A Soapy Shakedown.
The Right Honorable Nigel Martin Prendergast, The British Conservative Party Member for Bletchford-East and Shadow Home Secretary, sipped his wine and watched the sun go down over the Indian Ocean. Opposite him, his wife, Fiona, followed his gaze, a soft smile on her lips. As the star’s lower limb kissed the horizon, they touched glasses and watched the red ball sink down and out of sight.
“Our last night in Bali,” he said.
“Yes, darling,” she whispered. “And tomorrow we’ll celebrate our first day in Phuket, Thailand. It’s been a lovely honeymoon.”
“It’s been a dream come true.” He refilled their glasses. Fiona took a sip from hers, then picked up her Thailand guide-book and immersed herself, a self-satisfied smile on her lips.
“That book seems to fascinate you,” he said, taking up his glass.
“Yes, it’s a good book,” she said. “It tells me I’ll have to watch you carefully in Thailand. Thai ladies hold a unique attraction for Western men.”
He laughed. “Nonsense, darling. A Thai woman is no different than any other woman. Balinese ladies are also beautiful, but did I fall?”
Fiona smiled and went back to her book.
Nigel’s gaze returned to the horizon and the red halo of the vanishing sun. What a year it had been, he reflected. Climbing from ambitious, but lowly, Conservative Party member to Shadow Home Secretary in thirteen months had surprised him and stunned many others. It showed how important luck is in life. How lucky, for instance, that Jack Downey, the Labour member for Bletchford-East, should die suddenly of a massive heart attack, forcing a bi-election. But as Bletchford-East had always been a Labour safe seat, the Conservative challenge had been a mere token gesture. Expecting to lose, their response had been feeble and they casually offered the candidature to Nigel; a suitable patsy. But luck again had come to his aid. During the run-up, Nigel had discovered that the swaggering, over-confident Labour Candidate, Frank Barnes, had a weakness for young prostitutes in Amsterdam. Seeing an opportunity, he’d put a private investigator on the case who’d come back with video footage of Barnes entering brothels and massage venues, and escorting well-built hookers, some of them lady boys, younger than his own daughters. Nigel had then discreetly placed the videos on the internet; and they’d gone viral.
Nigel, tall, handsome as he was, had risen to the occasion and taken to the streets with his new platform slogan: Getting Britain Back to Basics. He’d launched a series of blistering speeches from the back of trucks near shopping plazas and outside factory gates, denouncing Barnes and his ilk, and the falling moral standards of the nation. Barnes had struggled to contain the shit-storm, but to no avail; his political career was over and his marriage wedged firmly on the rocks. A surprise wave of revulsion had turned the tide and returned Nigel as the winner with a sizeable majority. And overnight a Labour stronghold became a Conservative one. A surprised party leader, and Shadow Prime Minister, had rushed down from London to be at Nigel’s side on stage as the victory was announced by the returning officer. Nigel was now a Right Honorable Member of Parliament.
He drained his glass. And as he refilled, he studied Fiona and wondered if he would ever learn to love her. People marry for a variety of reasons, he believed; security, money, social advancement, but love should definitely be last on the list.
In his case, as Fiona’s father, Major James Ashcroft, was the Conservative Party Treasurer and packed real political clout, marrying her had been a politically strategic move. Unfortunately it had borne unpleasant collateral consequences in his ditching of Jenny Watson, the girl he’d really loved since his university days. Jenny had loved him unreservedly and had supported him when he’d cut his political teeth as an obnoxious, trouble making union activist at Nottingham University. Poor Jenny. He smiled wistfully at her memory.
Fiona Ashcroft had almost missed the boat. But that was understandable given that the only attractive thing about her was her hair; big, long and ash blonde. Otherwise, she was too tall and skinny with a long, horsey face. She walked like a man and had the hands of an artisan. Her voice was loud and carried a shrill edge, especially when she wasn’t getting her way. And her temper was hellish. Nigel’s courtship of her had been a whirlwind affair, and he’d taken her off her relieved father’s hands and married her three months after his electoral victory. His elevation to Shadow Home Secretary swiftly followed. He raised his glass and smiled, complimenting himself. Nice one, Nigel. And he simultaneously appraised two bikini clad Balinese girls on the beach below the terrace.
Flying into Phuket Island the following morning, they took a private villa at the Sri Panwa Hotel and Spa complex that took luxury and cossetting to its limits. Built high on the cliffside of a small peninsula facing south, it held incomparable views of the Andaman Sea. Here they would enjoy two weeks of paradise before returning to the reality of Bletchford. They also rented a Honda Jazz for touring the island.
