Thailand by Courtney Webb

Peviously – Peter did get to Thailand, care of his father and made fast friends with the partiers in his group.)

The next few weeks Peter and the guys went out night after night. Finally, James, the third one of their group, called off.

Can’t do it guy. Got to get some sleep. You go.”

Wus,” Peter said to him. He and Danny would go. In fact, Danny had said he had someplace special for them to go tonight. Something a little different.

That evening Danny and Peter were on Danny’s little scooter and headed out of town.

So, what’s this place again?” Peter shouted in Danny’s ear over the sounds of heavy traffic.

They do a little gambling and have the best girls.” Danny shouted back and nodded.

After about twenty minutes, they ended up at a private house on the edge of Bangkok, somewhere they had not been before.

Just wait, buddy, you’ll love this place.” The two hustled inside. There was a busy crowd of people around the gaming tables: poker, black jack, roulette. Danny headed for the blackjack table and Peter followed him. Scantily dressed waitresses carried drinks through the crowd.

Peter was drinking scotch. He was even winning at the tables. This was heaven!

Two Thai girls sidled up to him to watch him play.

Hey, big guy. Want a little more action?” One girl winked at him. She was dressed in a long skin-tight gown that showed off all her curves. She smiled, and her big brown eyes glittered at him seductively. After three scotches, Peter was feeling great.

What kind of action?”

All the really big players are in the back room and they also have,” she whispered in his ear, “special condiments.” She winked again and took his arm.

The words were magic to his ears. Peter wrapped his arm around her waist and they went to a hanging on the wall. The girl pushed aside the cloth hanging which covered a door and went in. Eagerly, he followed.

The atmosphere changed slightly. There was still the cigarette smoke hanging in the air, but the room was quieter, more serious. There were mostly Asian men sitting around two large round tables. There was a bar in the corner and the girl led him over there and snapped her fingers at the waiter. She spoke to him in some language Peter didn’t recognize. The man brought over a small mirror with lines of white powder already set up.

Just for you my darling.” The girl gestured at the mirror for Peter.

He immediately inhaled two lines. “Now,” the girl gestured to the tables, “You can play with the big boys.”

Peter patted his pockets. Surprisingly, he had won two hundred dollars at the blackjack table. He felt like he was on a streak, invincible.

Scotch, Mr. Peter?” The girl asked him sweetly. He nodded and went to sit down. This was going to be like taking candy from a baby.

For the first hour, Peter won and drank steadily. He considered himself a good poker player and had won enough in college to keep himself in beer and cigarettes. He had also studied the game from a scientific point of view, so he felt confident.

As the evening wore on and he got blurrier and began to lose. First a little, then a lot. He kept playing, trying to win it back. Finally, it all got lost in a haze.

Next day, Peter woke up with the worst hangover he had ever had. Son of a bitch! He grabbed his head with his hands and pressed his palms into his eyes to slow down the thudding. Looking up, there was a pitcher of water next to his bed and a glass. He sloshed water into the glass and downed three glasses before he even looked around. Where was he? Back at the compound? He didn’t remember driving back. But, whatever, that was nothing new. Maybe Danny came and got him and stuck him in another room. He got up, head swimming and went to the door and tried to open it. Locked. What the hell? He kept trying the door with no success.

Hello, hello. Hey, somebody, come open this door!” He was yelling now, a sense of panic starting in his gut.

He heard a shuffling sound outside, a key turned in the lock and the door opened. A fat little Asian man in a dark suit walked in.

Peter backed up in amazement. Who the hell?

Morning, Mr. Peter. Hope you are well. How is your head?”

Hurts like hell. Who are you?” Peter demanded.

Ah, I am Mr. Sing, Mr. Peter and I own this establishment.” The little man waved an arm proudly around the room.

Why am I here?” Peter put his hands on his hips, outraged.

Why, Mr. Peter, actually, you owe me some money.”

What!” Peter yelled and regretted it, the sound of his own voice made his head hurt worse.

Yes, a little sum.” Mr. Sing reached into his pocket and pulled out a little white slip of paper. “I believe this is your signature.”

Peter peered at the paper. It was his signature, sloppy for sure, but it was his writing. He knew enough not to admit anything.

So, what?”

So, Mr. Peter, you owe me the sum of $10,000 American.”

What!” Peter was shouting again.

Yes, ten thousand of your American greenbacks. Do you have that with you?”

Peter was mouthing words, but nothing came out.

Of course not, that’s what I thought. Shouldn’t gamble, Mr. Peter if you don’t have the money to do so.”

The compound. I can call the compound.” Peter’s words were tumbling over each other.

The Christian Ministry Compound?” Mr. Sing laughed. “Oh, Peter, you are so funny. They don’t have any money. No, no. You will need to call your parents for the money. Your parents in California.”

Peter was staring in shock at the man. How did the man know he had parents and they were in California?

No, I’m not doing it.” He folded his arms across his chest.

Tisk, tisk. Peter, no need to get difficult. You will do that, and you will remain our guest until you do so.” Mr. Sing started to walk to the door.

Hey, you can’t hold me here!”

Oh, but we already have, Sir. We already have.” Mr. Sing opened the door and before Peter could make a move, a very large guard moved into the room and blocked his exit.

Mai Ling will be in to bring you aspirin and breakfast. When you are ready to make that phone call, you just tell her,” Mr. Sing said over his shoulder as he walked away.

The guard waited until Mr. Sing had left, then with a smile he went out, closed the door and locked it.

Peter slumped on his bed. He felt like crying. There was a little round pot in the corner. He threw up in the pot instead.


Continued in Part IV