the corpse with indifference while his closest underling turned over the persian carpet, opening a compartment which dug into the floor, pulling out something which looked like an iron brand the size of a palm. My eyes went wide, seeing Isakov scorch it with a lighter till it was flaming red before engraving a mark onto the cold pale flesh.

Then, as if to publicly announce his boss’ words, the lifeless body was flung off the twelfth floor and down towards Phetchaburi road!


Next chapter is a lengthy one, please be patient for 7-9 days :^)

Carta Visa: 9th Round

Bold: The characters are speaking in English.


“Petch, do you mind giving me Mr. Sasha’s number again? I want to treat him to a meal thanks for last time.”

I tried to contain my smile of satisfaction as I figured out how to escape from that golden retriever’s trap. My face probably looked like a pervert as Isakov began to shifting his body away, afraid to catch my (mental) disease.

“Why didn’t you just ask for his number on that day?” I was feeling a bit playful.

“Petch, are you also protective of guy’s phone numbers now? You’re getting out of hand, hand it over.”

I laughed secretly. “It’s better than you P’Pun, you haven’t even been single for two whole days but come asking for a man’s number.”

Hua, this puppy.” P’Pun said with disdain. “I’m simply treating him to dinner as thanks, that’s all.”

I grinned a small grin. P’Pun really was magical, appearing at just the right moment to free little ol’ Petch from the jaws of a wolf disguised as a golden retriever like Sasha. “I was kidding~ Anyways, enjoy your dinner P’Pun.”

“Whatever, talk to you later.”

“Be careful of your surroundings and stay alert P’Pun.”

“You remember those words instead Petch, if they reverse on you I will laugh till my teeth crack.”

Hahaha… in your dreams.

“Good luck with your mafia husband Petch.”

Huaaaa!!!

…toot toot toot toot toot…

P’Pun dropped a bomb and escaped by hanging up the call. That said, why does the phone’s hanging up noise sound weird? Toot toot toot… I must be going crazy.

(TN: The noise sounds like the word ‘Gay’ in Thai. The phone is calling Petch gay lol)

Isakov narrowed his eyes at me and shook his head with exasperation. I snapped at him. “What does that face mean. Mr. Isakov.” Toot toot toot, hmm how curious…

Isakov shrugged and handed me his phone. “Mr. Alexander is on the phone.”

I was startled, feeling like a wife who had just stashed her secret lover in the closet and was running out to greet her husband at the door. But… hmph.. now I’m angry, why do I have to be this guy’s wife!

“Hello, Petch speaking.”

“Mm… the manager of the condo called me for the door repair costs.” Oh yeah, I completely forgot about this. “I already told my secretary to transfer the money, tell your friend to pay me back too, the daily interest rate is 25 percent.”

“What kind of crazy interest is 25 percent? This is breaking the law.”

“The law does not cover money borrowed outside the system.” Although he was severely annoying me, his voice suggested that he was in a fairly good mood. “Meet me at the airport tonight.”

I jutted my bottom lip, “Too bad, I already have plans tonight.”

Alexey coughed. “With who?”

“The caring man from room 1206.”

His voice deepened, tone turning frigid immediately. “I warned you Petch.”

Stop acting like you actually care! I wanted to (at least once) get back at him. “Thanks for your concern… but I need to get my passport which now has an Uzbekistan visa on it… when the day comes when you issue me a visa, we’ll talk…” And then I hung up the call, making such an absentminded face that Isakov had to repeat my name several times before I turned to bear my fangs at him. “What now?”

“You’re very brave.”

“Thanks for the compliment.” I stretched a grin.

“Have you written your final will yet?”

Uu, it looks like I’ve just caused more trouble for myself…

 

 

The meeting which took three hours and seventeen minutes finished with a long scrolling work schedule expected to last me until the next half-year. I refused anyone who invited me out for drinks with the excuse that I was on an alcohol ban due to Buddhist Lent, causing my co-workers in the editorial department to willingly surrender. But this did not mean that it wasn’t tempting. ‘Free food’ and ‘drinks on my tab’, please don’t say these words near me, hearing it makes me drool. But there was a muscular gunman waiting to ambush me by the car along with a hostage, my precious little Canon which I brought with me today. This was an issue which made me incapable of going anywhere or doing anything without constantly being worried for my child’s safety. I looked at my wristwatch and trembled with fear, afraid that the giant Isakov might be using his gun to caress my camera back and forth. Who knows what my camera might be going through, will it get so frightened that its memory chip goes haywire?

The phone rang. I picked up to the cheery voice of a golden retriever.

“Mr. Petch, dinner with you is very costly…but it was worth the price, I ate till my stomach was round and full.”

“Ha?” Was P’Pun robbed?

“I’ll leave you to ask the details from Mr. Pun, I’m just calling to thank you for your generosity… that’s all.” Sasha laughed ‘hu hu’ in his throat before hanging up the call. I stood confused for five seconds before quickly dialing P’Pun’s number with desperation. I called relentlessly for nearly ten times before he picked up.

“What’s up Petch?”

“P’Pun!!! Huu, god bless me, are the thirty-two parts of your body accounted for? You didn’t get ummm… eaten by Mr. Sasha right? Don’t lose your backdoor to him or else I’m going to get really angry.”

P’Pun cracked up laughing. “What? Are you protective of me?”

“I’m protective and concerned. You can’t P’Pun, don’t become Sasha’s wife, you’re my senior!”

P’Pun laughed untrollably. “You have a ridiculous imagination. If Mr. Sasha does do something to me though, you can bet that I’ll be seeking you out for the cost of the damages.

Hua… how come? P’Pun already hung up, turning off his phone no less. Don’t do this… you’re making me even more worried senior!

 

 

In the end… although P’Pun was sent as a sacrificial replacement to dinner with Sasha, it didn’t make me feel any bit at ease. Instead, I felt deeply worried. Was that guy going to do something to P’Pun? Was he going to be a gentlemanly golden retriever and devote himself to his one true love of either Pedigree (me) or Alpo (P’Pun)? Or was he a greedy mutt, the packaging may read ‘cat food’ but it is technically still edible.

(TN: Pedigree and Alpo: Popular dog food brands)

“Are you thinking of the caring man from room 1206?”

I flinch. This cold frigid voice belongs to none other than…

“How did you get here?”

Alexey was sitting in the backseat of a smoky-colored Mercedes van. The interior of the car was refurbished to accommodate five large plushy seats only, they were made out of real leather and still had a brand new smell to them. The man sat cross-legged and lit his cigarette. One of the bodyguards rolled down the windows slightly, releasing grey smoke which wafted away into the outside air.

“Get in.”

I made a wry face, thinking to walk away but Isakov grabbed my shirt collar from behind and threw me into the car, almost falling on Alexey’s awaiting lap. I raise my face, meeting a stunning pair of grey eyes beneath an array of lightly colored eyelashes before moving away. We were way to close! Speaking honestly, I really hated his face, I swear.

“I thought you had business to attend to and didn’t know the return date.”

“Mm, it’s true I didn’t know.”

“Then why did you hurry back?”

“Someone on the phone had a feisty mouth, so I had to come back and fix his behavior.”

Although his words weren’t very stern, those pair of eyes stared at me with intensity, as if inspecting. I shifted more, body sidling against the left door.

“Are you looking for a problem? Don’t come closer or I’ll bite you for real.”

To compare the image, I was no different than a tiny smooshy-faced pug threatening to bite an alpha wolf and his two menacing rottweiler underlings. I really didn’t like people forcing me into doing things.

“I already have plans, I’m not going back with you.”

Alexey glared lividly. “How about I send you off?”

“Our sweet romantic dinner doesn’t need a cockblocker.” Saying this gave me goosebumps. It oddly sounded like an x rated movie with sadism involved.

The wolf in front of me heard this and bared its fangs, ready to maul me immediately. Fortunately the sound of a phone rang out, I hurriedly pushed him away and picked up the call, spluttering to answer. Who was the person calling me? When I see their face I promise to prostrate myself as thanks for saving my life. “Hello, yes? This is Petch.”

“…”

“Hello, hello? Can you hear me?” Eh? Why is there still a ringing sound? Is something wrong with my phone? I slowly lowered the device and blushed red with embarrassment because the sound of the phone actually rang from Alexey’s hand. Meeting his eyes, I wanted to shove my head into the trunk of the car, how mortifying. “Hua… it was your phone? Ha ha….”

The hottie watches me from corner of his eyes with disdain before picking up the phone.

Allo… da… da… Phachara… da… passport… mm… harasho.” It was a call that lasted only forty-two seconds. The grey eyes glanced back to look at me and narrowed. “The documents are ready, where’s your passport?”

The documents are ready? I didn’t hear wrong did I? “What did you say?”

“Passport.”

“It’s at the Uzbekistan embassy…” I planned to only say this much but when I met the hottie’s sharp gaze I confessed feebly. “It’s with Mr. Sasha.”

The pair of grey eyes glinted, lips twitching upwards as if he just became the victor. “Since you’re off to go meet him for an ‘oh so romantic’ dinner… and you don’t want an obstruction…”

I gulped, how was he going to attack me now?

“Then too bad, I won’t allow you to go… you’re staying here with me.”

Woi, you’re really becoming a tyrant, this is a democratic country, not a communist one like your’s.”

“Try going if you dare.”

The car doors slammed shut and Isakov closed the curtains which separated the driver seat from the passenger seats which were arranged facing each other, followed by a glass divider. The door locked with a ‘grik’. My heart was beating loud.

Hua, you! You can’t do this.”

The man removed his suit jacket, laying it across a seat. He pulled his necktie down and unfastened the top-most button of his dress shirt. “And why can’t I? I’m merely protecting your rights and the rights of many others.”

“What idiotic right?”

“Surely you do not wish to end up the secret lover of a man who already has a family, am I correct hmm? Or do you not care?” The tone which the other man spoke in did not conceal his anger.

Hearing this, I almost fell out of my chair. “Hua.

Alexey waits for me to speak. I could only whine cluelessly. “I thought that he… ummm…. liked men.”

“So you used your trait as a ‘man’ to negotiate for a visa?”

I hiccupped, look at your words! Getting screwed for free by a man once is enough. I didn’t even get a visa in return and now you act like you care!

“That’s not the case at all.” I argued.

“I hope so.”

“So how is this matter related to you?”

“To say that I’m related, I am. But to say that I’m not related, that’s also true.” It was a roundabout answer that was meant to stir up anger. “But as it’s related to you… I am by extension definitely involved.”

“From those words, does that mean that you’re protective of me or something? How frivolous.” I retorted, moving to the door of the van and shouting aloud, “Mr. Isakov stop the car, I’m getting off this instant.”

Immediately, the van braked forcefully, along with a ‘grik’ of the automatic locks as it released. I slung my camera bag and bared my fangs at the hottie instead of a farewell.

Alexey merely raised his eyebrows, pretending to act surprised. The more I looked the irritated I became. But suddenly, he gathered my waist, restraining my body as he imprisoned me in a strong embrace. Warm hot lips brushed over my ear, followed by the low bass of his voice which was only as loud as a whisper.

“Where are you going…”

Uuu, it tickles~ Don’t you dare sidetrack my determination. “I’m going to see Sasha.”

“Do you plan to get out on the highway?”

I flinched, quickly leaning over to peer through the curtains, my shiny forehead hitting the window with a loud ‘pok’. The ‘grik’ sound of the automatic locks sounded again. I grinded my teeth. “I’m leaving!”

“You’ll end up as a highway ghost, calm down.”

A long screech was heard from outside. I rubbed my forehead gently to soothe the pain. This was a rare moment in which I ended up agreeing with the hottie. Right in that moment, my gaze coincidentally met the pair of stunning grey eyes, discovering an endearing smile which flashed inside (but it was probably my imagination).

“So, are you really going to exit the car?”

I jutted my lip, quickly climbing back inside to the seat furthest away, hugged my camera bag and reclined the seat back fully till I was lying down. “You’re a tryrant! Wake me up when we arrive, I’m going to sleep.”

“Are you not going to call and cancel your dinner with the hottie from room 1206?”

I used my hands to cover my two ears, refusing to listen or reply.

“That’s good then.” The voice softened, sounding as if relieved. I glanced at him with the corner of my eyes. Alexey was still staring, so I hurriedly turned my face away.

Hui…

Glancing at him again I was startled to find the tall large figure of the hottie looming over me. I bounced right up, hugging my camera bag tight as if it could protect me from the dangers of male-male intercourse.

“Why are you coming closer, go away, shoo shoo!

“If I felt protective of you, what would you do?”

My camera bag fell out of my hands and I almost screamed when the hottie carelessly threw it to a nearby seat. Then, Alexey the Tyrant showed off his full-blown dictatorship skills by attacking me with a kiss that I was not prepared for. His lips were gentle and soft, but extremely warm like always. The breath which was tinged with a smell of cigarettes that I disliked instead seduced and tricked me into being led along, absorbed in the moment…

Do not misunderstand, this quietness wasn’t because I was losing myself. I simply wasn’t in any position to fight back. The scene looked as if a little monkey was being pinned by a wolf, ready to tear its flesh into pieces. I could only use my hand to push against the thick shoulder which was firm with muscles so that it couldn’t lean over conveniently.

Uu~ Let me goooo. You hottie, getting horny without a care for TPO (Time, Place, Occasion). Doing ‘this’ and ‘that’ on the car, to add there were two spectators (?) sitting upright in the front of the car. What if your two gunmen get too caught up with watching the (live) film and accidentally drive the car off the highway? Our corpses won’t be pretty.

The hottie seemed to pick up the waves of hatred that I was sending his way, releasing my lips. The grey eyes glinting playfulness stared as if to swallow me whole. Using the back of a hand to wipe at his mouth, he then tugged the corners of his mouth into a smile that suggested he had an inviting thought.

“You!!! Have you gone crazy?”

The hottie tossed his necktie in some other direction before baring his fangs in a smile that said he was the victor. “I told you before didn’t I? Even though I throw you around and leave you be, you’re not allowed to go see someone else… especially when you’re willing to give up your body in exchange… I’ll give you a lesson.”

My stupid mouth got me into trouble again!

“I was joking!!!” I spluttered, trying to explain myself while sending him a pair of sparkly pleading eyes; in case it could attract a sympathy vote from the judges.  “I… do… don’t… have plans to meet him, uuu. Get your chin away from me, it tickles! I don’t have plans with anybody alright!?”

Alexey flinched, agreeing to withdraw from my face in what seemed like only three centimeters. “You’re a big fat liar! So what is the truth then?”

I lifted up three fingers like a boyscout. “I swear on it! I really don’t have any plans. I was intending to secretly boil a cup of instant noodles and eat it on my lonesome without sharing anyone.” What have I said aloud? How embarrassing.

The hottie’s expression changed… hua… or is it… is it…

I survived…

(I didn’t survive…)

The eyes in front me seemed to suggest that the hottie had forgotten about devouring me…

What a relief!

The hottie tried to contain his smile, I could see the twinkling in his pair of eyes and it made me want to smile along. But I restrained, keeping up the serious attitude so that he wouldn’t accuse me of lying.

“It’s true. I was about to go and buy some eggs, vegetables, pork, mushrooms and etcetera, if only you didn’t snatch me away first.”

