Confessions of a Black Dog

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Chapter 13

The little girl had become a regular visitor at Oz’s porch.

She appeared there most evenings as Oz was relaxing from his day’s work.

He had learnt that her name was “Gip” and that she was seven years old. She looked so much younger to his eyes and it always amazed Oz at how young these people did actually look as compared to Westerners. He had also learnt that her teddy was called “Nongmee” and that her favourite colour was pink.

She had also begun to teach him Thai, which seemed to have become the whole purpose for her visits. She would constantly be pointing at things and naming them, like a wee sing song sparrow, then giggling at the old man’s poor Aussie inflected imitation of her mother tongue. And after a couple of weeks, whenever she failed to turn up, Oz realised how much he missed her.

One evening in the spring rainy season, Sam was visiting and they were both drinking and talking about life, the universe and Thailand. The weather was unbearably sticky. It seemed to Sam as though the house itself was sweating and the ice in their beer was melting too fast. It required a great effort to lift up his beer to his mouth and the strength of a lion to swat a mosquito.

All was not well with Sam.

“I’ve really gotta get out’f ’ere, man, d’ya know what I mean?”

“When did you last take a break from our beloved home?”

“It’s been fuckin’ two an’ a ’alf yearssss, man!”

“Fuck me upside down, two and half years since ya left Bangkok!”

“Yeah, man, it’s driving me fuckin’ bonkers, man!”

Oz turned to look at his friend. He saw how Sam seemed so unhappy and a wave of shame hit him.

How could he not have noticed his friend’s situation?

They worked together everyday, were they really that far apart from each other?

These two best friends.

Then he began to feel irritated.

How or why has he done this to himself?

Stupid twat.

As soon as thought this he saw himself, drinking and drinking to blot out his pain and his face became a sad knowledgeable smile. Sam turned to his friend and snorted out a chuckle.

“Soft twat” he said to himself. “You fancy a trip to Samet, next weekend? It’s a long one… I mean y’know if you’re up to going back to an island ’an that.”

Oz stopped for a second, a moment that lasted his whole past life.

“Yeah! It’s about time, old boy!” he nodded.

They laughed and sang and toasted to their holiday, and as they continued making plans a little face appeared at the gate.

“’Ello, ’ello…” Sam softly spoke motioning towards the girl staring wide-eyed and interested. Sam waved at Gip and she returned his greeting, giggling.

“Oo’s this then, Oz? A bit young fer you, ya ol’ rascal, I never took you fer a flower picker!”

“Ya dirty minded fucker” grinned Oz, feeling no offence at an under-age sex joke, an overblown part of life in the Kingdom.

“This is Gip I’ll have you know. She’s my official Thai teacher”

“Is she now? Well, hello Gip...” smiled Sam and he rattled away in his Thai, the young girl, surprised at this man speaking to her in way she understood just nodded sheepishly to his questions. Oz watched Sam communicate with the child and felt a pang of jealousy. He had never seen a man so at home communicating with children. They were drawn to Sam as if they could see into him, his playfulness, his kindness. Sam genuinely liked Thai kids, their humour, their innocence, not at all like the spoilt Western brats he had known in England.

After a while the child left, skipping down the road, clutching Mr. Nongmee in her right hand.

“She’s a fuckin’ streak of sunshine, ain’t she? ‘Ow long’s she been about?” asked Sam, “About two months now, she stops an’ chats then fucks orf, poor mite’s got a helluva home life. ’Er father’s a right useless cunt, one ‘o the local motorcycle taxis. Drunk all th’ fuckin’ time…”

“You can’t save ’er, mate” said Sam bluntly and Oz looked at his friend in moment of contempt and then shook his head.

“Yeah…Yeah, I know. Great fucking world, ain’t it?”

Above their heads a gecko caught a fly and gobbled it down in two sharp gulps.

