Bold: The characters are speaking in English.
I wake to the ringing sound of my cellphone. Initially, I had no intention of picking up the call, but seeing as it was P’Pun’s number—a senior photographer from my workplace—it was only appropriate to answer him; regardless of how sleepy I was.
(TN: P’ <- Thai honorific used to refer to a senior, the equivalent of senpai. Pronounced ‘Phee’ with a soft P sound rather than an F.)
“Ah, I almost thought that you weren’t going to pick up for a second there Petch.”
I yawn lazily, “Do you need me for something? It’s only five-thirty.”
“Wah! Are you still drunk? It’s already six-thirty. The sun’s peeking out from your behind, time to get up sleepy-head.”
“But P’Pun, I… umm… have to go apply for my Uzbek visa today.”
“Ah, you’re not free?” P’Pun stilled. “Just carry on sleeping then, I’ll ask your junior instead, sorry Petch.”
“Wait, I never said that I couldn’t go.” I quickly stop him before our relationship could be put in jeopardy by my stupid visa problem. Yawning once more, I drifted to the bathroom. “So where are we going? What time?”
“Suvarnabhumi Airport, an important official is arriving soon. They’re travelling by themselves this time but… anyways, come along with your senior okay? I have a story that I want you to hear as well.” P’Pun cut himself off and the sound of a car engine starting could be heard. In the meantime, I reached for my toothbrush, positioning it close, I squeeze out a peppery green paste… except– shit. I’m out of toothpaste. What the hell, and there’s no 7-Eleven around this area too. If I don’t brush my teeth, will P’Pun stop befriending me?
I turn to grab the can of deodorant sitting nearby, using it as a tool to force out the remaining toothpaste. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Keep on, keepin’ on squeezing. Hmph! Don’t you dare run out on me. “I’m coming to pick you up, what’s your apartment number so the security guard can let me through?”
“One, two, zero- ah! Shit, what a mess. I’ll call you back later P’Pun!”
“Umm… okay.” He agreed to the end our call despite his confusion. Meanwhile, I stood hand on my hip at the sight of the toothpaste, squeezed out like a pile of green poo on top of my toothbrush. How pitiful.
A violent knocking on my door rang out as I listlessly chewed on a piece of toast. On my body was nothing but a pair of black skinny jeans. Hurriedly, I grab a nearby shirt to wear sloppily. My hair was still wet and in a state of unruliness. If I looked any bit handsome or korean I would have walked out with my head held high in an instant. Unfortunately, my body fails to compare in those regards, to greet my senior in such a state would be terribly shameful. “Wait, wait, hold on P’Pun, calm downnnnn.”
I stuff the remaining half slice of bread into my mouth, cheeks round like a goldfish. “I’m dun ow~~~ wuah!” In front of me stood a tall looming figure with a cold glint in his eyes. Crossing his arms, he leaned against the frame of the door.
“Your friend is trying to break into my room.” He spoke, voice lined with an immense hatred for me.
Wide-eyed, I shift to look at P’Pun standing extremely pale-faced nearby. I’ve always admired this senior of mine, he was tall, cool, and good-looking. Even his dimpled smile and canine tooth was- ahem now’s not the time or place. Anyways, when stood next to this hottie—what’s his name again? Alexander the great, something, something?—P’Pun looked smaller and easier on the eyes. “Ah… umm, I’m sorry on his behalf.” I apologised. Who would want a problem with this guy so early in the morning? Even getting into a cat-fight with papaya salad shop hag is more worthwhile than this.
It turns out however… the hottie himself was the one looking for a problem. Eyes suddenly flashing innocence he pretended to not understand Thai, “What?”
P’Pun who was completely clueless hurriedly pulls out his rusty English vocabulary and vague hand signs, hoping to sincerely apologise to the man. Before I could raise my hand to stop him, it was too late and the hottie had already reverted back to his usual cold demeanor.
