Paul Swift wandered down to his usual Sunday watering hole. He always enjoyed a pre-lunch margarita at Acapulco, a treat he looked forwards to all week as he had decided Sundays and special occasions only. It was a small bar, open onto the soi, but they knew how to mix a mean margarita. If he was feeling peckish, he’d order their spring rolls, but he usually saved himself for a Sunday lunch. When he had visited on holiday he was a daily visitor and never missed the spring rolls.
Not today though, he wanted to gorge on a proper Sunday lunch. He knew Acapulco would be quiet, most people still recovering from their Saturday night and that he would get a seat overlooking the soi. He’d also get to read the bar’s copy of the Bangkok Post. It wasn’t the same if he couldn’t watch life go by, and catch up on the world news, from a Thai viewpoint.
Even better, on a Sunday he was usually first to the paper. It was still in a neat, pristine condition. No one had been at it, attempted the crossword, got the pages in the wrong order. He hated it when someone had started the crossword. Not that he ever did them, but it made the paper feel old and used.
The soi was just waking up after a busy Saturday night. It was more likely that he’d see a group of Japanese or Chinese tourists heading for a speedboat, than any of the guys that he saw in the bars at night. Thankfully, it was too early for most of them, they rarely surfaced before three.
Just as well, some would want to talk and relate the story of their conquest from the previous evening, or moan about their failure. Not something Paul enjoyed. Some considered Paul a friend; Paul saw them as fellow travelers who happened to enjoy the scene in the same bars. He wouldn’t count any of them friends. He liked to keep his own company, at least where fellow Farang were concerned.
Paul was four weeks into his trial of living in Thailand. When it had been a week’s holiday, it was different. Now he was here six months, deciding whether he could live in Thailand permanently. The last thing he wanted, was to be latched on to by expats in need of friends, or money. In time, maybe; friends anyway. For now, he had a few acquaintances, people he’d share a drink with, but nothing more.
He took a seat at the front, ordered his usual and sat watching the scene. Most of the beer bars were just opening. Staff were cleaning the go-go bars and there were girls, who’d just woken from their sleep upstairs, or maybe on their way back from a night with a customer, buying food at the street stalls. The hairdressers shops were empty. They’d fill up later with girls, and boys, on their way to work. Paul took the scene in.
Seeing the girls buying food made him peckish and he thought about where he would get his brunch. The Black Horse opposite had a Sunday buffet, or he could go to Grant’s for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, but that would require a motorbike taxi, and he could do that any day, if he felt like it. There were limits to how far he would walk in the midday heat. His hotel to Acapulco was about it. Grant’s was a few sois too far. He considered ordering some spring rolls, but decided he’d save himself for lunch. He might treat himself during the week. He was trying to keep to a strict budget, but sometimes he felt he deserved a reward. So far, he wasn’t too much over, but it was early days.
His drink arrived, freshly made of course. unlike most bars who bought it prepacked. He looked down the soi and saw Jeng park his motorbike. No helmet of course, it would spoil his hair.
Jeng was one of the guys at ‘Run Coyote Run’. It was only a small bar, but it was cozy. Paul visited the bigger show bars sometimes, but he liked ‘Run Coyote Run’. They did a couple of short shows, the usual fare. For Paul, it was a nice bar to sit in, admire the dancers and have a drink. On holiday he would have been there every night, and taken a boy, but now he restricted himself to a few nights a week. Knowing Jeng helped.
He’d known Jeng about a year. The first time he’d offed Jeng for three nights, attracted by what was on display during the show. That was when he worked in Pattayaland, and revealed a lot more. He enjoyed Jeng’s company and had always made contact when he had visited on holiday. Now he was trying to become a resident he would sometimes want company on the beach, or at the cinema. He’d rather Jeng than a fellow Farang. Jeng was happy to just sit there and relax. Farangs wanted to talk.
If Jeng wasn’t busy, he often sat with Paul in the bar without there being the implied pressure of an off, or tip, at the end. The other boys kept away, unless Paul invited them over, he assumed Jeng has told them hands off. It suited Paul, who was happy to share his open bottle of whisky with Jeng.
