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The Vampires of Pattaya Beach

David Huberman

Cat woke me up. I immediately looked at my dollar fifty alarm clock. It was twelve noon, with the sun shining through our windows. My little sweetie was jumping up and down like a Mexican jumping bean, spitting and cursing in English and Thai, doing her loco bit at the Polar Inn, a second rate hotel that we were staying at. What’s better than waking up to a hot Thai afternoon with the girlfriend going bonkers? “Honey,” I admonished, “get off the bed before you break it.” She jumped right off, yelling, “I have to go to the bathroom.” “The loo’s all yours, babe.” A few minutes later she came out of the bathroom, and with a mischievous smile, announced, “I had to shit.”

Painting "I Leave" by Julius Klein
I Leave, painting by Julius Klein

Just full of romance, that one. A wild child, born an angry baby, full of self punishment, a throwback to ancient eras long gone, when flagellants roamed the streets, beating themselves for religious purity. The medical profession calls it Tourette syndrome, and my sweetheart had it bad. Sometimes during the early morning hours she would start beating herself around her head, then the cursing and the spitting would begin. The shaking came next. At times it was like living with someone who had demonic possession, and needed an exorcism. Cat told me she used to live in Bangkok with an older brother, who was married to a woman doctor, and they supposedly got her a job in some hospital in the baby ward, and her task was hugging babies. This got me thinking that they had her on some type of medicine to ward off the attacks so that she could manage the job. When I could get hold of some valium, I would slip them to her, and that usually helped with the symptoms of the disease, but my connection had dried up. I was waiting patiently for my princess to come out of her affliction. Around noon she usually got better.

Now Pattaya City, a coastal resort area in Thailand where we were living, was considered by the Euro trash and Asian highbrows to be the armpit of Asia, on account of the many beer bars, night clubs and sex parlors that existed there. But it reminded me more of the way the East Village was in New York City in the late seventies and early eighties. Just a lot of artists, writers, musicians, sex workers, gay people and trannies (in Thailand they are called lady boys or, in Thai, katoey) residing together. There were more than enough cheap apartments and economical hotels to rent for budget living and plenty of condos, co-ops and four and five star hotels for wealthy tourists, and the large population of middle aged European retirees living there for the mad sex trade. Pattaya had something for everybody, just like the nineteen seventies in New York City’s East Village. The young Thai bargirls reminded me of the American teen runaways who would journey from places like Wisconsin to Times Square, or to Avenue A, with very similar dangers; instead of vicious Cadillac patrolling pimps, sleazy massage parlors, and cocaine filled insanity, the Thais had to deal with wicked mamasans, sleazy massage parlors, and yaba (speed) filled insanity. Different eras, different cultures, but the same old tired cycles.

Cat’s petite pretty face was staring at me now, sitting with her lean body in a yoga position; cute brownish breasts were sticking out of a black bra. She was one of the few Thai women who didn’t have straight black hair, but was a dark blonde. I had put on the cable TV, and an old Thai horror movie was on; vampires were on the rampage, killing indiscriminately. I had seen the film before in New York in some downtown art house. There were some fun moments, but it wasn’t the type of motion picture you should see more than once. I was going to turn it off, but my little honey was captivated, screaming, “nasty creeps, vampires, lousy bloodsuckers are more horrible than lady boys!”

My girlfriend was no fan of the many Trans women who occupied Pattaya City. Late at night, around the midnight hour, dozens of katoeys seemed to materialize from the cracks of the streets and began to patrol for customers; this drove her into a mad rage. Mimicking a chattering parrot, she would chant to any passing lady boy, “You shit where you fuck! You shit where you fuck!” Needless to say this slogan of hers got us into all kinds of trouble, but that’s another tale to be told at a future date.