Their first three days were spent enjoying the resort’s amenities; Fiona indulging in the spa beauty treatments, had many long massages, mud and mineral baths, facials and skin toning treatments. Nigel spent most of his time by the pool, acquiring a good tan, swimming, reading and drinking cocktails.
On the fourth morning, after breakfast served on the deck of their villa, Nigel suggested they do a little sightseeing, check out the shops in Phuket Town and then do a run up the west coast. Fiona eagerly accepted. “I want to visit that Patong Beach at night,” she said with a mischievous smile. “I’ve been reading about it. That’s where all the action is. I want to walk down that Bangla Road and see it all; the bars and the bar girls, the sex tourists and the lady boys. I want to see the whole decadence.”
“Yes, let’s do that. We’ll have a little fun, let our hair down. I’m sure we’ll be shocked.”
“I hope so. I’m going to take a lot of photos.”
With Nigel driving, they reached Patong Beach a little after 5.00 pm and parked in the Jung Ceylon Shopping Center car park. After coffee, they walked over to the Bangla Road. The town was already alight. Rowdy westerners, mostly men, single and in groups, packed the pavement, well inebriated, staggering, spilling onto the road.
Passing Scruffy Murphy’s Bar, Nigel suggested a drink. They went in and took seats at the bar. Nigel ordered a beer, Fiona a red wine. The bar was smoke filled and packed, mostly with men. Old white men, fat and bald, drinking hard, being waited on by young, scantily dressed Thai girls. A television sport channel carried a football match, Manchester United was playing Liverpool, They finished their drinks and moved on.
Halfway down the Bangla, two tall lady boys in outrageous gowns occupied the center of the road, posing for photographs with laughing men they’d pulled from the pavement. Fiona took a photo. “Nigel. Could you imagine if you posed with them, I captured it, and then someone got hold of it and, posted in online?”
“It would destroy me.”
“Wouldn’t it just,” she said, laughing.
He said, “I don’t want to think of things like that,” he said, remembering how he’d destroyed Frank Barnes. Fiona led Nigel down the Bangla Road Sois, the narrow bar filled lanes that led off the main road.
Soi Gonzo was first. It had around twenty bars carrying odd names like, Heavens Door Bar, Cum Inside Me Bar, Love Me Bar, all packed tight with western men being served by Thai girls.. It was a similar story in Soi Eric and Soi Sea Dragon.
Passing the Tiger Discotheque, They entered Soi Tiger, the busiest and most riotous of the Sois, and paused beside the Hot Pussy Bar. Bigger than the other bars, it was filled to capacity with beer drinking foreigners, pushed by bar girls to drink more. It also carried a stage at the back on which two naked girls gyrated to music.
“These are the infamous sex tourists,” Fiona intoned with a sweep of her hand. “These are the men you read about and see in the media. Look at them; bald, ugly old derelicts who could never get close to a woman back in their homelands. So they fly out here to take advantage of poor, Thai girls.”
“My God,” Nigel whispered. Then he noticed that not all the men were old and ugly. There were young, good looking men enjoying themselves. One, a tall, splendidly built blond God, reminded him of the young David Beckham. He stood swigging beer from a bottle while two tattooed girls teased him. One squealed and pulled up his t-shirt, slapped his six-pack belly and then pulled down the zip of his fly. Watching this, Nigel experienced a mix of emotions; revulsion mingling with a strange, unfamiliar, excitement.
The six girls who worked behind the bar moved constantly, supplying beer and cocktails to the table servers. Standing behind them, pushing them, stood an older woman in a smart, black silk business suit. Stone faced, unsmiling, her hard eyes took in everything.
Fiona pointed her out. “That’s the mama-san. She runs the bar.” She raised her camera.
“Mama-san?” Nigel was puzzled.
“That’s right, Nigel.” Fiona took the picture. “The origins of the word, mama-san are Japanese. It means a woman in a position of authority, usually in a place of entertainment. In this context she’s the manager of a brothel.”
Nigel stared at Fiona. “How do you know all this?”
Fiona smiled, a superior, confident smile. “I’ve read up on it. Now, if one of those men wants to take a girl back to his place for sex, he has to pay the mama-san; it’s called a bar-fine. He pays and then is allowed to take her off the premises; it’s called ‘take-out’. But some bars have what are called ‘short time rooms’, small rooms at the back. That way a man can be straight back in drinking when he’s finished.”