“Am… Am so sorry sir… um… I will contack the, the, service centeu– W-what should do I Petch? How do you say ‘person in charge of repairs’ in English?” P’Pun turned to face me mid-sentence, his eyes communicating: ‘You’ve got this right? If not this foreigner is definitely going to kill me’.
The hottie side-eyes me. I am beginning to fear that this might end in a double suicide. “P’… what did you do?”
“I tried to call you several times, wondering to myself whether you’ve ‘become wind and drought’ (TN: Idiom to describe someone fainting). You didn’t answer so I resorted to breaking the door down.” P’Pun explained, oblivious. “I struck the door till its keycard console started malfunctioning, what do I do Petch! Also is this guy the mafia? His face is fucking scary!”
Huhuu, mafia? Even if you think that way, please don’t say it when he’s right in front of you! I glared at P’Pun, yet it was returned with an innocent look; oh how easy it would be to trick him into prostitution. “Petch, do you think hes going to cut my throat? Can you ask him for me whether I can compensate the damages later? I’m in a hurry since I have a story to write. If I don’t have it with me by today, I’ll receive a mouthful from my editor. Help your senior out please, I’m horrible at English.”
Umm… P’Pun, does my face scream ‘native speaker’ to you? There’s not an ounce of it in me, I swear. Rather, I look like someone who just immigrated from Liangshan. (TN: Reference to the one of the four Chinese great classics, Water Margin)
The hottie seemed to catch my drift, the corners of his mouth stretching into a sneer, “He cannot speak English.” Concluding straight the point. “You go. I can talk to him later since he already has a lot to pay me back for.”
Oh, dear readers. Dear readers do you happen to know what P’Pun is thinking? Figure it out from the previous four paragraphs if you can…
He’s handsome… has a lover… skilled in photography… except, there’s just one problem…
P’Pun shouted out loud, “What! Petch, you’re in debt to the mafia!?! Why didn’t you come to me if you had no money?”
There’s just one problem, P’Pun is someone who lets his imagination run wild. And because of his words, the hottie decides to play along. Pushing P’Pun back, he uses his fingers to make a gun shape, fixing it to the side of my head and assumed a fierce demeanor.
“He owes me far more than you can pay for, even your life is not enough.”
The hottie pulls at the back of my shirt collar, throwing me like a pillow at P’Pun, his pair of menacing grey eyes chasing my senior’s consciousness out of its body. Thus… in the end, it became my loss. I dragged my P’Pun’s soulless container away from the building. Not to mention, driving his red license plate car carefully and to the best of my ability to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Till his consciousness fully returned to its body, we had long since arrived at Suvarnabhumi.
“Did you bring your camera with you? I only have one with me today, the other was sent in for repairs…”
“Jieak!” (TN: The sound of a monkey)
Mommy! That hottie messed with my head again~
“What? Didn’t make it in time? All of you are useless!” The screeching of editor Chid peaked at 180 decibels as it traveled through my LG Chocolate phone. Helplessly I made eye contact with P’Pun. “I can explain editor, it’s just that…”
“Forget it. The prime minister already went into the VIP room and left in his car. Next time I’m sending both of you to the border! No story, no vacation Petch!”
Met with this declaration, both of us deflated. P’Pun made a remorseful face at me who sat there pouting. Cheeks puffy from editor Chid’s final words, it made me very distressed. I was also angry at a certain someone lying at the root of this problem. By now, that hottie is probably relaxing and smoking his cigarette without a worry in the world.
P’Pun pursed his lips and crossed his arms, “Petch, I’ll deal with this issue and go apologise to the editor myself. Thanks for coming with me today.”
His word of apology came with pats to my shoulder ‘po’ ‘po’. Yet, with editor Chid’s declaration gnawing at my heart, it was impossible to muster any feeling of encouragement. Rather, the annoying sneer of a certain hottie kept surfacing in my thoughts. Everything is because of you!
