Vince thought for a moment. “There is danger for both of us, it is better that you are not involved.”
“Involving Chinese criminals and black men.” Vince saw an opportunity and continued, “I think you are not telling me something about your grandfather.”
He could see her considering.
“Okay, I tell you true.”
Vince listened while she explained how she wanted her own business, and about her bank manager boyfriend cheating on her with lady bar.
His antenna twitched. Magnam? “What happened?”
“He give me bank money.”
Vince was not surprised, nor did he try to understand. Coincidence or not, anything could happen in Thailand. “And your grandfather?”
“He help. Give me many instructions. Take case to Lucky-Nine club. Not know how much money in case, not count, but many 1,000 baht notes. Maybe barman or Lai take money. Now worry. Grandfather not pay for business.”
Vince asked the same question that Dong Sui See had asked. Nok confirmed what Mr. White had told him.
“I stop at Sangporn beauty salon. Not tell grandfather, he think I cannot manage business properly. Grandfather wife, Lucy Lee, arrange massage and tea. Relax about one hour. Then take money to Lucky-Nine club.”
Vince was pleased that Nok had told him the truth, now he felt he could trust her. Also intriguing was the missing money. He sat and thought while Nok took a shower. That was a mistake; all he thought about was Nok taking a shower. Women were his weakness. A weakness that could dull his reflexes and prove costly.
In July this year, a few showers usually lowered the heat and cleared the air in Bangkok. Director Wilbur Bruce, CIA, Langley waited for his regular call to be patched through from the CIA office in Thailand.
When it connected he told his contact that USA interests in Thailand were key in ensuring that the Thai Royal police could close down the Chinese mafia, or at least severely damage their influence. “Under no circumstances was this undercover operation to be compromised by any informants alerting the Chinese. Ensure that there are no loose ends to prevent that happening.”
“Is that a ‘wet’ instruction?” asked his contact.
“Use your discretion,” replied Wilbur, and ended the call. He thought that maybe he ought to go closer to the action. “Get me the CIA office in Bangkok and tell Sam Morrell to expect me,” he instructed his PA. “Book me in to the Landmark, and ask Sam to get me an appointment with Colonel Chooshoop.”
Tan Dai had drunk too much Mekong Whisky. So much that the attention of the bargirl was ineffective. “Next time,” he laughed as he removed her hand from his thigh and reached for his whisky glass. “Now be a good girl and bring me another bottle of Mekong and I’ll tell you all about the bank robbery,” he boasted loudly.
Tan Dai downed his whisky and walked unsteadily to the men’s room where he vomited in the basin. Then he pissed over his shoes, missing the urinal and lit a cigarette. “Fucking Chan,” he said to himself.
Tan Dai came out of the men’s room and picked up his new bottle of Mekong. “Go already,” he slurred. “Important business.”
It was raining outside. Not the insistent September rain, but enough to form puddles where the drainage could not cope. Tan Dai welcomed the rain. It cleared his mind. Now he would take a short cut through the alley leading to Klong Toey market on Rama IV road. The alley was dark and shadows everywhere. He stopped and drank from the bottle. He heard a rat seeking scraps and then it skipped out in front of him, making him jump. Maybe not good idea, he thought.
He had another drink from the bottle. It was half empty. He carried on up the alley. The rain continued. He was getting very wet. At last he reached the row of stalls that were open. He stopped to shelter at a food stall to buy pork and noodles, covered with soy sauce, his favourite. Hungry, bedraggled dogs sniffed around his feet. Bad night tonight. Tan Dai was sure his wife would be in bed asleep. Pity, he should have taken the bar girl, pork made him horny.
When the rain stopped he carried on across the rubbish wasteland, home to a few drug users and Chao Phraya river gypsies, but all was quiet. At the cluster of coconut palms where he turned to see his house, a black shape materialised from the ground and cut his throat. A dog howled.
This year the rain was becoming more persistent and would continue to do so through the summer months. Most days the Bangkok roads were flooded. Lieutenant Prik Dum was otherwise occupied. However, when the crime report landed on his desk a few days later, he stared at the picture, that is what was left of Tan Dai as identified by his distraught wife. Allegedly, Tan Dai was a victim of ‘urban abuse’.