Alexey finally burst out in laughter, willing to let me free. But…

“Then let’s go back to the condo together, I’ll make you something to eat.”

“I can cook for myself.”

The hottie stared at me and shook his head again. “Do you think I flew back from Singapore to Thailand on the same day in order to eat your instant noodle diarrhea?”

“Instant noodle what?” I asked, that definitely wasn’t a good English word.

“Forget it.” The hottie bit at the base of my neck before gathering me up onto his lap with ease. “A liar like you needs to be taught some lessons too!”

Huuuuuuuuuu…

P.s. I wonder how P’Pun is doing…

P.p.s. When I was young, my Pa’ taught me that… if you make your others suffer, that suffering will fall back on you… looks like it’s true.

P.p.p.s. Adding the above two together, does this mean that P’Pun’s ‘backdoor’ was shot down already?!

 

 

While a certain Phachara was preoccupied with worry about the divine retribution which speedily rushed back at him like it was strapped to a rocket… his prediction was seemingly coming true… one of them atleast; though it was not entirely accurate.

‘Piidddddddddddddddd’

The tiny heart belonging to Punnaphob was giddy… but it was not due to being shot in the ‘backdoor’ by another man…

(TN: Punnaphob – Pun’s real name. Thai’s rarely address people by their real name, instead opting for a nickname instead. This is because real names are typically long or complicated to pronounce. You could know someone for ten years and not even know their real name, that’s how unused it is. Although real names are not as long as they used to be in ancient times, it’s become a cultural norm to use a nickname.)

The blow of a whistle signalled the end of injury time which lasted an excruciating six minutes, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats. All eleven men in their blue club attire decorated with the brand of their sponsor AIG showed crestfallen faces on the rectangular forty-inch screen. Meanwhile, the chanting of song belonging to Arsenal, the home team echoed loudly through the speakers.

Pun pulled out his handkerchief, using it to wipe at the sweat that broke along his hairline. Blinking rapidly at the score 2 – 1, Arsenal had beaten Manchester United, swiftly obtaining another three points.

Although the loss was by a single point… their chance of winning this season’s Premier League was already minimal, it was hopeless. Who would have thought that Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and uncle Ferguson could do him in like this… Thinking about it, Pun whined resentfully inside. When he see’s Petch tomorrow, that puppy is going to ridicule him about Manchester United losing three games in a row, unable to compare to Liverpool who were in top form these days.

Other than that troublesome puppy there was Sasha, sat beaming a smile while drinking his bourbon. Pun observed the playful glinting eyes of the foreigner in front him and frowned. “Don’t tell me that you also cheer for Arsenal.”

His new drinking buddy smiled annoyingly. “I admire them, worship them even.”

Pun felt angry all of sudden. Truthfully, he wasn’t a person who acted without rhyme or reason, but he really hated to lose.

Sasha laughed ‘hu hu’, emptying the glass of bourbon into his mouth. “You’re stressing yourself out Mr. Pun, allow me to comfort you with another drink.”

These direct words reminded him that he was acting like a little kid. When he looked over, his new friend lifted up a bottle of alcohol, swirling it around as if to tempt him along with a wide smile. Pun couldn’t help but laugh at this gesture. “Thank you, but I have to drive back home tonight.”

“Taxi’s exist to be used.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to, but I’d rather not be sobering up at the police station Sasha. You can continue drinking.” Just coaxing wasn’t enough, Pun stole the bottle of alcohol and poured another glass for Sasha. “As for me, I can’t drink anymore, I’m too discouraged now after being cheated by Man U.”

“Let me tell you something,” The sound of the music in the bar becoming louder. The tall large figure leaned in to whisper something next to his ear. It was so close that Pun picked up the smell of alcohol mixed with cigarettes, as well as the smell of perfume which wafted from the other man.

“What did you say? Can you speak louder?”

The blue eyes stared at him and smiled thinly. “Did you know that I’m friends with Alex… well, I mean Alex Ferguson.”

“You’re joking!” Pun shouted, followed by a loud laughter. “Then please tell him to quit managing the team, just go raise his grandchildren instead.”

The person in front of him lifted the glass to swirl, the ice inside sparkling like the lights of the bar. Sasha smiled mischeviously. “I’ll definitely pass it on, but Ferguson already told me that if Mr. Pun agrees to drink another glass with me, Man U will be guaranteed to win the Premier League, the UEFA League and FA Cup too.”

Pun smiled wide, the dimples on his cheeks working harder than normal because the smile now seemed to be a permanent thing on his face. “Then… cheers!”

The bartender glanced and smiled at Pun. “How about another one? This glass is on the house.”

“Bring it.” Sasha replied in his stead.

 

 

This was one of the few rare moments that I felt good being with this hottie despite being opressed under his control: Professor Alexey intent on teaching me a lesson.

But who would have guessed… sorry but God sides with the student today!

“Hey Alexey, when will we get to the condo? I’m hungry.” I asked, face grinning.

Alexey casted his eyes on me with arrogance, mouth still speaking into the phone. I swayed my head back and forth, beaming a huge smile…

The hottie narrowed his eyes, inside probably cursing my good fortune because while I was almost devoured, the phone suddenly rang out. The hottie flinched, furrowed his brows while looking at the screen and pressed to pick up the call like it couldn’t be helped. The person on the other end of the call shouted noisily in Russian, the hottie’s frown worsened and he spewed a string of Russian back. Unknown as to what they were talking about, it looked more like they were arguing. So I subtly buttoned up my shirt completely and climbed over to the innermost seat, putting on an indifferent expression.

The hottie flipped his phone closed with a ‘pak’, looking at me ferociously. “Making that face again, are you having fun?”

I gulped. Another three or four intersections and we would have reached the condo, why did you have to hurry and hang up the call?

“Are you going to come over here, or do I have to go deal with you back there?”

Deal with me back there… hearing this gave me goosebumps…

And in that very second… it looks like my previous promise of one hundred boiled eggs was starting to come true. Angels noticed the misfortune that befell on the ‘oh so kind and virtuous’ Phachara who also offered to bestow an extra three packets of instant noodles. Out of nowhere an officer riding a white motorcycle upfront waved to stop the car. The officer wore a tight-fitting policeman’s uniform, waving his arms that were chubby like pool table legs he blew his whistle ‘priid priid’ and walked with his chest stuck out to the car. But when he saw the person through the driver seat window he gulped. Isakov adjusted his sunglasses (this is nine in the evening, why are you still wearing those? I really don’t understand you).

The officer took several deep breaths with apprehension. I’m correct… this guy is scared of foreigners!

You… go down now. Show your– driving license too.”

Isakov removed his dark glasses, green pupils side-eyeing the man. The scar on his face made the officer’s heart tremble weakly from the mafia-like aura which emitted brightly. The unsettled officer beckoned a hand to his friends but not single person was willing to come closer. I could hear his voice as he cursed his friends rapidly in their native dialect.

…hey where’d ya done gone? I can’t yap no foreigner language. Fuck yer head and yer ‘cops already got enough money to make a living’…

(TN: Northern Thai Dialect or known as Isan.)

“You stay here.” Alexey’s face was grumpy, annoyed of getting interrupted for the second time. My heart was drumming inside my chest. The hottie told me to stay still, but I really needed to find a way out of this situation quick.

“Dri… driving license. What is your name?”

“Меня эовут Исаков. Как вас эовут?”

Met with one mouthful of the foreign language, the officer was shocked, expression so broken that I felt sorry for him. But when I turned to look at the hottie, I spotted a mischevious delight in his eyes despite the stony face that showed no emotion. Isakov’s partner butted in with a forceful voice and said following.

“…Что случилось? Я говорю по-русски. Вы говорите по русски?”

Don’t ask me to translate, my English isn’t even passable…

The officer looked even more restless, as if he was being threatened by the mafia. “Hey, hey, the fella that’s standing o’er there, come ‘ere. Doesn’t matter if ya can yap it or not, just come ta me, ya can help act out my words. This fucking guava drove past the red light like a colorblind person, we’re gonna get lots tonight, ya understand?”

(TN: 1. Typical case of the traffic police ‘extorting’ money from drivers as explained in chapter seven; 2. Normally, ‘guava’ sounds exactly like the word ‘foreigner’ in Thai, but these guys are speaking with a Northern dialect, the words are completely different so guava straight up just means guava.)

Guava… I abruptly started laughing and hurried to contain my reaction. Turning to look at the hottie, a sound effect echoed through my mind… ‘Guava’… I wanted to laugh till my teeth cracked. I don’t know whether to hate or love this officer. But my my, making a fuss in order to collect money, be it for Red Bull or school fees, does this officer’s kid study at an international school or something? I really don’t understand. Instead of trying to act modest and well-behaved in front of a foreigner, this guy was determined to extort money out of them… luckily these foreigners could not understand the Northern dialect.

I lowered the window which separated the driver from the passenger seats, stuck my head out and tore an impressive smile. “Mister, is there anything I can help you with?”

“Ah, a Thai person.”

Although no one loved me, at least this officer saw me as a God descending down to save him. I hurriedly opened the door of the van fast, Alexey unable to grab me in time. Circling around the car I tried to curry favor with the man. “Did my driver do something wrong mister?”

The two gunmen narrowed their eyes at me… sending a shudder down my spine.

The officer wiped his sweat with relief. “Uh, there’s no problem, it’s just driving past the red light. All I need is the driver’s license serial number in order to write-up a slip.”

“Ohhhhhh…” I dragged my voice. “Sorry about this, my driver moved from Russia recently, he still can’t speak Thai or English very well. Isakov, get in de car now~” When he made no intention to move I glared at him; my acting deserves a Golden Globe Award. “I said now!”

“Hm? Then how can he drive?”

“Oh, he’s familar with the route mister. The guy’s obedient, driving the same route a couple of times was enough to memorise it. He’s easy to raise, surviving on large breed Pedigree dog food.” I smiled while handing my own driver’s license over, two red bills tucked underneath as if accustomed to this process. “Sorry for wasting your time mister.” That said, I turned to scold the other gunman. “You too! Get it de car!”

“You’re pretty interesting sonny. Now then, next time tell your driver to be more careful alright? Getting into trouble with the Thai police is no good.” The officer laughed brightly, but when he glanced down his face turned into a frown. “What? Only two-hundred baht? Boy, to drive such an expensive car it has to be the purple kind you know?”

(TN: A purple bill is five-hundred baht)

If I knew this earlier, I would have let Isakov share his bullets with the officer.

I pretended to not hear his words, hastily raising my hands to gesture a farewell. But then I couldn’t resist gulping loudly, my heart raced. The incident with the officer was instantly thrown out the window as I thought of a plan to escape from ‘Professor Alexey’ who was ready to maul me over.

When bodyguard number two stared at me with a ‘dot dot’ expression, opening the car door as if about to get in, I seized that second to yank the door close and hit the gas pedal.

Suddenly, he and Isakov disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Wahahaha, my one hundred eggs promise plus the almsgiving was really producing results! Oh my god!!!

 

 

“What are you doing, hmm?” The hottie whispered by my ear. I thought I was hearing things but looking in the rear view mirror I started when I saw a gun barrel pointed at the back of my left ear. I peered with the corner of my eyes to the left of the driver’s seat.

Aiya, since when did this hottie move to sit here!?!

I blinked rapidly and Alexey made a wide smile. Seeing the vein on his forehead twitch, this gave me a bad premonition.

“Do you think you’re James Bond?”

If I say yes, will this guy break my jaw…?

“Your face says YES.”

He’s even more accurate than a prophet! And look at that question, how creative. If it was actally true, the title would be, ‘007 Phetchaburi Drift: Escape from Loss of Manhood’.

“You think you’re good enough? Where’s your female love interest?”

Again, what a question. What women with common sense is brave enough to steal from a foreigner(‘s wife like me)…hm?

“James Bond doesn’t drive while looking at the face of the person next to him Petch!  If you’re going to drive then look in front and don’t let go of the wheel!”

I flinch at being scolded loudly. Turning to the front again I saw a granny selling lottery tickets wobbling to cross the road. Alexey took this chance to jerk the driving wheel, narrowly evading her and turned to bare his fangs at me. It was so scary that my head shrunk into my body.

I caused more trouble for myself again. Instead of being taught a lesson twice, I was in for a third lesson. I thought to myself depressingly, this was clearly ‘Friday entering, Saturday invading, Sunday betraying, and Monday pouting.’

(TN: ‘Friday entering, Saturday invading, Sunday betraying, and Monday pouting’ – An old saying used to describe when a series of bad things happen one after another, as if being cursed by a vengeful ghost.)

“What are daydreaming about hah!” The hottie snapped at me with irritation and sighed, probably counting one to ten in his head. Looks like this wolf is in a bad mood, is he going to bite me? “Stop the car right now.”

“We’re almost there.”

“I don’t want to be a corpse in the middle of this intersection.” That said, his frown deepened. “You’re terrible at driving! Did you ‘buy’ yourself a driving license?”

“How did you know? I paid two-thousand five-hundred baht for it.” I confessed.

The sound of police sirens trailed from behind, there were four to five vehicles. The hottie peered through the rear view mirror and shook his head with exasperation. With the situation turning worse I looked as well, seeing the same officer poke his head out of the driver seat window, shouting noisily while turning on the flashing lights as a signal to stop the car. I slowed down.

The hottie’s phone rang out. The owner of device threw it to me without picking up the call. Seeing the number of the caller, I began to stress out…

The people in the surrounding vehicles all focused their eyes on me. I press to pick up the call.

“Hello, Petch speaking.”

“Sonny! Stop the car right now! Kidnapping an embassy official is a serious offense woi, if you’re in need of money we can discuss it later.”

I flinch. Alexey made an apathetic face. This guy is what you call a hostage? At least try to make a shocked face when your underlings go too far and file a report for kidnapping.

That said, why does the criminal (me) have a gun pointed at their head…?

 

 

It was already one in the morning when I was released from the police station. The police inspector berated loudly to the point where my ears felt numb for two hours, accusing me of playing recklessly, what would happen if his men got injured? How about the impact it will have on our relationship with the other country? Any agreements made with them would be called off, etcetera, etcetera. As for the hottie, he put on a ‘innocent foreigner’ act, pretending to not understand Thai. Although it was a good thing that he agreed to not press any charges, this garnered the affection of the police instead.

And another thing, this cursed man who claimed to fly straight from Singapore to eat instant noodles with me (Eh? Did he say this? I’m not sure) was already sitting in his luxurious car, leaving me to face the inspector on my own. If you really love me then you be should be keeping me company, tch!

I walked, kicking a piece of gravel hard as if to vent my anger. The troublesome piece of gravel hit a Toyota Camry that was parked on the side of the road, triggering its burglar alarm. I quickly walked away. Why do I have such bad luck today?

My elbow was grabbed from behind and a heavy hand covered my mouth. I struggled violently, my entire body was lifted, carried across the road before being thrown back inside the car and onto the soft leather seat. The car door slammed shut before the locks sounded with a ‘grik’.

Alexey shifted his eyes from the newspaper that was in the middle of being read and removed his glasses, clipping it on the breast pocket of his shirt.  The orange lights of the van glowed brightly. Only now did I notice the traces of exhaustion underneath these grey pair of eyes.

He handed me a delicious box of pie, placing it down on a seat next to mine and opened his newspaper back up to continue reading without a word.

