Copyright © November 2013 Owen Jones Author
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Other books by the same author:
Behind The Smile: Daddy's Hobby
Behind The Smile: An Exciting Future
Behind The Smile: Maya – Illusion
Other books by this author, but under a pen name:
Megan’s School Trip
Megan’s School Exams
How to Give Your Dog a Real Dog's Life
(and make him love you for it)
The Eternal Plan – Revealed
(written by Colin Jones, compiled by Owen Jones)
Authorship – Publishing Your Book On You Own
1 Saturday Night
9 A Day of Rest
About the Author
1 SATURDAY NIGHT
Lily was lying in the bath, the water as hot as she could
bear, soaking for ten minutes and then scrubbing her skin for
ten minutes more before repeating the cycle over and over
again. She was trying to remove the smel of ‘pig’ from
herself. That was what she thought it smel ed like anyway
and she couldn’t think of a viler smell in al the world. She
was starting to become obsessed with it or many would
probably say that she already was obsessed, but she
couldn’t help that any longer. If there had been a time to
conquer her obsession, it had long since passed.
So, now she was stuck with it no matter how long she
soaked or how hard she scrubbed.
In the beginning, she had changed her name often in the
hope that a new name would somehow cleanse her, but that
had not worked either. She had been very superstitious, like
many people from the countryside, but she was less so now,
having seen that nothing seemed to help her odiferous
She thought about her family and wondered again
whether it was a good thing that they were not there to help
her or a bad thing. For Lily was not from Bangkok and knew
hardly anyone there, although it was fair to say that no-one
knew anything about her either, even if they thought they did.
Except that she was a student, although not many knew that
she was a medical student. If anyone knew the truth, then
she would stil have no friends, but she could not tell anyone
her story, because she was too ashamed on the one hand
and on a secret mission on the other.
Lily had arrived in Bangkok from a small village in Isaan
near the Mekong River the year before when she was
eighteen in order to study at medical college. Her father was
dead now, but her parents had not been poor, as such. They
were both of Chinese extraction and they had made their
living from a small village shop. Their families had been in
Thailand for more than a hundred years and the whole family
felt Thai. The only concessions they made to their true
ethnicity was to sprinkle a few Chinese words into their
conversation and cook some dishes from back home every
now and again.
However, people could tel that they were of Chinese
descent, although that did not matter because no-one had
ever held it against them in the village which was the only
home that any of them had ever had since their great-
grandparents had arrived. In those days, Lily had often joked
in English that she was a ‘Thai-Girl Lily’ and she had used
that nickname in Bangkok too one night. Now she could
never use it again or she may give the game away.
Tiger Lilies were her mother’s favourite flowers – they
had always been around the house and garden when they
were in season.
Lily was small-framed – always had been – and had the
cutest, pixie face anyone had ever seen. She was all in
proportion too, as much as any teenager is, but she was
smal . At first people said that she was ‘small for her age’
and then they realised that she always would be. Even ful y-
grown at nineteen, she was only five feet tall and weighed
just a hundred pounds.
That had never been a problem either and she did not
mind being shorter and lighter and slimmer than her
contemporaries. In fact it worked in her favour, not least
because she could get cheaper clothes.
The only problem that Lily had ever had was from a man
who used to help out in the shop when her parents were out
buying stock. Her parents trusted him as a friend and she
was told to call him ‘uncle’ as an honorary title. He would be
there sometimes when she got home from school.
It started when she was eleven.
He used to compliment her; lift her up on to his lap and
buy her sweets. She hadn’t minded that too much, but when
he had started taking his thing out and getting her to
massage it because it ‘was sore’, she knew that something
She had tried to avoid him and even to say no, but he
had threatened to tel her parents and then the whole village
that she was a tease and had led him on with her natural
beauty and seductive ways that ‘no sane man would have
been able to resist’. However, she was not a stupid girl and
she was well-aware that al the other men in the vil age had
managed to resist her charms, such as they were, so far.
Nevertheless, she had not wanted her parents to find out
and so she just carried on. She hated that man, but had not
known what to do about it. Then one day, one of the boys in
school was showing his friends a porn film which he was
downloading from the Internet onto his iPad. Lily had not
known what was going on, but she was curious and had
wriggled into the group to see.