“This is unbelievable.”
“Yes. But let’s move on.” And she pulled Nigel away and out of the Soi.
It was different in Soi Crocodile. The bars were the same, but the girls and the customers seemed a little unusual. They’d reached the halfway point before Fiona realized what it was. She raised her camera to photograph two ladies outside a bar entrance when one rushed over waving a hand. “No photos, please,” she said. It was the voice that told Fiona that this was no girl. The lady-boy smiled as Fiona lowered her camera. Retreating, leading Nigel back out toward the Bangla Road, watching the customers interaction with the bar girls, she came to know the true nature of Soi Crocodile. “The girls,” she whispered. “They’re all lady boys.”
“Do the men know this?”
“Of course they do. That’s why they’re here.”
“This is incredible. I can hardly believe what I’m seeing.”
“Yes. But seeing such stuff is important, Nigel, in order to teach us the awful things that go on this world. And don’t forget this is nothing to what goes on in Bangkok and Pattaya. Just thank God we live in Bletchford-East.”
“I need a drink,” he said.
Back on the Bangla, they took a table at Ned Kelly’s Pub. A live band gave a fair rendition of the old Dire Straits number, Sultans of Swing. The pub was almost full. Many were couples; western girls with their boyfriends. The ambience was vibrant, healthy and normal after the sleazy decadence of the soi bars. Nigel ordered a beer and a white wine for Fiona.
“I’m hungry,” she said. “Order something.”
Nigel consulted the menu. “How about hamburger and French fries?”
“Perfect. Then back to the resort.”
Heading back to their car, they passed a neon lit shop house. A tall sign outside the entrance declared:
The Best Massage in Phuket.
Outside, a squad of young vixens in skimpy attire sat around a table. They waved and cheered as Nigel and Fiona passed. Fiona smiled, waved then took a picture. “Not the kind of massage you get at the resort, Nigel, I assure you.”
“I’m sure,” Nigel agreed. But it was the lower part of the sign that intrigued and aroused him.
Try Annie’s Fabulous Soapy Erotic Massage.
The best in Thailand.
Try our Two Girl Special.
Nigel knew about the Soapy. Roger Belshaw, his constituency Lieutenant, aging roué and regular visitor to Thailand, had described it to him. “Any man that visits Thailand and fails to enjoy a Soapy has wasted his money,” he’d said.
Nigel had laughed. “But I shall be on my honeymoon, Roger.”
“I understand that, Nigel. But take a break, go shopping. Who will know? Two hours does it. It’s a fabulous experience.”
Now, here he was in Thailand, and a Soapy was at hand and staring him in the face. They moved on to get the car.
Driving back to the resort, Fiona spoke of the future. “Today I was reading the newspapers on the internet. The most recent surveys show the Conservatives are well ahead in the polls. If there were an election in Britain tomorrow they would win.”
Nigel chuckled. “But there isn’t going to be an election tomorrow, darling.”
“I know that. Nevertheless, if the lead holds, we will see a Conservative victory in the election next year. Which means, of course, that you will become the Home Secretary.”
“I can’t wait. Then there’ll be some changes made.”
“And that’s just one small step on the road to 10 Downing Street.”
Nigel laughed. “You’re so ambitious, Fiona.”
“I am indeed. I see you as British Prime Minister within the next few years. You have the looks. You’re tall, you have executive hair, a rich voice. You’ll make it. And I shall be Britain’s First Lady.”
But Nigel was no longer listening. British politics were far from his thoughts as he drove. He was thinking about Annie’s Massage and a Two Girl Soapy.
The following day they relaxed and lounged by the pool. Fiona enjoying a paranormal fantasy novel. Nigel was reading the Alan Clark Diaries, drinking fruit juice smoothies, the odd cocktail and the occasional swim. But his mind was elsewhere. The Puritan in him was wrestling with the temptation of the devil in the form of a two girl Soapy and seriously losing ground. Finally, he decided, he’d go to Patong alone and at least see the place again; no harm in that was there? He’d do that in the morning. He turned to Fiona. “Tomorrow morning, darling, I want to go into Phuket town and do a little shopping, take a look around. Want to come?” he asked, hoping she’d refuse.
She looked up from her guidebook. “No, my love. I’m going to pamper myself again. I’m going to enjoy more spa experience. When you get back I’ll be beautiful.