I looked at the large slice of pie… patting my flat tummy, it rumbled loudly.

“Uh…”

“Take it.”

“And have you eaten yet?” I felt guilty for some odd reason. If I shared half with this hottie would he forgive me? His expression looked tired, as if having just chased and captured a forest monkey. Thinking about it, I began to feel sympathetic.

“No.”

This seems to be my fault.

I moved to sit closer, breaking the still-warm pineapple pie into two pieces and handing the larger piece to the hottie. There was also a small carton of fruit juice which I held up for him. “Have this to eat for now.”

The sharp grey eyes shifted over to look. Despite taking the pie, he kept staring at my face, not interested in the food in his hand. “I’m waiting for something else.”

I blushed…

Alexey waited a few moments and then sighed. “Forget it.”

My cheeks felt numb… slowly edging closer I flattened my ears and hid my tail between my legs like a good puppy.

“If you’re hungry then eat.”

“Ah… mm…” Such vague words. What to do, take the pie back? “If you’re not going to eat then I’ll eat it instead.”

Huu, so being a smelly headed dog feels like this, this guy won’t even glance at me.

(TN: Smelly headed dog – someone who is hated by everybody, no one is willing to talk to them or be their friend)

“Hey Alexey, I’m trying to make peace here, don’t be so stubborn.”

“You’re god damned noisy, can you be quiet already?”

My face crumpled at being scolded at. The hottie sighed.

“If you’re not going to eat then I’m seriously going to eat it instead alright?”

The grey eyes glinted in the darkness, complete with a playful smile.

The pie in my hand fell with a ‘tup!’.

 

 

It was almost two in the morning and the two men with ‘copper throats’ were still stationed at their base, refusing to move. The foreign man continuously picked at the snacks. As for the Thai man with a Korean-looking style, Punnaphob refused to let go of his glass of liquor.

(TN: Copper throats – Having high tolerance for alcohol)

“It’s a shame the Mr. Petch couldn’t make it.”

Pun waved a hand while laughing cheerily, his fair complexion now tinged with pink on his cheeks. The healthy coloring made him look like a presenter for skin care products. “Him not coming is a good thing, if he was here I’d have to accompany him on his Buddhist Lent alcohol ban.”

Seeing the other raise his eyebrows in a question, Pun shook his head dizzyingly, readjusting his glasses back in place. “I promised him, so I have to do it.”

Hua… then what about the glass in your hand Mr. Punnaphob?

Looks like the man on the opposite end thought the same thing. Pun quickly downed the rest of the liquor, using the back of a hand to wipe at his mouth and smile mischievously. “I know what you’re thinking.”

The pair of clear blue eyes stared back, the smile was only at the corners of his mouth. “And what do you think I’m thinking about?” He tested Pun, admiring the other man’s fair face and cheek dimples which reflected on his glass of bourbon that had little remaining inside.

“It’s better if I kept this knowledge to myself…” Pun evaded playfully, feeling slightly light-headed. However, he thought that he could still hold his own…maybe.

The handsome foreigner in front of him shifted closer, large hands rested on Pun’s shoulder and shook gently. “You’re drunk, speaking this nonsense.”

“I’m not drunk, I’m not drunk.”

“Can you drive?”

“Taxi’s exist to be used.” Uwa… he returned those words. “Can you call one for me?”

“I thought you said that you weren’t drunk.”

Sasha observed the Thai man. His eyes were a dark brown, glazed with the intoxicating effects of the alcohol. To compare the picture it was probably similar to a warm steaming waffle, topped with whipcream and strawberry, and covered with caramel sauce.

“I’m not drunk.” The drunk person objected. “The world’s just spinning faster around the sun, that’s all.” When drunk, the spirit of Galileo Galilei housed his body.

“I’ll catch a taxi for you, wait here.” The large figure offered, pulled money out of his wallet and placed it on the table, hoping it would suffice for the cost of the drinks which they feasted on over the course of many hours. Not long after, he returned. “Mr. Pun, the taxi has arrived.”

The male reporter with a copper throat walked while stumbling, worrying the large Uzbek man to the point where he had to close in and support the other. “Where do you live? I’ll give the taxi driver the location.”

Pun shook his head forcefully and squeezed his pitch-black hair. “Ummmm…” The taxi door was open and waiting. Pun hurriedly ducked inside and lay contorted like a shrimp, head heavy as if weighed down by rocks.

The picture in front of him was blurry and dim. He twisted to look left and right like a broken television set. “It’s…”

Pun heard the sound of the driver-side door open and then close. “Where should I drop you off?”

“Umm… the street…” Where did he live? “The street… wha… what university was it again?”

“Ram’ Uni?”

“No.”

“Bangkok Uni?”

“No, no no. Uhh, the university…”

“Thammasat?”

“That’s too farrr.”

In truth it was just on the same street as SWU’s Prasarnmit campus but no matter how much Pun wrung his head he couldn’t recall this information, handing his phone confusingly to the driver. “Ask…Ask Petch instead.”

The ‘taxi driver’ took the phone with equal confusion before smiling playfully at the corners of his mouth…

As for Pun, he had no clue that the taxi he was sitting on had an embassy sticker on it, not to mention the vehicle was also a newly released BMW Series 5 too.

Importantly… the starting fair for this ‘taxi’ was for sure, more than thirty-five baht.

 

 

 

I’m about to melt…

Somebody help me… I’m in a difficult position.

It’s serious trouble… believe me…

I was being terrorized by another man through the taste of his kiss which was searing hot like fire…

This wasn’t all… he restricted my ability to resist with an embrace that was as strong as an iron cage.

As for the final reason… my body was pulled onto his lap, unable to move in the slightest… or if I did move, it was according to the directions that the person in front of me manipulated my body in… my exposed legs rubbed against the fine material of Alexey’s pants, making my skin sore like it was burning… my hips… connected with his body… both hot and tight… both uncomfortable and sensitive…

This body didn’t feel like my own anymore. Although my brain objected… frantically yelling inside, reality looked to be the opposite.

The sensation of a couple of days ago still lingered in my memory. What was incredibly hot and passionate back then, had seemingly doubled today. The outside road lights shone in from time to time, like the gaze of a hundred pairs of eyes peering inside, simultaneously mocking me for inevitably falling into the hands of this playful scheming wolf. Hot breaths caressed each of our bodies. The intensity alternated between rough and gentle according to the rhythm set by Alexey who coaxed my body along with ease.

The sound of a police siren could be heard in the distance. My heart drummed more rapidly, scared that someone was coming to stop the car; being greeted with this scene would be unsightly to say the least. However, for the wretched man that was claiming my body, Alexey urged beside my ear with a voice whose tone suggested that he held the upper hand…

“Are you scared someone’s going to see? …Shall we stop?

Yet the hand which seized my hip… refused to stop… I could only grit my teeth, holding my voice back so that it couldn’t escape from my throat. Though the sound of the siren drifted farther away, it was still reverberating inside my ears.

Alexey bit lightly at my earlobe, calling out an odd sensation which burst forth, my entire body trembled and shook…

The dim confined space… curtains which fluttered and swayed as if trying to tempt a peek from outside… two other people who kept an eye on every action from the rear view mirror… how fearless…

Yet at the same time, I could not deny that it made me even more excited, by who knows how much…

“You just do whatever your heart desires”

The husky voice was strung with pleasure…

Clear grey eyes beneath a flutter of coffee-coloured eyelashes shined beautiful and profound… Alexey held my chin, turning me to face him directly… just let me die… if these eyes were a sword… I probably would have died from the first time they landed on me with such sharpness.

“Look at me baby… what’s so interesting out there?”

His tone was low and gentle… contrary to the assault below… my consciousness flickered every time he moved…. or every time that he urged me to move.

RRR…RRR

The sound of a phone rang out, I flinched hard. A bright light flashed inside the removed pair of pants that lay on the floor of the car.

Alexey stilled. He leaned down to hook the edge of the fabric up. The device appeared tiny in his large hands.

The man dangled the phone in front of my face, encouraging me to grab it. But instead I lost my balance, falling to nestle on his broad chest as if he had planned this all along, lips sneering before biting softly at the tip of my chin.

RRR…RRR

“Are you going to stop here Petch?”

“Come now, my stomach isn’t even half-full yet.”

RRR…RRR…RRR

“But P’Pun is calling me… the matter is probably important if it’s this late.”

“Should I pick it up for you? …So he can know that it’s late… you have something better to do…”

RRR…RRR…RRR…RRR…

And finally I hesitated… to melt wholeheartedly with the feel and taste of this sensation… or escape by picking up the phone like all the previous times.

But finally the husky voice whispered next to my ear, closing off all escape routes…

“Forget everything dear.”

“Keep moving baby… just keep moving…”

To say something this sexy… this sweet…

You might as well kill me now.


Holyshit was this chapter long. Hopefully you found the end rewarding. 😉

Carta Visa: 8th Round

In case anyone is confused, Petch needs to apply for several visas as he’s going to: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kirghistan.

Bold: The characters are speaking in English.


I slammed the door shut with a bang, sweating profusely due to extreme shock. My heart was beating ‘thump thump’ like a drum inside my chest, trying to recount how the events just now weren’t a hallucinatory side-effect from the paracetamol given by that hottie.

What is happening to my life. All of a sudden why is everyone (men) (the handsome ones too) charging at me with such desperate lust? Did I do something wrong? Or has the world gone abnormal with all the beautiful good women taken? Thailand still has a variety of ladyboys to choose from though…

(TN: Ladyboys – Transgender women)

Knock knock knock.

Startled, I peered through the peephole and found the wolf in the skin of a golden retriever smiling broadly in front of the door to my room. What do I do? I really will end up with a second husband if I open this door. “What now Sasha?”

“How mean, suddenly closing the door and chasing me away without even a word of farewell.” The smiling face looked as if it had grown a pair of horns and fangs. The person who was beaming an innocent smile in front of my room held up the documents for my visa application and waved it around in his hand. “What did you think I was going to do?”

“Do you expect me to predict your actions?”

“I just wanted to say that I still don’t have your passport, you won’t be getting a visa at this rate.”

Hua, is that true? Luckily I halted my hand fast enough before it could open the door out of reflex. “I’ll hand it to you tomorrow morning.”

“I’m up fairly early, can you wake up in time?”

“I can.”

“6 o’clock in the morning, are you sure?”

“I’m always sure!”

“You’re bragging, I know that you like to wake up at ten.”

How did you know! I assumed a haughty composure. “What evidence do you have to support your words? Just so you know, I wake up early every morning to give alms to the monks.”

(TN: Giving alms to monks – A buddhist tradition. Monks set out for alms every morning around 5-6 am. Walking along the streets of Thailand barefoot in their orange robes, monks will accept your offerings of rice, fruits, snacks, clothes, etc. if they pass by your home. It’s a common sight for the early risers, even in the bustling city of Bangkok. Otherwise, you could always visit the temple, there will be monks to receive your offerings every morning. This practice is said to bring good luck and dispel misfortune.)

But Sasha wasn’t willing to back down, my phone rang and the number flashing on the screen made me gulp. I picked up the call warily, scared that the wolf in the skin of a golden retriever was going to teleport himself through sound waves.

“Mr. Petch, please take me along with you tomorrow for almsgiving.” He pleaded with a sweet voice. When you opened your mouth to devour me earlier you didn’t sound like this at all, tsk. Finally, he burst out in laughter. “Hahaha, you have a good sense of humor! I can’t believe it!”

“Do you take me for a standup comedian?”

“No, just a crazy person.” He chuckled in a relaxed manner.

“Fine! I’m crazy, do you have anything else to say? If not then see you tomorrow.”

“Are you not going to pay a deposit for having me help you with the visa?” His tone was playful, horns reappearing on his head as a tail wagged left and right.

I felt uneasy. Since being born I’ve never had a man try to flirt with me before, now was not the time to be blushing with embarrassment. What should I do, Father, Mother, Jessica or P’Pun, somebody come save little ol’ Petch!!!

“Come on, open the door so we can have a proper talk.”

“Wa-wait…. your words are troubling me Sasha, we don’t even know each other that well.” Why did I say that out loud, I sound like a female protagonist.

“Mr. Petch you’re so forgetful, I’ve told you before that we’ve met… at Jessica’s wedding. I’m friends with ‘Baum, Jessica’s husband.”

Oh yeah, Sasha mentioned this already.

“But the fact that you don’t remember is not a problem, we can always start over.” From just hearing his voice, I could imagine the face of a wolf baring its fangs and preparing to eat me whole, just like the wolf disguised as the grandma in ‘The Little Red Riding Hood’, beckoning her granddaughter to come closer and closer!

“Um…” What to do Petch. Your manliness is in danger. “What you say is probably correct, Alexey also said something along those lines as well.”

“Uh-oh…” The voice at the end of the line sounded highly curious.

“Why uh-oh?” These two people definitely shared a secret.

“I had no idea that you were starting to get close with Alexey.” Sasha’s tone changed, as if something entertaining had occurred. “It seems he’s finally decided to talk to you.”

“Decided to talk to me?”

Sasha laughed throatily. “He’s that kind of person, cold and indifferent. Pay no mind to it Mr. Petch, it’ll give you nothing but a headache. If anything does come up… it’s better to call me, I’m always happy to listen.”

For those who don’t like being flirted at, the best resort is to act like a troll, it works every time!

“So are you happy to let me borrow your money too? In case of when I’m unable to pay for my apartment’s monthly installment.”

I really shouldn’t have asked that question because it seemingly leaned in favour of this wolf / golden retriever, ready to snatch me up whole.

“Are you in desperate need for money? Then how much does dinner with you cost Mr. Petch?”

Uuu, I’m in trouble.

 

 

Two minutes and fifteen seconds past five in the morning…

I opened my door softly, as if trying to be considerate of the sleeping gecko on the ceiling. Carrying my passport which was wrapped up in a document envelope, I slid it under the door of room 1206 along with a short note which read ‘Thank you’, before tiptoeing back to my own room.

Bang!!!

The sound of the door closing which followed was so loud that it made me jump off the ground. I turned back to look at the source of the noise and found Alexey, standing there scowling with a small travel suitcase. I hurriedly glared at him, ‘Shhhh!’ you’re going to wake up the golden retriever-wolf hybrid.

“What’s it got to do with me?” The stunning pair of eyes stared coldy at me per usual. “Are you scared that your puppy won’t get enough sleep? Was he up crying because of a nightmare?”

“Are you crazy? What nonsense.” I scolded him and quickly covered a hand over my mouth due to the loudness of my voice.

“If you’re that concerned about others, have you sorted yourself out?” He moved from the front of his room to stand directly in front of me, loosening his necktie slightly. I looked at the hottie and my heart trembled. Why does he look so good in every outfit he wears; he’s handsome when he’s not wearing anything too. Especially that sharp and immaculate Tom Ford suit… just seeing the price tag makes me faint– hua, no! I mean, just seeing it makes me feel pathetic. What’s got you so handsome hmm? It’s only five o’clock who are you getting ready for this early in the morning?

Alexey placed the back of his hand on my forehead, his expression blank. “Your fever has gone down but…” He scanned me from head to toe.

“You still look pretty worn out, go see a doctor.”

This was the second sentence in my life which made me feel that Alexey was damned cute. I pulled the hottie’s large hand away, embarrassed (why I am embarassed?). “It’ll recover on its own.”

