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- Corpus of a Siam Mosquito - 1/34 -


Copyright (C) 2002 by Steven Sills.

Corpus of a Siam Mosquito

--Steven Sills

"So he spoke, and the bright-eyed goddess, Athene, was pleased that she was the god he prayed to before all the others. She put strength in his shoulders and knees, and set in his heart the daring of a mosquito, which, though constantly brushed away from a man's skin, still insists on biting him for the pleasure of human blood."

--The Iliad Homer

Book I: Palaver

Chapter 1

They, with their driver, went down Ramkhamhaeng Road singularly in the scope of their thoughts but conditioned into repudiating their aloneness. It was an early Bangkok morning with a new day tripping over the corpse of the earlier one the way dogs on the Bangkok sidewalks were walked on. It was early in the relationship of the two passengers and this nascent association contained the complex and awkward ambiguity of not being clearly professional or personal and he and his prostitute-model were tripping into each other. When she put her hand on his leg he would stiffen and both his legs would slightly slant away from her but when she removed her hand and kept it away from him for some minutes he would put it back there closer than ever to his thighs. Even he had to admit his actions made no sense given the fact that he flaunted her, and others like her, wherever he went; but it was part of the game of being desired. Although he wasn't even conscious that such a game was being played, she was fully cognizant of these subliminal calculative moves and how a woman was played. She knew that she was desiring him more as a consequence. She also knew that being desired required adhering to the rules of withdrawing from the neediness of wanting to be linked to a man and of transforming herself into the metamorphoses of self-contained fantasies that he would desire.