The B-horror movie had gotten Cat all worked up, so much so that I detected a hysterical crack in her voice, and if I didn’t intervene, she would have another fit. “Baby,” I said, “turn the TV off, and let’s go back to sleep, its way too hot outside.” My sweetheart just lowered the volume. Then she caught me off guard by saying, “The vampires are here in Pattaya City, you know. One night, I go on beach, I have no money, many Thai girls with no Baht (Thai Money) sleep on beach, it very hot that night and mosquitoes bite me many times, wide awake, not dreaming! I see strange people floating above the water, cannot see their faces too well, but eyes so fierce and bright red. They dress like Khmer Rouge people. Then they go very fast, start flying past me. See another girl. She very drunk. Out of nowhere like magic, they have white sheet. They grab her with it, lady have no time to scream. They wrap her in it like spider does other bugs. I frighten of them so very much but at same time I want to know where they go, I must be crazy, so I run very quick and follow them. Can you believe it! They don’t give a damn! These devils own pub named Blood Bar. I not go in to see what they do to drunken girl. But that lady she sell her pussy to farangs (Thai slang for foreigner), where can she go, only beach for her customers to find her. Never see that girl again. Those blood lovers drink her probably, maybe take body and dump it in garbage container. I don’t know?”

Cat was really scared. But it was hard for me to believe what she had said. Before I moved to Thailand, I had traveled all over Eastern Europe. I had gotten an opportunity to be in a rock band as the lead singer, it sort of just fell into my lap. We were not a well known band, but since we were from New York we were offered a tour to Eastern Europe. We journeyed all over the Czech Republic, Sylvania, Transylvania, Poland, all the small villages and towns. I mean, this was major Count Dracula country. Nothing, not a trace of the supernatural; no sighting or visions of Vlad the Impaler nor ghosts, werewolves, or witches. Everybody was just ordinary. The Nazi skinheads that we encountered were scary, but very human.

“Honey I been all over Europe, where the legends of vampires originated, and I didn’t even come across a rumor of anything supernatural. You mean to tell me that if I walk over to this Blood Bar in Pattaya I’m going to find people with fangs hanging out of their mouths?” Cat looked at me with disdain, like I had just farted. “Sometimes farangs are just not too smart, Thai people have had vampires in Thailand since we had our first king.” That stuck to me and I said, “How about we go there in daylight and check out what’s going on over there? Would you be too afraid to go?” Her face started a weird sort of twitching. Then she said, “Go now, yes.”

We walked from Soy 10 to Soy 2. The temperature had to be in the mid eighties. I was a human sweat ball by then. My girlfriend, like many Thais, seemed to be unaffected by the heat. The walk was actually like therapy; the Tourette attack had subsided for the time being. “Man I’m hot and sweaty. How much further do we have to go?” She pointed north and said, “A few more blocks in Bixie’s neighborhood, near the car lot that is no more.” As we walked the final blocks to our destination, I thought of how cheap I was. We could have taken the tuk-tuk (Pattaya main transportation, a hybrid between a van and a bus) all for a measly 10 Baht, but the walk had helped by calming her down. We passed a Thai barbecue restaurant that seemed to be out of business, and an abandoned car lot. On the right side was a red brick house, and in the front of the building was a sign plastered with the words, Blood Bar.

“Wow, I’d like to take that sign off the premises; it would make a great souvenir.” There was definitely a spooky and deserted feel to the place. I felt the dread of the forbidden come upon me. There was no way that I was going inside. I knocked a few times, but no one came to the door. The pub seemed locked and secure. Then I realized I didn’t hear a sound, not even crickets, which made it feel even creepier. Cat stood beside me now, and she was shaking; if we didn’t leave soon another seizure could take place. “Time to go,” I said. “If it’s this foul in the daytime, I wonder what this place would be like at night?” As we were leaving I heard her say, “Very bad place, worse than any lady boy night club.”

My fiancée left town a few nights later. She had finally called her family. She had been feeling guilty for running away, and she was also missing her mother terribly. Her parents were raising Cat’s own baby girl. They were happy to hear from her, and asked her to come home. “Of course Mama, but give me a few days. I also want to tell you I have very handsome farang boyfriend from America,” she said in English for my benefit. Cat would be visiting her parents in the farming district of Phaturntane. They were getting their rice crop ready. “So glamorous daughter has a USA man.” Did she have a present for them? “Of course, he is American, they all have lots of money,” Cat said proudly. I reluctantly gave her two hundred dollars. In Thailand that’s the custom when the woman is from a poor family; the farang is expected to help his beloved with money for her relatives. So with two hundred dollars less in my bank account, I got Cat out of the way for a few days; this would be an ideal time to check out the Blood Bar at night.

