Smeg and the mystery of the boiler room scam:
'Aubrey Alexander Snodworthy'......his name badge was something to be proud of in this job, he thought as he sat down in the lobby. Another contract scored, another two years of constant work and some hi-so chick's number. Life was good, and so was his salary.
''What you up to later mate?'' Smegs colleague, Jeff asked him as he handed him another glass of 1876 Siam Brut Vintage Champagne.
''Just gonna go home and lounge around in the jacuzzi then slip into my silk sheets and get to bed early, 7am flight to Hong Kong'' Smeg winked at him.
''Lucky for some, lucky for you that your girlfriend's well connected.....''
''You saying I have no talent for this kind of work? You don't get by on nepotism alone in this world you know, a lot of bullshit also helps, as well as an MBA in business economics from Bournechester University''
''No mate, I'm just kidding with you, you're always on the fucking defensive, get some sleep and I'll see you after the weekend, I got a sixteen hour weekend to look forward to, teaching morons''
''Wouldn't know Jeff, I don't teach mate, you know me long enough to know what I think of teachers...sorry ajarns, see you later''
Smeg got home to his one room apartment and lit a cigarette. His girlfriend, Lek, quickly grabbed it from his lips.
''What brand you smoking? This is too expensive for us...you promised to quit to save a bit of cash''
''Ok, I'll smoke on the balcony...''
''Watch my clothes, I just washed them all by hand today because we don't have 20 Baht for the laundry, because you get drunk, because you can't find a job, because you boom boom with girl bar, because you chuck-wow in toilet, because you are stupid..''
''Because because because because...is that all you fucking say? Can't you find a job selling yourself in Nana?''
''We discussed this already stupid...''
''Well stop nagging me then, I'm doing my fucking best''
Smeg dragged heavily on the cigarette then flicked over the balcony down into the rusty air conditioner landfill site two floors below, where several peasants were still attempting to salvage some scrap metal whilst ankle deep in watery dog shit, all for that next bottle of lao kao.
''Don't even go there''...Smeg spoke to himself, like he often did.....''I know what you're thinking, that'll be me in a year right? Well you're wrong, I'm an executive, just nobody knows it yet''
Smeg was right. He was an executive of the highest calibre. If only he could satisfy Lek. In both ways. She already put up with his erectile dysfunction and now all he wanted to do was put some cash on the table. In fact, they didn't have a table in the room at all. First he needed a table.
The next morning was hot and as Smeg dressed in his usual attire of ill fitting shirt, tie and ankle swinging trousers, he thought about being back in the south of England, all the clear air and welfare cash coming in. But it was a mere fantasy, his country of birth was both unwelcoming and backwards in his eyes, and real utopian paradise was here to be had. He left the apartment block sheepishly, squinting in the morning sun which in his own words, was like a permanent oven on full blast.
He arrived an hour later at the Charn Isara III building and entered the lift up to Sinlingua language school for another day. In the lift he saw the same faces,
always tired but smiling.
''Good morning mister, a nice day na ka'' The same forty-something lady always greeted him the same way each day. Perhaps her husband suffers the same as me, he thought, and she is desperate for a shag. Pity she looks on the wrong side of 45. Hmmm. Maybe I just would...Smeg was jolted from his brief fantasy with a tap on the shoulder.
''What floor sir?'' The polite girl from the shipping company on level 4 smiled brightly to him, exposing a track of braces along her teeth.
''Erm, I'll press it thanks Nong'' Smeg reached over and pushed three numbers.
After the other workers all exited, he had the lift to himself. He breathed a huge sigh of relief. Almost, he thought.
The lift surged upwards and the doors opened. He entered a small security checkpoint and held up his arms to be searched.
''Precautions, never be too careful'' The security man said to him as he frisked him. ''Go ahead to the changing area''
Smeg selected a nice executive suit and shoes and changed clothes, put on a tie and did a James Bond pose in the mirror, winking at himself.
He put his name badge round his neck, took his laptop bag out of the grubby rucksack and put it over his shoulder. An executive. He stepped out and this was the world he inhabited, his domain, away from the teachers and alcoholic hangers on, Cheap Charlies bar, cramped cross country buses and street food.
This was a secret level, an unknown floor, oblivious from the common office folk elsewhere in the building. Exclusive.
The lobby area had a huge floored marble mural with huge lettering. Smeg was working for the Federal Association of Rotarians And National Genius.
''Morning Mr. Dronesworth, how are you today?'' A sexy young female security officer greeted him, smiling.
''I'm good Luciana, anything posing a threat to that fine body of yours today?''
''Just the ajarn department, another unsatisfied customer had to be erased last night, didn't like the colour of my lipstick'' She winked and walked away, her visible panty line clearly visible through her skirt.
Smeg strode over to the stairs and walked to his department. Henry Jobsworth was his superior.
''Nice weekend for you mate?''
''Not bad, the girlfriend's getting a bit imaptient though, it's getting difficult to pass myself off as a teacher anymore, may have to eliminate her'' Smeg mimicked shooting a gun and burst out laughing.
''My wife thinks I sell insurance, she thinks I'm good'' Henry replied, laughing.
