Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Pied Piper Gangster Reunion

from Three Coin Prose: Bangkok

A year later the same show: same cowboy, same hot wax, same horsehung guy wearing a monster mask, same buff little guy in a leather cop cap fucking the same girlie geisha boy--and it was incredibly acrobatic the way they did it, involving both a step-ladder and a trapeze, pounding away at every possible angle, keeping time with the music, both of them smiling broadly all the while like two proud twirlers heading up a parade.

Ideally there should be a heavy-duty bleach solution in a little bucket beside my hotel bed and at the end of the night I could leave my mind to soak in it and start the next day pure, with a high opinion of myself. As this is not possible, I must write.

In the back corner of Tawan, Bangkok's big muscle boy bar, there was the most preposterous gangster. Instead of watching the stage I kept turning around to look at him: a young man in a sports coat, his silk dress shirt half unbuttoned, wearing big sunglasses at one o'clock in the morning. The overall effect was not imposing, not like an actual gangster but instead like a seventh grader who'd told him mother, "No, I was a vampire last year, this year I want to be a pimp!"

The gangster had a muscle boy on either side of him. One was the biggest guy in the bar and the other--well, I'm not even allowed to look at him. Last year I looked, and even spoke to him, and I just barely escaped. Tattooed Burmese muscle man the size of a Volkswagen with the sweetest baby face you can imagine. Lord, protect me from what I want.

One of the managers sat at the gangster's table pouring his whiskey, making sure the ice was fresh. This is what the big spenders do at Tawan: they buy a bottle and share it with the boys. The gangster finally took off his shades. His eyes glinted and darted like little blue lights.

I didn't believe what I knew to be true. Everything was the same, even my Pied Piper Gangster at his troublemaker's table in the corner. His hand was on my shoulder. "When did you get back?" he said and asked me to join him for a whiskey.

I said I was glad he was still alive. "You know, I kept the gorilla. It's in a place of honor back home in Tokyo."

History of the Pied Piper Gangster, in brief: I met him a year ago, or rather I was one of innumerable people he collected in the course of the one long night. I followed him as he ranted at, entertained and infuriated every single person he came across. He had to speak to everyone, buy everything, give everything away, had to sing and praise himself and raise holy bedlam at every step.

At one point he'd seen an old woman selling toys. He shouted to her in Thai and haggled passionately before buying a large sad-faced stuffed gorilla which he hardly glanced at before passing it to me. "Here," he said and forgot about it.

The manager sat at his table partly because he spent so much money but mostly because he had an extraordinary gift for causing trouble every single minute. He smoked and smoking was forbidden. He refused to put it out. He groped anyone nearby, shouted orders to the stage in Thai, stood up, spun around, nearly knocked over a table, nearly got caught in a cum shot--it was the part of the show when the men line up on stage and diligently shoot a load.

He must have been an avatar of Loki--how else could he survive? He tumbled back at my side. "Stay with me," he said. "For free. I've got an extra room." I didn't need to say no; I just waited a minute.

How can such forces exist in equal concentration: fucked-up, holy, pathetic, kingly, radiant, hopeless. The brilliant conflagration of a young man destroying his life. For the love of God, Pied Piper, eat soup. Stay home.

The Pied Piper Gangster says hello to everyone but he never says goodnight. He lurched up. Muscle men held onto tables nearby. On his way to the door he spun around and around; he did everything but chant Hare Krishna and then he was gone.

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