You’re sick but decide to stalk out in front of your neighbour’s room, the symptoms look to be getting worse. A crazy person like you can’t look after yourself, go visit the psychiatrist, they’ll prescribe you some sedatives.”

I never should have complimented you! Would you like a dislocated jaw delivered by my fist?

“If you’re not concerned about me then hurry up and go, get out of my sight.”

I chased him away and turned around, hugging the yellow bucket chock-full of offerings while walking past the hottie with disinterest. Right now I was able to make peace with the situation. If I can’t enter his country then so be it, either way I have Uzbekistan in the bag! Although I was risking my body in the process, there was someone here who already stole my virginity. What wrong with another husband– hua! I take that back!

A large hand on my elbow pulled me back. I looked at him with the corner of my eyes. “What?”

The hottie held up a familiar-looking keycard in front of me before slapping me lightly on the forehead. “Sloppy. Take your keycard back with you.”

I saw the card and grinned widely, hurriedly placing down the bucket in my hands to accept the object. “Where did you find it?”

“My bodyguard picked it up.”

“From where?”

“In front of the door to your room, you sloppy reckless kid!” He slapped my forehead once more, dragged his suitcase and pressed the elevator button. “So where are you going?”

I looked at the bucket in my hands and started to feel embarrassed. “I’m… forget it.” Inside the bright yellow bucket was a complete set of offerings, from a set of monk’s robe to incense sticks, candles, matches, milk and so on.

The hand at my elbow squeezed tightly, his eyes insistent.

“I’m…” I took a deep breath. Hua, what am I embarrassed about! Each person has their own beliefs after all! “I’m going almsgiving to cleanse myself of misfortune! Ever since moving here I’ve had nothing but problems with weird people like you, my life has become an endless torture. I’m going to the temple in case it helps to make anything better. And another thing…” I stared at him annoyingly. “In case God bestows me with a visa so I can finally be rid of a psychotic embassy staff like you.”

Alexey laughed ‘hu hu’, holding the elevator button so I could get in, then pressing the G button. “In your dreams, even if you die nobody will bestow you with a visa.”

“What, God is always on the side of virtuous people like me woi.” I hugged my bucket of offerings tightly.

“Even if your God has an ambassador’s passport, he can’t enter the country either if he doesn’t have permission from me. So don’t think he can help someone as reckless as you, it’s better to not wish for too much.” The hottie sneered before pressing the STOP button with a straight face. “That said, did that handsome golden retriever ask anything in return for the Uzbek visa?”

“Ha-how did you find out!”

I shouted loud inside the elevator before using a hand to cover my mouth. But it was already too late. Alexey’s grey eyes glared at me with intensity, hand slamming against the elevator wall with a ‘bang’. The atmosphere turned dark immediately.

“You’re looking to get yourself in trouble Petch. Let me warn you first, stay away from that guy, do you want to get devoured?”

“Oh come on, he’s not going to eat me.” I argued. “And why did you stop the elevator?”

“What? Do you have a problem?”

“You’re trying to obstruct me.”

“I know what that guy will do if you offer yourself up to him.”

This is going completely off topic! I protested in my heart. “You sure are devout, obstructing me from going almsgiving like this. Cut it out, I won’t make it in time for the monks.”

Imagine how weird this looks if someone pressed open the elevator, seeing a handsome wolf trying to threaten an innocent bright-eyed man with a pure heart who was carrying an almsgiving bucket. I used this opportunity to push aside the hottie’s hand and slap the STOP button loudly with a ‘Pap’, commanding the elevator to start moving again. “Easy-peasy.”

Alexey stared hard at me before baring his fangs… hitting the panel of buttons again till it suddenly stopped functioning (as if confused) and bent down close, noses almost touching. I smelled a faint scent of cigarettes from his warm breath. “Don’t ever let me find you doing ‘this and that’ with Sasha… do you understand me?”

I was sweating profusely, hugging the offerings bucket tight and hoping that Buddha’s grace could help me out somehow. “Um… and… why? If Sasha like, bought me a crate of Pocky, can I not repay him with a can of Pepsi? There’s no need to be so narrow-minded, he’s your friend after all.”

“It’s because I’ve already decided that you’re mine and I will deal with you however I want.”

Out of nowhere a collar with a dog tag was put on me, this ‘dog tag’ being an intimately stolen kiss without the slightest warning on my part.

It wasn’t like I wanted to act feeble but do you know how easily ‘exciteable’ a man’s body can get in the morning?  From just a slight touch, the blood in my body began pumping violently, how embarrassing.

…It’s embarrassing, I don’t want to admit it but I was starting to react to the passionate kiss that the other man liked to steal from me. Yet to not lose my conscience, I used the offerings bucket as a shield to defend myself from the hottie’s further advances.

“Are you playing hard to get so you can save your body for Sasha? You’re beginning to make me angry Petch.”

“I… nonsense, you’ve misunderstood.”

But suddenly the elevator doors opened and he yanked my body along (as well as my offerings bucket), not giving me the chance to correct myself.  He dragged me straight to the parking lot, wrenched the door open and stuffed me in the backseat before settling down next to me.

“Drive!”

The engine ignited and roared, I was ‘confused like a broken-eyed chicken’ when I saw two men dressed in black suits take up the front seats as if in a mafia flick. Assessing the situation, I figured that this would end in nothing but losses so I yanked the hottie’s necktie and started arguing loudly.

(TN: Confused like a broken-eyed chicken – An idiom referring to Thailand’s favorite pasttime: Cockfighting. Chickens use the claws on their feet to attack their opponent. If these claws happen to damage the opponent’s eye, it causes them to become dumbfounded and confused, hence the origin of this saying.)

“Where are you taking me, let me go this instant!”

“SHUT UP!” A voice snapped loudly from the front along with a sleek black gun barrel pointed at the center of my forehead. I was stunned, sweating profusely like a broken dam.

“D-Don’t shoot me! Am just kidding– Right? Alexey?” Huuhuu, get that gun away from meeeeee. I may have a thick skull but you don’t need to help make a hole in it.

(TN: Thickskulled – slow to learn, insensitive, stupid.)

Alexey raised a hand and the man lowered his gun down. I swallowed my saliva with apprehension… that was shocking.

“You want to go to the temple so I’m taking you to the temple.” The person replying had a cold expression. “Didn’t you want to cleanse yourself of misfortune? This is me helping you.”

“Being with you causes nothing but misfortune.” I rolled my eyes at him. I couldn’t help but think in my heart that he was taking me to organize my own funeral.

“Whether misfortune falls on you or not isn’t my problem.” Alexey hooked and pulled on my shirt collar, brushing the tip of his nose against my ear, the faint breath tickling my skin. “But the fact that I leave you be doesn’t mean that you’re free to go see someone else, little monkey.”

Little monkey! I was shocked by my new alias. What the hell. I may not be a trendy good-looking man like P’Pun but I’m not ugly either. Calling me ‘little monkey’ all of sudden is going too far.

“Who did you say was a little monkey?”

“You’re a reckless little monkey.”

“What!”

“Sloppy.”

“You!!!”

“Forgetful.”

“Don’t you dare!!!”

“Pathetically horrible at English.”

Grahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It was at this moment which I truly wanted to challenge him to a boxing match, wrecking that handsome face of his. But as soon as I raised my fists, the same bodyguard pulled out his gun. I think it’s better to not risk my life with a single bullet…

“But some things about you aren’t so bad…” His last word came with a playful smile.

The car braked hard and the doors unlocked. The hottie lit his cigarette while the bodyguard with the gun stepped out of the car. The door on my side was wrenched open and he grabbed the offerings bucket as well as my body.

“I have business to attend to and there’s no clue about the return date yet. In the meantime Isakov will look after you, in case some mutt decides to piss on you. I swear I’ll cut their throats open… You better not go seducing them too, beware of the fleas.”

I didn’t even get a chance to say farewell… only able to blink confusingly at Isakov the bloodthirsty gunman and stare at the back of the luxurious Jaguar car with an embassy nameplate… not knowing where that hottie was hurrying off to, it was only five-thirty in the morning.

Isakov who was almost two meters tall was forced to look down at me. He stored the gun back in his suit jacket and coughed when he met my worried eyes. “What’s wrong?”

I can’t believe it, what is that hottie thinking? Or is this his way of deflecting Sasha? Solving the problem by leaving behind a gunman. Like hell is this a way to solve problems! If you really like me then ask for my hand in front of my parents, don’t leave a gunman behind like this, I’m scared that I’ll be the one to go to heaven first. This guy looks especially odd too when compared to someone normal (?) like me.

More importantly, Alexey is concerned about me? What a hilarious joke. It’s more believable to claim that you’re better-looking than Zac Efron you know.

What a devil! The giant Isakov removed his glasses. He’s a gunman and yet wears ALDO sunglasses, it was equally as expensive as my camera lens. His eyes were green and slender, face stern and a scar under one eye. Looks like he really is a bodyguard.

“What’s wrong Phachara? The monk is coming.” The corner of his eyes glancing at the elder monk who was slowly walking past with a chubby looking temple boy.

“Umm… umm I think I found a more pressing issue than this guy looking like a mafia underling.

“Can you speak Thai?”

“Very little.” He gestured with his hands, pinching his thumb and index finger together.

This is bad, my English is pretty awkward too.

“But I am not good at English.”

“You suck at it. It can’t be helped.”

Hua” I let out a high-pitched noise. “Didn’t you say you could only speak a little?”

“That was before getting a wife here.”

“Where’s your wife now?”

“Shes’s here at the temple.”

“Did she convert to a nun?”

“No, she had an affair so I let her eat a few of my bullets, she’s good friends with the gravedigger now.”

Hearing this made my hair stand on end… did Alexey send an assassin to look after me?

 

 

The expression of the elder monk who was waiting to receive my offerings looked at me conflictedly. I made eye contact and tried to convey that I was equally as uneasy. The elder monk smiled at me. I smiled in return. He then gulped loudly. “Child…”

“Yes, Elder?”

The elder monk adjusted his reading glasses and whispered. “Umm… child you’re only here to make an offering, do you really need a gunman to protect you?”

“It’s not what you think Elder, I have no idea who this guy is.” I tried to act smooth, blatantly saying these words despite Isakov standing still like the Stonehenge closeby.

The elder monk nodded. “Then… oh my… if you didn’t tell me I wouldn’t have known, you’re the son of an influential person yes? I haven’t seen your face around during the campaigning period. Those who plan to run for the election always come to introduce themselves to me first.”

Hua, this Elder is a political endorser.

“Okay, now say your prayers three times.” The elder monk said.

I scratched my head. “Umm Elder… I… I don’t know the prayer… I’m not Buddhist.”

Uwah! Then why did you come to present your offerings?” The elder monk was starting to get annoyed.

I raised my hands above my head and shut my eyes tight. “I don’t know, but a friend recommended that I do some almsgiving to cleanse my misfortune, so I came accordingly. Like… it’s similar to acne medicine Elder, if it works well then you’d want to pass the information onto someone else.”

The elder monk swung his cane down on the center of my head. I gently rubbed my head to soothe the pain. “Elder~”

“Fine, repeat after me… namo tassa… ahem.”

“Namo tassa… ahem… amen.”

‘Pok!’

“I’m not done yet woi. Take your offerings back and use the monk’s robe in there as a wash towel why don’t you?”

No~ Elder~ Help me firsttt.

 

 

Four o’clock and fifty-five minutes in the afternoon…

Today’s photography job finished well despite the blazing sun as if in the middle of a desert and the location which was as far as Bangkok to Songkhla (TN: A 13 hour drive). I was almost crawling back to my car by the end. Why do these graduate school girls have such a high endurance, be it in the sun or rain they can keep posing for three to four days straight. But when it comes to education, a couple drops of rain, a bit of sun, or a 2 millimeter wear on the sole of their heels is enough of a reason to not leave the house and attend lessons. I promised to myself that I would never accept a photography job at Mahidol University ever again. If somebody hires me, then they’ll have provide an extra two bottles of  SPF 250PA+++ sunscreen. That said… this is just me complaining. When I looked at the amount on the cheque, my exhaustion dissipated instantly.

The sound of a honk could be heard softly and looking to the source of the noise I had to crack up in laughter. Isakov sent a menacing glare my way. “Get in Mr. Petch.”

“It’s better to let me drive.”

“You’ll doze off at the wheel.”

“Thank you for being concerned.”

“Sorry but my life is worth more than yours.”

Your mouth is as rotten as your boss’, I grumbled inside.

“Okay suit yourself, I have a meeting with the internal office at eight, then I’m going to go buy some home supplies at CentralWorld and eat dinner around Lang Suan before heading back.

RRR…RRR

The sound of my troublesome phone rang out to interrupt. Seeing the name of the caller I felt saliva catch in my throat, unable to swallow or spit it out.

Isakov the gunman glanced at me, saw the name of the caller and smiled at the corners of his mouth. I picked up the call feeling anxious and fearful, not knowing what the tall giant next to me was thinking. “Hello, this is Petch speaking.”

“Dear, your visa has been granted. Would you mind coming to the Uzbekistan Embassy and having dinner with me?”

“Uh… but, but, but Sasha, today I haf meeting.”

“Nevermind, I can wait, as long as you say YES to this special night.”

Isakov seemed to almost vomit due to the cheesiness.

“But…” I’m always up for free food but I’m scared that I’ll be the one eaten instead!

Do I have to devote anything else in order to have a good time with you? Don’t be mean Mr. Petch, please give me the honor of taking you out to dinner for once.”

I almost threw up and Isakov grabbed some tiger balm to inhale.

Sasha laughed at the other end of the line.

“I asked you before about how much a dinner with you costs… I’m not against paying for you Mr. Petch.”

 

 

“What a stupid romantic.” Isakov cussed while stepping on the gas pedal, trying to bypass the traffic lights before it could turn red. I hurriedly clutched my seatbelt tight, mouth trembling at the speed indicated on the console of the car. “I’m definitely reporting this to Mr. Alexander, don’t you worry.”

“Why would that hot– hua… I mean Alexey want to know about this? This is my problem.”

Isakov squinted at me with his intense green eyes.

“The reason he needs to know is none of your business but if he finds out that you aren’t waiting in your room tonight… you might be overseeing the cemetery with my ex-wife, who knows?”

“Your boss!” Intentionally making my voice stern. “Is he a civil servant or the mafia, which is it?!”

“Both.” Isakov shrugged without a care. “It depends on the situation.”

I was shocked… he’s like a Thai politician!

“You don’t want to get into trouble with my boss, actually nobody wants to get into trouble with him.” The bodyguard elaborated. “It seems that I need to tell Sasha once and for all.”

“Tell him what Mr. Isakov? Look, from everything that you’ve said understand first that I’m not your boss’ kept wife, what’s the use in trying to obstruct me like this.”

Isakov didn’t reply, making me feel exhausted for getting worked up on my own. So I conceded by sitting back against the cushioned seat with a grumpy face before smiling as I saw P’Pun’s name flash up on the screen of my phone.

“What’s up senior?” P’Pun was the only person today who made my life worth living.

“Petch, everyone’s waiting for you in the meeting room, where did you disappear off to? Don’t tell me that you’re still sleeping in your room.”