“Fine, darling.” Nigel smiled, took a long pull on his cocktail and returned to Alan Clark.
After breakfast, Nigel packed his shoulder bag and prepared to leave. “I won’t be too long, sweet,” he said.
“And don’t drink too much,” Fiona replied. “Wear a hat. And watch out for those young Thai girls.”
Nigel laughed. “I’ll watch them, darling, but you know me, that’s all I’ll do.”
Leaving the resort, Nigel ignored the directions to Phuket Town and drove fast westward to Patong Beach, arriving just before noon. It was hot. He found a shady perking spot, pulled on a soft cotton bush hat and set off toward the Bangla Road. The bars, so busy on the last visit, were now closed, empty and quiet, their chairs and stools were stacked on the tables and bar tops. Feeling thirsty, he stopped at a small bar restaurant opposite Annie’s Massage. He took an outside table and ordered a beer. He felt calm. The procrastination, the indecisive struggle within him was now over, and the puritan in him, had been slain. He was going to have a Soapy Massage and nothing was going to stop him.
His beer came, and he drank straight from the bottle as he’d seen others do, his eyes on Annie’s Massage. He checked his watch; 12.15. At 12.30 he’d go in. He’d be done by 14.30 or 15.00 at the latest, and back at the resort for dinner with Fiona who would be none the wiser. Perfect. He smiled at his deception and took a long pull on the bottle. At 12.30, he drained the bottle and paid his bill. He crossed the road and went into Annie’s Massage.
Passing through the entrance portal, Nigel was reminded of a photograph he’d once seen of a Victorian bordello. A dark red wall to wall carpet covered the floor, matching the wallpaper. Four plush love seats were placed around a low glass table in the center of the room. An antique glass chandelier hung above the table, and imitation wall gas lamps cast a red glow over everything. The far wall contained an elegant bar with six stools. The redolence of powerful incense assailed him. Then a door to his right opened and a woman entered.
Well into her sixties, dressed in a red silk sarong, her hair pulled back tight and tied in a bun, a smile on her broad, painted face; the mama-san. “You would like massage?” she asked, in a deep, heavy voice.
“Er, yes.” Nigel felt awkward.
The woman went to the bar, indicated a stool for Nigel. “Would you like a drink?”
“Yes, that would be fine. Er, are you Annie?”
“Yes, I am,” she beamed. “A beer or whisky?”
“A beer please.” Nigel took a stool.
Annie poured a Chang beer into a glass of ice cubes and put it before him. She handed him a paper. “These are our services, the various massages, and the price.”
Nigel surveyed the list and couldn’t see the Soapy. He looked up. “Actually, I’d like a soapy,” he said with a faint smile.
“A soapy,” Annie’s voice boomed, and she laughed.
“Yes. The special. The two girl soapy.” Nigel’s smile broadened. He sipped his beer.
"You are early. Normally we don’t do much business until later. The girls come to work more toward evening. But, my dear, you are lucky that I do have two very nice young ladies available now.”
“How much is a soapy?”
“A standard soapy is two thousand baht for two hours; very reasonable. This week you can have two girls for the price of one; the special. Of course, extra services you require will need to be worked out with the girls, plus gratuities for good satisfying service. But that is up to you.”
“Of course,” Nigel said. “I understand.”
“Would you like to meet the girls?”
“Yes, of course.” Nigel took out his wallet and handed over two one thousand baht bills. Annie’s fist grabbed the money, and she slipped away leaving him with his beer.
He was getting excited now, excited and nervous. He was on the verge of experiencing what Roger Bellshaw had termed, the greatest sexual experience known to man. He finished his beer as Annie returned with two girls in tow. The girls came alongside Nigel and waied him politely as Annie introduced them. “This lady is Toy, and this one is Bee.”
Nigel smiled his approval. Both girls were petite and shapely. They wore short, white pleated skirts and tight dark t-shirts carrying Annie’s Massage logos. Both had excellent legs, and smelt of a rich erotic perfume. Nigel became aroused.
“Are you ready,” Annie asked him, handing Toy a key.
“Yes,” Nigel came to his feet. Toy took his hand and led him to a carpeted staircase. They climbed to the first floor and stopped at number five and went inside. Nigel had never seen a bed so wide and so low; it dominated the room. The headboard was a polished mirror. Looking up, he saw that the entire ceiling was also a mirror. There were two chairs, a table carrying a television, and a refrigerator. There were no windows, and it was pleasantly cool.