I swear, I will get my revenge. Just you wait!
But how should I go about doing that? Bones will definitely be broken if it’s a fist fight with that guy, he’s as strong as an ox.
But leaving him be would be unacceptable. What if he gets hooked on the feeling and decides to go abuse other people like me? Us Thai’s have long since been exploited by politicians from the ‘cabinet of ugly’, but now we’re being targeted by foreigners. Tricked by Cambodians to cut our legs off. Arabs taking over our rice paddies. What is this world coming to? Thinking about it gets me in the mood for a national liberation protest at Makkhawan bridge, shouting aloud ‘Thaaaksinnnn~ Get out~’. (TN: Infamous politician known for being corrupt.)
“Y-yes!?” I flinch visibly.
“What are you daydreaming about? The mafia next-door? Watch yourself, lest you want your pinky chopped off.” Senior, I think you’ve got the wrong country. Getting your pinky chopped off calls for the yakuza, not the mafia. “There’s no other work today, so I’ll send you back home.”
“Ah, there’s no need P’Pun, dropping me off here is fine. Like they say, ‘save energy, liberate the na-‘ ahem I mean, ‘save energy, save the nation’.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me sending you back?”
I place my hands together to bid him farewell, then exited the car. After a bit of waving goodbye to the car in the distance, I turned around. Except, I was met with fish in the water, rice in the paddies, and a water buffalo staring straight at me… staring straight at me? Lurching in another direction I was met with a sign. ‘Welcome to Lat Krabang District’ …I got abandoned in the middle of a rice paddy field? …Nooo!!!
P’Pun who parked his car 20 meters away was laughing, stomach stiff and hurting. Leaning against the side of the car with its blinkers turned on, he asked “Where are you off in a hurry to Petch? We haven’t even left the airport perimeters yet.”
“Auuu, why did you stop the car for me then?”
“How am I supposed to know. You hurriedly gestured farewell as if you wanted to leave badly, so I wasn’t going to stop you. Did you happen to see a friend?” P’Pun was in tears. I turned back, meeting face to face with the water buffalo as it chewed indifferently on its grass. Then realized– “P’Pun! Does it even look like my friend!?”
“Now that you mention it… no, not really.” P’Pun removed his glasses to wipe his tears. “Rather, it looks exactly like you.”
The water buffalo looked at me and cried, ‘Moo…’
Oh P’Pun… If I knew that you were going to be like this, I would have let you get beat up since the condo!
Finally returning to my apartment, I arrived hand in hand with some milk and butter pastries. It’s not as if a girl somewhere was willing to feed a ‘dog’ like me. Instead, P’Pun was the one trying to placate me with food. Making a stop at Pattanakarn to buy this and that, treating me to tasty Korean food on soi 56, as well as promising to negotiate with editor Chid about my vacation. With this, I forgave him.
This is exactly how you’re supposed to apologise umu! Having been given food, I was starting to feel slightly better. I carried my pastries while humming a song, face neutral but gleeful inside to have received free food that would last me several meals.
Hmm… I’m not gluttonous okay?
The elevator arrived in that same moment. “Yes P’Pun?” Say it. Ask me if I want a drink. Tell me that you’ll treat me to beer …Wait! I’m really not a gluttonous person okay?!
“Be careful eating all that food, you’ll get fat.” Hua! That mouth is the reason why your girlfriend has been sulking non-stop after every meal. “Don’t forget to share it with the menacing man next-door, I’m leaving now.”
Did P’Pun hit his head somewhere? Should you not be hating that man by now? He has a horrible personality, not to mention he’s physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive. Why does P’Pun want me to share snacks with that hottie? Even if I treated him to a meal at the ‘Oriental Hotel’ that guy isn’t going to quit his bullying.
I scratched my head and ascend up the building. It’s nine fifty-three. There was time to spare before I needed to go to the embassy and apply for a visa. I wonder if I will get bitten by that foreigner again this time.
