A FREE short story by Colin Devonshire
Happy New What?
“Happy New Year!” he shouted from the hole in the broken glass of the 30th-floor condo window. Fireworks exploded below, rockets screeched around. His sarcasm was wasted on the heavy Bangkok air.
He turned and saw her stooped, broken and bent across the dining chair, knees on the carpet, stomach and chest flattened on the seat, her head hung uncomfortably as if watching her thighs under the cushioned seat. Her long dark hair dragged on the ground. Her slim arms were pinned by her ears, wrists bent, one hand clutching at something hidden in her palm.
Three hours earlier she looked gorgeous, newly trimmed hair, minimal make-up, slim gold earrings almost touched her shoulders, they matched the skinny chain hanging loosely around her shapely throat. To say her neckline plunged, was like saying a dolphin dived. The dolphin did not quite reach the waistline of her painted on miniskirt. Black and glistening, as were her high heels almost competing with the skyline of her condo.
Bangkok had allowed drinking until 1 am. This party would dance and drink as long as they wished. The only police here were acting as security. COVID had closed Thailand’s bars, but tonight was New Year’s Night. Tonight was party night. Not that it mattered in Gingging’s life, she could party whenever, wherever she wished. And she did. An admirer had gifted her a top of the world condo, she loved it. The address to live in, a bubbling home for the rich and hope to be famous gang.
“Come on, let’s dance,” asked Ruben. Dragging her away from a clutch of clucking females who breathed in her every comment.
Ruben was Ging’s latest boyfriend, he had done well, still with her, lasting over a month.
“Yeah, Ruby baby, let’s burn up the floor,” she breathed in his ear. “And then later?”
“We must hear the chimes at midnight with everybody, then I’m all yours.”
The ear-shattering hip-hop tunes blasted out by the hottest new band on Bangkok’s club scene. The owners of the condo block hated it, but they were not here, and they would do anything to get trendy newly rich young buyers to also encourage their friends to join them with a unit.
The cellar club was so well soundproofed, the screeching Mercedes wheels in the car park on the floor below could not hear the pounding above the electric sunroof.
Three hundred of Bangkok’s bright young things had begged or bribed their tickets for tonight’s year ending bash. Pop stars, movie actors and YouTube influencers wanted to be seen. Channel 7 interviewed some well-known faces for a live link to television and smartphone screens of the ‘I wish’ brigade.
Ruben and Gingging hugged like pandas to trees. Smiles and cheeky winks sparkled. Their legs moved in time with each other, tapping and skipping, fast or slow, as if controlled by a computer. The watching females smiled and clapped, the men could not remove their gapes from the low-cut black and silver top. If Ging knew of the effect she was having, she pretended not to.
Ruben’s golden locks flicked and bobbed across his unshaven face, his tightly buttoned shirt showed his sculptured physique, straight tan strides ended with handmade loafers. Channel Seven did not harm his modelling career.
A glow from Apple’s latest mobile vibrated on a golden cord that hung next to Ging’s left breast. She pulled apart from Ruben, covering the screen, holding up an index finger, mouthing ‘just a sec’, then spotted the message. ‘In a minute’. Her face changed as if a fiery dragon had swooped on the dancers.
Exactly sixty seconds later, “Excuse me, ma’am, a gentleman sent this for you,” said the top and tails server, handing across a flute of champagne. An unseen slip of paper passed hands as they briefly touched.
Ruben’s collar suddenly warmed, what had he spotted? Then he saw Ging peak at the hand-written note. It was impossible to read in the flashing strobe, especially as she didn’t want her beau seeing it.
“Just going for a pee,” she said. Striding between dancers as they moved aside. The exit doorway gave her the light she needed.
‘See you upstairs!’ it said.
She rushed to the lift.
Ruben sat alone, not for long, he glanced at his watch, eleven-fifty.
“Bloody women, I suppose she’s checking her lipstick?” he murmured.
“Drinks and glasses ready?” asked the DJ. “The countdown starts in five minutes.”
Ruben stamped and marched to the restrooms. Peering up and down the corridor.
“What’s this,” he picked a scrap of paper from the otherwise pristine floor.
‘See you upstairs,’ he read. “Not if I see you first!”
He pushed the floor button hard enough to puncture the steel.
“Come on,” he shouted at numbers. Once more, checking his watch. “Eleven-fifty eight,” he ran to her open door.
Chimes around Bangkok rang out, rockets took off, rainbows of colours lit the city sky.
A different glow caught Ruben’s eye. He ran to the broken window, small red and white dots turned and disappeared towards Silom Road. “What the f…”
He turned and crunched broken shards of glass. Looking around he saw Ging, crumpled as if hugging the chair seat.
Pulling her back and hugging her tightly.
“Oh, my God. Ging…” he shook her fiercely.
Blood spurted from a gaping hole in her stomach. The spurt became a pump. Pints of sticky, warm fluid swamped his arms.
“Oh my God,” he repeated, gently laying her down and hunting his phone. He banged in emergency numbers. And he sweated.
He rushed to the doorway, grabbing the condo phone he screamed for help. Rushing back thoughts crashed in his head.
She was not breathing, no pulse. Nothing.
He spotted her right hand holding a scrunched paper in a tight ball; her left hand flat open.
Gently he tried to prise her rigid fingers open, gradually he eased a handwritten note free.
‘Look out of the window you will see my Christmas gift to myself. I may feel like a drone in your life. You will feel the drone in my life. Happy New Year!’