The night that never ended
Long-time blog readers will note that I now refer to my recently married, sixth wife, as ‘Lek’, and not ‘Noo’. This is because Lek is her real name and Noo was simply a ‘non de plume’ that I used in my blog to hide her true identity.
However, now that I also write about my bar on a daily basis in the Thai Visa forum, there seems little point in trying to hide her true identity in my blog as in the forum, I have always referred to her by her real name. So to avoid confusion, I will now use the name ‘Lek’ in both my blog and in the Thai Visa Forum.
Clear? As mud… probably…
As evenings go, last Wednesday evening hadn’t been a bad evening – business-wise – but by 10.30, the last customer had left and it looked as though we were in for a quiet late night and an early bedtime for one and all.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I turned to my laptop to do a bit of work when I was suddenly slapped on by back by an unknown assailant.
It was my old mate Mark, who I hadn’t seen for several weeks, since he took off for a new contract on an oil rig in darkest Africa.
I have known Mark virtually ever since I have been living in Pattaya and have followed his tumultuous adventures with the fairer sex, as indeed he has with my own.
Suffice to say Mark is nearing the end of a very traumatic and expensive marriage with one of Thailand’s ‘maids of fortune’ ,having finally been able to wrench himself permanently away from the marital home, after countless failed attempts – much in the same way as I did back in 2009.
Similar to my own method of leaving my fifth wife, Mark’s M.O. has been to find himself another woman to replace ‘Er indoors’ thus breaking the emotional hold that his wife has had on him for many a year; and I have to say that his new choice of female companion seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
So there they were, Mark, hot off the plane from Africa, via the UK to see his son, and the delectable Fon, the new woman in Mark’s life.
Mark has embarked on ambitious new venture in Pattaya , into which he is pouring all his hard earned oilfield salary and he informed me that his partner for this project was back in the UK. However, it wasn’t long before we were joined by the absent partner’s Thai wife, who was no doubt feeling a little bit lonely.
The drinking session commenced and the beer and wine started to flow.
It was just before midnight when a strange Thai man drove up, parked his car and sat down at one of our tables.
‘Who’s that?’ I Asked Lek.
‘A Taxi driver – he’s taking the girls to Pattaya to go eating and dancing.’
‘Oh? who’s going?’ says I
‘All of them… except…’
‘Except Auntie,’ I interrupted.
When I had arrived at the bar earlier that evening I discovered that Auntie had been ‘bought out’ i.e. ‘bar fined’, by one of the girls in the next bar who wanted a ‘shoulder to cry on’.
By the time I had arrived, both Auntie, and the girl concerned were already well in their cups. As you can imagine, I wasn’t best pleased, especially as they were behaving badly in full view of Mobi’s customers.
So yet another rule was entered into Mobi’s swelling rule book.
“No girls to be bar-fined by girls in nearby bars. Bar-fining was for Mobi’s customers – not for girls in adjacent bars who wanted someone to get drunk with.”
Auntie… oh Auntie… I really am reaching the end of my tether with you….
Back to the late night drinking session…which, by this time was gathering steam and showing no signs of coming to an early conclusion.
‘Not to worry,’ thought I, ‘Lek and I can easily take care of a table of three drinkers, and I’m sure they’ll be calling it a night quite soon‘.
Again, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
At around 12.30, three more customers entered Mobi’s and sat themselves at the adjacent table and also started to order drinks like there was no tomorrow.
I confess that Lek and I were starting to be run a little ragged, but when one of the new customers paid his bill at around 1.30 , there seemed to be a bit of a lull in the proceedings and I managed to persuade Mark to also settle his bill.
‘You can carry on drinking,’ I explained to him, ‘but would you mind settling your bill so that we can close the till for the night and ‘cash up’? Then you can start all over again.’
Mark was fine with this and we were almost finished reconciling our day’s cash receipts when a new customer arrived.
It was the all singing and dancing Frankie, who I have previously written about in ‘Tales from a Barfly’, “Frankie Goes to Mobi’s” (see: https://mobithailand.com/tales-from-a-barfly-10th-august-2014/).
You may recall that Frankie is one these larger than life characters, who seems to take over the bar and those present always tend to rush around and minister to his needs.
He leaned across the bar, just as Lek and I were completing our cashing up and said:
‘I saw the light on so I stopped for a drink.’
‘Hi Frankie, yes, as you can see we’re still open…’
‘Well, get us a drink and while you’re about it a round of drinks for the entire ‘house’, but no fuss…’
‘Yes, Frankie, sure thing, Frankie…’
‘Oh, and is it too late to order a chicken curry and chips to take away?’
I looked at my watch… it was 3.30 a.m.
‘Too late? Of course not Frankie..’
The two of us then rushed around, serving everyone a fresh drink, as well as firing up the stove to cook Frankie’s Curry and Chips.
Needless to say, our attempts to finish reconciling the cash and close-off the day’s takings were abandoned, and on we went…
There is only so much a 68 year old diabetic with no previous bar tending experience and a cashier -cum cook-cum bartender can do all at once at 3.30 in the morning, especially when the aforementioned cashier cum…has been on her feet for about 15 hours .