Oz tried to get an early night’s sleep that night. After much tossing, turning and getting up for pisses he finally sank into unconsciousness around midnight. Images began to appear behind his eyes, a hodge podge of memories and ghosts. Oz was on an island. He was sat on a beach watching the sunset, in a beautiful breathtaking alchemy where the water became as liquid metal; all the colours, gold, bronze, silver, melting into each other and the Indian Ocean stretching onwards into the sky. The sun did not disappear, just eternally stayed moving downwards creating its masterpiece. Oz glanced around the deserted beach, feeling the fine white sand on his skin; he was looking for something, but he had forgotten exactly what.

“What do I want, what do I want, what do I want….?” he started to hum to himself, the bliss of the dream making the song soft and melancholy, a melody for the sun.

His attention picked up on a figure in the distance, moving closer and closer. He knew it was his object of desire, he knew it was his wife. Whether or not the image in front of him was the perfect likeness of his beloved did not matter, it was his wife, and she was smiling. He forgot all his tragedy, all his pain and worry. She was with him and this was normal, his life for the last three years had not happened. They sat on the sand and laughed, and the beach and the sun and the sky and palm trees swaying in the breeze all laughed with him.

Then his wife pointed to her left side and the little girl, the angel, appeared behind her. Oz stuck his tongue out at her and she replied in kind and then to his wife who answered with a ridiculous smile on her face. They all laughed and danced on the clean white sand, and spinned around and around.

A family.

The father, mother and tiny daughter spinning into the lonely night.

The next evening Antti phoned Sam with the news.

Jonah had been busted the day before. The police had found a big bag of grass at his apartment. Jonah was being sent to the infamous Bangkwang, the real Bangkok Hilton. It was called “The Big Tiger” by the locals as it was a maneater. Jonah was now going to hell. He would not be coming out for a long time. The two friends met up and discussed what had happened.

How did the police know that Jonah smoked weed?

All his friends knew but they were friends, they would never have told anyone else that could harm him. Anyway they were all foreigners in Thailand, they were all escaping from something and playing out their fantasies in one way or another, whether it was booze, girls, boys or drugs. It was an unwritten code that what happens on the street stays on the street and that each person was allowed his or her own pursuit for the liberty of pleasure. As long as children were not involved.

That was the only stipulation.

The two men thought long and hard about who the grass could be. Someone must have tipped the police off, that much was obvious. Jonah had made a lot of friends since he had landed in Thailand. He was the kind of amiable chap that people took to.

He had also made a couple of enemies that they knew of:

one ex-girlfriend who had tried to stab him over money which he refused to give to her for her brother in prison.

a couple of motorcycle taxi guys near an old apartment.

the odd old apartment security guard.

and Figgis.

Jonah made enemies through his sense of right and wrong, not out of vindictiveness. He hadn’t believed the brother of his ex had deserved the cash, the motorcycle guys were trying to rip him off and the security guards were not doing their job properly.

And Figgis… well, he was a twat.

They then had to figure out who knew about his habit of smoking.

The ex – Quite probably.

The motorcycle gang – Not unless he had bought some off them.

The security guards – The longest shot.

Not unless they smelt it in passing the front door of his apartment. Anyway, they had probably forgotten all about the incident that had nearly got them fired. It was an argument involving a woman being beaten in the next door apartment and if there would have been any comeuppance it would have happened there. They probably didn’t even know his new address.

Figgis – Possibly heard it being mentioned at school, perhaps Figgis had bought some off Jonah and had drunkenly blurted it out one night. They were both really angry and hoped it was Figgis. It would be white man’s business. Perhaps the police wouldn’t even intervene, perhaps they didn’t need the bother and perhaps they could even be persuaded to help. If it was one of the Thais it would be so much more difficult. They didn’t know where the ex lived.

What would they do to a woman anyway?

