WE CONTINUE THE TALE OF THE FIVE ADVENTURESOME EXPATS IN JAKARTA
Once again, the dramatis personæ:
- Droll Paul, very tall and very droll, a crooked English entrepreneur on the run from the authorities in Perth. A very leisurely Australian run actually, having to do with an awkward misunderstanding, one which could conceivably be interpreted as “fraud” were it unfortunate enough to be brought up in a court of law. Snooty, elegant and condescending, as well. Has a long bule nose and a management firm striving to impart mysterious advanced western corporate techniques to unsuspecting Indonesian start-ups [aka ‘marks’]. Looks down that long nose on the whole wide world. Basically a useless fuckwit selling useless shit. A ‘character’ (these are common in the East – particularly in Seminyak, where they are always trying to one-up each other). The others tolerate Paul, in spite of his manner – or rather, his lack of them). Why? Only God knows. Maybe just for fun.
- Alan. Fresh, sweet, smart, fun Alan. He survived an insane Chinese-Indonesian gambling addict who attempted to have him killed for insurance money and a grinding ESL-teaching job at Bank Qabur. After that trial by fire he’ll do fine, rolling with the punches.
- Lulu is knocking them back. She is what is known in the trade as a ‘serious drinker’. However, she is a solid citizen who pays her own way, tips the waitress fatly is entertaining and an all-around rewarding customer who knows how to hold her grog. She’s been married and divorced in Kuwait and married and divorced in Kazakhstan and married and divorced in California to a serial line of [immensely wealthy] dummies, lambs she has shorn neatly in divorce court. Is she on the lookout for a new hubby in blissfully unaware Indonesia? Not likely, as by now with the alimony she’s scraped off the hides of her various exes she could buy and sell just about all of the candidates. Watch her when she folds her folding money and stashes it in her purse: it’s frightening. So what’s she doing here? Oh she loves Indonesia. And it loves her (duit).
- Brett is bad and he knows it. He grew up in a bad family living in a bad part of town. He likes Indonesia because folks here just assume a grumpy whitey is a bule gila and tolerate his moods. He actually tries to put a hold on ‘the Bad’ because otherwise sooner or later he’d be grabbed by the collar and given the bum’s rush out of Indonesia toot sweet. But he’s bad. Nobody likes him. Secretly, he envies everybody else, because they’re happy and he’s not. But don’t expect him to show it. Brett is currently >ahem< ‘out of work’ (but everybody knows he’s a notorious Remittanceman) (‘stay-away-for-pay’).
- Hiroshi. First import-export… then ‘event organizing’… then ‘management consulting’ for shady Japanese companies… no one was quite sure what purpose the smooth, handsome Japanese man, 40 and looking 14, served in life. Hiroshi was always expensively-dressed, drove a luxury European car, and was a polite and careful listener. He met personal questions with a beaming smile, and not much else.
Grand grub & groggy grog grog are promptly ordered from the rich Ya Udah Bistro menu.
‘Defending the sausage WHOLE’
PART FOUR OF FOUR
Alan concludes his saga of his ESL teaching colleague Hank, the lonely middle-aged bule who had suddenly fallen for a student in a jilbab – but her father made impossible demands.
‘Hank came from a family of doctors – and each and every one was an anti-circumcision fanatic. Now he lived in Indonesia, where the practice was so widespread and so prevalent that even the Christian kids got cut – and they didn’t even have to. It was only the solidly-Hindu Balinese who kept their foreskins – and didn’t even think about it.
‘His prospective father-in-law invited Hank to lunch at the Mercantile Club, a very tony and exclusive eatery on top of the unfortunately-named World Trade Center on Jl. Sudirman.
‘At the next table a fat, red-faced Chinese businessman was yelling into a cell phone, oblivious of all the disturbance he was causing around him.
‘Pak Suleiman, Ayu’s father, remarked drily “I don’t see what he’s talking on a hand phone for. Why doesn’t he just stick his head out of the window?”
‘Hank had an idea. He yelled across the table, at the top of his voice “Could you please repeat that? I’m having trouble hearing you!” and the old man, picking up on the joke immediately, yelled back, just as loud “I said I don’t know why he doesn’t just scream out of the window”.
‘The bulging Chinese at the next table looked daggers at them, got up and waddled out of the room, still shouting in his phone.’
‘”That’s more like it” winked Pak Suleiman. “Now where were we? Ah yes, the circumcision. I presume from your happy expression that it is already completed”.