Toy opened the fridge and took out a whisky bottle, a bowl of ice cubes. She poured into three glasses and added ice cubes, and handed a glass to Nigel and to Bee. Nigel took a sip and found it powerful, sharp and biting. He drained the glass and felt a warm pleasant rush to his head. Bee indicated a chair, and Nigel sat down. Toy refilled his glass. Bee finished her drink in a single gulp, and with a wide smile at Nigel, peeled off her t-shirt, unfastened her belt and dropped her skirt. She then, deftly removed her underwear. Toy put down her glass and quickly undressed, and both girls stood nude before him. Excited now, Nigel took a gulp of whisky, draining his glass. Toy took his glass. “Take off your clothes,” she said with mock authority.
Nigel stood up and started to undo the buttons of his shirt when the girls moved in and took over the task and stripped him naked.
“You velly tall,” Toy said.
Nigel smiled. “Yes I suppose I am.”
The girls began talking in Thai, interspersed with giggles, eyes flashing at Nigel.
“How you like another lady, thlee lady?”
“Three? I. . .I thought two was the special. . .I.”
“Thlee lady vely special just for you. You will like.”
“I have fliend, vely good. Vely sexy. Her name Nut. She will come.”
Bee took out her phone and handed it to Toy who pushed the buttons. The connection was immediate and Toy spoke in rapid Thai. She then closed the phone and smiled at Nigel. “My fliend Nut, she come.”
The girls went into the bathroom. Nigel watched from the doorway. In a wall alcove there were many business-like shower heads and nozzles. Bottles of soap and lotions occupied wall racks. Another rack carried towels. Bee produced a soft foam mat she unrolled onto the floor. Toy opened the faucets and stepped into the jets of heavy spray, squealing with delight. Bee joined her with a bottle of soap, and they soaped each other. An enthralled Nigel watched until a light tap on the door interrupted matters.
“My fliend,” Toy called out as the door opened and a girl entered. Young and pretty, she wore a white t-shirt and black pirate-pants. She grinned at the naked Nigel and quickly shucked of her clothes. Taking Nigel’s hand, she guided him to the cloud of hissing spray and eased him in. And the three girls went to work on him.
Nigel was in rapture as the girl’s covered him in scented liquid soap, their hands squeezing and kneading with skill and authority, teased his body’s most intimate parts. Toy, behind him, used her fingers and a soft brush, while Bee handled the front. Nut set about preparing the foam bed, covering it with liquid soap. Nigel, now in a state of ecstasy, watched her, and recalled Roger Bellshaw’s vivid description.
Unfortunately, many men lose it in the shower, Nigel. But if you can control yourself and survive the shower experience, you get to enjoy the piece de resistance, the Soapy itself, on the foam rubber bed. There the girl covers you in silky liquid soap and uses her body to slide over you and drive you out of your bloody mind. Many who survive the shower, lose it right there on the mat, and there’s no shame in that. But if you do survive, the finale is on the bed.”
Nigel smiled at the memory. And now it was happening to him. And not with one girl, but three! Then suddenly his reverie was interrupted by four loud bangs and the action stopped. The bangs came again, louder. Someone was knocking at the door.
Surprised and annoyed, Nigel stepped out of the shower, held up a hand indicating the girls stay put, grabbed a towel, wrapped it around himself and went to the door. He jerked it open; and the shock almost floored him. Annie, the mama-san stood mute on the threshold, staring down at the floor. Behind her, on either side, in their tight, brown uniforms, stood two policemen; one short and thin, the other taller and heavy set, his gut thrusting against his uniform’s restriction. They pressed forward, Annie before them. Nigel stepped back, his heart pounding. “Passport,” the bigger officer said as he closed the door.
Nigel opened his bag and handed over the document. The girls came out of the bathroom, wrapped in towels, dripping water. The officer addressed them curtly in Thai and they went to their purses and handed over their ID cards. The cops sat on the bed studying the cards and Nigel’s passport, muttering in Thai. Presently the larger officer pointed to Nut. “This lady is under age, Mister. . .” He examined the passport. “Mister Prendergast. She is sixteen years old. The age to engage in sex in Thailand is eighteen years.”
“But I. . .” Nigel spluttered, his thoughts scattered as fear engulfed him.
“But what Mister Prendergast?”
“Well, surely, it’s the mama-san’s job,” he pointed to Annie. “It’s her job to check the girl’s ages. It’s her business. A client could hardly be expected to know.”
