Global Portraits 2

No. 2 in a series of short fiction sketches that say something about the cultural mix that’s going on in Asia. To see all the fiction pieces, go to “Categories” and click on the “fiction”  link.


The guy has a chicken neck, soft rolls of fat under his chin, wispy white hair­­.  He’s like a boy in front of the most beautiful girl in the village. His eyes never leave me. He says go out, go to room. I think: Go out with this old animal again? I tell myself––Pai, if pay enough, go. I test his money. A little bar-fly girl in a black and white school uniform walks by in her white sneakers, bouncing up and down, like this, to Proud Mary.

“I see that little girl likes you,” I say, using my best smile. “I help you. You want her? Only $60.”

He said the name of Jesus, the God. “No, honey. I like you. Don’t you want to go with me?”  he says.

“I want to go,” I say, “but I have to ask for a lot of money. I have to pay rent. I have two children.”

“I seen the scar,” he says.

My head was a broken plate from tequila the night before. All the dancers went to Mr. Spicy’s after work. Men went crazy buying us drinks. We had a lot of fun. Now I feel like somebody kick me in the head. He says again, “Don’t you like me, darlin’? I need another tequila.”

“Me, too,” I say. I start to feel better because that was my 74th  drink this month. I made 65 drinks before the twelfth day. Now the mamasan knows I work hard to make money. $1 a drink for me. $3 for the bar. Then the old animal who is covered in tatoos says he needs another tequila to make his carrot grow. When I don’t understand, I smile and laugh. “Me too,” I said. One more dollar. He smiles and nods. Momasan walks around the dance floor, “Tomorrow, everything 50 percent off,”  she says. “Not me,” says Blue.

The old animal says it’s time to put up or shut up. I know shut up means to keep quiet. Finally, he says, “Well? Let’s go, honey…”

I say, “You give me $100, Ok? We go now.” That’s how I got $30 to send to my mom yesterday. My mom’s in jail in Burma. Two more years. I want her with me. I need her close. I’m a baby too, really. I want to cry all the time.

Tomorrow night Blue and I go to the temple for Macha Bucha––about the Buddha talks to people. I will pray to take care of my mom and to live to be old with my children.

The next night all the temples in the town filled with people. The moon rose big and red like millions of nights before on this night in May. Pai and her two children prayed for her mother, and she prayed to be a good mother and to have a good heart.

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