marcel barang

Notes in a time of ebb and flow – 6

In English, Reading matters on 08/11/2011 at 10:02 pm


– The cat, it turns out, receives its daily rice ration every morning. We never did and never will: neither food nor water distribution today. Did I scare those guys away last night?

– Actually, thanks to the lowest high tides of the month over the past two days, the water level has lowered to the point I was able this morning to, broom in hand, swinging like a pendulum, chase the residual water out of the living space downstairs into the backyard without more water intruding again all day. Mind you, there’s still a good 40cm of plankton soup in the lane, and the sea will rise another 1.2 metres in the next three weeks.
Unless the local level recedes another ten centimetres or so, there’s no point bailing out even the backyard, where a 1995 low wall system allows for early transfusion into the back garden which is ‘plugged’ into the collective water evacuation system.
As for the front of the house, garage area and garden, see you end of month, maybe – that’s where I might float a krathong day after tomorrow: I’ve just the Dell laptop foam case for it.
And then there’ll be the case of the pump, to be repaired or replaced, and that of the underground water tank, to be emptied and refilled – when everything is back to normal chaos and Ms Burberry Boots has been let go.

– Our new neighbour, the barking Sino-Thai cop, today got himself a box boat – pink, I swear! – which he tried to master with resounding plonk-plonks of paddle on plastic sideboards and a zigzag course. Pathetic! With the water this low, he can use it only in our by-lanes. He’ll have to push it as he wades through the street itself, which, hereabouts anyway if not at its mouth, is now only slightly flooded. But maybe it’s a sound investment for calamities in years to come.

– Meanwhile, in other parts of town, the slow tsunami keeps creeping back to the sea, at the speed of one kilometre per day, I read somewhere.

– I know I imbibe between two and three litres of liquid per day, in the form of coffee, plain water and pastis, plus milk and orange juice in normal times, and I’ve long been curious about how much of this I excrete via my bladder. Thanks to the flood, I know the answer: about half, depending on physical exertion; the rest presumably goes out as sweat or is stocked in my too often swollen feet.
I now am the proud owner of a dozen litres of amber nectar I intend to auction on eBay: Eau de Barang, millésime 2011, in jeroboams. More on the way. As for the more solid excretions, I’ll skip that for the time being.
If I mention all this now, it’s because it’s garbage time all over liquid Bangkok, seasoned, let’s not forget it, with upcountry excrement of man and beast. Today’s catchword: leptospirosis. I had to look it up. Besides, I’m down to earth enough not to be shy about body excretions. I’ve always considered ugly the words ‘urinate’ and ‘defecate’ and prefer the snappy plainness of ‘piss’ and ‘shit’.

– But literature in all this? All right, here is a preview, unpolished, of what keeps me sane between broom handling and blog ranting.

Khong’s present | Phart Pha-sikorn

Think about it: someone who never had a wet dream before…

For the first time ever, Khong dreamt he was making it with his favourite female star, so he was taken with the weirdness of the experience. Say what you will, when he woke up and lay blinking, reviewing the scenes of the dream that had just happened, his flesh was still quivering and jerking. As to how real his sensations were, Khong couldn’t say, because since he was born, besides never having had a wet dream, he had never known the ministrations of a woman. He had only known those of his own rough hand adorned with dirty black-rimmed fingernails. Yes, that took care of his cravings, but not once had it ever taken him to this level of heaven, a level which was sticky, soggy, heavy with a smell of sweat, a fishy smell mixed with a faint perfume and a combined smell that was characteristic. By nature, Khong thought it should be the smell of sexual activity, and he believed this for quite a few intakes of breath until he turned and saw the body of the very star that had just taught him a sex song in that dream. She lay totally still, a naked corpse, beside him. Her flimsy nightdress of dusky colour was crumpled to above her waist, revealing the stark white curve of her flat tummy. Her skimpy black pants were still in place but bore crusted stains and had been twisted and pulled to one side. Khong could swear he didn’t know when she had sneaked into his room to lie on his bed.

But who would believe him?


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