I thought things were starting to get out of control when who should arrive in the nick of time – none other than one of our returning lasses from Issan, complete with numerous bags and boxes full of her belongings.
‘Fah! come and help out!’ I shouted.
She dropped her bags and ran around the bar and helped Lek finish the drinks order so that Lek could rush to the kitchen just in time to stop the chips from burning!
I went to see Lek in the kitchen.
‘Now that Fah is here, when things have settled down a little, would you mind if I popped home to get my medication. It is way overdue and I’m feeling a bit funny. I’ll only be ten minutes or so’
Lek nodded her agreement, and I returned to the bar only to find Fah with her arms around one of my late night customers and sipping a lady’s drink which he had just bought for her. She clearly wasn’t going to help any more – she was simply adding to the workload…
(I should add that her laziness around the bar was the main reason that she had been let go, but her return to the ‘Mobi bosom’ is another story)
Somehow, we managed to serve everyone and get the bills issued to the correct pots, whilst Frankie and Mark continued to order rounds upon rounds of drinks.
Then, at around 4 am who should turn up at Mobi’s? None other than Mobi’s girls who had returned home after a night out on the tiles in Sin City.
Help at last!
But it wasn’t to be. Before I could even open my mouth, the six ladies, rushed through the darkened bar, up the stairs at the back, and into their room. They were gone before I even had a chance to cry, ‘Help!’
And so it went on… Frankie grew tired of the slow music I was playing and came round to the computer and insisted I put on some of his favourite songs. I could hardly refuse, given the money he was spending.
Yes folks, the sun started to rise and were all still there. Frankie called me over to inform me that the curry and chips were probably cold, so could he order another set to take home and to bring him a plate as he was going to eat the cold food then and there.
Frankie and a friend devoured the almost cold curry and chips and then his fried decided that he too wanted another lot to take home.
I think it was Mark who eventually decided to call it a day and asked to pay his bill. As you can imagine, by this time his two female companions were drunk out of their minds, particularly his business partner’s wife who had drunk so many glasses of red wine, I thought she might burst.
Well she did – all over one of Mobi’s pot plants, over and over and over.
Then she fell into Frankie’s arms and started crying her eyes out.
Oh my God…
I can’t recall how, but eventually she managed to make it by herself to her motorcycle combination, (yes, she was driving a motor bike with a side car – presumably so that she didn’t have to worry about balancing on the machine when pissed), and off she went, stubbornly refusing all offers to take her home.
Mark followed soon afterwards, but Frankie had a problem! He had lost his car keys.
All eyes to the floor, checking under crevices and God knows where else, while Frankie kept turning out his pockets, and searching the car, but to no avail, all the time shouting:
‘I’ve lost my keys again! I’m an alcoholic!’
Out came Lek, who has some experience in the matter of Mobi’s frequent misplacement of keys and spectacles etc, and it didn’t take long for her to track down the errant keys on the next table!! How they got there is anyone’s guess.
Frankie was ecstatic, and as he staggered to his car he shouted back:
‘I found my keys! I’m not an alcoholic after all…’
After cashing up for the second time that night (morning) we finally made it home at around 6.30 am.
I took my meds of the previous night but decided to miss my morning dose.
We both slept till early afternoon.
The following evening, Thursday, I had hoped for an early night, but as luck – or fate- would have it – once again we had two more gentlemen who seemed determined to drink away the night.
I suspect the word may be out
I let them drink away for an hour or two, but by 2.30 I had really had enough. So I turned off the music and asked them to pay their bills, assuring them, of course, that once they had settled up, they could continue drinking if they so desired.
This usually has the effect of persuading late drinkers to call it a night, and indeed one of the two, and somewhat prickly Englishman who was full of himself and who had nothing good to say about the Thais and Thailand, did just that…. thank God.
But the second gentleman, a very genial and personable Canadian, seemed in no hurry to go. So before he settled up, he ordered himself – and us- two more drinks, and even after he had settled his bill, (and had closed the till), he pulled out a thousand Baht note and asked me how many drinks that would buy him, as it was all the money he had left.
Of course we obliged him.
We went to bed at around 3.30 am but at least it was a little earlier than the previous day.
Is this the shape of things to come?
If it is, I am prepared to go along with it – indeed with anything that helps me to secure the future success of Mobi’s.
Following the nightmare night when just me and Lek had to deal with a bar full of hungry, thirsty customers all night, we held a ‘union meeting’ with the girls. They pointed out that they already work a 12 hour day and were perfectly entitled to leave at midnight.
They had a good point, despite the fact that I doubt whether there is a bar owner in Pattaya who would have any sympathy with these views. I know for a fact that many beer-bar girls regularly work well over 12 hours a day.
However, Mobi’s is not ‘any bar’ and after a brief discussion we came to an amicable compromise.
From now on the girls will work from 1 pm to 1 am, and if we have a late-late crowd in, we will pay overtime to anyone who stays to help out.
I think that is fair.