The scenes that she witnessed were of a woman kissing
a man’s privates and then putting them into her mouth. She
was quite shocked that anyone would want to do that, but
the man in the film was obviously enjoying it and so were the
boys around her. Lily had got out of the crowd quickly and
gone about her routine school activities.
A few days later, when her ‘uncle’ had asked for a
massage, Lily had knelt on the floor in front of him and
copied what she has seen the lady in the film doing. Her
uncle could not believe his luck. He got carried away and
pulled Lily unto him until she was gagging then he hit her
about the top of her head. Not hard, but hard enough so that
if Lily had had any doubts about carrying out her plan, they
His ecstatic moans got louder and louder until Lily bit
down so hard that it came away in her mouth. Her ‘uncle’
had run out of the door screaming, blood spurting
everywhere, but Lily had not planned what to do next. She
went over to the open window, spat the thing out into the
yard and just sat there looking at it, blood staining her face
Pretty soon their chickens had found the bloody thing and
were pecking away at it. When the police had arrived, Lily’s
pink vest was covered in red blood like a poorly tie-died T-
shirt and she still had congealed blood on her chin and
around her mouth. She was crying silently, although the
tears were real enough.
The man had been taken into a custodial wing of a
nearby hospital and charged and Lily and her parents had
been given two options of punishing him. The police would
either lock him up for up to nine years, or he would be forced
by the police to sell his land, give Lily the proceeds from
three fields and leave the village for ever. Lily and her
parents had chosen the money, so that she could have a
decent education and that was why she was in Bangkok.
After that, no-one had blamed Lily openly, but her life had
changed. Her father had died too, some had said of shame
and she could not wait to get away. Bangkok had seemed so
exciting and she liked the idea of being an anonymous
student in the capital city where no-one knew her past.
She had a quarter of a mil ion Baht in the bank, which
might be enough for her to finish her three-year degree, but
then there would be nothing left. Not only that, but she would
have to live frugally during her years in col ege just to be
able to finish the course, unless she asked her mother for
help, which she didn’t want to do because she thought that
Lily had lots of money. She just did not understand and
seemed to Lily not to really want to either.
When she had been in Bangkok a few weeks she
realised that the struggle was not over. She was on a three-
year course, so she had approximately 80,000 per annum to
live on plus a bit of interest and maybe a little from a part-
time job during the holidays. She could manage about
120,000 a year, but the course cost 60,000 plus books and
uniforms, so she was looking at a life in Bangkok on 1,000
Baht a week, which was far from an exciting prospect.
She did the only thing she could think of and found
herself a boyfriend with money, which had not been difficult.
By the end of the third month, she had four regular
boyfriends and they were all making a contribution to her
col ege fund. This brought in roughly another 8,000 a week
and sometimes more, which gave her a comfortable lifestyle.
She had a lovely little apartment, which she would let no-
one see on the pretext that her two female flatmates had
made her promise that the flat would be permanently a boy-
free zone. Although she lived alone, none of her male
companions had ever questioned her motives and she had
never taken a man back there either. She had even gone so
far as to bribe the concierge to tell any and all male visitors
for her that they were not allowed inside as a condition of the
Lily told her friends that all the residents were either
single women or married couples, and she was believed
because there were such residences in Bangkok and Lily
looked so innocent.
She was twelve months into the deception now and she
had only lost one boyfriend whom she had easily replaced.
Lily kept the weekends free, by saying that she had to go
home every Friday night to help her sick mother run the
shop, but she had not been back since the first day she had
Lily gave it one more go with the nail brush, scrubbing
and washing herself al over, before giving up on the
hopeless battle of ridding herself of the smell of pigs. She
got out of the bath, dried herself lightly with a towel, covered
her body in sweet-smelling talcum powder and then wrapped
herself in a huge, luxuriously-soft bath towel in the time-
honoured Thai style. This was the best way that she had
discovered so far of masking the smell that she knew
surrounded her like body odour.
She went through to the lounge, put some music on the
TV and rang Aeng, the most possessive of her boyfriends.
“Hello, darling, how are you?” she asked. “It is so nice to
hear your voice again. I do miss you so when I am back with
mum. I hate the village now. I wish I didn’t have to come
back here. I would much rather be curled up with you.”