Two mornings later, I waved goodbye to my sweetie as she got on the bus, and I slept the whole afternoon with the air conditioner humming away. Before I had gone to bed, the English weather channel reported that it would be about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. I had a good long sleep, filled with dreams and lots of fleeting images. I woke up and looked at my battery operated alarm clock. It was almost midnight. I dressed and shaved as fast as I could and walked past Soy Two, into Bixie’s neighborhood.
I went past the abandoned luncheonette-café into the rundown car lot. The heat had carried over from daytime. I had drunk two bottles of water, and I was sweating up a storm, but I didn’t let that stop me. Before me was Blood Bar, and it looked completely different. Lights were shining around the premises, as if a Christmas tree cutting event was happening, and a crowd of people surrounded the area in all directions, bearing no resemblance to the living dead, ghouls, or vampires. Nobody dressed in black. The crowds were all farangs (foreigners). I went inside.

There were no victims hanging upside down providing blood champagne to so called vampires. It looked like an ordinary drinking establishment to me. The drink specials were written on a blackboard above the bar. Draft beer went for a hundred Baht, three American dollars. There were mirrors on the walls, and the regular junk that you would find in any bar, including photos of past soccer players from England and Australia, a portrait of President Obama, and another of the present king of Thailand. The typical Buddhist altar was at the end of the bar for luck. There were a couple of pool tables in the back. A nice cool pub, one of thousands in Pattaya City. The patrons didn’t look out of place; young European men and women in their late twenties and early thirties.

Everything looked peachy keen until I looked at the bartender. He resembled a Khmer Rouge mummy, wearing a dirty hoodie, gloves and work boots. There was no naked flesh to be seen. His head was covered in white gauze surgical bandages, which were turning dusty gray. There were slits made for his eyes to look through, and he wore an old pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. Nobody seemed to pay attention to the unusual bartender, other than to order their drinks.

I started a conversation with an Australian chap. Brett, that’s what he called himself, a young hipster type in his twenties, with long blonde hair. Brett told me that Blood Bar has been here for a few years now, and had a loyal following. The place was a magnet for European women. They all came here; French porn stars, beautiful wealthy English girls. He even met a bird from Hollywood once. The cheap prices on the beer and the drink specials always stayed the same. They played great music, and had a good juke box, not too loud, so that if you hooked up with somebody, you could enjoy a decent conversation. “What could be better than this place?” Brett said.

“Don’t you think the bartender looks a little spooky?” I asked. “Yes, yes, it takes a while getting used to them looking like that, but they’re very good people.” “You mean there are more of them like the bartender?” Brett nodded his head. “Well the story is that they were a large family from Cambodia, and came across one of those old incendiary bombs from the old days, and that it went off. They all survived by some miracle, but were left with horrible burns throughout their bodies, so they cover themselves to hide their hideous scars.”

You had to give them credit; deceitful, smart, concealing themselves among us. There was no point in my inquiry, so I changed the conversation and spoke about my most favorite subject, which was women, while getting buzzed on cheap Thai beer. Time passed, and it was getting really crowded. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Lots of hot women came and went. I had been there for two hours, and was on my fourth toast with some up scale teeny boppers from Turkey when it hit me. I asked Bret, “Where are the Thai bar girls?” He gave me a mystified look and answered, “I have been coming around for a few years, and I’ve never ever seen a Thai or even any Asian person in this pub. It’s a real mystery to me.

It was time to leave, so I gave my regards to Brett. He was trying to hook up with an Italian starlet. I walked out of Blood Bar and went past the deserted barbecue restaurant and the car lot, and walked another two or three blocks to the first beer bar I saw, the John Wayne saloon. I entered the tavern and went up to the first Thai hostess that I came across, and said, “This is your lucky day; I am going to buy you a drink.” She was sultry looking, with high cheekbones, and long jet black hair. This temptress could have modeled for high fashion magazines. What was she doing here? “Call me Lee Lee. Tiger beer, please.” As she dangled her arm around my body, I could feel her heat spreading inside me.