''Yeah but you can blag it with your supposed salary, I'm supposed to be on 30 grand a month, we can't even afford a television''
''We'll find a way, trust me..wait your turn'' Henry winked at him. ''You bring your passport Quentin?''
''Why would I need a passport? You got a fine selection of them here, and disguises to go with them...beards, wigs, burkhas, implants''
''You're off to Vientiene to visit an old client, his check bounced last week, he needs some persuasion if you catch my drift''
''Because, my inquisitive brother, I heard you were the best''
''Your usual plus a bonus, you get to shag Luciana'' Henry told him, winking.
''Fat chance mate, she's a dyke I heard.....what time's the flight?''
''Three this afternoon, grab some underpants and a toothbrush from the stores and Mr.Chan will drive you to the airport''
There was a loud cheer from upstairs. They looked up.
''Looks like they got another new TEFL contract up at Ajarns-R-us, another mug moving to Thailand...it just gets better doesn't it?''
''I suppose so, what about the shares office?''
''They are getting contracts left right and centre, people are flocking for our shares like soi dogs round a bowl of stale rice, look Quentin I gotta get going, see you soon mate, get some breakfast, ok?''
''Ok Henry, I'm going to Starbucks to have a coffee then I'll post inane bollocks on several online discussion forums, back in a couple of hours''
''Hey Quentin, I heard thaivisa.com say that sinsots are down 1%, double pricing is down 3% and barfines are set to rise 1% due to lack of investments from the German quarter this month, things are looking bad....how about a nice trolling?''
''I'm banned'' Smeg said, walking off.
''Use my nickname, it's 'Fuckface' password is my phone number'' Henry walked off in the other direction.
The trip to Vientiane was drab and boring. His mission was to tell a client about the virtues of their company and how they would be suitably rewarded with future positive market activity. After all, the client had an investment that would reward all concerned. This client, Mr. Biggs, was also well connected to potential other leads.
''You see, Mr. Biggs...may I call you Andrew, Andy?''
''Eh?'' Smeg looked at the bald, bespectacled man seated across from him at the boardroom table. ''You serious?''
''I'm almost a lady now you know, got the gender reassignment surgery after Christmas, then I can be who I am..I am what I am, you know''
''I'm sure you are...erm.. very happy Mr. Biggs, best of luck with that...''
TO BE CONTINUED
Went to the north of England last week, I was up near Cambridge
so far so no necrophilia..so good!
LDMA - Ajarn Forum Admin
Don't get me wrong - I don't want a 'serious' board but I'd like posts to be either genuinely amusing, informative and/ or thought provoking.
Ian McNamara - July 2000
A clash with the management will not serve the purpose of your inner peace and therefore will deprive you from happiness. Thai Language School DOS, 2009
Only the bad person say the bad thing about the good thing.
Anon. Thai DOS
''Poofs don't all prance about in high heels, wear dresses and think about mens bottoms, you see....some of us are just trapped in ourselves''
''I'm sure you are, Andrea......hmmm...''
'Andrea' poured Smeg a large glass of whisky.
''Bit early for me, but what the hell......anyway......erm.....now, about these investments, you see here, the share prices are set to rise in just six weeks time so it'd be a worthwhile initial upfront investment of say.......sixty thousand''
''And you are totally convinced that the price of buffalo shit will go up when they start replacing petrol with it like you said?''
''Absolutely Andr--ea...Andrea, yes, it's a dead cert...they are breeding buffaloes in special farms upcountry like fucking rabbits''
''Sounds promising.......better than buying shares with that TEFL course provider chap who cold called me last month I suppose.....Ok, look, I'll get you some cash ok?.....Now, just you wait here, cutie..'' Andrea winked at him as he walked off, wiggling his buttocks like an exaggerated ladyboy.
Oh jeez..Smeg held his head in his hands...now I know why no other reps wanted to come out here, I'll just get the damn cash and be out of here, Smeg thought to himself. The last thing he needed was unnecessary pleasantries for a measly sixty thousand dollars.
''You want another whisky to celebrate your commision, Mr. Dronesworth? Or may I call you.......'' Andrea looked hard at Smegs nametag round his neck. ''Quentin...?''
''Yeah why not, we'll all be winning in the end won't we?'' Smeg leaned forward to take the cash but 'Andrea' whipped his hand away at the last minute. 'Andrea' stroked his thigh and held up the wad of dollars. ''You can't let yourself leave without you-know-what do you?''
''What's you-know-what? ...I'm not that way inclined but I'm sure I can make exceptions, given the circumstances, but you realise that you are bound by the official Thai secrets act don't you?''
''Thai secrets act? Don't make me laugh! Not worth the toilet paper it's printed on.... ok, if you say so, now get your trousers off''
Smeg kneeled down, trouserless, his back to 'Andrea'. What a real drag.
He made the return flight to Bangkok with minutes to spare, and took his seat. The plane took off, only just. These Lao airlines still used planes that dated back to the 1950s, so it seemed. Finally, they reached cruising height and Smeg ripped off his seatbelt, reclined his seat and sighed with relief.