My right eye twitched. I have a bad feeling about this.
The elevator doors open to the sight of the hottie, stood talking with Sasha from room 1206; what horrible timing. Sasha saw my face and greeted me with a smile, waving his hand in my direction as if in a good mood. I observed him and, woah… he was wearing a perfectly tailored suit. Matched with his styled golden hair and blue eyes, Sasha was like a divine god, no different from what Jessica described to me the other day. “Privet, hello Mr. Petch.”
The hottie didn’t bother to greet me, instead choosing to stare indifferently. I moved to avoid him but was held back by my arm. “Wait Mr. Petch…” Turning to face the two of them, the hottie was standing arms crossed as Sasha asked him something in Russian. “…Well, Alexey this man is Mr. Phachara, you can call him Petch, he’s a friend of Miss Jessica who recently moved to Germany with Erlbaum.”
The hottie’s grey eyes fixed on me and smiled at the corners of his mouth in the usual annoying way.
“And this is Alexander, he’s in room 1202, he may seem scary like a mafia, but I promise he’s-”
“I’ve been introduced to him already, thanks Sasha.” The hottie interrupted. Met with the sight his confused friend, he further elaborated with words which made me want to go into hiding. “This guy has been causing trouble at the embassy, which is why I recognized him immediately.” Hearing that, Sasha burst into laughter.
My face went sour. Thanks for at least not bringing up the time I drunkenly cursed at you.
“Don’t tell me that Petch is also the reason why your door is broken.”
Alexander in his casual clothes looked my way and shrugged. “He broke it and ran. In the end, I couldn’t meet with the prime minister because of this damaged door. There’s no way to open or close it, I’ll have to wait until the technician arrives to fix it. What a waste of time.”
Referee, sir I’d like to object. This guy is clearly placing the blame on someone else.
“Clam down Alexey, take this as an opportunity to have a day off.” Sasha peered at the luxurious watch on his wrist and hurriedly fixed his necktie. “Oh, but the ambassador also has a meeting with the prime minister as well. I have hurry now, talk to you later. Bye Mr. Petch. Paka Alexey.”
“Paka.” He replied with small wave. I couldn’t help but wonder whether Sasha is the only friend this hottie has. That said, pivoting around, I was ready to bare my fangs at him for making me look bad in front of kind and good-looking Sasha. The hottie Alexey interjected however, “Oh yeah, I have something to give you.”
Is this the reason why my right eye has been twitching feverishly?
A small piece paper shook in my hand. Reading it from start to finish, my heart trembled inside my chest. Blinking rapidly, I could not believe what I was seeing. Oh… this is… this is???
‘The estimate expense for repairing the security card console and system is approximately 24,000 baht (This quoted expenditure includes labor charge and VAT 7%). Additionally, the room owner shall be noted that 24 hours is required for repairing and changing the console after the technician has been reported…’
“Soo…” He said.
So… so what? Huuuu.
“Aren’t you going to invite into your room, Mr. Petch?” Having this guy call me ‘Mr.’ makes my hair stand on end. I might have to go for counselling at this rate if everything he calls me by makes me feel so wrong.
“Don’t call me Mr. Petch.”
“I was trying to be polite and respectful like Sasha, don’t you like it?” Alexey poked fun at his friend just like that.
With a grumpy face I throw him my keycard. “If you want to enter someone else’s room that badly then go ahead. Look after it for me while I’m gone, I’m going to the Uzbek embassy. Also, if I come back and find even one of my belongings missing, you’re so dead.”
“There’s no need to waste time, after all your application won’t be processed.”
He’s attacking my weak point again. I snatch the keycard to hold myself. Ramming the door open, I grab the hottie’s elbow and pushed his large figure into the room. “Is your status really that important? You’re not going in to work today, how are you going to stop me from applying for a visa?”
“Do you really think that? How about changing your mind already.”