“Is that where you are now, Lily? At home? I can hear
music in the background. I have asked you to move in with
me. Are you still considering it, my dear?”
“Yes and yes, we closed the shop an hour ago. Mum had
the first shower, then me and I have just sat down to watch
some TV with her, but we don’t stay up late. The shop has to
be open by seven every morning to catch people going to
work. You know this, my love, I have explained it all to you
before. Look, I mean listen, I’l turn the TV up and change
channels. See? I could not do that if I were in a karaoke bar,
could I, you sil y Billy!
“I wish you would trust me more. Anyway, I had better go,
I don’t want to annoy mum, she wants a bit of peace and
quiet too. I’ll see you on Monday night when I get back. I’ll
ring you tomorrow, darling, sweet dreams.”
That was enough to keep him happy, and she could
phone the others the next day.
Lily liked ghost and horror films and she had quite a
col ection of pirated DVD’s. She selected one, dimmed the
lights, turned the volume on the large-flat screen TV up and
hugged a pillow to her chest, ready to hide behind it when
things got scary. As she lay on the couch, Lily planned her
Sunday during the ‘boring bits’.
Sunday was always an inviolable day of rest, although
she did have to do some studying. However, it was the only
day of the week that she got completely to herself, so she
often liked to go out shopping.
Lily always had a lot of shopping to do, because she
needed lots of clothes and things to keep up al of her
(back to top)
Lily was quite the creature of habit. She found it better to
get into routines as far as her college life, her boyfriends and
her weekends were concerned. She got up on Saturdays
and Sundays at about nine o’clock and then studied until
three or four, before doing a bit of shopping and eating. This
day was no different. Lily got up, took some rice out of the
steamer and put that in water with a little curry kept for the
purpose from the night before and set it on a low heat to
reduce it to the consistency of porridge while she got under
the shower and then plastered herself in talcum powder
again. The rice and Lily were both ready at the same time,
then she took her school books to the dining table and
Lily liked to study anatomy which was a major part of her
speciality. Others preferred medicine or specific sectors of
medicine like pal iative care, paediatrics, gynaecology or
dentistry, but the internal organs and their functions
particularly fascinated her and she was getting good grades
in her class. Her teachers were predicting that she would do
very well and that gave her a great deal of satisfaction. Lily
had always liked to be good at things and please people in
She often wondered whether that was why her ‘uncle’
had picked on her for the special treatment. Had he spotted
a vulnerability in her and merely taken advantage of her
personality? She would never know now since he had
banished himself to one of the Thai islands, so rumour had
it, but no-one knew which one and he had never been seen
When she could take no more in, she doodled as she
frequently did. Not pictures, but names. She liked to make
up names for herself. She liked to get a variation of her real
name in the pretend name, but that was getting harder every
day. ‘Tiger Lily’, ‘Thai Girl Lily’ and ‘Bangkok Lil’ were her
favourites, but she had considered ‘Kid Gloves’, ‘Pattaya
Princess’, ‘Teachers’ Pet’ and ‘Wet Behind The Ears’ too, she
quite liked suggestive names that most people would not
understand. They were like wearing personalised knickers,
sexy, but most people would never get the joke, because it
was private. Lily had quite a collection of personalised
knickers that she had ordered online too. One had ‘Kiss Me
Quick’, another ‘Daddy’s Hobby’ and another ‘Abandon Hope
All Ye Who Enter Here!’ embroidered on the front.
They made her feel sexy, but she rarely wore them for
her boyfriends. She never wore anything for a boyfriend that
he had not bought for her. She got more clothes that way
and never made the mistake of making someone wonder
where she had got the money to buy something from. All of
her clothes were label ed with the name of who had bought
them, even though her memory was good enough never to
No need to take chances with one’s livelihood, she
reasoned practically and Lily was always very practical.
Having given up on the nicknames, but stil holding the
pen poised over her notepad, she phoned the first of the
other three boyfriends and then the second, promising each
of them a meeting during the following week. The third, she
wanted to phone from a bar to make him jealous, so he
would have to wait.
Lily stripped off, took another shower, covered herself in
talc, put on a little make-up and dressed in a white medical
coat. She took al the large notes out of her purse, put one in
her bra and hid the others in the flat leaving only a few
twenties in her purse. She wore skimpy black underwear
beneath her thin white coat, put on a thin, full-length coat,
but left it open and descended into the street. The first man
that passed her was better than any mirror, for his reaction
assured her that she was very noticeable.
