“Please be seated cousin Lai, tea will arrive soon.” From his lofted position, he waved Lai towards a stool, and started to talk business. “I have read in the Bangkok News that there have been some 7-Eleven robberies. The latest is in our district where over 20,000 baht was stolen. The lost money is insignificant. We have twenty shops in our district alone contributing up to 5,000 baht a week, 5 million baht every year.” He stopped and pointed a manicured talon. “However, we have lost face and our other interests could be compromised.”
Lai accepted that retribution would be sought, and he became excited by the thought. “Master, I will attend to this urgently.” He enjoyed punishment.
Several more days passed. Elroy and Innocent talked some more. When they left the hotel they took great pains to act cool and natural-like. They had found the Lucky-Nine club in a side street not far from the hotel. They felt at home in the large darkened room that had eight pool tables, an assortment of undesirables, and a couple of girls wearing tight white tank tops and short black pants who racked up the balls.
Elroy leant against the bar and eyed the girls. He ordered two cans of chilled Chang from the all-seeing, all knowing but not talking bartender. He turned to Innocent. “Maybe we just shoot pool and see what happens.”
Innocent looked around at no one in particular. “Nothing much going to happen anyway with these no-hopers, let alone shooting.”
That was, until a Chinese guy walked into the place. He looked a bit like a young Jackie Chan, dressed in a sharp white suit, and open-necked shirt with a gold chain on display.
Innocent was concentrating on sinking the five ball but Elroy was more alert to the change in pace. He sensed the whispers and nods in their direction. Here it friggin’ comes, he thought.
The Chinese guy came up to Elroy, who was a head taller and bigger all round, with his gold chain glinting off the table light, and asked in English, “Know why this place call Lucky-Nine and only have eight tables?”
Elroy wasn’t fazed, although he was wondering why. He could play the same game with the Asian asshole. “Know how much the girls cost?” He pointed to the girl with ‘Love Is Short Time’ printed in black across her top, who smiled at him and pushed her bazoombas out.
The Chinese guy gave the girl a look that said fuck off or you’ll end up as Chop Suey in a shorter time. She took fright and sought refuge behind the bar.
“Maybe you wanna play pool then?” Elroy said to the Chinese guy. He pointed at Innocent. “This my good friend.”
The Chinese guy motioned to the back of the club. “We go talk in room, quiet.”
The guy was dressed up like he was going to a wedding party; and on his own. Elroy thought that he and Innocent were on safe ground. He nodded.
The room in the back contained a king-sized bed, shower, and cable TV. They sat on three chairs with a small glass table between them, the Chinese guy on one side, and Elroy and Innocent on the other, facing the door in case of trouble. The Chinese guy, with his back to the door and acting very composed, even though Innocent was still holding his pool cue, called himself Lai Chan Chen, not Jackie Chan. He came to the point quickly.
“I look for two rob 7-Eleven, take 20,000 baht. Our money, we protect shop. We see black man.” Elroy looked at Innocent, then back at Jackie or Lai.
“Man who cannot.”
Elroy paused, thinking, Shit! Lai knows–and he knows we know he knows. “So whether we friggin’ did or didn’t, what’s it to you?”
“Have two choices. Swim with fish.”
Lai just sat back, his cold black eyes staring.
Innocent turned to Elroy. “I just shoot this slant eye Jackie now. Or better, just drive this cue right up his ass and into his ‘motherfucking’ head.”
Elroy, wondered how feasible this was, said to Innocent, “Cool it. Let’s hear the man out first,” mainly because their guns were in their room safe, with their passports. But he was too late. Innocent raised his cue to beat the shit out of Lai – but didn’t because Lai, acting like Jackie, dislocated his knee with one short kick and left him on the floor holding his leg and moaning.
Jackie changed back to Lai, and said to Elroy in a menacing tone, “Have two week to return money plus 100% interest. Already have passport, not take gun. We open room safe.” He stepped over Innocent still moaning, and opened the door.
Elroy was startled. “How the friggin’ hell you get into our room?”
Lai stared at them again.
Elroy blinked and wiped a sweaty hand across his forehead. “Okay, why this friggin’ place called Lucky-Nine?”
“Have ten table, not lucky. Man lose two table in dice game.”
Elroy nodded as if he understood the meaning of life.
Still in the Lucky-Nine club, now at the bar, Elroy eyed the ‘Love Is’ girl’s yabbos again. “You go and sit awhile,” he said to Innocent, who still held his leg. “I gonna see a good friend and give my head a rest.”
Innocent perched gingerly on a stool holding a chilled can of Chang against his knee. “That ‘motherfucker’ Jackie caught me unawares, busted my leg real bad.”
Elroy wasn’t interested in Innocent’s problems. He nodded to the girl and then pointed to the room.
She came out from behind the bar, and sat on his lap. “Pay bar fine 500, room 350, and 1,000 baht for short-time.”
Shit, that’s two nights at the hotel, thought Elroy. He bargained her down to 1,500 plus 150 lady drink, and disputed the 200 taxi fare. “Where you go, Australia or something?”
“Live long way, many traffic. Give good time, smoke in room, take care you.”
Elroy said to himself, what the friggin’ hell, we’re fucked anyway. More to the point, he needed a fuck. When Elroy came out looking a lot happier than when he went in, Innocent said he didn’t want to miss out on Thai pussy, and was also feeling in need of some TLC.
Elroy shrugged and ordered a beer while Innocent bargained with the other girl. When the final curtain fell, some four hours, Elroy and Innocent left the Lucky-Nine club smashed and having had all their cash and cream skilfully extracted.
One man, dressed head to foot in black, who had been sleeping on a wooden bench at the back of the Lucky-Nine Club, followed the two black criminals to their hotel. He arranged to meet his police contact.
Lieutenant Prik Dum was pleased with the information, showing his gratitude by pressing a purple 500 baht note into the man’s hand. “Khorp Kun Khrap” (thank you) he said to the man in black. He decided to visit the temple and seek guidance from Buddha, and buy a lottery ticket.
Dong Sui See graciously offered Lai Chan Chen a rare Oolong tea from the East China coastal district of Fujian province, which Lai gratefully accepted. After a respectable time savouring the exquisite taste and asking Lai about the health of his family, Dong told Lai when these black men pay back the money with interest; they must be dispatched as an example to others.
Dong Sui See meditated for several more minutes. “The injured Farang is known to our business associates. We want to know why he is here in Thailand. Give him their passports and hotel address. We will observe.”
“Better that the Farang is in our debt,” explained Dong Sui See patiently.