The hottie lit a cigarette, to which I quickly seized and threw in the bin. “No smoking in my room. Also, is being a consultant such a high position? Aren’t you just someone who advises the ambassador?”
Alexey raises his eyebrows high, “If the ambassador knows better, would he bother to ask for my advice?”
Oh, he has a point.
“Either way, you still don’t have the power to bar me from my Uzbek visa!” I argued, gathering my documents to hold close to my chest along with my car keys. “My room is small as a mouse-hole, not suited for someone as big as you. It lacks any extravagant furniture and don’t even gripe about the untidiness. The bathroom isn’t off-limits. If you can’t find something, absolutely do not call me to complain, message me to complain, or wait until I get back so you can complain about it! I permit you to stay but do not give you permission to search any of my belongings.”
“Sure.” He said, obedient all of a sudden. I turn to leave but my right eye started to twitch again. Looking back I was met with the hottie removing his shirt to drape it on a nearby chair. His back muscles were well-defined and inked. St. Madonna with a cross was laid out in the middle of his back, juxtaposed by several weapons protruding outwards. This, coupled with the black trousers hanging low off his waist exuded sexiness to the point where my heart stopped beating for a whole three seconds and my feet staggered back a whole three steps.
“What are you looking at? Are you another person who also thinks I’m the mafia now?”
“Don’t take your clothes off in somebody else’s home! As someone of high status you have no manners!”
Alexey side-eyed me. “Stop bitching about my status already. What my status or position is has nothing to do with you in the slightest. Preventing you from getting a visa is easier than blinking believe or not!”
I’m shocked. To think this guy could be brash to this extent. “Even higher that the ambassador?”
“If you don’t want more trouble with me then shut your mouth.”
Seeing those menacing eyes I quieted down compliantly. Looks like buying an apartment from Jessica was truly a big mistake. But first, I need to call up P’Pun about the 24,000 baht he now owes. My senior is going to lose his mind.
The sexy as fuck Russian in my room called my name. I saw him stood leaning against the door and hurriedly dragged him inside. What if someone saw and thought that I was renting a random man to sleep with me. “What now? I’ll be late for the visa application.”
“Just forget about it, you won’t be getting your visa today. Quit being so stubborn.”
“Tell me another reason as to why I won’t be getting my visa other than your status.”
A red passport book dangled in front of me, complete with his victorious smile. Shocked, I quickly leapt to grab the object. However the hottie was far too tall for me to reach. “Hey! Return my passport book. If not, I’m reporting you for real!”
“On what account? Oooh scary.”
“Account– Ugh, fuck. Just return my passport to me first, then you can do whatever you want! You can stay the night for free, and also take a warm bath. I’ll even treat you to dinner tonight!”
“Even if your visa will still be rejected?”
“Just you wait till I hand in my documents.”
In an instant, the passport book fell into my hands. The hottie’s eyes contained a hidden motive, laughing ‘hu hu’.
“Remember your words well. It’s a promise then Petch.”
Reaching Sukhumvit soi 71 by car, I got lost once, unable to find the embassy. After the intersection, I then mistakenly drove past the embassy again. Until I arrived, there was only 30 minutes left before closing time. Passing by a Mercedes S500 driving away from building, I looked to the side, surprised to find Sasha from room 1206 sat in the driver’s seat.
I pressed the intercom, stood in front of the security camera and then said ‘Hello, I’m here to apply for a visa’. Suddenly, I heard words which made me almost want to faint. It travelled out from the white speaker without even giving me a chance to see the operator’s face.
“The embassy is now closed for the day. As it so happens, all of our staff have gone to welcome the prime minister. Please come back the day after tomorrow, goodbye.”
Staying the night for free.
Taking a warm bath for free.
Getting treated to dinner no less.
My phone vibrated, finding a short message sent to me. ‘See you @ BTS Prompong Station for dinner, best Italian restaurant there.’
Huuuu, what have I done? What have I said out loud~.