I ordered drinks for both of us. Then I asked Lee Lee a question. “Would you like to go to this other drinking establishment near by, called the Blood Bar?” Well her exotic brown face almost turned pale. It was like I had slapped her in the face. “You have been to the Blood Bar, yes?” “Yea,” I said. “Lots of people go there, it’s a very fashionable crowd.” “You think so?” she said with a bit of awe in her voice. Then she said, “Thai people don’t go there. Very bad place, not one Thai person ever go there unless…”

Then she sort of lost it and screamed, “Evil place!!” Embarrassment spread across her face. “I’m sorry I yell at you, I lose face, so sorry really.” “That’s alright, just calm down, I want to ask you a few questions, please don’t get angry, but why is it bad for Thai people to go there, and farangs they are hanging out there every night, nothing bad happens to them at the Blood Bar?” Her eyes met mine; Lee Lee looked me over. “Your clothes, everything you wear is green, even your socks, are you Irish?” I laughed. It was true. “No, it’s just that I like the color green.” Lee Lee started to smile, a true Thai beauty. “You funny guy, dress all in green and not Irish, what is your name? Where are you from?” “My name is Mark; I’m from USA, New York City.” “Take seat at bar, we talk more, you can give Lee Lee a little present, yes? You first farang ever ask such questions before.”

Money, it always comes down to money. Well, I said to myself, what else is new, with no unemployment insurance, welfare, or any social services, the Thai hostesses always needed dough. She was probably paying the bills for her whole family. I handed her four hundred Baht (twelve American dollars). With a big smile and big eyes, she said, “New York City, do you know Lady Gaga?” I almost chuckled. But kept a straight face “No, she’s a superstar, but I saw her at a concert at Madison Square Garden once. That’s a huge indoor stadium in New York City. I’d hate to change the subject, but tell me about Blood Bar.”

She frowned and said, “Sometimes its hard for me to speak about them, makes me very scared. Mr. Mark, I will try to explain, the people who work at that bar are demons. In England, maybe USA, you have other name, called vampires. They hunt and murder only Thai people. Farangs they never harm, only drink the blood of their own kind.” It dawned on me, that all of the legends and rules of how vampires survived that I had picked up from Hollywood and European horror movies were probably just a lot of half baked fiction. What a great system, no weird incidents, missing persons, attacks concerning tourists. Foreigners keep them in money and Thais keep them in blood.

“But there must be reports to the police about your people being attacked or missing?” A bitter smile came to her face. “The demons are very smart, many homeless people in Pattaya, and they just kidnap them. Young girls have no money, work and sleep on beach. Go with customer for short time, disappear, nobody cares. Our Police get paid off, don’t believe in demons, think they are Cambodian mafia gang who survived explosion from old bomb.” “What about the bodies of the victims? Where are the corpses buried?” I asked. Lee Lee glanced at me intensely and said, “There have been rumors that the blood lovers don’t waste anything, that they have meat grinder in their basement. Many Thai people as you know are poor people and will eat fresh meat from unknown sources if it’s not too expensive, maybe they think its flesh from mongrels or some other animal. Foreigners on other hand will be looking for different, how you say? Exotic food, yes, I believe so, and will buy same as poor Thai people but spend much more money. Maybe they even know it is human meat. I’m sorry to say, but farangs are capable of any madness, I believe.”

“Hey wait a minute, us foreigners might end up being cannibals but it’s the Asians that are the undead around here,” I said, a little tensely. “What about the other rituals that vampires have, like not seeing them in mirrors, their hatred of garlic and anything to do with Jesus Christ? What about Christian crosses? And them walking around in daylight?” Lee Lee looked perplexed. “Nobody I believe has ever seen them in daylight, and who is this farang Jesus Christ?”

Later that evening, after a few more beers, Lee Lee expressed that she would like to spend the night with me, and would give me a discount because of how scared she was from our little talk together. Cat wouldn’t be back for a few more days. I was loyal to her in my heart, but this was Thailand for God’s sake. What really bothered me was that a lot of the Thai people were aware of what Blood Bar was about, but nothing was being done about it. This was insane.