Despite Thai's reverence for royalty, the three of them went down Ramkhamhaeng Road without even thinking about the king behind the name. He, his whore, and perhaps the faceless one at the steering wheel as well, thought of themselves as a unit albeit an insignificant one. They had that sociable tendency to chat at each other to reduce the drone of one's solitary and melancholic thoughts but it was less the case with the pensive passenger, Nawin (formerly Jatupon) who, Aristotelian and poised as a Garuda, was a surly contemplative despite lordly debauchery. Through being whirled in vicissitudes he felt that he could withstand anything fate had to offer. Unlike the others, he did not need to escape his thoughts as much as a bull from a corral. Instead, he befriended his morose tendencies. Basking in the grandeur of his new stature, the back seat Nawin was dwelling on himself continually in the concern that his fame, isolated as it was, had not happened totally from the merit of his work. He wondered how much the licentiousness of his life and the salaciousness of the subject matter were the real color of what could be marginal talents. He wondered if he should change his subject matter proving himself as an artist even if it reduced the virility he felt as a type of swarthy Thai sex symbol. How strange it was, he thought to himself, that despite the fact that being dark was never an attractive trait in Thailand where the lighter, Chinese skinned Thais were thought to have more material success, sensuality, and beauty, he who was not particularly handsome from being dark as a shoe's heel should be sexy from his wanton disposition. Likewise, his thoughts were dark in a land of frivolous irresponsibility. To Thai's the word "serious" had a negative connotation and he was that. Unless one was a monk, being contemplative was a tacit violation of laws in the Land of Smiles. He had become the rescuer of whores humanizing their sorry plight. Their only sins were to be born poor and to be loyal enough to not pull out of the loose fetters of family obligations. They continued to remember shadowy figments of obscure rural relatives whom they needed to feed. Still being a hero was burdening him with a singular motif and he continually shot this thought through his neurological circuitry until the taxi driver spoke, parting his thoughts like Moses and the Red Sea or Buddha sabotaging a bit of the recycle factory of the human soul. "My son flew into Chaing Mai recently. I've been wondering about airplanes ever since-just thinking about how things get off the ground. Have you ever wondered that?" "Ka," meaning yes, the woman in the backseat croaked like a crow. "I'm trying not to question it. Wondering such things would make me scared that they don't stay up in the sky," she laughed. Her name was Jarunee but her nickname was Porn. "This will be my first plane ride soaring off with the birds." "Thais don't often fly," he said. His idea was tinged with a bitter undertone as if poverty turned one's bones to lead and he found that his idea put him back in the solitude of his thoughts for only silence ensued. He decided to sound happier. "You sound excited." "It has been my dream." She leaned her head against Nawin's shoulder. "Flew off to Chaing Mai. He lost his job during the financial meltdown of 96. 3000 baht. That's what the family lived on each month for a good many years. Then she was pregnant and laid off from the restaurant and they stayed with us for five or six months. Of course they could have stayed longer. After all, they are family." "Yes, of course. You sound like a good father. I'm sure it will get better for everyone soon," responded Porn as she looked up at the old face in the mirror hoping with softness to make the tenor of the conversation gayer. "Krap," he said meaning yes although he wasn't in agreement. "No, he continually got more depressed and then no matter how many job interviews he went on, he came up empty handed. Then she took their children to her parents. He came up there a bit later. The in-laws had him but didn't want him. He hadn't been trained at anything but working in the factory. He didn't know how to plant rice or maybe he was too depressed to learn. It wouldn't seem there would be much to learn. You just put them into the ground. Anyhow, he was walking around in a daze all that time. That's what she claimed they said about him. Soon he returned with us but before we knew it off he went to Chaing Mai. I don't know why. I got a post card from there. It didn't say much other than he had taken his first flight. Can you imagine just buying a ticket, leaving, and not saying a word." "Ka, not really. I can't imagine anybody doing that...unless he just didn't want to worry you. Maybe he didn't want to worry you about if the idea was right or wrong financially. I bet he has friends there and they'll help him to locate work." "Yes, it is the best thing. I've been going to the temple to give food to the monks and blessings will follow. I'm sure of that. I've never gone on a flight. Where are the two of you going?" "To Montreal." "Where's that?" "To Canada." She smiled but the word, favorable as it was, didn't have the flavor of Paris or cities in America. "What will you do there?" Nawin wondered what she would be doing there. She had escorted him around galleries, parties, and auditoriums where he gave speeches. Bangkok gossip columnists had sometimes even mentioned her presence with him. What would she be doing in Montreal while he attended post-graduate classes? That was a fundamental question he had no answer for. He had granted unto her a new profession where she didn't have to spread her legs to anyone but him. He had rescued her from stripping and whoring in a bar in Patpong but perhaps that would not be enough. Nobody was content. Like any animal, a human always yearned for more. They were trying to build up on themselves so that they were free of all discomfort. A woman was more that way than even a man based on his judgments and to be left alone in an apartment in a foreign country would be one major discomfort she would not tolerate. He began to miss his wife: she didn't need anything--not even sex with him. She was free to love other things than him--higher things and he was free to love higher things than her as well as the lower things like Porn. It was for this reason that he loved her but he didn't desire her so much except as an intellectual companion. This one he desired and that love certainly had more thrust than the former one. At least it appeared to be stronger. The sky had tubes of light paint oozing out into the darkness and the sky could not ascertain if it wanted a moon or a sun in its presence. The ride was just beginning and yet it was monotonous in the darkness and the light of the street lamps that refracted glaringly. The three of them still remained as little conscious of the moon or, dependent on the limitation of their eyes, the corona of the moon, that they happened to glimpse as accompanying them on their early morning departure as they were of the monarch, Ramkhamhaeng, that was the source of the road's name. The taxi driver was near-sighted so to him, as most things at a distance, the reality of it all was begotten as a blur. The back-seated Nawin with the cigarette fuming and the legs sprawled out and thumping to his portable CD player and his model or whore with her hand again on one of his legs had their thoughts parted once more in the kinetic movements of linguistic moans. "What airline will you be flying out of?" asked the taxi driver. Following patriarchal social etiquette he was addressing the man instead of the girlfriend despite not liking the smoke. The man was more than a customer but a member of the more affluent class and this by Thai, although not Buddhist standards, was well revered. How swift one's encroaching aloneness was purged and thwarted in the retreat engineered by the batons and water cannons of one's linguistic moans. The whore, whose self-image had been disparaged by the unconventional positive endorsement of her activities by the wife, was grateful to gain the parting of her thoughts from the driver's voice. She was pleased to be once again hearing anything--even the least little unenlightening fact-about their trip. She smiled. After all, it was the land of smiles. "Thai" mumbled Nawin's voice from the back seat. "Domestic or international?" asked the taxi driver as if amnesia had wiped away a whole section of memory. Porn released an alien chortle that made Nawin think that he was sitting on the back seat with some type of mythological, hybrid animal he was in the process of taking on an overseas journey. How quickly she had gone from seductress to a callow calf and kid. He smiled at the man's ignorance without laughing. He felt that his girlfriend was ugly and noticed how


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