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Mc Tavish of the Glen Chapter 9


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Mc Tavish of the Glen Chapter 9 Settling In


Laph rose slowly, but in good health for the first time in a few days. He quickly came to his senses and realised that he had to front up to work. He checked the alarm clock, it was 7am. Thank god thought Laph he had not slept in. Toy was already out of bed fully dressed, â??I go to get your shirts Tilacâ?Â, said Toy as she set out all Laphâ??s clothes. â??Come on kikiat man pai apnaamâ? (lazy man go shower), Toy said wagging her finger at Laph. As if obeying commanderâ??s orders Laph trotted off to the shower checking with amazement his suit and accessories laid out ready. While showering he was thinking he may have created a monster in Toy. He wasnâ??t quite ready to have a full time girl friend again. He would let it run the course for now and work out how he would stand down Toy without hurting her.


Showered and dressed, Laph looked like a million dollars. Toy said she would take him to breakfast as a celebration for his first day on the job. Laph thought, what was she going to do next, pack his lunch with jam sandwiches, a banana and mars bar!? Toy proudly led Laph off down Soi 22 for breakfast. She was proud that she had some part in Laphâ??s success, she liked him, he was like having a big cuddly toy, but he wasnâ??t the type of man she would want to marry. She preferred a rebel, tattoos, earring and a little crazy. Laph was just too straight. She was thinking how she would let him down slowly. Maybe she would go upcountry to see her daughter, as Laph had generously tipped her for her help and services. Then by the time she came back he would have butterflied , she would act hurt and keep her distance. She had to do something soon as her boy friend from the USA was coming soon and she had to get her act together and jiggle the roster as her German boy friend would be here soon after the USA one.


Laph and Toy sat at a street vender eating jok (rice porridge). Laph was struggling through his as Toy doctored it up with chillies and nam plaa (fish sauce). The ice coffee was good but didnâ??t abate the onslaught of the chilli attack. Laph was dressed like a â??pox doctors clerkâ?Â, 3 piece Scottish weave suit, with wool striped tie. Alright for the bleak streets of Glasgow, but not for 35C Sukhumvit! The sweat was trickling down his spine and his face started to glow with the chillies taking effect. Pools of sweat formed in his ears and his neatly combed hair took on the appearance of a mop. He desperately tried to wipe the sweat away with the tissues at the table, but they just disintegrated on impact! Laph tried to get a bunch of them together but it just ended up in a sodden mass leaving blue bits of tissue all over his face.


Sombat the jok street vender said to his Burmese waitress, â??Ever see a paper Mache monkeyâ?Â? The waitress tried to stifle her giggles as she added more tissues to Laphâ??s table. â??Donâ??t take any more I wont have any for the rest of the weekâ?Â!, whined Sombat.


Toy paid for the meal and wished Laph all the best, not mentioning his tissue strewn face. She thought it impolite to say anything as it might offend, anyway it will dry out and blow off soon. Laph said his goodbyes and marched off, brief case in hand down to the pedestrian crossing on Sukhumvit. The traffic was non-stop, Laph tried to step out onto the crossing but no one stopped for him, in fact they actually sped up! It was now 8.15 am and he would be late if he didnâ??t get across. A group of Thai girls, all in Thai Farmer Bank uniforms fronted up to the crossing. One girl, all of about 5 foot tall, 50 kilos wet, including handbag, put up her hand and all the traffic came to a halt. The girls marched across Sukhumvit with ease and Laph quickly followed them, getting a beep from a motorcycle that made him jump as he brought up the rear. Laph was learning everyday there are many ways to â??skin a catâ? in the land of smiles.


Laph arrived just in time to Dons office on Soi 33 . As he entered Lek the receptionist let out a small gasp. It was too early for Songkran and Halloween was over, what was this farang all about. Don emerged from the rear of the office clutching a coffee, â??fuck me what are you dressed like that forâ?Â! laughed Don. â??Aye, I like to be professional, people respect thatâ?Â, said Laph. â??Well youâ??re going to melt in that outfit, just wear a short sleave shirt, tie and slacks, thatâ??s the uniform of the day around here, plus the blue tissue does not match your tie!â? explained Don. Laph shyly shed his excess clothing and sat down. Don gave him a cold towel and a glass of water. Laphâ??s face slowly returned to normal.