So, satisfied, she did her coat up and boarded a Tuk-Tuk
taxi to ride a few kilometres down the road to one of her
favourite clothes shops. It specialised in children’s clothing,
but then that was Lily’s size. She loved shopping for clothes
– it always made her feel so much better. She bought a
couple of outfits, some underwear and a red beret, all of
which she paid for by a credit card which was in her family’s
original Chinese name and her own Chinese first name. Lily
in Chinese was Baihe.
Then she took a Tuk-Tuk part the way back home, put
her coat in the bag with her purchases and walked into a bar
frequented by visitors to Bangkok. Lily walked straight up to
the bar, stood next to a group of men and ordered some food
and a beer, which she took to a nearby table. She could see
that those men had noticed her too and she smiled coyly and
politely at them from time to time. When she had finished,
Lily returned to the bar, took out her purse and asked for the
She did not have enough to pay of course, but she was
only twenty short and the nearest man offered to pay the
hundred Baht and buy her another beer. As the men became
drunker, they touched her arm more often and she touched
them back in a similar fashion. It was no surprise to her,
when she said that she had to go that that man asked to see
her again. Lily said she was working strange hours all week,
but that she could possibly meet him the following Saturday,
if he liked.
“Oh, what is your name? I am Ben and my friends are…
oh who cares what their names are?” He was smiling from
ear to ear.
“You can call me Lotus Blossom for now, Ben. Thank you
for helping me out, I don’t know what I would have done
without you. You are my knight in shining armour.” Lily
squeezed him lightly on the forearm.
It was obvious that his friends were jealous, but that was
how she wanted it to be. She wanted him to feel special.
It was like dangling a baited line in a barrel of starving
fish, she thought and went back to the hotel with the man’s
She had not given him hers. That was how it was with her
‘real’ boyfriends too – none of them had her number. It had
been difficult to persuade one or two of them, especially
Aeng, that this had to be so, but it was not negotiable. She
usually said that she disliked phone calls in the way that
people used to dislike telegrammes or she would say that
she had a phobia for telephones, but had to carry one in
case her sick mother needed her in an emergency.
None of them liked it, but that was tough. It was either no
phone or no Lily and she was too good to pass up for
something silly like that. Others wanted her email address
and to them she said that she did not have one, because
she did not have computer. Only one, Aeng, knew that she
had a laptop and could use it, because he had bought it for
her when she had said that she needed one for university.
He sometimes picked her up from ‘school’ as he cal ed it as
well and he could see it in her bag.
She had forgotten to phone boyfriend number four, so
she went into another bar about halfway back to the first one
and tried the same trick, and while she was at her table, she
phoned her last boyfriend.
“Hi, Deo, how are you? Everything al right with you?”
“Yes, I’m fine. How are you doing? Are you stil in the
“Yes, a few of us have gone out for a drink locally.” Lily
‘accidentally-on-purpose nudged her bag, knocking it to the
floor. A man standing nearby rushed to pick it up.
“Oh, thank you, kind Sir,” she said.
“Who’s that you’re taking to now, Boo?”
“Oh, I don’t know him. He’s just trying to talk to me,
nothing else. Don’t worry. Not jealous are you?”
“No, of course not, but I don’t like you letting strange men
chat you up.”
“But it’s all right for you to chat up strange women, huh?”
“That was nothing and you were there to see what was
going on, but I’m not there, am I? Anything could happen…”
Lily flapped the collars of her uniform as if she were
warm and she saw the man craning his neck to look down
“OK, Deo, I have to go now. I’ll see you next week. Bye-
bye. I’ll go right home now, I promise. Bye.”
The man came over and said, “Hi, I couldn’t help
overhearing, sorry, but you shouldn’t let jealous boyfriends
upset a beautiful young girl like you. Let me get you a drink.”
“OK,” she whispered. “I don’t do anything wrong and he
takes all my wages every month. I don’t know what to do
about him…” She dabbed at an imaginary tear welling up in
“May I sit with you, please?” he asked.
