An updated tale from Thai folklore, by Colin Devonshire
Red Lipstick, Green Bananas
‘Leave me alone, please. I’ve had enough of you and this country,’ Micky said as he stormed to the garden and slumped onto a bench.
‘Oh, darling, come back and talk to me,’ Bell pleaded.
Micky’s early retirement had not worked out as hoped. Before it started, his divorce in England had cost more than expected; a chunk of his stashed cash found its way to his ex-wife, who laughed all the way to “her” bank. Nevertheless, Micky had planned for a retired life at fifty, and he would come out on top. He thought his pension and savings would be enough for a work-free new life in Thailand. Five years ago, it may have. But things changed; the exchange rate for one and an expensive girlfriend was another.
Micky was no idiot; he could see his cash dwindling, so he bought Bell a bar. She could do all the work, and he could drink at cost price, easy. They could even live above the pub and sell their detached house. It would all work out fine. But Bell refused to sell “her home” and didn’t want to live with “the other staff”. Husband and wife didn’t argue; at least Bell didn’t. She was an expert at the silent treatment.
The bar was open, and a few drinkers were guzzling bottled beer; they were laughing and joking with the females. The male owner sat alone. Micky’s dream was flittering, almost laughing at him. How could he face his mates if he had to return to England and look for a job? It was midnight as he stormed away from the bar.
‘What’s wrong with him?’ asked the cashier.
The regular drinkers chuckled to themselves, and the staff all giggled.
‘He’ll be back. He has nowhere to go except home, where my mum will give him a grilling,’ said Bell as she chinked glasses with a new punter.
Micky ignored the waves and whistles from the other bars as he walked up the bar street, away from the noisy nightlife. He walked and walked for miles; thoughts of failure pounded inside his skull.
A full moon lit the way between banana trees. ‘Where am I? I’ve never been here before; how come?’
‘Sawasdee.’ The Thai hello whispered in the wind.
Micky jumped, not expecting to see anyone outside the town. Certainly not a beautiful young lady, her scarlet-painted lips burst into a shy but glorious smile.
‘Where have you been in your traditional Thai dress? You look wonderful,’ said Micky.
She didn’t answer. She smiled again and cocked her head, signalling him to follow. The silky green of her outfit matched the green leaves as she flitted between the sagging fronds. Micky struggled to keep up.
She skipped and hopped, brushing aside hanging greenery. Micky followed her laughter with enticing glimpses of bare-footed calves.
‘Oh, sorry,’ he said as he bumped into her, she giggled as she showed him her hiding hole.
‘My God, it’s beautiful,’ he said. Micky looked around; it was not a cave, but an alcove, rocks hidden by banana trees. Candles lit the romance. She pulled him down to a soft landing and then pushed him back to lie on substantial green leaves.
‘Am I dreaming?’ he said as she slowly undid his shirt buttons. She rubbed a sweet-smelling ointment over his chest. Her hands slid up and down his upper body; with each sweep of her hands, they went deeper under his waistband. Deeper and deeper, the button burst open, and the zipper slid down. Her massage begged him to erupt. She moved her silky green top from side to side, and her nipples poked at him. She pushed his hands round and round on her breasts as she busied herself with her clothing, and soon they were naked. Finally, she sat on his manhood. Screams of joy shattered the jungle’s stillness.
Then, she was gone.
A farmer nudged him awake at first light. Micky covered himself and shyly dressed.
‘What the hell happened?’ he said to himself.
The farmer led him to the road, tutting and shaking his head.
‘Who is she? Where is she?’ Nigel asked, looking around. A flapping of hands answered him, and then the farmer’s index finger pointed his way.
He whistled and sang chorus lines of love songs until he reached his garden gate. He crept in, listening for any sounds of life. Nothing. He dragged up the stairs to his bedroom. His wife was asleep. Scratching his head, he decided he didn’t need more sleep, so he returned to the kitchen and boiled the kettle.
His mother-in-law snorted at him before scuffling out to tend her pots of vegetables on the patio.
Micky hugged his coffee mug and dreamt of last night. ‘Where can I find her again?’ he thought.
A silent day passed, and in the early afternoon, the bar opened; Bell, like a defeated general, ordered her staff.
‘What’s wrong with her?’ asked the cashier.
At midnight, Micky slipped out. He wandered up the street, looking left and right, without spotting the path he had taken the previous night.
He shuffled back to his bar. It was empty of customers. Micky slugged a beer, then another; his mood improved, and he rang the bell, ordering “slammers” all around. The staff and his wife had earned no tips that night, but the moods lifted as the vodkas were downed. The girls started joking with each other and giggling at their tales of failed romances. Dopey boyfriends and never enough cash, they each outdid their workmates with tales of woe, all getting louder laughs.
Bell was staggering and fell into the arms of her husband. She winked and said, ‘Time to go, baby?’
Micky grinned and nodded. They staggered home. Micky flopped on the bed like a crucifix, arms and legs spread wide. He waited for the bathroom. Bell collapsed onto his arm, fast asleep. Micky lay there studying the ceiling. A warm green glow spread and bright green stars flickered in the green fog.
‘Christ, I’m pissed,’ he mumbled.
Bell woke at noon. She hadn’t moved all night. Her head throbbed, her limbs ached, she swallowed to avert vomiting, then she turned and saw Micky, inert, beside her, his eyes wide open, glaring ahead. His mouth was gaping as if his jaw was stuck.
‘Micky, are you okay?’ she asked as she nudged his cold, pale-skinned cheeks.
‘Oh, my God, he’s dead!’
She rushed to the sink and spewed. Sweat burst from every pore on her body. ‘I must be dreaming?’ With baby steps, she made her way to the bedside. It was no dream.
Grabbing her mobile, she called an ambulance.
The ambulance staff shook their heads as one looked in his mouth. Deep inside was the top of a banana. The man called the police.
Bell sat and wept as they waited for a detective.
Bell’s mother led the man upstairs. After a glance, he used long tweezers to extract not one but three raw green bananas from Micky’s throat.
‘Balbisianas,’ he said.
‘What?’ asked Bell.
’Green bananas. We grow them at home. They are aromatic and not sweet, and we use them in curry.’ He clamped on handcuffs and led Bell to his car.
‘But, I didn’t…’ she pleaded as a green mist engulfed them and followed them to the car.