Don had Laph filling out many different forms for work permits etc most of the morning. Don explained that he would be working on a tender for the new Sheraton on Sukhumvit. There were only three people working in the office, Lek a petite Thai girl was the receptionist and a fellow countryman called Steve who had not fronted up yet. Laph asked if Steve was out on a job. â??At this hour, be buggered, he doesnâ??t get out of the farter until 11 amâ?Â! said Don. â??I donâ??t mind as long as he gets the job done which he does some howâ?Â, explained Don. â??I think we should put the nose bag on Laphâ? Don said. â??Aye whatâ?Â? asked Laph. â??Iâ??ll take you to lunch to celebrate you starting work with usâ? explained Don. Does anyone actually work here Laph thought, its all lunches and drinking. Don called Steve and told him to get his backside down to Lâ??Opera for lunch to meet the new employee Laph McTavish.


They were seated at the bar in Lâ??Opera when Steve walked in, â??Heineken Luigiâ? said Steve sitting down. â??This is Laph the new kid on the blockâ? said Don. â??How ya doin big manâ? Steve said shaking hands with Laph. â??Where did ya get the suit from big man, Saint Vincent De Paulsâ?Â? â??Leave the lad alone, at least it hasnâ??t got lasts nightâ??s hamburger on it like yoursâ?Â! said Don defending Laph. â??Aye, it might be a bit over the top for these conditions I have to admitâ? Laph chipped in. â??Nae worry big man we will get that samosa eating bandit on Soi 22 to fix you up with something coolerâ? offered Steve. â??Iâ??ve already met him, seemed a nice blokeâ? said Laph. â??Yea, nice when he can see ya walletâ? replied Steve.


They dined on an Italian lunch that would have pleased Pavarotti and were relaxing polishing off the last of a great Australian red. Don and Steve were giving Laph the run down on the contracts they had and the general operations. Laph loosened his belt to relieve the pressure. He wasnâ??t sure whether his pants had shrunk or his girth was expanding after five days in Bangkok. It was most likely the latter. Cigar and wine in hand Laph sat back and thought he could get used to this way of living. Don and Steve finished off discussing the whereabouts of certain bar girls and who served the best scotch and soda. â??Lets get going and catch the happy hour at the Renoir, I think Laph has a friend he would like to visit thereâ? said Don. â??Aye, is that right, which oneâ? Steve asked. â??Knun Pieâ? said Don with a smile on his face. â??Jesus yir a gamer man than me McTavish, I hope you have a lot of patienceâ? said Steve slapping Laph on the back. Laph had wondered why he would need a lot of patience, he would just barfine Pie and take her home like he had been taught. They caught a taxi back to Soi 33 and walked into the Renoir Club. Don phoned Lek and told her that they had been caught up with clients and would be late. Laph wondered why he was explaining himself to the receptionist, maybe they had a thing going?


They walked up to the Renoir where four girls in white evening type suits gave them a graceful wai. Seated at the bar, cold towels where handed out and scotches ordered. Laph looked around seeing if he could spot Pie but she wasnâ??t there. â??Donâ??t worry Laph she starts work at sixâ? said Don. â??Who, whatâ? stuttered Laph, acting like he didnâ??t know what Don was on about. The bar filled quickly as the time closed in on 6 pm. Laph was in full swing knocking back large tumblers of Black Label and soda. The manager approached Laph and explained it would be better if he bought a bottle. Laph thought this was a bit rude, he had knocked back a few but he wasnâ??t drinking that much! Don explained that if you buy a bottle for Baht 1,800 they put it behind the bar and all mixers are free. Laph did a quick couple of Scottish calculations and worked out he was better off. â??Whatâ??s stopping the staff siphoning off a few dramsâ?�, asked Laph. â??Check the bottle out, there is a small glass stopper in the top, makes it hard to refillâ? explained Steve as the manager showed him an open bottle. â??The staff here are very trustworthy, check out how many bottles are in the cabinetâ? said Don. Behind the bar, there was a cabinet with up to 100 bottles of JW Black Label, JW Swing, Chivas Regal and various Cognacs. Laph was convinced and ordered a bottle of JW Black. The manager brought Laphâ??s bottle over and registered him on a sheet, then put his name and date on the bottle. The bar staff set up a bucket of ice and soda water. This was the life thought Laph as the hostess filled up his glass. Don and Steve also held out their glasses and received a generous portion of whiskey. â??Cheers McTavishâ? they both said in unison. This might not be the best idea thought Laph as he eyed the level of the Black label going down.


