I received a telegram whilst in the middle of my breakfast of fried pigs blood, and various minced spices, which we call "larb loo-it" here in the southeast of Thailand.
I was sweating already, but at least it was the pepper not the hot season heat and humidity this early in the day. "What the bloody hell is Erskin up to now I?" I said to no one in-particular except for two gingko lizards and an incredibly huge cockroach I'd named Mark, for no particular reason. Mark scurried across the aging, warping teakwood floor. Large tropical roaches made me feel damned low, and Mark made me feel low a ton, always after my freakin' shrimp chips!! But of course the joke was on Mark, I liked to fatten up my roaches ahead of the local Song Krang festival and then deep fat fry them and cover them in chocolate and roll them in coconut for selling to the local merry makers.
Ersk-while I read his telegram it said:
Dear Jean how's your fete? STOP
Need some answers on where's about SKOOB is STOP
The bastard sent me a tiger box STOP
No god damned tiger STOP
Would appreciate your help STOP
God help us all if I have to go to Indiana STOP
Map coming by email in the next 24 STOP
How the hell do I stop this? STOP
No I mean how do I quit writing this f...STOP
You're the only bastard I could think of in Thailand STOP
At least that I could trust STOP
You know I can't stand that Monkey in the Woods STOP
"Wow", I thought to myself, "What a suck-up."
I wadded up the telegram and threw it at Mark. Mark caught it an threw it back narrowly missing my head. So Ersk was bent out of shape over a tiger again. How many times would he have to learn his lesson the hard way? Riding crops and 500 pound pussies don't mix!
"Nit!" I yelled, "Ow motorcy ma! Re-o! Re-o!" Nit my wife and body guard came out of no where and slid down the bamboo pole to the ground underneath our house. I followed her, though not nearly as gracefully.
"Pee oo-un kun rip-blau?" She asked insinuating I'd gained weight.
"Nit noy, nong. My dong huang" I replied sucking in my gut as I got on the motorcyle behind her. She laughed very sarcastically as she revved the engine on her Harley, probably the only such bike Petchaboon province. After dodging several dogs and running over a cobra we reached the main road.
"By nigh ka?" she asked.
"By brycenee, the post office," I said thinking of all days not to be hung over I had to choose this one, I was lucid and it was driving me nuts! We dodged several attacks with squirt guns and water pails on the way, but this was Song Krang, and being wet was just part of it. I opened one of the bike's saddle bags and pulled out two water baloons just in case. I saw several young boys poised at the entrance to the Post Office and launched a pre-emptive strike, nailing the biggest one. Nit sped by them and dropped me off at the entrance, still dry. She then did a wheely out the front and went out to join the celebration.
I went inside and looked around the see if my friend Prayut was around. I didn't currently have my own computer and would have to use his to get my email and Erskin's god damned map. As luck would have it he was actually working a Saturday morning shift.
"What the hell you want farang?" he asked purposely and rudely using the word for all western foreigners.
"Oh just let me use your stinkin' computer for about 5 minutes would ya?" I asked.
"Nung-roy baht." he replied holding out his hand and not smiling.
"One hundred baht?" I asked incredulously.
"Your lucky I let you use it at all, last time you opened mail on my computer it got a virus and it crashed, I lost everything!"
"Okay, Okay," I said, "But I'm going to tell Nit you took part of her tambone money for the temple tommorrow."
"You're kidding me right? I'm Asian, I don't get sarcasm." he added suddenly looking frightened, "You I'm no scared, but Nit man, that woman could kick my ass."
"Two minutes, please, its for an old friend, they're sending me something they need help with."
Prayut let me at it and in a few moments I was printing out the note and map Erskin wasn't telling me about. The map showed Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, southwest China including Tibet. There was a star on it, directly over Tibet!
I heard the unmistakable sound of Nit's Harley returning. Prayut came to the door and waived to her and she waived and smiled back. I hopped on and we sped away.
"Take me to the Petchaboon Zoo," I said.
"Ooy! By pra arry? she asked. She was always asking my why I did things.
"Were going to see your friend the tiger," I replied.
"Do you think he is still there?"
"No I thought they sent him to the Indianapolis Zoo." she replied in amazingly good English, albeit Aussie English, which I'd helped to teach her.
"Really?!" I asked surprised and dismayed. "But according to this note and map this Tiger Erskin is seeking was bred to our tiger her in Petchabun and was suppose to be sent to him pregnant. If it's not here then where did it go?
"My roo ka? Yak ja by Indianapolis ka?" she asked facetiously.
"No," I said emphatically, "We're going to Tibet and the reason why is this............"