‘Hank could not tell whether the old fellow was serious or sarcastic.
‘He stalled for time, saying “It’s a serious operation for adults. We have to go into the hospital”
‘The old man looked surprised.
‘”I’ve got a date set up for next Saturday.” Fuck no, no fucking way, thought Hank. He would have to figure something out.
‘They lunched in silence, kind of perplexed actually, as the ultra-expensive “Nouveau Cuisine”, tiny portions of beautiful mysterious stuff sitting on a gigantic cold platter, was slid under their noses. Not particularly appetizing either…
BACK AT THE SCHOOL…
‘Wally the Walrus just shrugged. “Hey, you love the little girl, you’ve dived into her perfect religion, so just go for it. Few days in the hospital, bit of soreness and you’re as good as new”. Wally, the “Barracks Lawyer”, always had perfect advice. All the staff knew to consult him, listen to his detailed counsel, and then go out and do precisely the opposite thing to what he advised.’
‘This doubled Hank’s determination not to get himself cut. No bleeding way.’
Lulu persisted. ‘I don’t see why not. Hank was his own man – his family may have detested the practice but they did not have to know anything about it. Why didn’t he just go and get himself cut?’
Brett growled ‘If you’re so much in favor of it, Lulu, why don’t you try it out yourself. They do it to the ladies too, you know, in Africa and the Middle East.’
She looked outraged. ‘Oh that’s different! Female circumcision is genital mutilation!’
Brett grimaced. ‘My case rests.’
‘No wait!’ she thought. ‘But-‘
They waited, expectantly. Suddenly Lulu could tell that she did not know what she was talking about. So she just shut up and raised her beer.
‘Here’s a toast to “Turn about’s fair play!” crowed Brett. They toasted. New beers rushed up. They were drunk. More beer rushed in again. The story was heating up.
‘Marge, the cigarette-puffing Director of Studies, took Hank aside. “Pal, you don’t want to get yourself cut. No bueno.”
‘He was surprised she knew about it. “What business is it of yours?” he protested.
‘You never met Sean. He’s gone back to the old country. Nursing his dick.’
“Who the hell is Sean?” thought Hank.’
‘She read his mind. “Sean was our star teacher. He fell in love with another teacher, and had the same challenge facing you.”
‘“So Sean obediently goes in for a circumcision, at the ripe old age of thirty-one.
‘“Circumcision in adults is no joke. It is excruciatingly painful, the wound takes a long time to heal, and there is a high likelihood of infection.
‘”It is a genital, after all. I’m telling you this because Sean had to leave us when he was in the hospital for two months, nursing his wounded peter.”
Hank looked dumbfounded.
‘”And the bonus – “ she smiled, “was that his delightful bride got annoyed about all this delay and ran off, leaving us in the lurch – with an Indonesian man she met in religion class.
‘”So here was poor Sean, having lost his foreskin, still in great pain, his cock swelled the size of his leg practically, with no blushing bride, and three thousand dollars in medical bills. Which the school refused to pay. The operation was his choice, after all.”
‘Hank could think of nothing to say. But Marge was a veteran. She had it all figured out.
‘”Listen up, Hank me boy, and I’ll tell you how to get out of this situation.”
…mumble… …mumble… …mumble…
‘Hank’s eyes were like saucers. “That’s amazing. But what if my bride finds out the truth and goes and squeals to her old man?”
‘Marge shook her head. “Indonesian woman are oh-so-innocent when it comes to dicks. She’ll never tell because she’ll never know.”
CUT TO A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER…
‘Hank is visiting his in-laws to be. He is on his best behavior. Plans have been laid.
‘After dinner they retire to the TV room to watch a sappy religious drama. Hank and Pak Suleiman go to his study, to talk.
‘Hank excuses himself.
‘When he returns to the room Pak Suleiman is still alone, reading his newspaper. Hank quietly walks up, waves his dick in the old man’s direction. It is swathed in heavy bandages and drenched in chicken blood.
‘”Here, you want to inspect this yourself?”’ purrs Hank.
‘The old man is shocked and alarmed at this disgusting sight. He has never seen a grown man’s penis and he is not about to inspect one now.
‘”No! No! Get away. It’s fine. Go back to the bathroom. There are more bandages there. Go now!”
All at the table in the Bistro sigh in appreciation of the cleverness of Hank, and his ‘great escape’. He has managed to keep his foreskin, get a new [unsuspecting] wife and hand down a nice story for others to enjoy.