Neither of them were women beaters, they loved women. Anyway she was a bargirl and so as tough as any man. As for the motorcycle gang, that was really risky. They worked as a pack, hurt one and you have them all to deal with. Also they were not averse to sticking a knife in someone’s guts. And the long shot, the guards. They were still Thai and you had better have a damn good reason and the backing of the government for kicking the shit out of a Thai in their own country.

They hoped it was Figgis.

If it was Figgis then that man was even more idiotic than the two men had previously led to believe. If it was Figgis then vengeance would have to be acted out. All they needed was proof. Then they needed to set him up for a fall that he would not be able to get up from for a long time.

Antti told Sam that he was going to try to visit Jonah on the following Friday. Sam said that he couldn’t as he had already arranged to go to the islands with Oz, but that he would visit on his return. Antti knew that his friend needed a rest and that he would be no good for anybody unless he chilled out a bit, so he said only words of encouragement.

They both filled up their glasses with whisky, water and ice and made a toast.

Wishing their friend in that prison a safe evening and night.

The next Friday at eight in the morning, Oz was stood in the shadow of Ekkamai bus station. He had been waiting for Sam for about ten minutes but knowing the slothful habits of his friend, he did not feel too impatient.

Looking around the dilapidated and polluted building, he noticed that the backpackers were already congregating in force. It was still farang season and they were still getting in everyone’s faces, loud, rude, rich, fighting to steal every last baht out of every Thai’s hands. Bargains, always after bargains. They read in the Lonely Planet, then think they know. They…

“Wakey, Wakey…” a slap on the back shocked Oz back to consciousness.

“Where th’fuck ’ave you been?” grinned Oz, in mock distain, “’Ve been waiting fer fuckin’ ages!”

“C’mon old man, let’s go, before the hippy trail idiots take our fuckin’ seats…”

And off they went.

The bus to Rayong was relatively empty when they boarded it, only a smattering of Thais and the odd dreadlocked round eye. They found their seats, settled in and cracked open a couple of tins of beer Leo. The sun was already heating the air-con bus up, when they finally left the station. Half an hour late, not too bad, as Thailand goes.

The bus had filled up a little more with a mixture of races, Israelis, Americans, Swedes all on their holidays, all trying to find something that their countries could not give them. Sam glanced around and sighed. The conversation had dried up and he stared out at the city as it slowly passed him by, from traffic jam to traffic jam. Passed little Chinese shops that sold copies of everything, passed grotty looking corporate fast food chains and stalls selling dead squid, passed dirty grey cinemas showing dubbed versions of the latest Star Wars film. The character’s distorted and badly painted bodies on the poster boards above.

Passed Bangkok, itself a bad copy.

“Of what?” thought Sam.

“Life?”

Passed his whole damned world for the past two and a years.

Suddenly they were outside the city, on the motorway and the vehicles had become a little shabbier, a little poorer. Not so many B.M.W.’s and Mercedes, the cars became trucks; some still brand new, others colourfully painted with hard wooden floors and windows strewn with Buddha images. Sam looked at drivers and passengers of these creations, dark and hard-faced men and women, whose faces would suddenly light up with the most intense smiles, hard lives finding humour where they could. Some glared back at Sam, others grinned and waved, the girls flirted and he blew them light fingered kisses.

As the sun rose ever higher into the sky, the light seemed brighter to Sam. No skyscrapers or government offices shading him from the sun’s smile, no useless, huge air-con shopping malls filled with the most beautiful and evil women in the world, no overpasses with cars spewing their pollution into the atmosphere, no sky bound monorails where people have yet learnt the art of queuing; just the sun and the sky and the Earth.

Sam began to feel the start of a weight lifting, the freedom to breathe.

It filled him with nervous energy that was both positive and negative.

For a second he felt like screaming, a loud, raucous noise into the ether, telling reality how he felt the only way he could, but he stopped himself at the last moment when he remembered that he was on a bus and that was not what you were supposed to do on a bus. You were supposed to be quiet.

