Stab Magazine | How To Make A Fat Man Cry
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How To Make A Fat Man Cry

Unhappy stories from a happy place. 

style // Sep 25, 2019
Words by Rory Parker
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There’s an alley connecting Khao San Road and Rambuttri Street that fills with piss and vomit each night. Signs posted declaring a 2000 baht fine do little, if anything, to stem the tide of filth that revelers deposit in its murky recesses. Rats scamper down the corridor, wasted visitors pinball down its length. The unwary fail to skip over and between the puddles of effluence.

It’s blasted clean each morning by hardworking Thais. Its filthy confines become a useful shortcut. Until the sun sets and hard drinking backpackers return to empty their stomachs and bladders along its walls.

alley

The alley in question before the hordes return.

Just past the worst area, far enough along that the smell dissipates, is a tiny bar that appears as if by magic come sundown. The alley becomes the center aisle between bar and seating. The clientele is a mixture of Thais, expats, and those lucky tourists that have stumbled upon it. A local band plays reggae covers, the beers are cold, and it’s possible to pretend the excesses taking place less that one hundred yards away are on the other side of the world.

I stopped in for a drink after dinner. Sidled up to the bar and met an American girl going solo. She’s where I was a bit more than a decade ago. Fed up with her existence, chucked it all. Spending an indeterminate amount of time chasing adventure around the globe.

Petite, attractive, friendly, and intelligent- I was glad for her company. Running solo as a large sweaty man can get lonely. I am, physically, off-putting. Resting bitch face, a build that makes women flinch when encountered unexpectedly. A lumbering oaf who exudes a sense of lurk.

The alcohol lubricated conversation. We swapped stories about our adventures.

happy bar

Happy Bar- Khao San Road

She told me about a job opportunity that sounded an awful lot like smuggling. Recounted Kashmir and India and the life she’d left behind. I asked if she’d run into any trouble.

Only once so far, she said. At a hostel after a long night of drinking. She’d returned to her dorm room to sleep. It was empty but for her. As her mind began to shut down she heard the door open. She thought it was another traveler. That the room she’d had to herself would soon be shared.

She told me what it was like to feel a body crawl on top of her. To struggle. To fight. To defend herself.

What she remembers most is the smell. The alcohol on his breath. The reek as he tried to hold her down.

There was a somewhat happy ending. She fought him off. He left the room. She never saw his face. A week later she was talking to an employee at the hostel. He told her that he’d been in love with her since the first night he had kissed her.

She told his employers. He was arrested.

The story was delivered with a nonchalance I found shocking. But this is what women deal with. When they don’t stand over six feet tall. When they don’t outweigh everyone in the room. When they’re alone and seen as prey by the worst among us.

But, really, she said, what could she do? Fly home? Give up? Spend every moment feeling like a victim? Succumb to fear and deny herself the same opportunities I have?

Nope. No way. She was all in. She could protect herself, would protect herself. Would not give up.

I don’t have that strength. If that were my world I’d lock my doors, draw my drapes, and buy a gun.

As it stands my travails are far more mundane. Shouting matches with cab drivers, overly-aggressive prostitutes, the Dutch couple that was very obviously attempting to straight-bait me back to their room.

As a straight man I’m not much to look at. As a bear, I’m in demand.

A very drunk Thai woman approached me while I drank Singha and people watched while the Khao San crowd swelled. She’s missing teeth and slurring. Soon shouting in a language I don’t understand.

She snatches my pack of cigarettes off the table, helps herself to one, slams it back down and resumes shouting. When she’s finally unburdened herself of everything that needed saying she continues walking down the street, occasionally turning to deliver another stream of syllables in my direction.

My server asks if I understood.

“No. But I think I got the point.”

“She asks you for money.”

“Uh huh.”

“Then she says you’re fat.”

“Got it.”

“Then she says you’re cheap.”

“Yeah. I get it.”

“Then she says you spend all your money on food. Because you’re so fat.”

“I kinda figured.”

“Then she says…”

“It’s all about me being fat, right?”

“Yes. And cheap.”

“But mainly fat?”

“Yes.”

“You know, by American standards, I’m not that fat.”

“Really?”

“No. Not really.”

With my feelings firmly trampled I finished my beer and retreated to my hotel room. I didn’t eat dinner that night.

dinner

What a fat, cheap, man eats for dinner.

The next day, at the same bar, I hear a laugh and the same employee say, “Look, your friend is back!”

I looked up, made eye contact, and cringed as she stumbled in my direction. Again she grabbed at my smokes. But I was ready, got to them first. Stuck them in my pocket.

“You really hurt my feelings, yesterday,” I told her.

She shrieked something back at me. Probably about how fat and cheap I am.

“No. Sorry. We could have been friends. But you’re too mean.”

The volume increased. She grabbed my table and began to shake it. The bar staff, until this point happy spectators, rushed to chase her off.

I realized I’d just gone out of my way to antagonize a homeless, alcoholic, and likely mentally ill, woman. Because she’d hurt my feelings. Because I’m so fat.

I can be a real piece of shit, sometimes. A real fat, cheap, piece of shit.

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