Don had excused himself, said he had to return to the office. Laph asked if he needed a hand, but Don explained he was just locking up and had to give Lek a ride home. Thereâ??s more than meets the eye there Laph thought. â??Lets go to the Cowboy Laph, I know a bar called â??Before Classâ?Â, where if youâ??re lucky you can get put in the naughty boys cornerâ?Â! Laph wasnâ??t sure why you would be lucky if you were put in the naughty boys corner, but he was game to find out. Laph asked the bar staff to put his bottle away, before Steve scoffed the lot. Laph thought he would be smart and turn the bottle upside down and mark the label as a back up check for pilfering. He hadnâ??t realised that the top was not on properly and whiskey poured into his lap. Laph leapt up scattering the girls and his bar stool. â??What the bloody hell ya doin big manâ? laughed Steve. â??Heâ??s prone to this, he nearly gave us all a heart attack last time he was hereâ? said the Mamasan.


As Laph was brushing the front of his trousers down a familiar voice whispered in his ear, â??You please to see me or you just pee your pants, Mr Scottish manâ?Â! said Pie standing behind him. Laph spun around knocking over the ice bucket, causing two of the bar staff to get hit on the shins by ice shrapnel. â??Aiyee, farang ting tongâ? squealed one of the girls hopping around holding her shins. â??Youâ??ve lost the plot already McTavish, are you coming or going to destroy the joint firstâ?Â?, asked Steve. â??Pai nai (where you go) Knun Laphâ? asked Pie with her lips pursed holding back a laugh. â??Aye, I might have a few more here if I may Steveâ? said Laph. â??Fill ya boots big man, I will be over the Cowboy all night, come over when ya finished fart arsing aroundâ? said Steve getting up and leaving.


The staff poured another whiskey for Laph, this time keeping the bottle and all in sundry out of reach. Pie went behind the bar and started work, Laph watched her every move Pie was about 5 feet tall and well proportioned. She wasnâ??t the prettiest girl in the bar but she had something about her that mesmerized Laph. Pie was deliberately avoiding Laph, it was all part of the game and Laph was already in her power. Eventually Pie slowly walked over and stood in front of Laph. She waved four fingers in the front of Laphâ??s face, â??anyone homeâ? said Pie. â??Aye Iâ??m fine, just fine thanks Pieâ?Â, stuttered Laph. Pie thought she had stunned him too much and would have to take the lead in the situation. â??May I come and sit with you Laphâ?Â, asked Pie. â??Aye of course, of courseâ? said Laph standing up and making room for Pie. She had already started her way around the bar, as she knew the answer before Laph had answered.


Seated next to Laph, was Pie with her back dead straight like a ballerina and her legs crossed. Pie stared deep into Laphâ??s eyes. Laph tried to start a meaningful conversation but Pie just gave full stop answers, there were long periods of silence while Laph thought of another subject to talk about. The Girls behind the bar were taking bets and explaining Pies battle strategies to the younger girls. â??Pie doesnâ??t go with customers, sheâ??s in the market for a full time boy friend and future husbandâ? explained the mamasan. â??I donâ??t know whether I would marry that farang, I would have to work long time to keep him in food and beer!â? exclaimed young Nak. â??If you marry a farang he works and you collect the money turtle brains! laughed the mamasan.


Laph plucked up the courage and asked Pie if he could buy bar. â??You want to buy the bar Knun Laph, you must have lots of money!â? said Pie. â??Er, why is it expensive?â? asked Laph. â??Iâ??m not sure, but I donâ??t think the owner Knun Chow Fat wants to sell itâ? Pie answered teasing Laph with a grin on her face. â??But you could take me to dinner some time, that would be less expensive if you wishâ? said Pie. â??Er right then, that would be grandâ? said Laph. â??What would be grandâ? asked Pie. â??To take you to dinnerâ? replied Laph. â??You want to take me to dinner Knun Laphâ?Â? â??Er yeh, thatâ??s what I said, I thinkâ?Â, stuttered Laph. â??Kop khun kar Khun Laphâ? said Pie giving Laph a small wai. â??Where would you like to go?â? asked Laph getting excited. â??I will have to think about that, when would we go?â? asked Pie. â??Er, as soon as I finish my drink and pay the billâ? said Laph standing up. â??Now? Can not, I work now, maybe next weekâ? said Pie walking back behind the bar.