“Look how green everythin’ looks, man!” he spoke to Oz, disturbing his friend from his reading.

“Jesus mate, you’ve really gotta get out more y’know?” chuckled his friend, then he peered over his glasses at the countryside, “Yeah, compared to Bangers, it’s fuckin’ gorgeous”, he whispered seemingly embarrassed at his exaggeration of the word “gorgeous”.

Sam giggled, searched around in his bag for another tinnie.

It took about three and a half hours for them to get to Rayong, the seaside town, where they had to catch a boat to the island and stumbling off the bus they crossed the road and headed for Ban Pae pier. The smell of seafood in all its forms hit them as they walked through the little market and bought their tickets.

“Not bad mate, only forty-five minutes wait, time fer another beer, eh?”

“Absofuckin’ lutely, old boy”

The boat arrived and they walked down the rickety wooden pier to board. It was nothing more than a converted fisherman’s boat, who, when the choice came to either carry on his family’s tradition and starve or make the holy dollar chose the greenback.

“You can’t blame him” thought Sam, just another poor man trying to get a piece of the movies.

The boat hit the island at sometime in the early afternoon. As they approached it they saw a shoal of flying fish swimming next to the vessel, and Sam watched quietly, feeling the fool for not leaving the city earlier, for staying and drinking, always drinking, for inflicting a punishment on himself.

“Fuck it…I’m ’ere now” he thought to himself, seeing the island looming closer with the numerous little enclaves for tourists and for locals.

They had chosen “Black Uncle’s” beach to stay, Oz liking the name, and trudged along the little island path to see where they could rest for the night, finally coming to a restaurant that served ice cold beer and had beach huts to rent. After negotiating a tidy price for their lodgings they unpacked their small bags and decided against getting blind drunk in the afternoon.

“No, we’ll save that for the evening” they agreed.

For the first time since Oz had met him, Sam seemed really at ease with his surroundings. Sure, he always had that playful streak about him, especially, of course when he was in the company of children or when he was flirting with a woman, but this aspect of Sam had been submerged for a long time.

Drowned in booze, in self hatred and choked in cigarette smoke.

Now, it seemed that there was a part of him that Oz had never seen before, it wasn’t overtly obvious but it was there in a glint of the eye. It was an energy as opposed to the recent entropy in his humour.

A peacefulness.

The rest of the day was spent laughing and wandering aimlessly from beach to beach, a child-like curiosity had taken over the two men. Checking this rock pool and that bay, diving in the shallow coastal waters and lying on the white sands, a freedom away from work and home, responsibility and security.

When the evening came, the two men crawled back to their respective lodgings, cleaned up and ambled towards the restaurant for a night of relaxed card games, food and beer. Two men wholly content in a day that for once was worth living for.

Everything was going well for Sam, too well. The days were hot and bright and the nights were hot and sticky. All was well, all was as it should be, the evenings were drunken and pleasantly free of female company. Sometimes a man just needs the company of other men, especially when all he wants to do is unwind. Having a woman around when there are two single men trying to enjoy themselves can have detrimental effects on both parties. The only females in their vicinity were the girls who worked for the restaurant/bar and cleaned the cabins, a middle aged Canadian woman, who reminded Sam of a chicken on its last legs trying to lay one last egg, two British girls on holidays whose coarse and squealing upper middle class accents just annoyed the shit out of both men and a ladyboy staying next door to them who was with an old aged German gentleman. The gentleman seemed either impervious to his “girl” friend’s physiological qualities or just did not care as he was happy to lavish his money on the said transsexual.

Sam and Oz had been living in the Kingdom for so long that these things had become normal and the only comments that were made were that the old fella better be a good boy with his money and his attentions or to not leave any sharp objects lying around. Oz’s neighbours at his old place were ladyboys and he had often to deal them waving a knife into his face as he asked them to turn their shitty Thai pop music down at four in the morning. Not surprisingly he carried a little resentment.