''Scary, huh? All this turbulence?'' The man seated next to him asked in a cheerful tone.
''Eh? Oh yeah, it gets on my nerves, all this for an hours flight''
''You know the oxygen masks that drop down before we crash, they get you high so you'll crash in a good mood''
''Oh really?'' Smeg really wasn't in the mood for any frivolous talk with strangers.
''Flight buddies, I get loads, you know, the people you have fleeting conversations with when travelling like this''
Smeg looked down at the strangers feet. The case next to his was identical. the stranger looked at him.
''We have the same briefcases you know, that's a novelty isn't it?....erm, what's your name?'' Smeg was sure he had seen this man before.
''Fortesmythe Ali, junior''
''Nice to meet you Mr. Ali, what a unique name you have, I'm Aubrey.....sorry, Quentin''
''What a unique name you have, Quentin...my friends call me Baz''
''Baz? Ali? How the heck did you have such a name like Ali junior?''
''My mother named me after my father, who ran a kebab shop''
''Nice......what do you do then, I mean for a living? Or are you just visiting?''
''I teach english at a government school in Bangkok, Klong Toei high school for underpriveleged kids, you know, doing my bit for the impoverished and all that''
''How profound of you Baz, do you realise we own the same briefcases?''
''Well, two minds think alike you know, I got this feeling...we should meet for a beer sometime''
Yeah right, Smeg thought. ''Sure, thanks, Baz, why not...'' Baz handed him his card.
Smeg arrived back, clothes changed, at his crappy rundown apartment block in Suan Plu. It was on fire, and Lek was standing amongst the other residents wearing her dressing gown, looking up at the block on fire several floors up.
''I told you give up smoking'' She joked. Some of the other people looked round and laughed. ''Farang soop buri'' one said, and there was a burst of laughter between them.
''Fucking peasants'' Smeg said to himself.
''What you say just now? Peasants again? Youn think too mutt.... These peasants have insurance, stupid...big boss make fire, big boss build new room for everybody'' Lek must have heard his quiet outburst about peasants.
''I never said peasants, I said it's fucking unpleasant'' Smeg snapped at her. ''What do we do now then? Sleep in a slum?''
''I go to my brother room, you stay hotel, you go boom boom with girl bar'' Lek laughed.
''Ha ha very amusing, I got my clothes up there in that towering inferno, and my music collection''
The condo security guard walked up to him. ''Big boss room say you have too much electric in room, make fire, he want to talk with you''
''But how can that be? You cut the electric off last week when I was behind with the payment''
''You talk with boss'' The security man handed him a mobile phone.
''Yes? Mr. Snodworthy speaking, how may I help you? Bad fire here tonight isn't it? I lost all my things''
''Fire is you problem, you farang make fire when you smoking, you pay for fix condo, ok?'' The voice told him. ''I tell police take you now, ok?''
''What the fuck.....I don't believe you...hello? hello? I can't hear you, it's a network problem....call you back'' Smeg had to get off the phone somehow and buy time, he didn't have a leg to stand on, and in Thailand the law always worked against the foreigner.
He handed the phone back to the security man and walked off, fast. He had to find a place to stay and keep his cover. After all, his vow to the company was that he would only discuss work and business within the confines of the secret floor in the Charn Isara III building. Away from that he was alone, unless accompanied by a fellow employee.
He had a brainwave and reached into his pocket. Baz's business card. He rang twice from a call box. No answer. The third time he let it ring until it cut off. Smeg hung up, dejected. Suddenly the phone rang in the call box. He picked it up.
''Who the fucks this?''
''It's me, Quentin....fancy a beer or two? I was just kinda, knocking around doing nothing.....''
''Yeah why not, you've twisted my arm, I may just get something out of tonight after all...tell you what, meet me at the Queue Bar off Sukhumvit in an hour'' Click. Baz hung up.
He made his way to the pub and sat at the bar nursing a bottle of Chang, his hand shaking slightly from the earlier threat on the phone. Two hours and several beers later he and Baz were like old buddies catching up. And quite drunk too. Baz was telling him a story about an ex-girlfriend.
''So I said to her, why can't you just get your friend to join in...she has a really sexy mate, but she thought I meant any old friend, so she brings this Thai bloke round...a motorbike taxi guy......hahahahahaha..so I thought to myself, in for a penny, why not..and sucked him off''
''You went gay for the hell of it?''
''Doesn't mean I am, just like eating cabbage don't make me a vegetarian, just like having no degree don't mean no job''
''I fail to see the connection'' Smeg said as he swigged his beer.
''What I mean is, anyone can teach, it's piss easy, just plan your classes in advance and it becomes like a drug..addictive and fulfilling''
''What's addictive and fulfilling?''
''Lesson planning, especially when it comes off in class, all that preparation...You know the six P's? Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance''
Smeg was puzzled. He'd never taught english. Ok, he masqueraded as a TEFL-ing ajarn to cover his exclusive job but teach? For real?
''Let me show you Quentin''
''Show me what? Your dick?''
''No, fuckface, a lesson plan. Meet me in the car park outside in five minutes, I'll just take a piss''
TO BE CONTINUED....