My girlfriend returned three days later. She was all smiles. “My mother thanks you for the gift, but wants to know when we will marry, and how much your dowry will be to my family for my hand?” I was pissed. “Tell your mother that in all the other countries in the world it’s the bride’s people who have to come up with the dowry to the husband.” She shook her head no, but said, “Yes, yes I know all that, but every body knows all farangs in Thailand have lots of money, and most Thai girl families are poor.” “Well now,” I said, “do you think I have a lot of money?” Cat giggled and said, “Of course not, what is old saying? Oh yes, I remember, you’re lucky if you have two cents in your pockets, but in your case sometimes you don’t even have pockets. I know that, because sometimes I sew them back on your pants. Don’t worry my darling, I call mother and say USA boyfriend did not get his inheritance yet, but any day now he will receive it.” “Girlfriend it could take a long time before I receive my family’s money. There’s even a chance that I might not receive any inheritance at all because of certain bad habits that I have.” Cat planted a passionate kiss on my lips, then my sweet thing walked into the bathroom to shower and said, “I cannot mention that to mother.” Later I watched her fall asleep and I realized, despite the Tourette’s Syndrome. Despite the stevedore’s mouth. Despite the outbursts of uncontrollable anger. And the hundred and one embarrassments she caused me. Despite even the kid her parents were raising. Despite anything and everything, she had a sweetness. An uncalculated loveliness, a protectiveness… Yes, a protectiveness toward me. She was worth it all!

The next night, Cat and I were strolling on the beach near Soy 12. It was a beautiful evening, with a cool wind blowing. Tourists were all over the place, taking their nightly swims, or packing themselves in at the beer bars, cafes and restaurants. Traffic was crazy, with the tuk-tuks and motorbikes moving at a snail’s pace, all trying to get to their destination, which was Walking Street, the most famous decadent red light district in all of Asia. Green neon rays burst through the Pattaya night skies, advertising various dance clubs, shooting out of massive light machines. Lady Gaga, the Rolling Stones, hip hop, and heavy metal competed with local Thai music acts at full volume, hitting our eardrums from a thousand beer bars.

It was a changing of the guards, for it was 8 PM, and the night shift had begun, with stumbling young Thai women in all matters of dress rushing through the streets trying to get to their employment, the cafes, the go go clubs, the beer bars, the brothels. An army of lady boys were hitting the pavements too, belligerent in attitude, and screaming obscene come-ons to whomever was around them. Even the hard core beach girl prostitutes who sometimes stayed in the same location fifteen, even seventeen, hours were doing a brisk business picking up old, young, European, Indian, Moslem men like ripe fruit coming off the vines.

“Baby, I’ve been thinking, these horrible monsters, they have to be stopped. This can’t go on. I mean, every night these fiends might be murdering innocent people. We have to do something about it.” Cat just looked away, her eyes drifting to Pattaya’s red sky. She looked like she felt guilty. “I feel bad, many Thais know about the Blood Bar, but what can we do, the ones that know are poor people. Women who sell their pussies, lady boys, winos, crazies like me… We have no power, and you only farang who probably knows, but can’t go to Police, if you did they laugh, say crazy American, you are too nuts for Thailand, and then maybe deport you back to USA.”

“Cat, are you sure they have never attacked foreigners for their blood?” She hesitated for a moment and said, “I cannot be sure, but some Thai people who know about the blood drinkers say they cannot digest blood of farang, they tried and got very sick.” I smiled a malevolent smile. “That’s good, real good for me. Maybe I will find a way to burn Blood Bar to the ground. What do you think about that?” “I’m scared; those devils might want revenge and take it out on me! Don’t do it!” She grabbed me and started to shiver. “O.K., O.K., I won’t do anything rash. Anyway as much as I believe you, it’s all hearsay, I have to witness them in action. I’m going to stay up and patrol those beaches every night, and once I catch those freaks well I’ll do something…”

The next few nights, I wandered all over Pattaya’s shores, and didn’t notice any unusual activity. It finally dawned on me that my plan of catching them in the act was plain dumb. There were way too many beaches and only one me. Making it even worse, I had started receiving the strangest feelings I ever felt: hallucinations, crazy weird thoughts, delusions. I was in and out of daydreams imagining that the vampires knew about my awareness of them. Call it ESP, call it witchcraft. I took action immediately.

I told Cat to get her luggage ready, that we were heading to Bangkok. Cat was packing, but at the same time she was hitting herself. I firmly took hold of her, looked her straight in the eyes, and said, “Don’t worry; we are going to beat them. I have a plan but you must totally trust me.” I concocted a crazy scheme, but I had no idea if it would work. I gave cat the most confident grin I could come up with. She gave me a weak hug and continued to pack, and stopped hitting herself. We caught the five o’ clock bus out of Pattaya, and we were at Ekami bus terminal in Bangkok by seven P.M. I had made a few phone calls on the way in, and one of the persons I had contacted was waiting for us.