And they both had to agree that the old fella could’ve picked a nicer looking specimen to dote upon. There are some stunning looking transsexuals in Thailand and all foreigners in Thailand who sleep around will one day end up with one in their bed or have friends that have happened to take one by accident, or not. There are millions of such stories. In fact a lot of normal Thai women will tell a foreigner that they were once a member of the other gender when they meet them. Purely as a joke.

“I think she likes ya, Oz…d’you want me to slip her your cabin keys?”

“You can slip her anything you like, but don’t expect me to get caught up in your sordid little games…”

“Now, now, Oz…you’ve got to lose this bigotry”

“Fuck right orf!”

“That’s just what I’m talking about…”

It wasn’t a case that Oz thought they were “unnatural” or deviant, he just didn’t like them.

It was the second evening and they were sat in the closest restaurant to their cabins. It was a place covered in Native American memorabilia and buffalo skulls, a restaurant with not many customers and feeling of space and emptiness around it. The weather looked as if it was going to take a change for the worse, the clouds were pregnant with the promise of rain and the air was sultry and smothering. The sky was so dark out on the sea that Oz began to think that maybe a storm was on its way. He remembered how it was when the storms hit the islands, like the gods themselves had decided to attack a place with all the force under their power, a wave of energy.

The rain falling like a solid current hitting the land. Flooding everywhere. Flooding. This thought put the fear into Oz, bad memories rose and fell in his brain like the ebb and flow of the tide. Memories he thought he had accepted, yet now knew he would never, they had eroded his mental landscape for ever and ever. Amen.

Memories of his time on the islands had already been swirling around his head when he first saw the jutting piece of land on the boat. The resurgence of the waking nightmares in his mind shocked him like standing too close to a giant church bell ringing for a funeral.

That night he wanted to do nothing but drink the ghosts away. Sam noticed the change in his friend a subtle aloofness and he felt uncomfortable in Oz’s presence for the first time since they had arrived. He suspected that it was something to do with the old past yet, could not be sure. He had ruined many friendships and relationships in the past with his own paranoia and was at last slowly realising that sometimes silence was the best policy.

“People will talk when they are ready and if you force the issue your help may well be spat right back into your face” he thought to himself.

They sat in silence, drinking and staring out into the sea, Sam finding the dark sky quite beautiful, a show of the strength of nature, a deeply melancholy canvas for meditation. Oz was willing them to go away, looking like a mangy dog seeing it’s master come home drunk and take off his belt. Suddenly there were flashes of lightning in the distance, and a low rumbling in the sky, the threat seemed closer now.

Sam went to order two more beers at the bar and got stuck in a conversation in Thai with one of the barmaids, who was older than himself yet still had echoes of her youthful splendour on her life long face. For a second he had the urge to stick on the charm and see if he could take this woman home with him, then he reprimanded himself for even considering sleeping with her, thinking of his friend’s state. He managed to finish the conversation in the politest manner he could and turned back toward his table.

It took a second for his eyes to focus on the table at the furthest corner of the restaurant and he made his way towards it, lit by shoddily constructed electric bars.

He stopped as he saw two figures at their table.

One, he could make out as Oz the other was a figure he knew yet he couldn’t…

It was Figgis.

Figgis.

Of all the fucking people, in all the bars in all the world, he had to walk into this one. Sam suddenly realised that he hadn’t thought of Jonah all day and felt guilty and twice as annoyed with seeing the moron in front of him. Sam closed his eyes, took a very deep breath, exhaled then went to save his friend from the dull hell that he was going through.

“Well, well, well, look who it fuckin’ isn’t…”

“Sam… hey, how ya doin’?”

“Nowt in particular, just trying t’enjoy a quiet weekend away from the big shitty, y’know…” spouted Sam as sat down next to Oz, quietly noting that the Yank had taken his seat across the table. The sarcasm in his voice was lost in drunken translation.