Sometimes they’d spend the afternoon at the hotel, or Paul would invite him to eat before work. If there was a boy Paul was interested in, Jeng would always tell him about them, which avoided disappointment later. Admittedly, sometimes in far too graphic detail for Paul’s liking. Jeng had moved there when Run had opened and considered himself the senior boy and made it his business to know everything about the others.
Jeng said it suited him as well, particularly if he didn’t really want an off. It seemed that the manager, Run, didn’t mind, but then Paul was a good, regular customer, even if, unlike on his holidays, he didn’t spend every night in the bars, or buy a fresh bottle of whisky each night.
In fact, Jeng liked Paul. He wasn’t ‘old’ like most of the regulars. And he didn’t spend the night pawing him, or trying to get inside his pants. Jeng was bored with the bar, but his girlfriend was making four times what he did on Walking Street, at least, so there was no option of moving. And Jeng did not have any other skills. In time maybe they could return home and do something. For now they both made money using the assets they had been provided by their parents.
And for a Farang, Paul was quite handsome, even Jeng’s girlfriend, Joom, had said so when Jeng had shown her some photos from the beach. She didn’t normally like hairy chests, but Paul obviously looked after his body. And from what Jeng said he had a nice large cock, larger than Jeng anyway. Not that Jeng was small. Pity Paul was strictly gay, she had thought. She told Jeng to take care of Paul, even if he didn’t tip. If he was doing that he wouldn’t be straying with girls from the bars in his soi.
Jeng walked over to Paul with a big grin on his face, with any luck he had a free meal. “Hi, what you do?”
“I’m relaxing, having a drink, then eating. What about you? Customer last night?”
“No customer, no money!”
Paul knew the game. He didn’t begrudge a few of the guys, especially Jeng, as long as he got value for money. He made a decision. “What you do today? Why you here, if you have no money?”
“Girlfriend me go away holiday with customer. Not want stay home, so I drive here. Think maybe I find customer. I know you come here Sunday. You want massage?”
“No massage! You want eat? And no tip!”
“Yes.” Jeng was happy to sit. He was bored at home, and his friends had customers. And food was on offer, which is what he had hoped.
“Okay, a drink here, and then we’ll go eat. Afterwards you can come to my hotel and relax. I didn’t go out last night.”
Paul was woken by the sound of the bedside telephone. He reached across and eventually found the handset. “Hello?”
“Paul, it’s Terry. I need you in Heidelberg as soon as possible.”
“Why? And what time is it?”
“It’s midnight here, so I guess it’s one there in Berlin. They’ve sacked the MD at Loewe Finanz, Dieter Schmidt. You remember him, disagreed with everything, but posted double digit growth every year. The new guy, Dave Middleton, thinks there are some holes. I’ve just got off a conference call with Corporate. They want us mobilized and ready. Dave will meet you at the Weinhof hotel in Heidelberg, you are on the seven am Lufthansa flight from Tempelhof, the yanks have booked your ticket, and it’s waiting at the Lufthansa desk. You’ll remember Dave from the UK audit. American, bit rough around the edges. Don’t like him much myself. Meet Andy at Frankfurt airport and share a taxi. He’s on the early bird SAS flight from Oslo. We’ll know more tomorrow, but I think you may be working the weekend. Now I need to call Andy back to confirm I got in touch with you. I’m swinging past the office to pick up the files. I’ll be at the hotel about five.”
Paul put the phone down, walked across to the door and switched the light on. He was awake now, and he’d need a taxi at five. He smiled to himself, trust Terry to get a late flight, he’d never known him get the early flight anywhere, unless there was a director he wanted to impress. And Paul had noticed the ‘you’ might be working the weekend. Terry would have some important event he could not miss.
He grabbed a beer from the fridge, it’s all there was, called down to reception, booked a taxi and told them he was checking out. He’d call the Berlin office from Heidelberg, not that they’d worry when the internal auditor didn’t turn up.