The policeman stated at Nigel with an expression of incredulity. “What is this mama-san? What is this job? What is this about business, client? This place is a brothel; a whorehouse. This woman is a brothel keeper.” He switched to Thai, and with a loud rising voiceม harangued Annie whose head tilted down further.
Returning to English, he again addressed Nigel. “Prostitution is illegal in Thailand, Mister Prendergast. This place will be shut down, and she will be prosecuted as you will be. But your charges are more serious than soliciting the services of prostitutes and breaking Thailand’s anti-prostitution laws. You have solicited sex from a minor; a child. Please get dressed, Mister Prendergast. You are under arrest, and you are coming with us.”
With soap in his hair and in his ears, Nigel stood and dressed before the officers who watched in silence his deep humiliation.
At the police station, Nigel was locked in a charge room and left alone with his thoughts. And as his position and the total ruin he faced, clarified, it terrified him.
First there would be the media publicity. Named in the British and foreign press as a sex tourist pedophile, his picture displayed in the vulgar tabloids such as the Daily Mail and News of the World, and on the internet. A trial and prison sentence would quickly follow. Then, Fiona would divorce him. Then there’d be the loss of his seat in Parliament, and he’d be disavowed and booted out of the Conservative Party. Then, after serving time in a tough Thai prison, deportation back to Britain where further punishment awaited. As a convicted pedophile, his passport would be withdrawn, and he would be forced to sign the Sex Offender’s Book. He recalled the Gary Glitter debacle and felt heartsick. He was beginning to tremble when the door opened and a policeman beckoned him. Nigel stood and meekly followed. The officer indicated a door and Nigel went inside to face the two arresting policemen who were seated at a desk, smoking. The bigger one pointed to a chair, and Nigel sat down.
“Mister Prendergast,” he began with an expansive smile. “I am Sergeant Chueman and this is Corporal Thaksin. We have been discussing your case with our colleagues. Since you do not appear to have any criminal record and this is your first offence in Thailand, it is most probable that at your trial the court would show leniency. After all,” he chuckled. “You are a tourist who made a foolish mistake.”
Nigel, his thoughts adrift, could hardly follow. “Yes,” he said, nodding weakly.
“The judge would probably not imprison you and would instead impose a fine; a big fine that would show the seriousness of your crime.”
Nigel saw a faint ray of hope. “How much?”
“Past events indicate around two hundred and fifty thousand baht."
Nigel nodded. It was a lot of money. And there would still be a trial and the attendant publicity. He would avoid imprisonment, but he would still be ruined.
“So, Mister Prendergast, my colleagues and I think it would be better to avoid a trial with all the expense and trouble, if you just paid the fine and signed a document admitting guilt.”
Nigel’s hopes rose. “Is it possible?”
“Oh, yes. More than possible. It is the best solution. That is,” the cop grinned. “If you can pay the fine.”
Nigel was on the edge of his seat. He did a quick calculation from Thai baht into Pounds Sterling; between five and six thousand pounds; a lot of money. “I could get the money, but it would take a little time.”
“How much time.”
Nigel did another calculation. Using his four credit and debit cards he could do it in five days. “Five or six days,” he said.
Sargent Chueman addressed his colleague and nodded. “That is fine and acceptable,” he said. “So, we will release you, Mister Prendergast. And you will return when you have the money. And then you will sign the document and you will be free to go. Is that acceptable to you?”
“Yes.” Nigel almost shouted. He was overjoyed.
“We will, of course, need to hold on to your passport which will be returned when you come in with the money.” He turned and addressed Corporal Thaksin.
Thaksin laughed, lightly and went to a cupboard behind his desk and withdrew a bottle of whisky and three glasses. From a small fridge disguised as a cabinet, he extracted a bowl of ice cubes. The glasses were filled and a toast drunk. Elated now, Nigel smiled at his captors. “Thank you,” he said.
Back on the street, Nigel felt dazed and intoxicated. His throat parched from the harsh whisky, he stopped for a beer at a bar close to the car park. He drank, almost guzzled, from the bottle and savored the beer, his freedom and his luck.
In the car park he found an ATM and made the first of his withdrawals. He withdrew the fifteen thousand Thai baht maximum on each of his four cards; sixty thousand baht. Tomorrow he would do the same. By Friday he would have it all. He collected his car and drove back to the resort.