“No, no, no, no, no.” I quickly turned left and right fidgety. “I’m almost there, just two more traffic lights to go.”

“Then we’ll start without you. Oh by the way, do you mind giving me Mr. Sasha’s number again? I want to treat him to a meal as a thank you for last time.”

P’Pun.

P’Punnn.

P’Punnnnnnnnnnn.

I slapped my knee. Isakov glanced at me cautiously while I laughed, satisfied at myself… huhuhuhu.

Looks like I’ll be escaping death tonight woi!!!

Carta Visa: 7th Round

English is not my first language, suggestions welcome!

Bold: The charaters are speaking in English.


After a bruising from that hottie—my tiny heart battered on the floor of the interrogation room—I heaved my exhausted body to Mahidol University, meeting with the client who wanted her photos taken for the practice graduation ceremony. Yet, I was met with both the merciless sun and rain. Barely alive at the end of that job, I was on the verge of collapsing dead on the side of Puthamonthol road. But the last thing that kept my consciousness anchored to my body was P’Pun’s promise, tonight’s free dinner. It restored me with enough energy to drive from the campus to Rajadamnern.

“Oh, you pitiful puppy.” P’Pun poured beer into his own glass while laughing cheerfully. His other hand ruffled my hair with satisfaction as he turned to call the waiter over. “Kid! Two bottles of Singha beer.”

“Make it three! Hua!!! Actually no, call off the beer, give us some mineral water instead!”

P’Pun looked at me with shock. “Did a ghost possess you Petch!?”

“Didn’t you agree to quit drinking with me for Buddhist Lent?” I reminded him of our promise.

“When did I say that?”

Alzheimer’s really do work in favor of some people. I spent my time retelling the story to P’Pun for a total of three minutes before concluding pridefully, “And from these 348 reasons, as well as you giving your word, it is thus… waiter! give us two bottles of mineral water.”

“Would you like Thai mineral water or imported mineral water sir?”

“Any is fine as long as you don’t give us tap water.”

P’Pun muttered a curse under his breath but didn’t protest openly, his hand stuffing a bunch of fried beans into his frowning face. “Today’s been nothing but full of problems. You’re no exception too, forcibly making me keep you company by drinking mineral water. Can’t we start our drinking ban tomorrow? How about we shift it over one day for now?”

I stared at his face, not knowing what to argue back. But after staying quiet for two whole minutes, P’Pun conceded and raised his white flag.

“Okay, okay. Fine. Stop pouting. Men who pout aren’t cute Petch.”

I wasn’t pouting in the slightest, but my senior already took it to mean as such so I decided to play along. P’Pun began to make a stressed expression, he removed his glasses and folded the legs so it could hang from his shirt pocket. “Hua, you’re angry at me just because of this?”

“Nonsense.” I pretended to speak in an affected manner.

“You’re like a girl, how stubborn.”

I glared at P’Pun and snapped my face to the side as if unimpressed; this was the most pretentious and petty act I could pull off. “It’s nothing, I’m just hungry.”

P’Pun became stunned for two seconds before starting to smile again, his expression relaxing. P’Pun hurriedly handed me the menu, making conversation about this and that while simultaneously undoing his shirt buttons in order to let the cooling wind inside. What kind of man is so handsome that his every action appears pleasing to the eyes? Good grief, why didn’t my parents save up for plastic surgery on my 20th birthday like those teens in Korea? I chose a few of P’Pun’s favorite dishes to share as a form of apology; now that I think about it, we really resembled a sugar daddy and his mistress.

P’Pun nodded his head without saying anything, too preoccupied with attaching a lens to his camera. Seeing this brand new lens of his, my saliva began to drip more extensively than having piping hot food laid out it front of me.

“Is that a new lens?”

P’Pun wiggled his eyebrows playfully. “It’s shiny new, I bought it to celebrate being single.”

“You might as well close off the entire street to celebrate if you’re that happy about it.” I sarcastically remarked but then suddenly remembered, “Oh, so did you manage to meet with the prime minister through Mr. Sasha’s number which I gave you?”

The newly single man cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah, I was about to tell you the details.”

The story was that P’Pun rushed to the prime minister’s next location according to his sources. Yet, once he got on the elevator, it so happens that the device froze halfway up the building. So there he was, stuck on the elevator next to a good-looking foreigner who seemed equally in a hurry.

Hua, for real? The hotel elevator?”

“Yeah, I was shocked, you know how claustrophobic I am.”

P’Pun continued his story. Inside the elevator was really hot and the air was thin. The foreigner seeing that P’Pun didn’t look very well because of the confined space offered to fan him using the documents in his hand. If it wasn’t for this guy, P’Pun would have been done for as it took nearly half an hour before the elevator doors could open up again.

After managing to get out of the elevator, P’Pun hurriedly called the number which he had received from me. As it turns out, the owner of the number was the very same foreigner who was stuck in the elevator with him. When this fact dawned on the both of them, they couldn’t help but laugh at the coincidence. In the end, P’Pun even got to cut in line and interview the prime minister first.

“Since the moment I was born, I’ve never met such a kind foreigner before in my life.” P’Pun explained cheerfully. “With people like him on this earth, life is more worth living. So how exactly did you get to know this guy?”

Hearing this made me jealous. I wish I could have a scenario like that happen to me.

“He’s the owner of the room next to mine, number 1206.”

“You guys live in the same building?”

“Yeah. Ah, the food has arrived let’s eat.” On our table laid the following dishes, crispy pork mixed with spicy salad, sour curry, fried snake-head fish, garlic prawns and pineapple fried rice baked in a clay pot, wafting off a delicious smell which triggered a gurgling in my stomach. But I still couldn’t resist comparing my two neighbors.

“He really is kind. Everything about him is good when compared to Alexey.”

“Hm? Who’s this Alexey guy?” P’Pun made a confused face while piling a mountain of food on my plate. “Come, eat more so you can keep growing.”

“He’s the menacing guy whose apartment door you broke.”

P’Pun’s expression turned sheepish, making me feel guilty for bringing up this topic. “Uh… senior… I…”

“How much for the repairs? Is it over fifty-thousand baht?”

I raised up two shaky fingers as a confirmation that it was around twenty-thousand baht.

“Is that mafioso charging for any other extra damages?”

I hiccupped. “Nuh… no. Just twenty-four thousand.”

Hua, there’s no extra charges? How curious. This means that even the Thai police can extort money better than the mafia.”

(TN: Thai police regularly pull over drivers for speeding; regardless of whether the accusation is true or not. In this moment you are given two choices, to accept the speeding ticket and fine that comes along with it OR give the police officer some ‘hush money’, the less expensive option. Naturally, people lean towards the latter. Thus, the police get a bit of ‘snack money’ for simply pulling people over, an easy way of extorting cash. This is illegal in many countries, but hey we’re pretty high on the corruption index.)

The logic behind his statement was faulty but I found myself oddly in agreement.

“Anyways, if that’s the case then what a relief. Tell him for me that I’ll take full responsibility. I’ll entrust the money to you okay Petch? I really don’t want to see that guy’s face.”

“You say it as if I want to see his face.” Despite making a sullen expression I was happily chewing food in my two puffy cheeks. “Do it yourself P’Pun, that guy won’t talk to me, he only talks to good-looking people.” I raised him this bullshit reason with a straight face. Naturally, the naive P’Pun fell for my words entirely.

P’Pun furrowed his eyebrows. “What do you mean?”

“I meant just what I said.” (Although it wasn’t true.)

“Come on, I’ll even tip you three-thousand baht for the delivery.”

Hua, I’m not someone you can buy with money.”

“You’re treating me to this meal instead then. I’ll start ordering the expensive stuff like  Alaska crab.”

“What? This is clearly breaking our promise.”

P’Pun shook his head exasperatedly. “You make me feel as if I’m raising two toddlers who speak absolute nonsense. I’ll go take out the cash later and leave the rest in your hands Petch.”

Hoi… P’Pun.” I protested weakly. Doing this was blatantly kicking a pig (me) into the mouth of a dog (that hottie).

(TN: Kicking a pig into the mouth of a dog – An idiom meaning, to unintentionally give others a benefit.)

To conclude, although my stomach ended up round and full, I heaved my heavy heart—as if weighed down by lead—back to the condo. P’Pun stuffed twenty-five thousand baht in my hands while dangling an offer that if I quickly finished this delivery, I would get to borrow his brand new lens.

Money cannot buy Petch, but lens… sure can.

This truly was an offer that I couldn’t reject… god dammit.

 

 

I debated to myself for quite some time before making the decision to knock on the door of apartment 1202 belonging to none other than my nemesis Alexey (I gave him this title on my on accord). The person who opened the door was a scary-looking masculine man who I came to know later as Isakov.

“State your business.”

“I have something to talk to Alexey about.”

“It’s late.”

You’re telling me that it’s late? Does this vain man require his beauty sleep? If so, explain that cigarette in your hand.

There was a sound from the back and the door opened further. I hesitated, but then my interest piqued when I saw the hottie standing behind the door bare-chested, showing off his well-defined figure and stunning set of muscles that made me stare unintentionally.

“Oh it’s you. Come in.”

“Is that a wholehearted invitation?” My mouth shot ahead.

Alexey side-eyed me. “Close the door behind you.”

I followed him into the room. From just one step over the frame of the door I felt transported to another world. It was like my first experience of visiting a rich person’s house during my career in social news. Although we lived in the same condo, his room was beautifully decorated and without a single speck of dust.

Alexey’s room was twice as large as mine. It also had the benefit of being a corner room as it offered an expansive view of the outside cityscape. The furniture was sparse and either navy blue, grey or black in color. Along the walls were wooden carvings which should not have complemented the European leather furniture but oddly enough they went well together. Altogether it transformed the image of the room’s owner from a crude mafioso into a Russian man with classic tastes.

“What are you looking at?”

The tone of his voice was stiff, unknown as to whether this was due to anger or simply his natural state of being. I couldn’t read his emotions very well so I jutted out my bottom lip and refused to answer instead. I also refused the beer that was handed to me.

“I’m not drinking, no thanks.”

Alexey dragged out a cushioned chair for me, while he himself sat on the sofa littered with several books. It looks as if I interrupted his reading.

“Has the door been fixed?” I decided to bring up the issue first. Alexey nodded and emptied the rest of the beer into his mouth. I sat body frozen, not fidgeting in the slightest as I felt that my life was on the line. Especially that scary tattoo on his back, from just looking at it I’m afraid that he might really be the mafia.

Alexey likely noticed the fear in my eyes so he opened the closet, finding a round collar T-shirt to wear. “Can you quit making that face now?”

I nodded, able to breathe a bit better and then remembered the purpose of my visit.

“Um… my friend wanted to tell you that he’s sorry and that this is the money for the door repairs. He’s currently busy but promised to come apologise on his own at some later date.” That last sentence wasn’t actually said by P’Pun, it’s just me making things up on the go.

The hottie stared at me, his eyes reflecting neither happiness or anger. He pointed at the faraway luxurious 44-inch plasma television. “The bill is there, might as well go and pay for it yourself.”

I followed the hand and walked over to collect it, wondering to myself whether this guy lacks so much kindness that he can’t even be bothered to get it for me. However, my eyes tripped over a picture frame which sat hidden away, as if intentionally placed out of anyone’s sight behind the television. With a glance I recalled that it was a photo from Jessica’s wedding, but I wasn’t entirely certain. I reached behind to pick up the frame and place it back properly but was reprimanded with a loud shout which caused my whole body to flinch, turning around to face the owner of the room with shock.

It looks as if Alexey himself was shocked too, hurriedly leading me away from the television.

“It’s nothing.”

“…” What is up with you, and why did you have to shout at me?

“Such troublesome hands.” This scolding was oddly cute. He looked at me and furrowed his eyebrows. “What have you been doing? Why is your body hot?”

(TN: Troublesome hands – A saying used to lightly scold restless children.)

I tilted my head, resting a hand on my forehead to check the temperature before Alexey placed his own large hands in the nook of my neck and on my arm.

“Come on, stay still. I won’t break you arm– You’re not well, your body is really hot.”

“Oh yeah, it really is hot.” As soon as he brought this up, I felt floaty, light, and dizzy all at once. But Alexey was way too close to me, I think I might faint first from his handsome looks. So I backed away and stilled, waiting to see what would happen next.

He stared at me weirdly, however it was cute at the same time when this large stunningly handsome man with a back full of tattoos went to search his cupboard for a thermometer–the disposable kind–and stuffed it into my mouth. He shook the thermometer and muttered.

“38.8 degrees. Tonight, you’d better stay here.”

Hm, the fever was really high.

He then found some paracetamol for me, along with a small bottle of mineral water. Seeing that I had finished taking the medicine, he took out an icepack which was chilling in the freezer and wrapped it in a small piece of cloth before handing it to me. “It’s better to stay here tonight. You have an extremely high fever, it’s not good to be on your own.”

Despite berating me this afternoon his mood now turned around completely. That sentence a moment ago was the kindest words this guy has ever said to me. Hearing it made me want to stay here according to his suggestion but my room was only next door. It’s better not to intrude.

“No need. I’ll go ahead and pay for the door repair costs then.” I waved the green slip, feeling relieved on one level that I won’t have to argue with Alexey.

“Are you sure?”

Yeah, I’m not going to indulge myself in a sleepover with a handsome man.

“Well…” The hottie seemed reluctant. “Get well soon.”

If Alexey wasn’t the person who nailed and bailed, devoured me and threw me away, dropped me and flipped my world upside-down… I would have kissed him two or three times as a reward for being unexpectedly cute.

 

 

Oh no, where did my keycard go…

I forgot entirely about my fever when I discovered that my keycard wasn’t in it’s usual place. I searched all my pockets, in every nook and cranny (except for my underwear) but could not find it. My happiness which was gained moments ago fell into a deep dark pit once more.

Or did I leave it in the room… this was highly probable. But to knock on that hottie’s door and demand for my keycard back again… will he bite my head off?

“Mr. Petch, Mr. Petch… you don’t look well… is something wrong?”

An oldfashioned way of speaking Thai sounded from behind. I flinched, before having to smile back at Sasha who was beaming, complete with a golden sparkly aura which made my eyes blurry. The words ‘golden retriever’ echoed inside my head; it looks as if I’ve been hypnotized by Alexey. The tall large figure walked closer, using the back of his hand to touch my forehead.

“Are you sick? Your face is all red.”

The large hand rested on my neck, then my cheek. I was embarrassed, cheeks on the verge of exploding as I hurriedly removed his hand before someone walking by could see and think that we were acting out ‘Love of Phetchaburi’.

(TN: Love of Phetchaburi – Reference to the film ‘Love of Siam’ which is parodied to ‘Phetchaburi’ because that’s where Petch and Sasha live. It’s an extremely famous film in Thailand featuring a gay relationship between the two main characters. Shockingly, the PR leading up to its release promoted the film as a regular heterosexual romance flick… boy did audiences get quite a surprise. It’s a really sweet and beautiful film despite being pretty dated ;_;)

“No… no I’m ah… ah… I can’t get into my room… I think I forgot my keycard in the room of A…” I almost let loose that final word, hitting the brakes just in time.

“Oh dear, you poor boy.” Sasha exclaimed with sympathy, dragging me into his room and was gearing to stuff some paracetamol in my mouth. I hurriedly stopped him, fearing that I’d die from paracetamol overdose first.