Bossy was a six foot two, former dominatrix turned tattoo artist. She was a former flame of mine. One of the many problems I had with Bossy was that I could never tell if she was a real woman, or a lady boy who became a post-op transsexual. Of course she denied that she had ever been a lady boy, but being that tall for a genetic Thai woman, was unheard of. Then again, in her defense, her cunt looked very ordinary to me, like any other woman’s, and she got wet down there well, just like a lady should. But these Thai surgeons…are miracle workers.

Cat was so nervous; she didn’t notice Bossy’s unusual height. “My shop is only a few blocks away. I can work on your girlfriend right away, but it’s going to cost you extra because I gave up two clients to help you out.” “No problem,” I replied. The Boss was wearing black extensions to make her hair longer, while wearing a bizarre looking dress made of clear latex material, showing off her great sexy legs and ass. Her feet were encased in orange colored open toed pumps. Her fashionable appearance didn’t look comfortable, but it sure was sexy. As we were walking to her shop, Bossy tried to make small talk to Cat in Thai, but got no reply. “I see, Mark, your new girlfriend is either a zombie or a deaf-mute?” Cat finally came back to life, and said to Bossy, “Do you fuck where you shit?”

We walked about three blocks, and then Bossy stopped in front of a narrow five story building that looked like it was ready to be torn down. “This is where your tattoo parlor is?” I asked. “Well it is my shop and where I live. None of the other tattoo artists will work with me because they say the landlord abandoned this building because it is slowly sinking into the ground. You know what is, how you say in English, “great,” that is the word, it is great because I don’t have to pay rent. I live on third floor. You better let me walk ahead of you, because of my pets.”

“Pets?” I asked. “I have sweet monkey and two pit bulls. Dogs kill the big rats that run around building, monkey keep bad people away. One day I was followed by wicked looking man, I think maybe drug user of yaba (speed). He crazy, very strong, hands like iron pinning me on floor of stairs, trying to rape, but Leon, that’s my name for monkey, he jump on yaba addict and bite his ear off. Man run away like scared rabbit, leave blood everywhere. I have to clean so much after him. I still have ear, I kept it in special liquid and dry it in clay. I attach to silver chain and I wear it as lucky charm sometimes. Don’t worry about pit bulls; I tie them up before I left to meet you. Leon will not attack you as long as you don’t try to fuck me over. What kind of tattoo you want for your lady?”

“I want you to ink my girlfriend with as many charms against bad spirits as possible. Can you do it?” I asked. Bossy smiled and said. “I’m professional, of course I can, but it will take some time, your girlfriend, she can take some pain?” Cat suddenly started talking very rapidly to Bossy in Thai. “What she saying, what she saying?” I kept repeating. “She say you big asshole, you farang been many years back and forth in Thailand and cannot speak our language. Bossy laughed in my face. “I do good joke! What she said is she’s a tough lady, can take much suffering, had baby and tattoo pain is nothing compared to delivering a child.”

I said, “Yea I knew that, she has a daughter that her parents are raising. Look, when you’re finished with tattooing my soul mate, I have to take her to see the monks, and then this catholic priest, and some other people I know…” With that old disgusted look of hers, from when we used to be a couple, Bossy says “Oh Buddha, your little princess will need to sleep after all the bodywork I do on her. Don’t be stupid, as long as you pay me she can stay here. Bring the monks and the other people here to pray and protect her. I will keep my pets chained up. You and your girlfriend must be up against devilish people, yes?”

I began reminiscing when Bossy and I were an item, hanging around Pattaya Beach back then, in the old days “Do you remember us when we were going out together? Was there a tavern that you knew of called Blood Bar?” Bossy’s face grimaced for a few seconds, and then said. “No, that pub was not built yet when we were hanging out, I would have stumbled across it sooner or later, I was a very popular bar girl back then. I went everywhere in Pattaya and every body knew me. Blood Bar must have been established after I moved to Bangkok. But I’ve heard of this sinful place, people tell me there are ghosts, many bad spirits that reside there.” “Not ghosts,” I said, “the undead, blood suckers!”