“If you like, I could do with the company. I’ve just finished
my shift and I don’t want to go home just yet. He’l want to
know where I’ve been, who I’ve been talking to and I’ll have
to get his dinner… I wouldn’t mind so much but the lazy so-
and-so just lays on the couch watching TV al day and all
night. He doesn’t work! Oh, no! He got ‘laid off’ as soon as I
got this job. And he drinks too much lao khao… Sorry, I’m
boring you with my problems. It’s just hard sometimes…”
and another tear drop was dabbed at.
“Don’t worry, my dear, you tel me anything you like.
Thanks for letting me join you. My name is Nat, what is
“Hello, Nat, nice to meet you. You may call me Lotus
“What a pretty name, Lotus Leaf, a very unusual and a
very pretty name for a remarkably beautiful woman, if you
will permit me to say so.”
“Thank you, Nat. It is nice of you to say so. My boyfriend
never says anything like that to me anymore. I am not used
to hearing compliments. It is so nice to be treated like a
She smiled at him with real tears in her eyes this time,
but a smile on her lips.
“Your boyfriend doesn’t know when he’s well off.”
When she said that she had to go, the man paid for her
beers and asked for her phone number.
“If you get any trouble from your thieving boyfriend, you
just ring me on this number. Can I have your number too,
Lotus Leaf? Maybe we could have a chat again, the next
time you are feeling down?”
She took his number, but gave him a false one, before
going back to the flat.
Lily took all her clothes off again, showered, covered
herself in talc and put on her towel. She had had a very
enjoyable couple of hours with those men and she was sure
that they felt the same, so she filed their names in her
Rolodex, then took her diary out of the desk and went to sit
in front of the TV to fil it in. She didn’t fill it in every day, but
she liked to when the whim took her.
She wrote about the phone cal s to her boyfriends and
that two of them were jealous and she wrote about the two
men that she had met and how they had bought her a few
drinks in her time of need. She spent some considerable
time describing Ben and Nat and what sort of people she
thought they would turn out to be if she were ever to meet
them again. She also wrote that she did not think she ever
would meet them again though, because she had given
them false phone numbers.
When Lily had finished writing her diary, she put it away
neatly, and cleaned up the flat a little, although it was already
immaculate by most people’s standards. She took the new
clothes that she had bought that day out of their bags and
hung them up so that the creases would fal out of them and
went to bed, where she liked to read magazines on modern
make-up techniques until she fel asleep.
She read about how to make herself look younger and
how to make herself look older. She circled the names of the
products and wrote the page references of the most useful
articles on the cover along with a brief description of the
articles. Once a week, she would scan these articles to her
hard disk and then throw out the original magazine lest it
clutter her lovely apartment.
She already had quite a collection of beauty and make-
up tips and she revisited them to reread their contents often.
As soon as an article became obsolete, she would archive it,
so that she always had the latest information to hand. Lily
was very proud of her appearance, which was another
reason why she liked to get to sleep early.
One of her articles on skin care had recommended that a
woman should drink plenty of water – at least eight glasses a
day and get eight hours of sleep a night and Lily would have
to be up at seven to get to her university on the other side of
town by nine o’clock and the fumes from rush-hour traffic in
Bangkok played havoc with a woman’s skin.
When she felt the first signs of tiredness coming on, she
put her magazine on the bedside table and switched out the
light. Lily never had a problem getting to sleep. She could be
asleep at the drop of a hat at any time of the day or night she
wanted. She slept stone-stil , hardly moving a muscle al
night and never dreamed, although that had not always been
She was glad that she didn’t dream any more though.
(back to top)
When the alarm went off at six-forty-five, Lily was waiting
for it. She always woke up seconds before it rang and she
always waited until seven before getting up. She liked to
sleep in pyjamas, but she always took them off in the
bedroom, folded them up and put them under her pillow,
before wrapping a towel around herself and going to the
bathroom to use the toilet. Then it was back to the bedroom
to lay out her clothes. Choosing clothes was not difficult for a
student. She was expected to wear a uniform of white or
sky-blue blouse with navy skirt or slacks to regular lectures
or the white one-piece coat that most medical students
around the world wear to practical lessons
She laid out a set of white underwear, a knee-length
white slip, skin-white tights, for Lily had pale skin naturally,
although she did use skin-whitener on her face and hands,
and the white coat, of which she had several. The daily
routine continued with a cup of tea, because coffee was too
brutal on the skin and gave her stomach cramps and a bowl
of rice soup, which was usually left over from the day before,
so only needed reheating.
