An Englishman's wedding day was laid to waste when his bride-to-be told him she needed to "pop outside for a cigarette", and was never seen again.
Colin 'D' was due to tie the knot at a Registry Office in Bournemouth with his intended, whose name does not matter, so don't ask.
The woman got as far as arriving at the office and taking a seat inside, before starting to show signs of extreme anxiety. Seeing this, Colin asked her if she was feeling OK. The intendee told him she was fine, but that she needed a 'smoke', and would be:
"back in a minute."
Knowing that a cigarette takes more than a minute to smoke, the groom waited until five minutes had passed, then went outside to check on his love. Alas, she was nowhere to be seen.
Shocked, Colin went to Thailand to look for another wife.
Not long after, he met, 'fell in love with', and married another woman, nicknamed 'Noi'. The marriage didn't work out as Colin had hoped it would, but his wife was 'over the moon' at the seeming ease with which she was able to improve her bank account balance at the expense of Colin's.
One day, the couple had an argument, and Noi said she was going 'upcountry' to stay with her parents. Days passed, then weeks, then months. Then, after about 5 months, Colin received a phone call from Noi's mother, to say that Noi had died. Of something-or-other. Details were vague. Colin was heartbroken. He considered going back to England, but thought he'd 'tough it out' in Bangkok. He threw himself into teaching to distract himself, and gradually came through his crisis. Then he met 'Rose'.
'Rose' worked in a bar. 'That' kind of bar. Colin decided to rescue her from that existence, and asked her to live with him. She agreed; well, it would have been rude not to. He was going to pay for everything, and all she had to do was housework and get his tea ready when he got in from work. Colin told everybody how 'dutiful' Rose was, how she washed their clothes (mostly hers) every day, cooked his evening meals (mostly rice), and scrubbed the back yard (mostly just as he was coming in from work), and, seemingly, fell hook, line and sinker for Rose's 'timed-to-perfection' plan of looking busy when he got in. They got married. After 'the one that absconded', and 'the one that died', here, at least, was 'the one that scrubbed the back yard'. He was happy, after a fashion.
One day, the inevitable happened. Colin was in a Big C supermarket, when he came face-to-face with Noi. Remember her? Dead Noi. To say Colin was shocked, would be an understatement. On Noi's part, she reacted in a very Thai way: hardly at all. It was as if her 'death' shouldn't have mattered to Colin at all; he should have shrugged his shoulders and brushed it off; got on with his life and not have worried about it. After all, people die all the time. Colin told her that, in a way, that's what he had done.
Suddenly, Noi became furious. What?! He'd found someone else? But they were still married! How could he do this to her? Hadn't he heard of the law, and where it coincided with 'marriage'? He would be hearing from her solicitor. And off she stormed.
Colin had already heard from Noi's solicitor. In fact, it was he who had sent the 'Death Certificate' to Colin way back at the time of Noi's 'death', and was, Colin now suspected, probably the brains behind that operation, especially as Noi had been siphoning Colin's money into her own 'pocketmoney account' for some time without his knowledge.
The Englishman shrugged his shoulders. He'd managed without Noi for long enough, and now he had Rose. Easy come, easy go. Only when Rose started to talk about 'long-term plans', and 'buying land up North', did Colin start to have any doubts, but Rose was persuasive, and knew, from her bar days, how to get what she wanted from men. Soon, the pair were saving for 'a house'. Colin continued to work seven-days-a-week, and from dawn until after dusk, with just short breaks in his day so that he could travel from one place of work to another. Rose continued to 'save'.
The 'house' that they were saving for, wasn't going to hover in mid-air - it needed some land. Rose had already found some land, and, amazingly, knew its owner. She 'negotiated' a fair price, and it was bought - in her name, because foreigners can't own land in Thailand. Builders were engaged to build the property. Colin was eager to get on with the project, and told Rose to inform the builders he wanted the work completed inside six months. When twelve months had gone by, he became irritated. After eighteen months, he grew suspicious. Rose had, by now, gone to live close to the building site to 'supervise the work', but when Colin turned up unannounced one day, he couldn't locate her - or the building site. There was a small piece of land measuring about thirty meters square, but it was surrounded - in places - by a rusty wire fence, and was overgrown with weeds. People had been dumping garbage there for quite some time. Colin spent a while thinking, then crying, then went back home.
Colin is single again, these days. He claims to have learnt his lesson, which is nicely ironic, bearing in mind his profession. Still, you never know just what's around the next corner...