Being the full and true Description of a voyage to the strange planet of Chaostika in the Outer Region of Llihelom, and with the beings who reside in a Kingdom known as Thailand, including a Full Account of the Customs, Habits, Beliefs and Quaint Behavior of the Inhabitants. In One Volume.
Chapter the Tenth
The Author Describes his Income Source
relates the Strange Fate of his Brother and Sister
Now the reader might naturally expect that the people of the Kingdom of Thailand were most curious as to the location and nature of the planet from which I began my long voyage. Or, at the very least, that I was questioned closely about the progress of the voyage itself. However, this was not the case.
As I journeyed from place to place in Thailand, I was constantly importuned with questions about the tax structure of Candidata, loopholes for businessmen, the needs of the Candidatan consumer, methods of payment, tax-free dividends and laws regarding extradition. Lovely young ladies in various entertainment establishments in the Kingdom did ask other questions, it is true, but these were mainly along the lines of determining if Candidata had ATM machines; the structure of barfines; and the going rates for long times.
In fact, when being entertained by government officials and businessmen, on those occasions in which I attempted to bring up such subjects as Candidatan philosophy, culture, history, literature, music, art and existing forms of life, I was invariably interrupted by those around me and, somewhat impatiently, directed to answer those questions relating to trade, commerce, income tax, income tax avoidance and other matters of business.
Nevertheless, my kind government hosts, The Protectors of the Hi-So Status Quo, did line up various lectures for me at which I received payment and in this way I began to amass quite a bit of currency in what this kingdom calls “baht.” As one day in the near future, Artivel, Silaic and I would have to attempt to repair what remained of our spacecraft, my savings were remitted to a bank in the northeast near the village where my brother, sister and I first crash landed in our spaceship.
Now I must speak of the fate of my brother and sister and I do so not without a great deal of embarrassment and mortification. I had not seen either for some time as our kind government hosts had arranged separate tours of the Kingdom for them so that as many inhabitants of this Kingdom as possible would have an opportunity to see someone from another planet. As I have repeatedly mentioned that I am writing this volume for the edification of the young people of my home planet of Candidata, the good readers of this volume will no doubt understand my need to be circumspect in describing subjects too delicate for children to fully comprehend.
I have said before that I did not wish to spend more time in the areas of the Kingdom in which beautiful young ladies in bikinis (or less) spent their time shining brass poles with their curvaceous bodies. Especially as my recent encounter with a young lady had left me in need of medical attention. And yet I soon found that the entertainment areas, the enjoyment available, the joy-filled attitudes of those I found there, not to mention the charm of the females of this Kingdom, proved at last irresistible. And so I would sometimes slip away from my hosts (especially when they became inebriated inside karaoke parlors) and, rendering myself as inconspicuous as possible, try out some of the establishments which offered go go dancing. As they catered mainly to foreigners, I was not so conspicuous as I might have been elsewhere.
In one such establishment, lights were flashing, music was blaring, girls were dancing and laughing, and I had had perhaps a bit too much of the local brew known as Singha. Suddenly I saw a very attractive dancer at the far end of the stage. As the lighting was low, it was difficult to see her clearly but she was by far the best dancer I had seen in any of the nocturnal establishments. The mama-san must have noticed my interest in the girl, as she spoke to the girl and soon the girl approached my booth. As she sat down, I placed my arm around her and opened my mouth to speak. Much to my horror and chagrin, I realized that the girl was in fact my sister.
I shall not go into detail of the excruciatingly painful scene which followed but it quickly became clear that my sister not only saw no need to apologize but was adamant in her assertions that she had every right to pursue the course she had chosen. Apparently, she now found great joy in discovering the female power she possessed, and in the rapidly accumulating fortune she was making in being barfined several times a night. She also insisted that if I wanted to continue to converse with her I would have to buy her a drink! She also said I would have to make recompense for the water buffaloes that (she claimed) had been killed by our spaceship landing in the ricefield. I continued to remonstrate with her and finally, beside myself with frustration and anger, grabbed her by the hand; but was abruptly and impolitely stopped by two large males who told me it would cost me 600 baht to take her out of the establishment.
The reader can well imagine my outrage at this and I did all I could to remove my sister while trying desperately to cover her bikini-clad body with my jacket. However, I was soon hustled outside the bar and, in a very unfriendly fashion, sent on my way down some steep steps which led to still more bars. I did not greatly injure myself in the fall but I did land on my back. As I got to my feet I was unsteady and fell against some of the bikini-clad ladies of the Kingdom sitting outside one of the bars. No doubt mistaking me for a drunkard, they were not pleased with this and made their unhappiness clear.
I then realized that these were not in fact females of the Kingdom but those males who have for whatever reason undergone treatment to transform themselves into females. I had heard of such establishments and had always heard nothing about them but disparaging remarks. Nevertheless, these “katoey” establishments, as inhabitants of the Kingdom referred to them, seemed to be sprouting up rapidly. And, indeed, when many of those who most heatedly denounced these katoey bars spoke to me about them, I noticed the needle on my internal Contradiction Counter often rose to the fullest extent showing that the words being spoken did not coincide with the true feelings of the speaker.
In any case, in attempting to regain my balance, I inadvertently fell against one of the katoeys and he/she angrily grabbed my shoulders to push me away. I turned to offer an apology and explanation and, receiving the greatest shock of my life, found myself looking into the face of my brother.
To Be Continued with a new chapter every month.
Argaiv’s Diary has been translated from the Candidatan script by Dean Barrett.
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