On Fiona’s suggestion, the following days were spent travelling and sightseeing, as the pleasures of the resort and its amenities were beginning to pall. They visited local islands and took a boat out to Kho Phi Phi and Krabi, Fiona shopping madly. Finally they flew to Kho Samui, the island in the Gulf of Thailand and enjoyed time in an outstanding resort. And at every opportunity, when Fiona was shopping or otherwise engaged, Nigel slipped away and made ATM withdrawals.
Back in Phuket, with four days to go before flying home, Nigel had his money. Now he needed to unload it and get his passport back.
After breakfast on the first morning back, Nigel told Fiona he’d be going to Phuket Airport to pick up a British newspaper. “I won’t be long,” he assured her.
“No problem, darling,” she said. And Nigel went down to the car and raced for Patong Beach.
At the police station, he went straight to the desk. “Sawadee khrap,” he addressed the duty officer. The officer nodded politely and opened the desk gate. Nigel went through and followed the officer to a door. Ushered inside, he found Sargeant Chueman and Coorporal Thaksin drinking coffee at their desks. Chueman beamed. “Good morning, Mister Prendergast. Please sit down.”
Nigel took the seat opposite.
“I hope you have been behaving yourself and enjoying the pleasures of Phuket.”
“Yes, I have,” Nigel forced a smile.
“Good. Now, do you have the money, Mister Prendergast?”
“Yes, I have it.” Nigel withdrew a bulging envelope from his shoulder bag and placed it before the cop. The sergeant took out the money and began counting. At fifty thousand baht he handed to notes to the corporal who checked the amount while the sergeant counted more. They counted several times before they were satisfied. “Exactly right,” Chueman acknowledged. He locked the money in his desk. He then produced a printed form that had been filled in. He added more lines and turned the document around and handed Nigel his pen. “Sign here Mister Prendergast,” he indicated the place.
Nigel saw nothing he understood. Everything was in Thai. He signed anyway.
“Perfect, Mister Prendergast. Now, here is your passport.”
And once again, Corporal Thaksin took out the whisky bottle, filled three glasses and added ice. They drank a toast to Nigel and his vacation. “You have been very lucky, Mister Prendergast,” Sergeant Chueman said with a smile. “Other police officers I know would have insisted you go to trial. And you would have been detained in custody. A most unpleasant experience.”
“Yes, I appreciate that,” Nigel said, weakly. “I want to thank you both for your consideration and what you have done for me.”
“That is no problem. But I must remind you to be careful where you go and what you do. Don’t spoil your vacation, Mister Prendergast. Enjoy your stay in Thailand and go home safe.” He refilled the glasses and they drank.
Two days before flying home, Nigel and Fiona drove up to Patong where Fiona had an appointment with a lady-boy hairdresser. “I’m told Salisa is the best,” she told Nigel. “And I want the best hair-do possible before returning to Bletchford.”
“A good idea,” Nigel agreed.
“I’m told Salisa takes her time,” she said outside the salon. “So I’ll be awhile. Meet me at the coffee shop next door in about two hours, say around 1:30.”
After some window shopping, Nigel struck the Bangla Road. He turned onto it. It was hot. He felt a cold beer would go down well. He also wanted to pass by Annie’s Massage and take a few photos to embellish the story he would inevitably have to tell Roger Bellshaw.
Passing her place, he took out his phone and took a few snaps. He took a close up of the sign advertising the Two Girl Soapy special. It puzzled him that the police had not yet closed the place as Sergeant Chueman had threatened.
At a bar opposite he took an outside table and ordered a beer. As he drank, he imagined the conversation he’d have with Bellshaw. There’d be the usual preliminaries as he was brought up to date on constituency matters, then he’d tell him how wonderful Bali and Phuket were. “Bali was incredible, Roger, almost paradise. And so was Phuket. It was a dream honeymoon.”
“And Fiona felt the same?”
Then the old libertine would ask, “And you, Nigel. Did you have your Soapy?”
“Of course,” he’d reply. And he’d be telling the truth. He’d describe it as it happened and just leave out the police intervention part that cut it short. He played the scene over with dialogue changes. He finished his beer and headed for his car, his thoughts now on how he could fiddle his Parliamentary expenses to recover the loss of over five thousand pounds he’d given the cops.
On his first day back in England, Nigel got down to business. In his headquarters, his staff greeted him, warmly and he told them of his wonderful honeymoon.
At 10.0 am, Roger Belshaw arrived. “Good morning Nigel,” he said. “Welcome home.”