She rarely cooked much at home, because it was cheap
enough to eat out. Many Bangkokians felt the same. A meal
of hearty noodles, vegetables and pork for one could be as
cheap as 30 Baht and a real y lovely meal only twice the
price. It just was not worth her while buying and preparing all
the food, then cooking it and cleaning up after it. Besides,
the refectory at the university sold subsidised meals and she
could eat there with friends and enjoy her food in company.
The daily routine was all carried out to the background
sounds of the news channel. She liked to keep up with the
news, especially what was going on in Bangkok, which was
al she cared about really and she liked the time checks they
gave at frequent intervals, not that Lily was ever late.
Her adherence to the routine that she had perfected over
the previous twelve months would not allow it.
Then it was back to the bathroom to shower and brush
her teeth, before getting dressed and applying her make-up
in the bedroom. Her natural look was very young. Without
make-up, she could easily pass for fourteen or fifteen, so
she liked to make herself up to look eighteen to twenty when
she went to university. It did not suit a medical person’s
position to look fourteen, it did not give enough weight to her
This was not a problem for Lily, she was skilled at making
herself look anything from twelve or thirteen up to the age of
twenty-five and maybe even twenty-eight. She should be,
she practiced the techniques often enough if she had
nothing better to do at home. Then she would put a layer of
talcum powder al over her skin that would be covered by the
slip and get dressed.
A final check in her ful -length mirror was al that was
required before picking up her bag and locking up.
Lily lived on the ninth floor of a twenty-storey block of
flats, so she usually took the lift, unless it was out of order,
which was not often. If it was though, she was fit enough to
be able to run up or down the stairs. This presented no
problem when going up, because there was a shower at the
end of it, but she hated getting hot and sweaty when she
was on the way out somewhere.
The Skytrain was just down the road, so she could walk
there if the weather was fine, or she could take a Tuk-Tuk
otherwise. The Skytrain would take her about half way, but it
was fast and not subject to traffic jams and there was a bus
where she got off which would take her to the gates of the
university itself. The whole journey would take thirty or forty
minutes and she would arrive with twenty or thirty minutes to
get to her first class via her locker.
She had to attend classes five days a week from nine till
five, but Friday afternoons were always free and sometimes
there would be a one-on-one tutorial on Saturday mornings,
but she had already explained her need to help her mother
on the weekends, so most lecturers did their best to fit her in
after class or in the lunch hour. They were very good like that
and Lily appreciated it.
She was considerate like that herself and always gave
praise where praise was due.
In university, most people that knew Lily thought that she
was a lovely person. All the men liked her and only a few of
the women did not, and that was based on the attention she
got from the male students and staff, although no-one could
actual y say that they had ever seen her go out of her way, at
least anymore than most other young women, to attract male
attention, for she led a different sort of life inside and outside
university and she lived far enough away so that few, if any,
of the students would accidentally bump into her socially.
Well over 80% of her fellow students lived in university
dorms or guesthouses within a stone’s throw of the university
itself, but Lily lived several miles away and she had never
told anyone where. Even the university admin still had only
the address that she had lived at when she first moved to
Bangkok and besides, most correspondence between admin
and the students was done via email or pigeon-hole.
Lily picked up some instruments and a textbook from her
locker and made her way to the morgue. This week they
were going to be cutting up corpses donated by the owners
while they were stil alive. It was the first time that they would
be working on human bodies and she was looking forward to
The students’ morgue was quite a large room, big
enough for thirty corpses. With two students per slab, that
meant that they could teach sixty people at a time. Lily
teamed up with another girl, Jill, whom she knew and got on
with. That day’s lesson was how to remove or just peel back
areas of skin, the basic technique needed to uncover internal
organs and bones.
She ate a hearty meal in the refectory with a few of her
friends as she did most days. Making lunch her main meal of
the day meant that she did not have to eat much in the
evening, which she had read was also a good thing for the
digestive system, since it meant that she was practically
‘running on empty’ by the time she went to bed.
She took the opportunity to phone Aeng and Ma, two of
her regular boyfriends, the other two she would phone later.
