note: This was my last night in Cambodia. I just forgot to upload it before I posted the Phnom Penh story.
Brett's phone leads us to a guest house tucked away in a back alley not far from Pub street. The lobby gives me the feeling that we've found a hidden Mecca, as it is swarming with people from all over the world. Four receptionists are working and it looks like they could use five. The menu on the wall lists seven different accommodations, all priced within a dollar of the next. The three of us take beds in a dorm big enough to house 18 beds and still look spacious. Two fifty a night.
Where the Danish girl came from I don't remember, but she took the bed under mine and after a shower, decided to join us for dinner. Though I have nothing against hot little Danish teens, mind-altering substances arouse me even more, so I excuse ourselves to go load an apple. Brett tells me that Danes aren't fond of drugs, and are less fond of the drug tourists in their country, where many substances are legal. He suggests that we made ourselves look like scumbags. Then he takes another hit. We smoke the rest of the good weed, then the bad weed and for good luck we eat some Xanax.
We take our seats at the second floor balcony of a Khmer restaurant that overlooks the intersection of the night market and Pub Street. Cambodian cuisine uses all the same herbs as Thai cuisine except with results that soothe rather than burn. Before I came to this part of the world, I had no idea so many different gingers, basil, and garlic existed. The THC amplifies every flavor, and the Xanax makes me savor every sensation, as I know there is a chance I won't remember this.
After dessert, we head to Pub Street for shenanigans. One club sticks out as being a bit busier than the rest, so we grab drinks at the bar. 50 cents for Anchor draft. There's a wide open dance floor, but it's too early. When the Daness bumps into a friend she was supposed to meet up with, I tell her me and Brett are going to check out some other bars, but we'll come right back. Brett never does. I do a lap and find myself across the street from where I started, in a dark basement filled with miscreants and hardcore music. For Cambodia, this is odd. I get drunk enough off four dollars to start picking out which Khmer girls in the club are hookers. My conclusion: All of them.
I black out from the mix of benzos, alcohol, and weed, and night begins. My next flash of lucidity has me staring at a man, whose folds on the back of his head are visible from the front. He upturns his liquor-bucket of ice on my head. The result is a welcome cooling effect, but the questionable intent launches me into a cost-benefit analysis.
I can break my fist on Jeff Monson's jaw, but even if I survive, I'll be taking my chances with bouncers and local law enforcement. Or I can let my ego take the hit, and talk this out.
“The fuck was that?”
He smiles at me, takes a step forward.
“You got a-”
Some Hapa-looking guy steps between us. “Hey dude, I'm sorry about that, this guy is really drunk. He's from Northern Ireland, let me buy you a beer.”
“HEHY YOU'RE PRETTY COOL MAN.” Why is he hugging me?
“WHATERYOO DRINKIN?” I'll allow it.
“Why don't you get us three Heinekens and let's have a good night.”
After he fucks off I find out that the Hapa is the tour guide for the idiot and 10 other people through South East Asia. Every time I travel, I meet someone with way better stories than me, and a way sweeter job. Mr. Hapa got his degree in Recreational Tourism at a university in Hawaii and has been leading tours through South East Asia for ten years.
“Your job is to facilitate the coming together of people during the day, and the cumming together of people at night. You must feel like a guardian angel.”
“Yeah, I love my job, and my company. I can't see myself doing anything else. I'm sorry to say, but you're a bit late. Half the girls have already run off with their boyfriends or whoever they're fucking.”
The girls that were left ranged from fresh out of high school to mid-thirties, all cute and up for fun. We chatted for a while and I went to get another drink. As I squeeze between a bigger girl on the dance floor and a pillar, I hear the sound of flesh ripping and crumple to my knees. I had caught my nipple piercing on the frame of a poster on the wall, and now I could feel blood dripping onto my hand. I found the ball end of my piercing rolling away from me, trapped it, and looked to see if a piece of my nipple was nearby. I guess I must have jacked nipples, because not only was my nipple still intact, but it even kept the barbell in.
Glad as ever to not be sober, I stumble to the shared sink between the bathrooms. The cleaning lady just stands there with her mouth open while I bleed over the white sink. Girls stop to grimace before they go in the bathroom. I look in the mirror and laugh because if I don't, I'll cry. I rinse off with Cambodian tap water and hope for the best. One of the older girls that I met before comes over and cleans my wound with those brown paper towels that can tear an anus in one wipe before applying a bandaid. She's a big Pacquiao fan with big curves, plus she dressed my wound, so she has a lot going for her. When her movements get stale, I excuse myself to get another drink, and another, younger girl. I see one lounging where the dance floor meets the patio and make introduce my-
“Oh my god, is your nipple okay? I saw you bleeding, does it hurt?”
“Uhm, yeah. No, it's okay, my nipples are rock hard, what's your name?”
“I'm [Who the fuck knows]. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you. I think your friend that was cleaning me up is really cute, where'd she go?”
I'm really good at making girls feel special.
“Ohhh, I think Clara's outside. Do you want me to find her for you? She probably thinks you're cute too.”
I look outside and I see the Hapa man gathering his flock. Clara is among them. That's right, he told me to meet him at X-bar if I'm down to party till sunrise.
“I think I see her actually. I guess she's going home. Wanna dance?”
I was smiling at her pierced midriff , but when she stands up and her bleach blonde hair drapes down to the dimples on her lower back, my smile goes full Schiavo. She struts towards the dance floor and and my fire burns white-hot because it is seconds before I will feel her skin on mine for the first time.
I stop her in the center where everyone can see. I've never put my hands around a waist so tight, pressed my face against ass-length hair this blonde and thick. I pull her onto me, she puts her hands on top of mine, and slides them to her thighs. For three songs we give the patrons a show. My hand is around her throat while she's grabbing a piece of ass and pulling me into her before the first song is over. I love this. Dance floor chemistry is the most intense connection you can ever have that doesn't have to mean fuck all. Everyone's got their own line that they cross only for people they want to fuck. Right now, both of us are racing to figure out where that is, and which side we're on. The next time I go down to her thighs, they're wet. By the time her friend comes to retrieve her, I'm wearing her sweat and she's wearing mine.
“I have to go, it was nice meeting you.”
“Ok, thanks for the dance,” I say, like the happy little geek I am. Oh shit, she's really leaving.
“Hey, wait! Can I have a kiss?”
After six seconds, I know which side of her line I'm on. But, she's on the other side of mine.
I wish I had said something like, “That was hot.” or anything else, but for better or worse, I said “Bye.”
Nowadays, when I think back to the hour where I knew that girl's name, you know what I do? I tell myself, “She probably had chlamydia.”