A free short dark story set on Samui – Colin Devonshire
‘This can’t be bad can it?’
There was no answer from Mark’s girlfriend. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was steady. Why wouldn’t it be? Her legs were stretched, and her toes reached the gentle slap of baby waves trying to tickle her calves.
A seagull screeched its presence above them.
‘He must be looking for food? Sorry bird, we have nothing for you.’
He wanted to adjust his seating but he didn’t want to disturb Lek. Mark was sitting with one arm buried in the sand supporting his upper body. His legs were straight with Lek’s head resting on his thigh. They had been like that for some time. Basking.
‘Is it time to eat?’ He wondered, he knew Thai people liked to eat five times a day.
Lek gave no hint of her wishes. Mark was feeling the sun’s rays, it had warmed his white English skin but now reddened his paler and puffy tone. ‘Should have listened to mum,’ he said chuckling. “Don’t forget to wear sun cream”. He mimicked her stern look. He grinned at the thought.
He had planned this trip months ago. As soon as he got home from his last visit to Thailand he dreamed about returning. On his first day at home, he had booked his next flight.
‘Can you afford that?’ his mother had asked.
‘Mum, I’ve found the woman of my life. I can’t wait to be with her again.’
‘It would be easier, and cheaper, to fall for a nice English girl.’ She grumbled.
‘Mum, I’ve quit my job, I’m going to live in Thailand.’
‘You are what?’
‘You heard me, I’m going to Samui. To be with Lek…’ He was lost in thoughts.
‘And smart arse, how are you going to support yourself?’ She snapped him back.
‘We are buying a bar.’
‘A bar? Can you earn enough like that?’
‘Yeah, all the others do okay,’ said an unsure Mark.
‘You were doing so well at the factory.’
‘The factory was boring.’
‘What about your mates?’
‘They will visit me.’
‘What about your football?’
‘I’m getting old, and feeling my injuries.’
‘Well, if you are sure?’
‘I am mum, I’ve never been so sure of anything.’
He had ticked off the days. He stopped going to the pub, all his money was stashed away. Until the great day came. He sent all his savings to Lek. She arranged the lease and agreed on the rent. He was now a proud pub owner on a tropical island. He couldn’t wait to start redecorating. She had sent photos of the dated furniture.
’I think we should get new stuff. What do you think?’ She had emailed.
‘Mum, can we borrow a few grand? We need some things for the bar. There’ll be a drink in it for you when you come over.’
His mum snorted.
Mark nursed a severe hangover, not the best preparation for a twelve-hour flight. His mates wanted to say goodbye in the best way they knew. All promised to visit and they would cause another hangover when they got to “Lek Bar”.
‘Who thought of the name?’ they joked.
‘Not me,’ Mark answered. ‘Could be worse, Lek means small in the Thai language.’ They all laughed.
Mark landed at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. ‘Where is she?’ he asked himself. He planned to stay in the city for a day or two with her and ask the British Embassy about marriage. But he was desperate to see Lek, so he travelled to Samui’s quaint little airport. ‘She’s not here. Oh, no, she doesn’t know I’m coming here today.’ He had forgotten they were to meet in Bangkok.
He went to the small condo she rented. ‘Nah mate she moved out. And no, I don’t know where she went.’
It was only then, Mark realised he didn’t know the address of the bar. Kicking himself, he took a motorbike taxi to cruise all the bar areas to hunt “Lek Bar”.
He spotted “Lek’s Bar” and went in. ‘Where is Lek?’ he asked a Thai man.
‘I’m Lek, what do you want?’
Mark didn’t believe what he heard until it was explained that Lek was a common name for men and women. And it was possible that “Lek Bar” without the apostrophe and S, was elsewhere.
Mark took another taxi and searched the other bar streets.
He found another, “Lek Bar”, and his Lek was in it. But she was not alone.
‘Oh, hi, Mark,’ she said.
‘Who is this?’
‘That is Andy, he’s a friend of mine. And he’s a customer, so be nice to him.’
The weather changed from hot and steamy to hot and thundery. The sky blackened over the island and cracks of lightning snapped Mark from his daydream.
Lek and he were no longer on the beach. The tide was not flopping onto her toes, his supporting arm was not digging fingers in the sand. They were both in the bar’s kitchen. His sand-free fingers were wiping warm wet blood from his face.
He looked up at the web-covered ceiling, and tutted, ‘You could have cleaned up a bit before I got here,’ he said. ‘My mum won’t like it at all.’
Lek didn’t answer.
‘Where have you been living? They said you’d moved from the condo?’
Mark had seen his mum sharpen a knife on a stone slate. Here, there was none, just a rickety wooden bench.
‘That won’t do at all.’ He tested the blade on his thumb. It drew blood. ‘Ouch, that will do.’
Mark stood back once more, considering the changes he would make, ’Sure the bar area needed a lick of paint. The kitchen needed a thorough cleaning. Oh, I didn’t notice any new furniture. Did you buy it?’
The frozen pork factory had given him excellent training, he could cut meat, frozen or raw with skill. Each joint was wrapped and placed on freezer shelves, all neatly labelled.
Lek’s clothes were wet, not from seawater, and were hanging to dry.
Lek’s beautiful head had rocked side to side in the sea daydream. Now it was rocking side to side in Mark’s hands as if he was judging the weight.
‘No more room in the freezer. Maybe we have an ice box?’
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