“What a surprise seeing you two guys here…”

“Yes”, muttered Oz, grinning through clenched teeth, “…what a surprise.”

Oz stared at Sam as the usual chit chat conversation of for how long had they been there and what had they been doing ensued, with Sam taking the lead away from Oz, who muttered few words and the silence and gaps in the conversations, became increasingly wider. Sam had not mentioned to his friend that he suspected Figgis of setting up Jonah, the less people who knew the better. He also didn’t know if Oz himself had thought this through. Of course he had heard about Jonah’s predicament, it was just another in a long line of tragedies that the country seem to inflict upon the arrogant white men that tried to live there.

Perhaps it was nothing more than they deserved.

Then Figgis decided to buy them all a drink, to which Oz brusquely declined but with typical deafness Figgis went ahead to the bar anyway.

“I’m going to bed…” spat Oz.

“Man, it’s only early don’t let the cunt bother ya”

“He is a cunt and I don’t want to drink with him, ok?”

“Okay, look I dislike th’fucker too but…”

“Up to you, see ya tomorrow”

“Yeah, yeah…” whispered Sam as he watched his friend’s silhouette disappear into the beginning of the night.

Turning his head, Sam saw Figgis chatting happily with the bar maid and he felt a flash of anger at this child of a man. Staring vacantly out at the sea, he wondered at how this always happened, just when he was feeling on top of the world something seemed to come along and knock him right off that fucking pedestal. It was as if he only had so much good luck allocated to him, and he could not have all at one go. If karma was real, his must be horrific.

Who was he in a former life?

One day we shall all be dead and it will have been meaningless and incomprehensible.

“Sam, where’s that Aussie friend o’ yours?”

“Oh… ’e was tired, y’know”

“Ah, fuck him, eh we’ll have a good time anyway”

Sam looked at the man in front of him, his ratty face, his greasy haircut, his forehead lined with stupidity.

“Just you fucking wait, you throwback. Something bad will happen to you in this country because you and your kind have no idea what it means to be here, to understand the ways of things. Something will happen and I hope I am there to see it” Sam thought knowing that his face betrayed his malicious thoughts.

Then he began to laugh, laugh hard.

“Cheers!”

“Hey yeah, that’s more like it” and they toasted each other, the bottles crashing hard into each other, and the laughter of two men, two men who from the outside would seem to be good friends, enjoying their time together.

Two men.

The night wore on and so did the booze. Sam for the most part just sat and thought about how he could broach the subject of Jonah. He sat and watched this human in front of him, who he felt nothing for, no compassion, no warmth, no shame, he watched Figgis slipping more into intoxication and a thought came to him.

Why was Figgis alive?

Surely, there was no reason for this creature to be here, sharing his time, taking things off people more deserving, vomiting his empty words out into the atmosphere, what had this being done with his life?

Was he deserving of the hospitality of the Thai people?

He couldn’t even teach properly, in fact, he was the worse teacher Sam had ever seen, ferchrissakes. He gave nothing back to a life that should be the most important thing to live for. All he did was take. Take. Take. Take. Take.

And if he had something to do with Jonah’s plight…

Fucking fool.

They drank and drank and Figgis talked until it was time to go to their huts. Figgis carried a bottle of Thai whisky and suggested that they go to the beach to drink it. Sam agreed and they wandered off to watch the skies and sand crabs in all their glorious violence.

Sam decided it was time to start digging for Jonah. Figgis was now good and drunk and Sam had gained his confidence enough that the lummox thought they were now friends. Sam began to mention drugs.

“Wish I had some weed, man. Could really do with a smoke.” He looked over to see the Irishman grinning in the moonlight.

“Yeeeaaahhh, me too, brother.”

Brother.

That motherfucker had the gall to call Sam his kin. He felt his emotion well up inside him like stomach bile, like food poisoning. He felt that he would start to gag at any second with the sheer rancour of being near this enemy, and him thinking that they understood each other.

