Tales From a Barfly
There is barely a day goes past when something amusing, or of note, doesn’t take place in or near Mobi’s and in the brief period we have been open I have met some truly interesting people from all walks of life.
It is amazing how many punters have informed me that they once owned or ran a bar, either in Pattaya or Bangkok or even further afield. I may be wrong, but I take it as a sign of approval that they have offered little if anything in the way of comments or tips on how to run my bar. I am sure they would have done if they saw the need, but most seem to be approving in the way we are managing things.
There is one regular – I will call him Jim – who makes a point of dropping by with his friends every single day. Jim not only owned a bar in Pattaya for several years, but also ran a night club in the UK and he has been a very useful sounding board.
As mentioned elsewhere, we are playing an increasing amount of old music (1940’s – 1980’s) and Jim is a positive mine of information. There is nothing he doesn’t know about popular music for this period, to say nothing of his knowledge of movies, movie stars and the like.
Considering the general ‘low-life’ quality of expats that one usually meets in and around Pattaya, I seem to have been lucky in attracting a ‘better quality’ of local residents to my little bar. So far we have avoided the bald headed, tattoo-covered pot- bellied alkies in their bare-shouldered singlets, who tend to congregate in some of the lakeside bars of an afternoon.
Long may this continue but it is inevitable that one day I will have to add to Mobi’s list of banned punters, which so far, only has Singha-John as its first, dis-honourable, lifetime member.
Back to Jim, I was actually taken aback last night when he arrived at Mobi’s and asked me if I was short on my till cash the previous night.
From memory I told him I was around 120 baht short whereupon he handed the same sum over, telling me that the cashier had made a 120 baht mistake in her change to him the previous evening.
You could have knocked me down with a feather, and it renewed my faith in the honesty and decency of Englishmen – a concept that has been so besmirched in Pattaya over the years by the tattooed, beer swilling brigade.
Bullshit baffles brains…. (As we used to say in the oil business….)
It was my birthday on Wednesday and somehow Jim found this out and proudly gave me my one and only birthday present.
It was a can of ‘Bullshit Repellent’ spray….
Of course, as an ex bar owner, Jim knew how much I would value his little gift.
BS’er no. 1 – I shall call him Wayne – is a well-spoken gent who claims he hails from New Zealand but he has this very weird South-African type accent.
When asked how he acquired such an accent when he hails from Kiwi-land, he informed us that as a young man he was a soldier in Rhodesia and must have picked up the accent there,
This sounded plausible until he went on to tell us that he was also in the Vietnam war where he saw one of his brothers killed in front of him and later he was some kind of mercenary in Cambodia where he walked for hundreds of miles to the Thai border, dragging out another dead brother on his back.
Now I know that appearances can be deceptive but Wayne looks about as far removed from a jungle warrior as you are ever likely to meet – nor does he appear old enough to have been in the Vietnam war or in Pol Pot’s Cambodia. I wouldn’t put him at more than 50 years old, yet he would have to be in his late 60’s or 70’s to have been in all the wars he claims to have been in.
There’s much more… of course.
He’s been everywhere in Thailand and Laos and knows just about anyone who is anyone – from the royal family down. He has powerful generals as ‘uncles’ and has hob-knobbed and is on speaking terms with just about every wealthy ‘hi-so’ family in the land.
If you mention any subject to do with Thailand, he will quickly jump in with a tale about his personal connection to your story or your point of discussion
For example, if you mention beer, and he will tell you he knows the multi billionaire that owns Singha beer brewery…and so on….
The first few times he wandered into our bar he had his two year old son with him. Like everything to do with Wayne, he also has a BS story about his son, claiming that the boy spent the first two years of his life in hospital suffering from some kind of auto immune disease.
Yet there he was, traipsing around the bars with his ‘sick’ kid in toe. To make matters worse he ordered a hot dog and chips and gave it to the boy for his dinner!
During that and subsequent visits he would bring his son with him and ask one of our ladies to take care of the boy. On one occasion he even arranged for the boy to be allowed to sleep on the floor behind the bar while he went off on a bar crawl to other bars. (We provided a mattress and pillow for the poor kid and took proper care of him).
Upon return would tip the lady responsible for taking care of the boy, the princely sum of 100 Baht ($3) – so generous….
There is more….
Wayne tells us he is in the film business and has a studio above another bar, a few minutes walk down the lakeside….
This is in spite of his incredible connections. What on earth is he doing struggling in the back of beyond when he has all these amazing business contacts?
On the night of the coup he came by Mobi’s, very drunk and claimed that the coup had lost him millions of Baht in government contracts. He was so drunk that he started mauling the girls and I eventually had to throw him out.
Then, on the night that the curfew was raised to midnight, he staggered in, drunk again, very late and told us he was celebrating because that very day he had been paid millions of baht up front, for some new film work.
Yes, I can just imagine some wealthy Thais so desperate to secure drunken, ex-military, Wayne’s services that they would pay him millions in advance. That is one thing that never, ever happens in this fair land.
There is more…
His wife left him allegedly because she was ‘worn out’ taking care of his son when he was in hospital.
Having met Wayne, I can actually think of a few more reasons why she might have left him.
But even though she has left him, he told us that he has given her job in Bangkok running his talent agency – yes folks, Wayne has his own talent agency – and he pays her 70,000 Baht ( $2,300) a month salary.
One particular night he wanted to take one of our ladies home with him, but she was adamant that he was the last man on earth she would ever go with…..
He always makes promises that never materialise; such as: he was going to get an acquaintance of his to make me a large blackboard and he was going to help me promote my bar on the internet and get it to the top of the Google searches.
He has made similar undertakings to many other people but has never remembered a single one of his promises the next day.
There is more….
But I’m sure you’ve read enough.
So next time Wayne makes one of his drunken promises at Mobi’s, I will try out my birthday present, the one that Jim kindly gave me last Wednesday.