“Good morning, Roger.” Nigel smiled. They gripped hands
“I trust you enjoyed yourself in South East Asia.”
“Yes, I did. I’ll tell you all about it in the pub over lunch. Let’s clear up all business matters first.”
With the work finished before noon, they headed under umbrellas through a cold wind driven rain for the Plough and Harrow Hotel in Bletchford’s market square. Inside the pub, they ordered two pints of bitter beer and took a table by a window away from the crowded bar. A table waitress brought menus. “I’ll take the Ploughman’s Lunch,” Nigel told her.
“And I’ll have the Shepard’s Pie,” Belshaw ordered. The waitress jotted it down and went away.
“So, Nigel, here you are, back from paradise in the harsh reality of Britain. It must be a shock.”
“No, not really. I’m rather glad to be back.”
“Apart from the weather, of course,” Belshaw nodded toward the rain streaked window. “I take it you enjoyed your honeymoon?”
“It was fantastic. Both Bali and Phuket were out of this world.”
“And Fiona felt the same?”
“Perhaps more so, as she got to see and satisfy her curiosity about the naughty side of things in Phuket.”
“Yes, of course. And you, Nigel. Did you have your Soapy?”
“I knew you’d ask me this, you old rogue. Yes, I did, Roger, in Phuket.” He pulled out a pack of photos he’d taken around Annie’s Massage. “I had the Two Girl Special, two for the price of one.”
“Two girls,” Balshaw’s eyes widened. “That must have been something.”
It was. Then it got better. One of the girls brought in a friend and it became a three girl Soapy. And were they ever lovely; Toy, Bee and Nut.”
“Did you photograph them, the girls?”
“Oh but you should have. You would have had to pay them, of course, but it’s worth it. But I’m so pleased you had your Soapy.”
“I did,” Nigel grinned. He showed Belshaw more photos of Annie’s place, and some of the sex tourist decadence in the Soi Tiger bars.
“And you survived the shower?”
“I made it all the way to the bed, Roger. It was out of this world, just like you said.”
“Did you check their IDs?”
“You took a risk.”
“Life is full of risk, Roger.”
“Not that kind of risk. It could have been a scam that went wrong.”
“What on earth do you mean?”
“It’s a scam involving the police, the mama-sans and the girls. It usually takes place early in the day. I goes something like this. A chap goes in for a Soapy. The mama-san eyes him up. If he looks like an easy mark, she chats with her girls. Once in the room, the girl will suggest a second girl to spice things up; the client, naturally goes for it. The girl comes in, strips off and the action in the shower starts. Meanwhile, downstairs, the mama-san calls the cops.
“The cops arrive, demand entry, check the girls ID and find that, lo and behold, the second girl is under age. They then give the mama-san shit for good measure and appearances sake, and then they arrest the punter for engaging in sex with a minor and take him in. They let him cool his heels for a while, and then make him an offer to pay a fine, a significant fine, which he invariably does considering the alternative of prison, publicity and shame.
“One can’t be certain, but it’s possible you were being set up. Maybe the mama-san couldn’t get through to the cops, or the cops were busy.”
Nigel felt unnerved, and a little annoyed. He drank some beer. “How do you now of this. . .this scam?”
“From a book, a guide I have. After you left, I could have kicked myself. I should have given it to you, but I forgot. Here it is.” He pulled a dog-eared paperback out of his briefcase and held it up.
Danger in Paradise.
A Survival Guide
For Male Travelers
“It covers in detail all the things that can go wrong for you on vacation in Thailand.” He thumbed through the pages. “Here it is.”
One of the worse scams in recent years is the Soapy Shakedown, involving Thai cops, the massage parlor mama-sans and the massage girls. The writer explains how it works. Then he warns the reader. When having a Soapy, especially a Soapy involving more than one girl, ALWAYS check the girls ID. Remember, the threshold for sex in Thailand is eighteen.
Belshaw put away the book. “But in your case, Nigel, it wasn’t so. All’s well that ends well, I say. You had a cracking good Soapy, and came home safe.”
Nigel took a long pull on his beer. “What was it called, the scam?”
“The Soapy Shakedown.”
“The Soapy Shakedown,” Nigel repeated in a hollow voice. He stared out the window, beyond the passing parade of umbrella bearing shoppers, across to the crowded, rain battered, market stalls. But they barely registered. In his mind’s eye, reflected in the window, he clearly saw the bright eyes and grinning face of Sergeant Chueman. And beside him, the smiling, painted face of Annie.