“But I guess Jonah needs it now more than us, eh!”

At this Figgis began to laugh.

He began laughing so hard that Sam thought that the brute would shit himself. It was a big malicious laugh, a laugh that a loser had when he won a little victory in life. It was at that moment that Sam knew it was Figgis.

“Bang, you’re dead” he thought.

Figgis was still laughing, his laughter had turned to tears. He seemed so pathetic that the nauseous feeling began to dissipate and Sam began to feel a brutal pity for the creature in front of him. He should be put out of his misery, like a suffering dog.

“Yeah, that damn big mout, he ain’t gonna be making fun o’ me no more. Nosiree. He’s gonna suffer now. He shoulda kept his mout shut. He thought I was stupid but he didn’t know jus’ how smart I am, boy. Yessir.”

Sam continued to walk in silence, his mind trying to figure out what to do next. Antti should be told as soon as possible, then a plan where Sam’s new and improved relationship with the schmuck could be exploited. Sam began to feel sorrier for the man to his right.

Poor bugger.

“I hate dese Goddamn women in dis shitty little country”, shouted Figgis as he spun speaking his words to no-one in particular, only the beach and his traitor heard him. Sam just kept his mouth shut and watched his footprints appearing in the sand, one after the other, waiting to be washed away by the morning tide.

“All they want is yer money, they sit in restaurants n’ fuck n’ suck and den demand a new phone. Whores, dey ain’t nuttin’ but whores. Fuckin’ cunts! Just like all women.”

Sam stopped, feeling his anger slowly returning, simmering in his guts; he saw all the women he’d loved in his mind’s eye.

He saw Joy.

He had had enough of this game.

Then he lost it.

He wanted to hurt somebody. He wanted to see them extinguished.

“WHAT LIKE YER MA?” spat Sam in almost indistinguishable sounds of rage.

“I’ll fuckin’ kill yer, man!” shouted Figgis at the insult to the mother he had never taken care of and fear gripped him. He staggered towards Sam swaying from side to side.

“’It me, you fucker! C’mon cuntface!” said Sam.

Figgis slapped him on the face, the booze had slowed down his reactions and the slap smarted but it was nothing to cry about. Sam blinked and started to laugh.

“Again! Me mother ’its ’arder than you!” and another one came only this time it was weaker still and Figgis wobbled on his feet and looked prepared to land another one, when his legs gave way and he fell to the soft sandy ground.

Sam was still laughing as he spat right in the Irishman’s face.

Then he started walking away, back to his hut.

“YOU’RE ALL WHORES!” shouted the damaged pride with another man’s saliva dripping down his face.

Wandering back to his shack, Sam turned to see his enemy crawling up and standing on a conquered rocky mountain. He was swigging the rest of the whisky down. He lunged, throwing the bottle against a large smoother rock.

Sam heard the sharp shocking smash of the glass.

He saw Figgis lose his balance and land on the rocks.

He heard a dull thud.

He heard a moan. The fucker was still alive. He would probably stay there until sun up. Sam hoped that the fall had hurt him and wished that Figgis had just killed himself. He knew that life wasn’t that just.

It takes a lot to kill a human.

Then all he could hear was the gentle swish of the midnight waves, a soft lullaby from the heart of the tempest.

Sam stopped, then breathed in the silence and carried on his way.

He exhaled a soft whistle of cigarette smoke that curled and danced in the moonlight.

The land had already decided that enough was enough and Sam turned and trudged back civilisation to tell Oz.

But not too fast.

The rotten apple falls off the tree when nobody is around to hear it.

The waves of the sea hissed in approval as multitudes of sand crabs already claimed and crawled over the sleeping motionless body.

Some nights deserved to be savoured alone.

The rest of their holiday was uneventful and joyous. They stayed one last night then they packed up and left the island for the City of Angels once more, Sam feeling more peaceful than he had felt in a long time.

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