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An uninvited


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Not yet long in Bangkok not even a cell phone. Min had found us a place in a shabbying high rise built ten years before, during the gold rush; a 3 roomed 70 square meter home machine. Very OK, but for details; speeding, the air-conditioners gyrated off-key, teak floors might have done better and the petite luxury of the bath, offset by an encroaching rust patch where the stagnant water pooled, was just redeemed by the many small butterflies and gnomic transfers decorating such impressions of decay.


A few weeks into this, our ménage gathering equilibrium late night there was a knock at the door. I peered through the spy hole at a robed north African man, never seen before. My fragile alphabet of street craft kept the house intact, but through the woodwork the guttural voice boomed ?I know you have woman in there? and though he went away after a few minutes I could make no sense of it and Catherine was very serious, protective of Kit. We were after all innocents abroad


Spoke with the Condo manager inconclusively with undercurrents.


A week or so later he was back, approximating the same ritual, rendered darker by half-hearted hammering at the door. By now we had mastered the internal phone and while I kept him talking Catherine called security. How reassuring that phrase is and for anybody in Thailand even a short while, maybe hollow! Our ersatz guardians finally sauntering up long after he was gone.


This time the manger was definitely shifty and promised with a rare authority it wouldn?t happen again.


We were cell phoned by the next time and the guards fleet. A policeman came too but not before our electricity had been turned off by a master switch in the corridor. Scary threatening us now with the aircon silent in the enforced gloom.



It turned out he lived on the floor below and the policeman suggested we talk. I walked down the stairs confident everything would be alright through Catherine screeching ?no?. Seated disconsolately there on his bed he garbled something but the body language was not aggressive. The guards were forcefully speaking to him too,in Thai. We shook hands.


I saw him infrequently after that, usually at the communal washing machine station on the ground floor



It was only months later Nee recounted the whole story. He had had a woman from Chang Mai. There was a young daughter. Our apartment had been their home for two years. He ran out of money and they struggled for a bit before she unilaterally took the child home to her mother. During their penury she was on the game, entertaining clients here while he suffered. He thought lately she had returned and mistook me for a supplant.





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