Not knowing whether he understood me or not, at least he was willing to put away the medicine. Yet, Sasha looked ready to carry me to his bed. It caused a thrilling feeling which made me think to separate myself from this guy as fast as possible.

“Should I call the downstairs manager and ask them for a back up key Mr. Petch?”

He topped his words off with a small smile and a wink. My heart which was bruised and heavy for several days melted into a puddle on the carpet.  “Thank you so much.”

“But next time you can’t refuse a dinner with me.” Hearing this sentence made me want to faint. “Even if Alexey threatens to tear you into pieces.”

“Are you not concerned for my wellbeing?” I whined weakly.

Sasha smiled cheerfully but refused to answer, disappearing out of the room shortly before returning with the building manager’s keycard. “I’ve got the card, do you want me to go in and help you look for yours?”

I felt extremely dizzy, not knowing whether the paracetamol that Alexey gave me was pain relief medicine or actually rat poison. I staggered after Sasha before crashing onto the bed, the large man closing in to support my body. I moved away, but not because of his touch. Rather, I couldn’t find a comfortable sleeping position. At a short distance in front of me was Sasha’s face. His blue eyes, golden hair and gentle expression reminded me of a prince from a fairytale.

“Sleep properly, you’ll have a sore neck if you sleep like this.”

I had no idea how to answer him. To act devastatingly sick with a red face and bleary red eyes was too much so I simply nodded and wrapped myself up in the blanket as if to say, ‘do whatever you want, just close the door for me’.

The heavy footsteps of the athletic man walked around to survey the room. I used the corner of my eyes to watch him, seeing him open the box of crackers and closing them, the box of instant noodles… the rice bucket… the refrigerator. I really wanted to ask him if he thought I was crazy enough to accidentally leave my key card in the refrigerator, seriously.

“Hmm… there’s no sign of it at all Mr. Petch.”

“That’s alright. It’ll come to me eventually.” I pushed myself up to sit. My body felt warm like a rice cooker, sweat soaking both of my hands.

“Ah… Mr. Petch… are you going to Uzbekistan?” The excitement in his voice made me curious. The kind large man grabbed and held up the travel booklet that was clipped with my visa application form. I began to feel slightly embarrassed but the evidence was right there so I admitted that I desperately wanted to go travel in Central Asia.

I made an embarrassed face (to confirm, I wasn’t trying to act cute) and shyly scratched my head (I’m not trying to entice him but my cheeks were naturally red) “I was planning on going to apply for a visa but haven’t had the chance yet, there’s been a lot of trouble lately.” Not able to resist pulling the hottie next door down with me.

The handsome and kind-hearted man in front of me beamed a smile. “Do you have all the necessary documents? I can hand it to the embassy staff for you, there’s no need to waste time by going in person, especially when you’re sick. You should sleep and rest more.”

Hearing this made me feel touched to the very core! I felt like my fever instantly dropped another three degrees! I wanted be a well-mannered gentlemen and tell him that I didn’t want to bother him, that I’ll go by myself, but my troublesome mouth had already stretched into a wide smile.

“Th-thank you.”

“I’ll go deal with the application for you then, as for the keycard… I pray that you find it soon. But if you still can’t find it, I’ll happily share half of my bed with you Mr. Petch.” Hearing this was refreshing, my heart almost melted into a puddle on the bed. I couldn’t help but think that this man was so goddamned cute… but why is my right eye twitching again?

Sasha digged out his name card, scribbled something on the back and handed it to me. His large figure sat down on the edge of the bed, using his hand to brush away the hair falling on my forehead gently.

“Um…?”

“Good night, sweet dreams Mr. Petch.”

The warm lips touched my forehead lightly. I was stunned with surprise when I stared deep into his blue eyes which were clear like marbles, kindness, playfulness, gentleness and concern… feeling a bad premonition about this, my body out of natural reflex leaned away from the attack which barely grazed my left cheek!

My right eye was twitching rapidly like a shrimp dropped in boiling water and I wanted to scream out loudly, ‘What golden retriever? You lie!’.

This is clearly a wolf in the skin of a golden retriever!

Carta Visa: 6th Round

I’ve made some major changes due to suggestions from a kind user. Unless you’ve gone back to read chapter 3 recently, Elder Brother Pun has now been changed to P’Pun.

P’ is the Thai honorific used to refer to a senior, the equivalent of senpai. Pronounced ‘Phee’ with a soft P sound rather than an F. This way the sentences flows better.

English is not my first language, suggestions welcome!

Bold: The characters are speaking in English.


“Take responsibility for what you’ve done to my BMW. Or else… I will kill you.

These words lingered in my thoughts. Unable to shake them away, I hastily got out of bed despite the feeling of sharp pain in every step I took. But the fact that my life was in danger was a more pressing issue than my sore hips. Glancing at the clock, I would be late if I stalled any longer. To tell you the truth, I had no clue why I had to be so afraid of Alexey. Yet, when I think to his menacing eyes, his full back tattoo, not to mention how he said in a half-joking, half-serious manner that he was actually the mafia made me uneasy.

Getting up, I leaned against the wall with my hand, feeling my way to the bathroom like a blind person. The reason for this is because… my heart was in shock!! There were traces of blood on my mattress and blanket, not to mention it was mixed with something white and sticky which hadn’t yet dried. Turning back to look at this scene, I felt my cheeks grow hot as if someone took a clothes iron to my face. Certainly that blood isn’t the blood of a chicken or duck which was butchered as an offering to some deity, but rather the result of ‘something’ which needs no recapping. This life, the next life, and the life after next… there is no way I could forget.

How could I ever forget when it was that sexy…that passionate… If it were an erotic film, the audience would all be experiencing severe nosebleeds! And for the love of god, why was I on the receiving end?

My phone rang and I hurriedly reached for it. A string of Russian spewed out of the speaker without any indication of pausing to take a breath. I listened but was stunned. “Ha-ha-hallo… soree miss– I don’t understand.”

“Mr. Alexander Nazarbayev told me to meet you.” The lady on the other end of the line switched to English immediately. “He told me that you were having trouble with the documents for your visa application. I’m currently waiting in the lobby of the condomiunium, I can only spare you fifteen minutes.”

I was stunned for another two seconds by the manner of speaking which was forceful and threatening, likewise to a certain someone else. “Ah… I…”

“Mr. Phachara come down in five minutes or forget about your visa. Your decision.”

Is your mom a military instructor? Talk about brutal. But this was my last opportunity so I hurriedly grabbed it. “Yes, yes, yes, I’m coming downstairs right this moment. I’ll be there in three minutes even, feel free time me.” I quickly ended the call and began to run, hips protesting with a sharp pain to the point where my tears started to fall. But I’m not giving up woi! I’ll fight for my life to get this visa! And when I have it in my hands I’ll step on that hottie’s face and give him a crooked nose, just you wait!

 

 

Madam Yelena left, leaving my unconscious body still in shock on the lobby sofa.

‘None of your documents are sorted…’ She said. ‘…You’re missing important papers too, no wonder Alexey was frustrated.’

‘Alexey? Frustrated?’ I asked, voice weak.

‘Actually, frustrated is an understatement…’ Madam Yelena supplied in an indifferent tone, her eyes assessing me from head to toe. I couldn’t help but smile dryly. Yet I was more curious as to how that guy knew that it was me who vandalized his BMW. I made sure to survey the surrounding area multiple times, seeing if there were any security cameras or paparazzis around. Or were his policemen/bodyguards hiding nearby hoping to catch me red-handed? Regardless of how much I pondered it over, I was unable to come up with a sound explanation. Alexey is probably livid right now…

‘But I’m curious. Visa applications are not in Alexey’s line of responsibility and yet he ended up calling me’. Her large green eyes glared at me ferociously, making my already deflated heart drop out of my chest. ‘In any case, I’ll get my secretary to follow-up on the invitation letter. She will be contacting you later.’ That said, she reached for her Marc Jacobs leather bag and slung it over her shoulder.

‘Wait, wait, wait, but nobody is inviting me. I’m going by myself.’

Madam Yelena paused before looking at me with pity. ‘There is no chance of entering Kazakhstan unless you have an invitation letter. Although Alexey could ask the ambassador to process a visa specifically for you, if any problem should arise then he will be the one to bear responsibility. I doubt that Alexey is that stupid. Hopefully you can sympathize. Instead, my secretary will sort it out for you.’

I was shocked.

He’s arrogant!

That hottie is too arrogant! I’m going to have a word with him the next time we meet. Does he think that I’m going digging for uranium and oil in his backyard or something? And even if I was planning to for real, wouldn’t I contract cancer before getting my hands on said uranium? Digging for uranium isn’t as easy as ‘digging your own grave’ you know.

‘Please be on standby to pick up the call Mr. Petch.’

I thanked Madam Yelena two to three more times complete with a pair of imploring eyes; somebody please save me. She nodded her head in farewell and walked away, trailing behind the ‘tok tok’ sound of her stiletto heels as it hit the shiny polished floor.

What to do… Should I change my plans from Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-Kirghistan to Russia-Uzbekistan-and the Tran-Siberian Network instead?

And what if I’m forced by that hottie to cover the costs of the paint job? I’ll really become penniless, my vacation thrown out the window too. To lose my virginity but also my wallet to a single man, I can’t let that happen!

Turning left and right, I couldn’t think properly so I called P’Pun instead. As it happens, he was with his girlfriend NuDaeng… but they were in the middle of an argument. “Hey, what’s up Petch?”

I smiled dryly. “It’s a long story P’Pun.”

“If it’s long then tell me the short version– NuDaeng can you give ten minutes to deal with this call?”

Hua, P’Pun resolve your problem with NuDaeng first, my issue can wait, it’s not a big one.” Actually it’s kind of big. But to say that it is small, that is also partly true. Now that I mention it, I wonder which is more pressing? My loss of virginity or the cost of the car paint job; that hottie is definitely going to suck my blood dry.

NuDaeng’s voice traveled through the phone. “P’Pun, our conversation isn’t finished yet, is talking to P’Petch more important than me? It’s been like this so many times already, I can’t stand it any longer.”

“It’s not just Petch, NuDaeng!  Be it work, eating, travelling, or the editor, all of these things are more important if you don’t quit being so selfish.”

I rubbed my nose, P’Pun really is too much. When it comes to being impatient, no one else can compare. “I’ll call you back later.”

So here I was, sitting and taking in deep breaths. This was my problem so I should be the one to fix it.

 

 

P’Pun called me back fifteen minutes later, his voice exhausted. “Sorry about earlier Petch.”

Hua, it’s alright, I managed to solve my problem already.” I replied while ruffling my hair with a towel, it was almost dry. My mouth held onto a slice of toast as I pressed the power button on the T.V. remote. Once my hair was dry, I grabbed the shirt which was hanging in my closet to wear. Don’t even think to scrunch your nose because something smells off.  One advantage that I had over the typical unruly photographer was that I was not as filthy. I wash and iron my own clothes. Not to brag but they’re extremely clean too. ‘Breeze Excel’ when are you going to sponsor me? (TN: Thai washing detergent guaranteed to wash stains dating back to your grandma’s decade)

Before becoming a freelancer, I worked as a journalist covering politics for nearly two years. However, my editor at the time saw that I was unsuitable for the job. She said that I was clueless, often falling behind others. To be a journalist in the field of politics one must excel at speaking with a ‘hidden meaning’, as well as have connections to those in the government. In spite of it all, this career did make me pick up one good habit. As I had regular contact with high profile figures, and given that I cared about my looks and enjoyed fashion to some extent, I became the only person who dressed presentably among my colleagues in the same profession.

(TN: Speaking with a hidden meaning – Thailand is underpinned by the Lèse-majesté law as such journalists are required to ‘talk around’ sensitive subjects.)

After not experiencing any success in the field of politics, I was redirected to work in social news with a fellow senior reporter. This was especially nice. Although I had to juggle several tasks at once, the work wasn’t particularly hard; girls love getting their photos taken after all. My seniors even teased me about how some celebrities normally regarded as ‘rarely smiling tigers’ agreed to all my requests without fuss.

Luck was on my side when I became acquainted to a certain editor from a famous high-end fashion magazine. As such, I transferred from being a social news photographer to being a fashion photographer. I gradually became more well-known after taking photos for some famous names, be it stars or highly professional models. Whoever was popular at the time, I also accrued a portion of their fame. Work was busy to the point where my mother asked whether I was renting an apartment for a ghost settle down in.

Yet, it was still curious that over the course of this past year and a half since fortunately landing this job, I had not once been invited overseas for work.

Nonetheless, life has its ups and downs. Having to travel here and there as part of my job made me yearn for a stable workplace. I was becoming slightly mental due to the perpetual fear of waking up late for work. My health was also deteriorating due to alcohol. After finishing a night out with one group, I would repeat this process the next day with a different group. However, a turning point occurred recently when I was hired as a photographer for a foreign male model. He was the lover of a well-known celebrity, but given his age he could have been her son. Recalling that night, me and him (I can’t remember his name) went drinking just the two of us. I glugged down white wine, glass after glass till I was extremely drunk. With no idea of how I returned back to the hotel, I could only remember sleeping uncomfortably due to a bear-buffalo creature lying on top of my body all night long. I woke up later to discover that there was trouble at the set. The forty-year old lady had gone on a rampage, hitting and slapping her young lover, in turn causing a huge ruckus. She pointed at me all of sudden and started to curse viciously, voice peaking at 180 decibels as she accused me of stealing and eating up her ‘kid’. Only a small amount of my ego remained intact. Although I felt resentful, I was forced to endure it. Getting more involved with this lady would only mean further loss of my reputation, as well as being officially branded as a foreigner stealer. Sorry but I don’t really like eating ‘foreigners’. They don’t taste good, especially the one I had last night, that was particularly horrible.

(TN: Eating ‘Foreigners’ – The Thai word ‘Farang’ has double meaning, it can refer to either a foreigner or the Guava fruit.)

After losing to alcohol, losing my job, losing friendships and losing money in that fiasco… I decided to ‘revolutionize’ myself, this being to only accept jobs which required no significant human interaction.

It was at this moment in which the same editor offered me a hand once more. I was entrusted to the oh-so-hardcore editor Chid from a separate major publishing house as a freelance photographer regularly dealing with columns about food, drinks, shopping and travel for nearly ten other magazines. He then entrusted me to P’Pun who would initially help organize my work schedule. In a way, P’Pun was also placed in my care, I aided him during the times when he started to lose his mind.

Although we worked in different fields, we became very close. It was to the point where several people often asked whether I was secretly P’Pun’s mistress. And why do I have to be the mistress? Does no one ever assume that I might be the sugar daddy? Who the hell knows. My figure may not be cut out for the role but my heart is all for it.

Fortunately, during this period I had amassed quite a sum of money and therefore wasn’t in any difficult position. Yet I swore to myself then and there that… that what? Have a guess? That I would quit drinking? Ho, I’m not ‘that’ brave. You shouldn’t judge me so highly.

I just… quit drinking the cheap knockoffs. From now on I’ll only drink brand-name alcohols! Hu hu hu.

“Hey Petch, are you going anywhere today?”