The flames were licking out from the cowls, as Laphs plane rolled over and plummeted to the ground, leaving a trail of smoke.


â??They are strange cattle these womanâ? said the bloke next to Laph in an Australian drawl. â??Aye, that they areâ? said Laph, crest fallen, finishing off his drink. â??Well this is the land of smiles, miles and miles of vertical smilesâ? said the Australian. Laph had no idea what he was on about as he only picked up a word or two. Laph checked out the Australian, he was dressed in moleskins with RM Williams boots and a short sleeve shirt. Laph wondered if he left his horse tied up outside! â??Well let me buy a round as we are both sitting here staring at girls we canâ??t haveâ? said the Australian. â??Thank you Iâ??ll have a black sodaâ? replied Laph. â??Bloody black whatâ? said the Australian. â??A black soda, its Johnny Walker black label and sodaâ? explained Laph with confidence knowing now he wasnâ??t the newest kid on the block. â??Sounds bloody good to me Iâ??ll have one to. The name is Gibson Nuleaf, but call me Gibbo, all me mates doâ? said the Australian holding out his hand. â??Laph McTavishâ? Laph said shaking Gibboâ??s hand. â??Well me old china plate Iâ??m pretty keen on this sheila behind the jump called Ae, but sheâ??s not coming acrossâ? said Gibbo. Laph had half an idea what Gibbo was on about and was beginning to take a liking to the rough Australian. In fact Laph warmed to anyone that bought him a drink!


They talked all about what they were up to and where they where going. Gibbo was a police pilot in Western Australia, and was up here with a police delegate working with the Thai Police. He was in a relationship with a girl in Perth that he wanted to escape from, so they had something in common. They had gone past the happy hour time of nine oâ??clock without noticing and were well into the night drinking. Pie and Ae stood the other side of the bar topping up their glasses. Gibson had bought a bottle of black as they had finished Laphâ??s. The two girls were thinking maybe they had backed the wrong horses, these two farangs were more interested in the whisky than them. Ae had been listening to Pies tactics, slowly slowly you catch the monkey. Ae was beginning to think this was a waste of time and should just go home with Gibbo and sort him out. Pie managed to convince Ae to stick with her and they would get their rewards.


It was now 3 am and half the bar staff had left, a few girls were asleep upstairs on the sofas and the old dishwasher was gabbling away hand washing glasses. â??I think its time to call it quits Gibbo, Iâ??m a little under the weatherâ? slurred Laph. â??Yeh, Iâ??m Wallaby Tedâ??s brotherâ? said Gibbo. â??Wallaby who?â? asked Laph. â??Wallaby Tedâ??s brother, roo ted!â? explained Gibbo. They staggered out side with Pie and Ae escorting them. â??Popgun prung nee (see you tomorrow)â? said the girls waving Laph and Gibson goodbye as they staggered down the street. â??Iâ??ll catch you tomorrow, same time, same channelâ? said Gibbo hailing a taxi. â??Why not, see you tomorrowâ? Laph said as he staggered down Soi 33. So much for only having a drink a couple of times a week thought Laph. The slippery slide into the depths of Bangkokâ??s expat world was inevitable. Will McTavish get up for work? Will he still have a job tomorrow, time will tell.



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Gibson Nuleaf? wasn't he the man who invented that horrible greaseproof jobby wipe?


Come to think of it, I met an Aussie called Gibson Nuleaf in a gay bar in Scarborough a few years back (I stumbled in there by mistake when I should have been in the bar next door attending the 107th RICS monthly meeting to discuss the new 'Value Engineering Principles and Practice' book that had recently been released by Professor Ardvark). I chattted to him for quite a while but he became drunk and just repeated some old limerick's over and over again. The twat never even bought me a drink.

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