With fear in her eyes, Bossy said “There is no time to waste; I will get my equipment ready”. She then handed me a large yellow pill. “This is to relax her, get her ready; also you should call the old katoey Maloy. She knows strong magic; everyone in Bangkok who has bad spirits uses her.” “An elderly trannie? Cat doesn’t go for lady boys.” Bossy’s face got ugly. “Tell your girl to get over it, that old lady boy Maloy has powerful spells. We will need her, if I call her she will come, but tell your fiancé to shut her trap. No stupid parrot like talking, o.k.?” “Don’t worry” I said, “I’ll speak to her, Cat will clam up.”

I woke up with a start; I was covered in peanut shells. I moved slowly out of the makeshift bed that Bossy had made for me. I heard chanting in the next room, and some Asian sounding bells were ringing. Then I looked up and saw Leon’s hairy face staring back at me. He was eating peanuts, and I wondered if rhesus macaques were as violent as chimpanzees. I sure didn’t want Leon to take a chunk out of my face. The monkey started making wild gestures at me, screaming and barking. But before any interaction between Leon and me occurred, Bossy was yelling his name just as loudly. The beast took off quickly and quietly, leaving me in a mess of peanut shells.
I cleaned up as best I could, and walked into the next room. Cat was sitting quietly, in a torn bamboo chair. When I looked at her more closely, I saw that she was actually fast asleep. She was clad only in a blue bra and light blue panties and she was covered in brand new tattoos. Dozens of symbols, illustrations were engraved all over her body. Standing above Cat was a ragged looking lady boy who had definitely seen better days. Wearing a torn brown sarong, the old katoey was chanting, screaming and moaning like a wounded animal. There were more lines on that face than I thought was humanly possible. At the same time, those bells were still ringing off somewhere in the house, and Leon had started howling again. It was a symphony of noise.

Bossy started yelling. “My alarms have gone off, someone or something has entered the house! Listen, my pit bulls seem to be attacking whatever entered the building.” The harsh cacophony intensified, it sounded like World War Three had started below us. The dogs were really going at it, barking and howling; loud yelps could be heard like crazy. Suddenly, there was dead silence; the ape had stopped his screeching. They were here.

I had only minutes to execute my crazed secret plan. I took a brown pouch out of my overnight bag; and then I smashed a water balloon over Cat’s head, and immediately did the same thing to Bossy, and finally to the ancient lady boy. There was nothing left to do but pray that my scheme would work. Fog invaded the hall; four of them appeared. Fangs, claws and reddish eyes are all that I remember seeing. They threw me aside like a rag doll. I guess I didn’t matter much to them. I tried to get up but it was no go. Then I passed out. I woke up to the odor of urine; the ladies were still there, unpleasantly smelly but alive, and not a Nosferatu to be seen.

A few days later we left Bossy, Leon and the old katoey behind. Bossy mentioned in passing that she was going to unite with Maloy to start a business, “Exterminators of Demons.” Of course I reminded her that it was farang piss that killed the vampires. She considered my proposal for a piece of the action, and decided that I would have to ship a quart of my pee every week to her mailbox. It was a done deal. We left Bangkok in the early evening hours, and got into the bus station by nine thirty. Both of us were pretty tired, and were going to take a tuk tuk back to our hotel, but then I asked Cat if she wanted to visit the Blood Bar. She said, “Yes, we go now.”

There was just a burned hulking wreck waiting for us. You could still smell the smoke, and there were signs in Thai and English, which read, “Do Not Disturb, Danger.” We walked away, kind of shocked. After a while the path took us to the John Wayne Saloon. I recognized the bar girl Lee Lee, and waved to her. She caught my eye and yelled back, “It burned down a few days ago, may the Buddha smile on you!” She seemed happy and carefree. I looked at Cat. She was smiling, and didn’t even bother to ask me how I knew this hostess. She was happy and carefree too. I shouted out, “We are the unsung heroes of Pattaya Beach!” Cat screamed back, “We are vampire killers!” Then I roared back, “We are the toughest motherfuckers on the planet, nobody better mess with us anymore!”

The heat was picking up. It was another tropical, torrid night in Pattaya. Traffic was bad; everybody was trying to get to Walking Street, as usual. This is a wild, decadent corrupt town. We were still walking, and had stopped talking. The silence between us was nice. Then Cat said, real quiet like, almost a whisper, “You know the lady boys are not so bad.”

I had no reply.

-David Huberman

Painting Stories

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