She would meet up with one of them in the evening,
probably Aeng, because he was the jealous one and
becoming the most difficult to handle, but if he could not
make it, she would see one of the others.
Aeng it was, so she would see Ma the fol owing day.
When her school day was over, Lily usually had to get
home quickly in order to meet one of them by seven o’clock.
This day, it happened to be Aeng, but it was always one of
them. They all knew the score deep down, that their
relationship was based on money and sex. It was not
unusual in a practical, busy city like Bangkok or anywhere
else in the country for that matter.
Polygamy had been common practice until 1932 when it
was abolished by royal decree, but the system of ‘mia noi’ or
‘minor wives’ was still widespread throughout Thailand. Of
course, one had to be well-off to be able to support ‘another
wife’ or other wives, but even poor men could find an even
poorer woman to have a ‘mia noi’ relationship with, there
being no child support or social security to fall back on for a
woman who had fal en on hard times and perhaps with
children to look after.
The golden rule for a man with a ‘mia noi’ was always to
treat the primary wife the best and never to let her lose face
in her community, because she had not strayed and she was
running the household. The primary wife nearly always knew
what was going on. If her husband did not tell her, she would
‘have an inkling’ until one of her girl friends confirmed it.
Women talked about it quite openly. After al , it was no
shame to them, it just showed how weak men were and
amongst themselves, they referred to such men as ‘sami noi’
or ‘minor husbands’, which somehow sounded far more
insulting to a man, than ‘mia noi’ does to a woman.
Three of Lily’s ‘boyfriends’, for that was the euphemism
usually employed, were such men. Aeng had started out like
that too, but he was becoming emotionally attached and
jealous and so a problem to Lily.
Aeng was the only one of them that knew that she was a
‘medical student’ and where, and she had regretted tel ing
him ever since, but he had been the first of the bunch and
she had been inexperienced in those days. Aeng would pick
her up outside the university at five-thirty and they would go
back to his place.
Aeng was waiting for her in his Mercedes coupe in the
car park a hundred yards down the road, the closest public
parking place to the university. He was the son of a well-to-
do shopkeeper and spoilt badly. He was married, but had
always played the field, although his father, who had always
done the same, had taught him the rules of the game and
warned him not to create any scandal that would cause the
family to lose face. This was the only thing that stopped him
from being a total pain in the neck to Lily.
That and the regular hand-outs from his father.
She understood Aeng. He was the typical spoilt brat of a
wealthy Thai family who had had it easy all his life. In the
classes beneath him, men were to be hired and women were
to be used. He basical y had contempt for all of them for not
being born into a wealthy family, for he interpreted Karma to
mean that he had been such a good person in previous lives
that he had earned the right to be born into money and,
conversely, that al the people poorer than himself had been
bad in previous lives.
It gave him a sense of superiority that he did not deserve
and certainly had not earned, but it was not peculiar to
Thailand. In Europe they had cal ed it the ‘divine right of
kings’. It was a variant of the justification, but just as
He was besotted with Lily and he would have liked to be
waiting for her on the pavement outside the university gates,
but he was frightened of upsetting his father if he caused a
scandal and he was frightened that someone might
vandalise or steal his precious car if he left it unattended and
He had a wife and a child at home, but he only saw them
when he had to for the sake of propriety. He was 25, his wife
23 and son three years old, but he would have left them for
Lily if it wasn’t for his father’s grandson and the fact that it
would put his inheritance at risk.
He beeped the car’s horn and stood and waved when he
saw Lily enter the car park and look around for him. He
waited for her to approach the car and get in.
“Hello, darling Lily, how are you? Oh, I have missed you
so much, my flower.”
“I have missed you too, dearest Aeng,” she lied. “Not
here!” She took his hand off her knee as he began to stroke
it. “It is not nice, please show some respect for me,
especial y in public, someone might be watching.”
Actual y, in his own way, he was showing some respect
for Lily by not kissing her in public, but it was just as much
because it was just not done to kiss in public in Thailand and
he had been brought up after that fashion. Aeng had never
seen his parents kiss ever.
“Where do you want to go, Lil? Back to the flat to get out
of your uniform?”. He winked at her.
Lily found him obnoxious and could not face that just yet,
so she sought to put him off.