I answered P’Pun that I was going to go to the embassy, then during the afternoon I had photography work at a practice graduation ceremony for a certain billionaire’s daughter. For the cost of half a day’s work, ten-thousand or so baht was more than worth it for a freelancer like me.

“Is that so? Uh, nevermind then. I was initially going to invite you out for a drink.”

Uuk!! From just that one word, last night’s incident returned to my thoughts in disconnected scenes, especially the moment in which xxxx– Ugh I don’t want to describe, it’s embarrassing.

“P’Pun, I can’t drink right now, it’s Buddhist Lent.” I’ll truly have to refrain from alcohol this time. Although it might be a little late, it’s better than having P’Pun follow after that hottie’s footsteps. I rather not have two husbands thank you very much, this isn’t something to joke about. Thinking about it makes me depressed. If that hottie’s key card console stays broken for any longer, he’ll be setting up camp in my room indefinitely. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Men who develop a taste for other men know well that if it happens once, it is bound to happen again. That said, how is he going to make me pay for his car? I’m scared to find out. Just imagining the possibilities is giving me goosebumps.

“What the hell Petch, weren’t you drunk just the other day at Thonglor?” P’Pun trapped me with his words, his voice was weirdly strained. “Just go… celebrate with me for becoming single.”

Hua!!!” I shouted by accident. “You must be kidding!”

“I’m as single as I can ever be. It’s time to celebrate.”

“Weren’t you dating NuDaeng for over two years? How come you broke it off with her so easily?”

“Who’s this NuDaeng person? I don’t know them.”

P’Pun was overcome with Alzheimer’s all of a sudden. I scratched my head, eyes glancing at the time. I had an hour, hopefully I’ll make it in time. That hottie is waiting for me…

“I can’t drink but I can accompany you to dinner, are you interested? How about Phra Nakorn Bar around Rajadamnern?”

“…Mmm, I’m interested. I’m interested but I have to go catch an interview with the prime minister first. I tried calling the Uzbek embassy but no one was willing to cooperate. They’re so reluctant, it’s not as if I’m asking for a free plane ticket you know?”

I laughed ‘ha ha’, but then thought of how if it was the handsome and kind Sasha, he definitely wouldn’t reject P’Pun’s request. “I have something good to give you, are you interested?  It’ll guarantee you an interview with the prime minister, but before that I need you to promise me two things.”

“Tell me.”

“Number one, you have to quit drinking with me until Buddhist Lent ends.” Going on strike by yourself is difficult, a friend is needed in order to share the suffering and achieve the end goal. “Number two, please treat me to free food at Phra Nakorn Bar tonight senior~”

P’Pun stilled before beginning to complain as if a bus ran over his foot. Regardless, he then let out a long sigh. “Okay okay, if it was somebody other than you I would have kicked them off their high horse already.”

“See you at 8pm senior~”

“Okay so how about that number, who am I calling?”

“Thank you~❤️️❤️️❤️️” I grinned…hu hu hu…although that hottie may force me to pay for the car paint job, I’m getting a free dinner tonight. I survived another day woi!

“I’ll think of it as charity work for the stray dogs and cats then.” P’Pun interjected languidly. “Stop playing around and give me the number already you cheeky pup.”

Aow… I’m reconsidering to hand you the number of a certain (alpha) dog hottie instead.

 

 

Thump thump… thump thump… the fifth floor.

Thump thump thump… thump thump thump… the eighth floor.

Thump thump thump thump thump thump thump thump thump… the fourteenth floor.

The elevator doors opened up to a large 1.5 meter walkway covered by a red carpet stretching out in front of me towards hell– Hua! I mean towards the hottie’s embassy. My heart pulsed violently as if ready to burst out of my chest.

‘Take responsibility for what you’ve done to my BMW. Or else… I will kill you.

The closer I got, the more unnerved I became. I felt the traces of an oncoming stomach ache. Why is it that every time I visit this embassy, I feel dizzy like I’m about to faint.

Today was Wednesday, the visa section was open and there were several people waiting as usual. Every one of them looked defeated. The same frustrated tomboy girl was here along with the short Japanese man. The beautiful Vietnamese-looking girl was clinging to the arm of her European lover while speaking in a flirty manner. I licked my parched lips. Why does my heart feel so heavy despite not having done anything wrong?

I passed by the glass partition which had an extremely Russian-looking guy fussing over the person applying for a visa. Behind was a tall lady with golden hair, arms crossed and sipping at her coffee while making small conversation. I looked at my wristwatch. When do I go in? Also, should I apologize to that hottie? What do I do?

‘Knock knock knock’. Suddenly, the person behind the glass partition tapped on its surface and waved me over amidst the confused eyes of ten other people queuing in line. “Are you calling me?”

The man behind the counter beckoned with his finger. “Mr. Phachara, come in.”

The automatic lock unbolted and I waddled into the glass room anxiously (I feel like a penguin). The staff behind the counter pointed to a particular door. “Wait in the room over there.”

I lurched my head, peering into the room. The lights were dim and the entire room had nothing except for a long rectangular table, two chairs and a hanging lamp. The glass slot on the door had a metal sheet which you could slide open and close. This was clearly an interrogation room. I swiveled back to question the man with my eyes but he simply nodded back as if there wasn’t anything wrong with this situation. “Alexander will arrive in ten minutes… Ah… he’s finished with the meeting.”

I followed the man’s line of sight, incidentally making eye contact with a pair of cold grey eyes. Alexey made an upset face and stared pointedly at the entrance of the room which was wide open. I hurriedly backed into the room and awaited my execution.

Is this hottie going to kill me? Butcher me alive? Oh father… mother… Eh!? I paused. Is God punishing me for not having paid the overdue one hundred boiled eggs and two packets of instant noodles?

The large figure stepped into the room and silently pulled the door shut. Sliding the metal sheet over the transparent window of the door, he then dragged a chair to sit opposite me. The chair which scraped against the floor made a screeching sound. It increasingly felt like I was being accused for murder.

“Was it fun?”

The tone was serious and frigid, making me waver. My heart dropped and fell to the floor, nearly unable to pick it back up in time. Come on Petch, what to do…

Alexey slammed against the table with a resounding bang. “Answer me!”

I flinched with every fiber of my body and sat up straight. My heart which was gathered up from the floor moments ago tumbled away somewhere again. I was terrified.

“Do you any idea what you’ve done? Why are you silent, answer me!!”

“I didn’t do anything!!” Forcing me to speak… fine I’ll speak. But it looks as if this was more like adding fuel to the fire. Alexey was on the verge of climbing over the table and breaking my neck. I retreated back up to the wall, assuming a guarding stance in the same style as Somjit during the match which won him a gold medal at the Olympics. “Don’t start accusing me so carelessly.”

(TN: Somjit Jongjohor – Thai professional boxer who won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics)

Alexey flung the chair, the object hitting the wall with a loud crash. He then proceeded to remove his suit jacket, loosen his necktie, and adjust his shirt collar slightly… I began to hallucinate and see him as an opponent boxer. If this guy was wearing boxing gloves, I would have already pissed myself due to fright.

“Don’t come any closer. Don’t come closer than a meter of me woi.

The pair of cold grey eyes flashed immense fury. “What are you going to do about it? File a lawsuit? Do you even have enough money to hire a lawyer?”

Look at him! I’m already scared to death of getting my neck broken. “What evidence do you have to suggest that I was the perpetrator? I already told you that I know nothing about the car marks.”

“If I ever decide to trust you, I might as well go raise water buffaloes instead.” (TN: Water buffaloes – The ‘unofficial’ national animal of Thailand, widely used to insult someone as an idiot.)

This foreigner’s mouth was truly feisty. To add, the more afraid I became, the more he assumed a bloodthirsty aura. I lowered my guard and made a solemn face. “Does your car not have insurance? Why don’t you let them pay for it?”

“The issue isn’t about the payment but how this morning I had important business with a certain figure… except what idiotic thing did you do, ha!?”

“Bring me the security camera recording, if I was really the person who ruined your car I promise to take full responsibility.” I challenged him. When I was marking his car I made sure to look left and right so that I wasn’t in the vicinity of any security cameras; if not, then who would be brave enough to do such a daring act?

The hottie yanked my shirt collar and my body floated in midair. I shut my eyes tight and struggled desperately. “Let me go, let me go! If you don’t I’m suing you for physical abuse, sending death threats–what else–doing obscene things with another man, stealing my virginity and nailing and bailing.”

“What are you raving on about, I’m the one who should sue you for drawing a lame-ass caterpillar on my BMW.”

Hmph! This hottie has eyes but he lacks appreciation for art. I glared in retaliation, this is clearly a direct insult.

“Like hell is it a caterpillar, it’s a crocodile!”

Alexey paused, then bared his fangs with a deep voice. “There it is. If it’s not you then who would know whether it’s a caterpillar or a crocodile?”

“Okay fine, I admit that I was the one who did it, but is that a problem!? I even put a caption on the bottom and yet you still read it as ‘caterpillar’. It’s also your own bad luck that you had to go meet the ambassador!” I wrenched his hand away, placed a hand on my hip and continued rambling. “You’re annoying and I hate your face so I felt like doing it, is that so wrong?”

“What kind of crocodile…”

“It’s a cock-co-die. Did your grade 4 teacher back home not teach you? In English, ‘crocodile’ translates to COCK-CO-DIE, remember it well Alexey.”

“How did you even graduate from preschool? What country spells it like that?”

“I guess there are no crocodiles in Kazakh, that’s why you thought it was a caterpillar. As expected of an underdeveloped nation.”

Alexey raised his hand as if to slap me for being impudent but I hastily reached for the chair, using it as self-defense. In that moment I had no idea where I mustered the strength from, raising the chair above my head and proceeding to run away. “Stop Petch, or else you’re going to get it.”

“Try it if you can, I’m going to sue you as well! What kind of pervert tricks a drunk guy into getting fucked!” And then the game of tag around the table began. When Alexey moved left, I moved to the right. When Alexey moved right, I moved in the opposite direction. He made it seem as if he was about to climb on top of the table. I raised my chair up to intimidate him. If this guy actually tries to traverse over the length of the table, I swear I’m going to dent his face with my chair. It was tiring, having to run around while heaving along a chair. Certainly it wasn’t as light as carrying an Olympics torch. Yet I wasn’t going to give up here.

After ten minutes passed, I made an offer. “Give me my visa first, then we can talk about the rest.”

“Visa?” Alexey laughed in his throat. “You must be crazy.”

“I’m here to see you about the visa, not about the car. If you want reparations that badly then go ahead, sue and demand for it yourself!” I finally set the chair down. Panting heavily and drenched in sweat, I squat down to the floor with exhaustion. God help me, being hired to stalk a Korean idol wasn’t even as exhausting as this.

“Do you admit now that you’re the one who put those marks on my car?”

“Yeah.”

“If I filed a lawsuit do you have the money to hire a defense lawyer?”

“No, I already spent the remaining amount on my plane ticket.”

The hottie made a disgusted face, scrunching his nose up as if he could detect the smell of poverty.

“I really don’t understand why you have to act rebellious all the time Petch. Since meeting you three days ago there’s been nothing but trouble.”

“Maybe its time to cleanse yourself of sin by making some temple offerings because this is the most well-mannered I can possibly be.”

The pair of grey eyes looked down at me disrespectfully. I wanted to to slap his handsome face with my size forty-three shoe a few times.

“Who do you think you’re talking to Petch.” The large figure turned to look at me head-on, lips stretching out into a mischievous smile. “Are you sure of your words? I’ll give you an opportunity to take it back.”

I turned my face upwards as if to challenge him. What does he dare to do to me?

“Whoever you are isn’t important to my life, I will always be and act like this. I. Won’t. Take. My. Words. Back.”

“It seems that you really don’t remember. Even though I moved to Bangkok solely because of you…there were several eye witnesses as well…but if you don’t remember that’s also good. This way I can punish you easily.”

With my guard carelessly down, my body was yanked forward, lips meeting his in a kiss which tasted rough and angry; on the verge of making me melt.

“This is how you will learn your lesson for acting like a fool, remember it well.”

The owner of the kiss slammed the door shut with a bang, leaving behind only me, standing ‘confused like a broken-eyed chicken’.

(TN: Confused like a broken-eyed chicken – An idiom referring to Thailand’s favorite pasttime: Cockfighting. Chickens use the claws on their feet to attack their opponent. If these claws happen to damage the opponent’s eye, it causes them to become dumbfounded and confused, hence the origin of this saying.)


Edit 1: Revised the final section. The online raws diverted from the actual book in the end of this chapter. I’ve gone back and fixed the translations so it now matches the ‘official’ book version.

Carta Visa: 5th Round

English is not my first language, corrections welcome!

Bold: The characters are speaking English.


The dinner tonight was romantic, more so than anything a guy in his late-twenties like me, Phachara, could ever ask for. Looking out into the distance at the city of Bangkok beneath clear skies, the sound of the gales outside my window greeted me…

Lets stop… this is getting delusional. They say escaping to the world of dreams marks the first sign of mental illness after all. I turn back to bitterly face reality as the words of the sexy grey-eyed foreigner in front of me harshly assaulted my feelings.

“Petch, why are you even pathetic at making instant noodles?”

Hu~~~ why must you hurt my tiny, battered and bruised heart like this? What did I do wrong? I made it to this best of my ability na. Teared the packet open, poured in boiling water, fried the garlic, black pepper, pork, chicken, two eggs, minced the celery and onion, a little more black pepper and a bit of oyster sauce to finish. What did I do wrong, isn’t this delicious?

The hottie stared at me and then sighed. “Is this survival food all you’ve been eating for your entire life, hm?”

“You have no right to call it survival food. Look closely, my instant noodles has all the necessary nutrients from the five food groups. There’s a high amount vitamin A, B, C, D, E, F, G, etcetera to rival eating one capsule of Centrum and a Scotch bird’s nest woi!” (TN: Thai health supplements)

Pelting him with words it seems as if this hottie was significantly confused, evidenced by the puzzled face. Well, well, it looks like I’ve seen through your weakness. This guy doesn’t know his vitamins! I wiggled my eyebrows and placed a hand on my hip to show who held the upper hand. “You didn’t know before did you? The beneficial qualities of my instant noodles.”

“Isn’t it long since past your growth spurt Petch?”

“You’ve got it wrong, eating healthy is good for nurturing the brain.”

“I see, that means your brain hasn’t fully developed then.” Why does he have that glint in his eye again. Does a conversation about health and well-being through my fantastic instant noodle recipe demand that you look like a philanderer who’s ready to eat someone whole? “You’re nice but you ramble a lot.”

Au! Why are you picking at my faults now?

I opened my mouth to argue but was late by 0.24 seconds. “Now that you mention it, since you cooked this for me, did you prepare anti-diarrhea medication for me as well?”

“If I had known beforehand I would have put rat poison into your bowl for real. A thick-skinned foreigner like you won’t die so easily.”

Why are you laughing, I’m trying to be intimidating here!!

“I’ll say no to this meal then, bring me all of the beer in your fridge instead.” Straight-faced and nonchalant, Alexey handed the bowl of instant noodles which he had only taken four to five bites from back to me. Hui, I resentfully scarfed down the whole two bowls before crawling up to lay still on the sofa, stomach round and uncomfortable, barely able to move.