He’d been looking forward to his weekend in Berlin. He’d visited in 1990 just after the wall came down. Three years on, he was interested to see what had changed. It had taken months, no years, to get Terry to agree that they should do branch audits in Europe. He’d done Munich and Hamburg already.
Still the Weinhof wasn’t the usual standard of hotel. Policy was economy, at least that is what Terry called it. Andy and him called it cheap. Actually, neither of them minded and they had a list of places with character around Europe. If they economized on the hotel, then there was more freedom on other things. The last thing they wanted to be stuck in some big hotel, without any personality. They wanted to know they were in Germany, not another Holiday Inn. Moreover, Terry preferred some comfort; he wouldn’t stay at their choice of hotel, which suited them. They could get up to what they wanted in the evenings. Last time on the audit, they had stayed at a small run down hotel near the office, but ate out at the best restaurants.
Paul packed his bag and looked at his watch. Taxi in thirty minutes. Time to shower and get dressed.
Frank was one of the first to arrive at Duogo. “So Paul, how was the States, and Concorde.”
“Good, I think, I can hardly remember. How about you and the cars, I haven’t had a chance to talk to Sean.”
“It was fun, we found an additional two thousand cars. We told Koch we’d be there on Tuesday and expected the cars to be in one place, ready to be collected. He wasn’t happy, and said he had a week. He finally agreed we could get the first seven hundred on Tuesday.
“We got there Sunday night and followed him on Monday. He led us to an out of town compound where we reckon there were at least five thousand cars. He obviously gave instructions and started moving cars. Sean ran some checks on registrations and we quickly found ten that he hadn’t declared. They were listed as being with another broker. I called the judge, he’s an old friend, and got all cars seized, and Koch’s assets frozen. Whether we can bring a criminal case is unknown. Still it’s a nice Christmas present, and stops him liquidating the company. What happened with Terry?
Paul relayed the story. “If he wasn’t already on the hit list, he would have been after that. Anyway he returned to the office yesterday in London. I understand he was told to clear his desk. I only know because his secretary called to say he couldn’t make tonight. I know Anne. She told me he was out. Anyway enough of that, it’s time to enjoy ourselves. You’ve checked into the hotel already?”
“Yes. The penthouse is nice. But I thought you’d have reserved it for Dave, or Peter.”
“No, they are at the Weinheimer on the hill. I thought you were more likely to be one of the last men standing. There’s a late meal with the staff at the restaurant for those who last, personal invite only. Tonight should be better than usual. Sean, Andy and I have a big hamper of Christmas goodies for them, including cans of British beer. And I’m sure Sebastiano will convince them to break out some good wine. It’s a regular thing at weekends. I have a light dinner and then join them for their dinner. It’s always top notch. Sometimes Sebastiano and I retire to my place for a nightcap, or more. He’s already given me a bottle of champagne to put in my fridge for later.”
“Funny you should say that, Anja sent one to the hotel.”
Most of the others had arrived by the time Dave and Peter got to the bar. Peter came straight over. “So you’ve all had a productive week. Dave told me about the cars. And Paul, good job in the US. We should have just asked you in the first place. Andy, I hope you haven’t destroyed any more cars. I heard you were using Paul’s 850 whilst he was away. I’m looking forward to a trip in it tomorrow once we all sober up. I am surprised he let you after the Range Rover. I’ll catch you guys later, I want to mingle. But someone told me that there is an after party, fine as I’m still on US time. Dave’s wife is driving, apparently she doesn’t drink.”
Tara laughed. “Not when Dave is! I’ll manage a glass of wine now though, and one, or two with dinner. And we can always call a taxi. I’m looking forward to Agricento, I’ve heard a lot of good reports, but Dave has never brought me.”
Sean walked over and joined them. Sorry I’m late, but I’ve a Christmas present for you. I followed a hunch. Monday morning I need some volunteers. There are two Ferraris and a Rolls to be repossessed in Hamburg. They are in working condition so we can drive them back. Frank, Paul?”
“Why not, we deserve a break after this week’s successes.”
ISBN : 9786162222108
Category : Thrillers
Pages : 186
from : 4.99 US$ (ebook)