“Actual y, I’ve had a really hard day. Could we just go for
a drink for an hour? Somewhere nice and quiet, but where
there are other people?” – that added so that she did not get
groped under a tree somewhere.
“Sure, I know just the place – the ‘Bier Garten’, you
remember? We’ve been there before. Is that OK?”
“Yes, that’s fine. It’s just that I have been skinning a
corpse’s arm all day and I need a drink and to see some live
Aeng took his hand from her knee at the thought and
started the car. He did his usual trick and took off at high
speed making as much noise with the tyres as he could.
They took a vacant bench and table in the corner of the
beer garden and passed an hour chatting over a few bottles
of fashionable Heineken. It was the most expensive of the
normal beers and twice the price of the local Beer Chang or
Lily was finding it hard to play the role of loving girlfriend
with Aeng. She did not love him and if he hadn’t loved
himself so much he might have noticed, but he was too
arrogant for the thought to cross his mind. He had never met
anyone that he could not impress with his money and he
knew that they would al swap places with him if they could,
but what he could not see was that Lily was only using him
for his money too.
He was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she
was head over heels in love with him.
In Lily’s eyes, she was only being practical. She had
some money and she wanted a good education, but she did
not want to spend her own money on getting that education.
She wanted to have her cake and eat it and besides, she
thought, the rich fool sitting opposite her had not earned his
money and had too much of it anyway.
“Oh, that is much better,” she said after clinking bottles
and taking a sip, “thanks for bringing me here. It is hot
though in this uniform,” and pul ed the front zip down to the
neckline of her slip. She flapped the collars to create a
breeze and watched Aeng looking.
“Aren’t you hot too, Aeng?”
“You bet I am, I can’t wait to get in the shower. Do you
want to go now?”
She took another swig. The last thing she wanted was to
be locked up in the flat with Aeng for twelve hours for she
knew that she would have to sleep there al night. She also
knew him well enough to know that if she could get him to
drink three or four beers that he would probably fal asleep
after making love. The second was the hard one, but if she
could get him to drink two large bottles, then he would want
a third and a fourth all by himself. Aeng was a macho man,
so he was drinking pint bottles, she was a lady and so took
smal ones. If she could make it four pints to two or even
one-and-a-half and then raid the fridge for more, it wouldn’t
be so bad.
“No, not yet, darling. I’ve still got images of that naked old
man and me cutting off his skin in my head… It was ghastly!
Just think about it… me peeling an old man’s arm like a
banana… all that skin. No blood, of course, because he had
been dead for weeks, but al the red flesh and white bone
underneath. Imagine it…”
“Er, no thank you, Lily, I don’t want to. I don’t know how
you can do anything as grisly as that. You’re such a
beautiful, young-looking girl and you butcher old men for a
living. Ughh! Let’s have another, shal we and then go. My
God, it doesn’t bear thinking about… Ughh!”
She laughed inside at how easy he was, but smiled and
said, “Someone has to do it, Aeng, and it might as well be
me. I’ll get used to it.”
“Yes, I suppose you will, but please, let’s change the
subject shall we?”
“Of course, what do you want to talk about?”
“Anything except that. Honest!”
Lily got him to drink his four pints to her three halves and
it had been as easy as she had known that it would be.
When they got back to his nice bachelor pad, where she
supposed he took his pick-ups, she asked for another beer,
but rewarded him for it by taking her coat off and parading in
They kissed and groped each other while they drank their
beer and whispered sweet words softly. When they had
made love on the couch, they moved into the shower
together and did it again. They dried each other off and
came out naked. Aeng was a lot calmer now and got them
both another beer each.
“Oh, Lily, you were wonderful, my dear. Why don’t you
come and live here with me? We could do this every night
after school and all weekend.”
“It’s called university, not school! School is where little
girls go, but I think you like little girls anyway. That’s why you
go out with me, isn’t it? I fit your fantasy, but keep you legal.
“Anyway, you know that I can’t do that. We’ve talked
about it before, haven’t we? You know that I need to pass my
exams and to do that I have to study, but I won’t get much
studying done if I stay here drinking beer and shagging with
you al the time, will I? You know how hard it is for me to
keep my hands off your gorgeous body.” The beer made that
last sentence easier to say, but Aeng did keep in shape and
she did find him physically attractive.
“But I want you here with me! I can’t bear to think what