The hottie glanced at me and laughed. Seeing this made me annoyed, but I was too full to start an argument. Also why does this guy have to be so handsome from all angles and actions. “How about a beer?”

Ba, trying to invite me. Those two empty cans were a result of my sweat and tears woi.

“I’m not drinking.”

“Oh? I thought you liked alcohol.” See this? He’s purposely speaking to provoke me. Despite my fullness his offer was appealing… But no, I must maintain my image (although it may be a bit too late now).

“Don’t want any. I’m refraining from alcohol, its Buddhist Lent.”

The hottie turned to look at me like I was some weird creature. “You must be joking. A drunkard like you? Really?”

“Yeah, I was suddenly spurred to stop drinking, got problem with that?”

Before we started to clash again, my phone suddenly rang out. I took advantage of this opportunity and hastily pressed the answer button. “Hello, this is Petch.”

“Mr. Petch, This is Sasha. Where have you been?

Shit!!

The hottie seemed to had already caught on, ready to steal the phone out of my hand but I hurriedly made a pitiful voice. “Mr, Sasha, I am soree but I am at home.”

“How come!” The voice of the handsome golden retriever conveyed absolute disappointment.

“I wont to haf dinner wit you but mister Alexander said he will kill me if I don’t come baek!”

“You mean Alexey? Can I talk to him? He should have known that it was a date! I asked for your number from him and explained to him clearly!”

What!!!

I whipped my head around to look at the hottie sitting beside me, sipping his beer without a care in the world. Oh how I would really love to break your nose with that can of Singha beer. Raising my voice, “Alexey!! What does this mean?!”

“Give me the phone.”

I handed it to him. Alexey sneered into the phone before speaking in fast Russian without any sign of distress; casually drinking while talking no less. I heard the frantic voice of Sasha travel through the device, what manner of things they were talking about I had no clue. But then, Sasha the pitiful golden retriever started to laugh uncontrollably. Finally, the hottie hung up and cocked an eyebrow at me. “All done.”

“What did you tell him!”

“You told Sasha that I was going to kill you, so I explained to him that your pipes burst, making water seep into my room. If you didn’t come back, the plumber wouldn’t be able to get into your room to fix the leakage. With that, it makes perfect sense as to why I would kill you if you didn’t return to the condo. Clear?

Its me that’s going to kill you!!!

“You have to thank me. I’m just trying to help.

“Help ‘what’ exactly? It’s your fault that I’m back in my room eating instant noodles.”

“You’re the one that’s horrible at cooking, don’t scold me.”

“Can you stop provoking with me already!?” Livid, I launched a pillow at his face. This foreign dictator! I’m definitely going to kill him! If I knew this was going to happen, I would have deflated his car tires earlier as well!

Alexey looked slightly confused after seeing me start to act aggressively. Dear readers, please don’t accuse me of being ill mannered. If this guy clashes with me one more time, I swear I’m taking my black eye to the embassy and filing a report for physical abuse.

“Did you actually want to go on a date with Sasha?”

What date? What is he talking about?

“Since when is two guys eating together considered a date?” I returned his question, annoyed. Poking with my feet, I urged Alexey to sit still and stop being obtrusive to my sight. “In your country, can two guys not sit and eat together? Will lightning strike them? Or is hell going to open up from below and swallow them whole?” I was in a bad mood so I kept on rambling, reaching for the can of beer in front of the hottie and chugging it down.

“Weren’t you refraining from alcohol because of Buddhist Lent?”

“Are you blind? This isn’t alcohol, its beer woi!

Alexey shook his head exasperatedly but agreed to share the sofa with me. Umu, very smart of you, that’ll teach you to respect the owner of this room.

 

 

One… two… three… four… four cans of beer.

One… two… three glasses of black label, the legit stuff.

One… two… three… another three bags of snacks.

I think I’m drunk…

But being drunk is also fun in a way…

Being drunk, that hottie and I watched football together without arguing.

Being drunk, I made some bangin’ spicy stir-fried instant noodles.

Being drunk, this hottie’s words were starting to sound pleasant to my ears.

Being drunk, this hottie seemed several times more approachable.

Also, he became twice as handsome… God is so unfair.

“Alex~ Hurry and bring me more alcohol~”

I spoke, words slurred. Tipping my can to catch the final drop of beer, I then grabbed a handful of Hanami to munch on happily. The hottie next to me didn’t move an inch, instead choosing to side-eye me as if he was my boss.

“Alex~~ Bring me more alcohol!”

Rather than listening to my order he lit his cigarette, inhaling into his lungs and then releasing a puff of smoke. Displeased, I stumbled to the fridge and wrenched the door open. But then this rude foreigner yanked me back. “It’s all gone, you drank everything.”

“It’s all gone~?”

“Mm.”

“Whaaat? I chilled an entire crate…” My memory was still fine despite being drunk. “If it’s gone then go get some more from you room.” The hottie frowned. “Hmm?”

“Aren’t Russians heavy drinkers? I’m sure you guys have crates of vodka stocked up somewhere. Don’t pretend like you have no clue what I’m talking about. Come on~ I’ll even make you something else to eat.”

Alexey scratched his head, although I’m not sure whether that was because he was feeling wasteful about his vodka or that he didn’t want to eat my cooking. But whatever. I staggered back to the sofa and pulled out my trusty camera, rubbing it here, caressing it there, I was suddenly in the mood to take photos. “Hey wait, wait, Alex~ Get over here and let me take some photos of you, you’re hot wa. Come, come, all the ladies at my workplace will scream when they see you.”

“I don’t like taking photos.” He blatantly refused.

I made a pouty face. “The hell~ You d-d-don’t trust my skills? I’m a pro~”

The hottie walked away. I hung the camera around my neck and followed him like a menacing stalker. He hid in the bathroom but I stood waiting to intercept him at the door. This scene resembled the time my seniors in the politics department patiently waited for half an hour to catch a scoop of the mayor dealing in some shady business at OTK market. “You’re not getting away, c’mon you hottie let me take a photo you. Alex~”

Another reason why I like being drunk is because I’m able to act recklessly (more so than normal)  without being condemned by those around me. I knocked on the door fervently. “Come out, come out, Alex~”

The door opened wide but the hottie still walked away. I followed. Eventually, the hottie halted. He crossed his arms and stood leaning against the frame of the door to my apartment with a frustrated face. “Put away the camera, I dislike it.”

“Oh my, you’re shy?”

“Are you going to put it away or not?”

“Nopeeee.” My mouth stretched into a smile and I held up the camera to eye-level. There’s not enough lighting but with skills like mine, I can even make pigs, dogs, crows, chickens, etcetera, etcetera, you name it, look gorgeous. With this guy already so handsome, I could bump him onto the front cover any best-selling magazine overnight.

Fhup! The camera flew out of my hands without any warning. The hottie placed it down far away from my reach before turning back to smile menacingly at me who was still in a frozen state of confusion. “You’re more persistent than normal when drunk. I already told you, no photos. Saying it once doesn’t get through to you does it?”

“Admit it Alexey~ you’re not photogenic. When you get your photos taken it always turns out ugly. You’re as big as a gorilla–”

His warm lips pressed down onto mine all of a sudden. Alexey grabbed my shoulders and pushed me up against the door of the bathroom, body making contact on the hard surface with a ‘bang’. A sturdy arm hooked around my waist, locking it in place, while the other twisted and held one of my hands behind my back. It felt confining, not being able to move and at the same time having my mouth covered. A tongue slid inside as if in a familiar motion. The smell of beer and high-quality imported cigarettes melded with the taste of the feverish kiss, gradually returning my sense of reasoning from the grasps of the alcohol. My body felt both hot and cold with the assertive tongue exploring my mouth. I tried to push his tongue away, yet this made it seem as if I was reciprocating his kiss. Eventually, his offense drove me into a corner.

Uuuuu… ah…

Jerking my head to the side, I proceeded to breathe into my lungs like my life depended on it. I looked at the tall large figure trapping me in from all sides with alarm. “What are you doing!!!”

Alexey used his pair of grey eyes to observe me, his sight conveying something unreadable. He lowered his face close, and from his vantage point he stole my lips once again, occasionally teasing them between his teeth. I used my remaining free hand to push and hit at the large figure in hopes of escaping. However, the more I resisted, the more Alexey increased his strength, pinning me down till my wrist felt numb. “Hurts…”

I begged with my eyes…which I really shouldn’t have because it was me who became mesmerised instead. The cold grey eyes unexpectedly pulled me in, making me at a loss for words. At such a close distance I could see that a portion of his good looks resulted from these very pair of eyes. The light coloring of his eyelashes were thick and fanned out beautifully. Unable to stare for long, I was forced to avert my gaze when his sharp eyes stared back at me, strangely turning my cheeks hot.

“I’m not shy or scared of the camera Petch… Don’t just assume things by yourself.”

I stare at him blankly… not surprised, not confused, but attention caught on the large palm which slid underneath my shirt. I couldn’t move my body accordingly. Every area which made contact with Alexey’s smooth skin flared with a hot sensation. Gliding his hand over my shirt a few times, the buttons were gradually being undone one by one. I hurriedly clutched at the parted section but my reaction time was slower than my thinking speed. Before I could finish rebuttoning my shirt, his sturdy fingers had already wandered down to the zipper of my pants.

“You!”

The back of Alexey’s hand brushed past the front. From just one light caress a certain part of my body started to come alive. This body which was initially about to retaliate became pliable and weak like wax to a fire when his lips started to mouth lightly at my neck, trailing down to my collarbone, before returning up to meet me in a deep rousing kiss. It set my body ablaze.

My heart was against it, never having imagined I would be doing this sort of thing with another man. However, my body acted on the contrary. When he inserted his firm leg in between mine, instead of trying to move away, my hips leaned in to receive the touch. Seeing this, the pleased Alexey peppered my face with more kisses. The large hand which was fondling around the zipper of my pants wandered inside as if in a greeting. My heart beat violently inside my chest. I hurriedly protested with my trembling voice but Alexey failed to listen in the slightest.

“A-Alexey… don’t touch… take your hand out.”

Alexey defied my orders by using his hot tongue to tease at my nipples instead. I returned his kiss… discovering that a kiss tasting of cigarettes was way more enchanting that any sort of spell.

And my consciousness was no longer in control of my body. My mouth said one thing while by body said another. I told him to take his hand out… yet I was unable to do so without constantly moaning at every touch. I told him to stop touching my body… yet I obediently followed every suggestion whispered into my ear, from raising my hips to clinging at his waist. I told him to not enter… yet my body fully welcomed his hard length, not wanting to let go. How strange that I was anticipating being ravished.

Finally, with significant coaxing I became intoxicated with the searing pleasure that Alexey indulged me in through every contact. As such, I allowed him to act according to his whims. Although my body almost split in half, feeling both uncomfortable and full to the point of not being able to breathe properly, I never thought to resist, instead patiently waiting until I relaxed enough to fully accommodate Alexey.

The rhythm of our movements changed from excruciatingly slow to urgent. My back was rubbing up against the bathroom door, turning it sore. However, this was a teeny tiny detail compared to the searing heat which was thrusting into my body and the stroking at my front, making me feel on verge of melting.

“Ah… Petch… good..” A pleased low voice rumbled next to my ear, wretchedly seductive. Alexey whispered something in Russian that I couldn’t make out, but it’s better to be biased and assume that he was enjoying this round of sex quite a lot.

Alexey relaxed his pace, slowly coming to a stop, making me feel like I was being dropped  from heaven. The man kissed as if to swallow me whole. “Petch.”

“Yes…?” I looked at him, eyes pleading. (TN: Petch uses the word ‘krub’. Although typically used to suggest politeness, this word also conveys endearment, it’s a really sweet way of answering someone.)

“You don’t like it?” My eyes met his before averting in some other direction, not willing to give an answer despite the feeling of warmth rising on both cheeks. Alexey caught on and started to move with increasing speed once again. At last, unable to withstand it any longer I ducked my head into the crevice of his shoulder, suppressing the sound of my moans. Alexey asked me something in a whisper next to my ear while thrusting firmly, my body tensing with need and nearing its climax. My thoughts were jumbled and blurry, the only thing that was clear however was that I wanted to stretch this moment out endlessly. The cunning man who was in control of my body likely figured out my thoughts for he began to move more forcefully. Feeling as if my heart was about to burst, I cried out, telling him to stop.

“…No, don’t do that.”

“Weren’t you urging me on moments ago? Hmm… Petch?”

I tried to contain my need but my body couldn’t be controlled.

“Alexey… Uuuu…”

“Why don’t you let your mouth align with your heart already…? Just admit that you like it…”

“Don’t move… ah… ah… I… I… li-…”

The rough voice which whispered beside my ear tore all sense of control into shreds.

“Show me how you feel…good boy… Say it… Do it…

“Alexey… Alexey… Ah… Ahh…

The feeling of release was pure bliss, as if my soul ascended to heaven alongside Alexey. Yet, this grey-eyed man was someone who I knew next to nothing about.

 

 

I realised that drinking with Alexey was a horribly bad decision to the point where I wanted to jump off the condo and die with my head hitting the cement pavement as soon as I opened my eyes to an empty bed. Nearby sat a newspaper, ‘The Nation’ folded neatly despite traces of being read, as well as an empty coffee mug.

On top of the white pillow (which of course I only had one of) was a cream-colored sticky note which said the following.

‘See you at the embassy -Alexey’

‘P.s. Call 02-267-0xxx. Madam Yelena will help you prepare the correct visa documents.’

‘P.p.s. Follow up on the key card console issue for me too.’

I read it over two to three times, scrunched up the note and threw it away. What kind of heartless person just ‘does it’ and leave? This is clearly a nail and bail situation. Although I understood his good intentions in the first p.s. … why didn’t you tell me this two days ago?

Hmm…

Eh? two days ago…

I only just got to know this hottie two days ago… Fourty-eight hours ago…

I lost my virginity to this guy after not even three days of knowing him?!

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

I reached for my phone and hastily dialed the most recent number. After not even five seconds a familiar frigid voice picked up the call. “What’s up Petch.”

“Where are you?”

“Today is Wednesday and it’s eight-thirty, so of course I’m at work.” His tone as if accusing me of something. “What business do you have with me? I’m about to enter a conference.”

“…” Oh yeah, what business do I have calling him on impulse like this? No idea. But I think I was hoping that this guy would at least take some responsibility for my body which just lost its virginity, is that so much to ask!

“Nothing? Alright see you.”

“Don’t you dare end the call!”

“Sure, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be answering you. Hurry up and sort yourself out, I expect to see you here at ten.” Hua! Am I being threatened by the embassy staff? Being forced to apply for a visa??? Alexey didn’t leave me to wonder for long and quickly continued. “But call Yelena first. If you arrive with the wrong documents for a second time, that’ll be a problem.”

Nailed and bailed.

Nailed and scolded.

Nailed and mentally abused.

“I’m not going. I’ve had it woi! Fuck getting a visa for this crazy country, I’m going to Russia instead.”

“I’m not telling you to come here because of the visa.” Alexey snarled into the phone which sent chills down my spine. “Take responsibility for what you’ve done to my BMW. If not… I will kill you.

Huu! I’m so dead!


Pretty late release this chapter, but hopefully it was worth the wait.

The R-18 scenes were edited out from the online raws, but I’ve reincluded them using my physical copy of the book.