Not that Rastus needed luck; he had lived off his wits for many years, and had learnt to talk his way out of almost any situation. But he had never been to Thailand. The rules were not quite the same here, especially for a black man. He hoisted his backpack on his back and started walking towards the city lights.
“Next bus to Bangkok is at 7 am,” said a friendly voice. “My name is John Smith from England, but my friends call me Dutch.” Rastus looked up from the bench. The terminal was nearly empty, maybe a few cleaners and early risers. Dutch was a tall white backpacker, wearing a plain black T-shirt and jeans, with a ponytail. “Where you from man?” asked Dutch.
“It’s a long story,” replied Rastus.
Dutch laughed “You look a bit worse for wear man. Someone took a dislike to you or something? My girlfriend’s a nurse; she’ll fix you up in no time.”
Rastus looked around, as Dutch waved a girl over.
“This is Emerald,” said Dutch, introducing a similarly attired young woman. “Hey Emmy, you got any water and an aspirin for my man here?”
Emerald laughed and rummaged around her bag. She found what she was looking for. “Here man,” she said, and handed Rastus two little blue pills. “Wash them down with this.”
Rastus swigged from the offered bottle and swallowed the pills. Wow, vodka in a water bottle, no shit. He took another slug, then closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
When Rastus woke up, the bus terminal was full of buses and people. He looked at his watch. That is he would have, but it was gone. He groaned and sat up. His backpack had gone too. He felt in his pockets. Empty. No cell phone, no passport, no funds, no ID, even the pack of Excite condoms was gone. However, Rastus had not lost his oratory skills. “Oh fuck,” he mumbled to himself, getting louder. “What the fuck, fuck, fucking fuck. Oh shit, shit, shitting shit.”
The blind beggar half heartedly waved his white stick as Rastus helped himself to a 500 baht note from his bowl. In ordinary circumstances, if the beggar had caused a commotion it could have provoked a riot, with a grisly end for Rastus, but this was no ordinary circumstance. The ‘blind beggar’ was a novice monk, who had been tasked by his Abbot to silently contemplate poverty and suffering with total compassion and without complaint. The monk intoned a prayer instead.
Rastus was fortunate. He drank a lot of water, washed and cleaned up, paid for his bus ticket and boarded the bus to Bangkok.
“Go Khosan road, not expensive,” said the Chinese news vendor at Bangkok Southern bus terminal. He gave Rastus a crumpled guest house card. “Go see cousin, he find you room, air condition, you like. Many ladies, you can choose.”
Rastus grimaced. If only, he thought. Then he smiled. That’s it, he would use his charms to pick up and seduce a middle age white lady tourist looking for love and affection. Easy money. No problem. He was on a roll.
Rastus was back in business. Or so he thought. Robbing rich lady tourists was one thing, and although peddling drugs was lucrative, it carried dangers that his new-found friends had forgot to mention. Like police raids.