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The Stopover

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A Night Out In Bangkok Can Be Murder


“I thought it would’ve turned out differently.”


“My life, of course.”

“You mean you could have been a chartered accountant or something?” the larger man asked as he raised two fingers to signal the bartender for more whisky. “The terraced house in Surrey with the fat missus and two kids?”

“Doesn’t sound so bad.”

“Focus on the job and when we get home I’ll buy you a poodle.”

“Go fuck yourself.”

“Why not fuck one of these girls? That’s what you usually do.”

The slightly smaller of the two men looked around the bar at the very young women in tiny bikinis and high heels. Both men were unshaven from a long-haul flight and were wearing rumpled clothes they had been in since Heathrow, the day before.

“We aren’t tourists though,” he said as he turned back to face the mirror behind the bar.

“What are you on about now?” the bigger man asked, looking at him in the mirror.

“Well, we’ve got to go straight to the airport as soon as the job’s done. Don’t we?” the smaller man said back to the reflection of the bigger man in the mirror.

“It would be a bloody good idea. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life in a Thai Prison.”

“That’s what I mean.”

“Keep your mind on the job. I don’t want a repeat of Vienna.”

“I couldn’t help it. Did you see that Czech girl’s tits? Anyway, I was only gone for twenty minutes.”

“It’s against bloody orders.”

“Against orders? Why would you care? Do you think our masters have something against big tits too?”

“Most of them prefer little boys, from what I’ve heard.”

“Doesn’t surprise me. Nothing surprises me about that lot anymore”

“We’ve got a job to do, so forget all that nonsense. Right now we need to focus on the objective.”

“He doesn’t look like a threat to national security,” the smaller man said as he glanced over his shoulder.

“Don’t look at him you idiot,” the larger man commanded him in a gruff whisper.

In the far corner a balding, short, chubby foreign man with round glasses, wearing an ill-fitting and non-tropical suit, sat happily on a red velvet sofa surrounded by young girls. Three of them had taken off their bikini tops and one had removed the bottom as well. She sat impishly on his lap wearing nothing but stiletto heels and glaring daggers down the bar, daring somebody to have an opinion on her nakedness. The smaller of the two killers had noticed that her breasts were very small. He preferred much bigger ones, like the ones in Vienna. The only girl in the group with both bikini pieces still in place was running backwards and forwards to the bar bringing endless plastic trays of drinks that the girls then drank just as quickly as they could. The chubby man on the red velvet sofa was grinning like a Cheshire cat, oblivious to the threat posed by the two men at the bar.

“I mean, seriously. Look at him. Look at his face. He thinks finding a whorehouse in Bangkok is winning life’s lottery. How can such a nobody scare an entire government?”

“It’s the brave new world. The Internet changed everything. Today everybody’s a potential threat to national security.”

“Knocking off whistle-blowers just seems so psychopathic. How come we don’t get to kill spies and thugs anymore?”

“There aren’t any. It’s all nerds on computers now. Like our Romeo over there.”

The smaller man glanced over his shoulder again at the man in the corner. “Poor bastard. I hope he’s getting a wank under the table, because he’s not going to have time to get in her knickers tonight, or any other night.”

“She’s not wearing any knickers,” the bigger man replied.

“You’re right,” the smaller man said glancing over his shoulder again.

“Stop looking.”

“Are you sure we can’t let him have his fun, and then kill him tomorrow instead?”

“We’re booked on the red-eye flight, do you want to call the office and explain why we aren’t going to be on it?”

“So it’s now then?”

“Yes, it’s now.”

“He just looks so fucking harmless.”

“He shouldn’t have read the minister’s emails then, should he?”

“There’s another side to that argument. If the minister wasn’t such a crooked bastard they wouldn’t need to send us halfway round the world to knock off people for reading his mail.”

“Ours is not to reason why,” the bigger man said.

“Sure, but it’s always been the do or die part that bothered me,” the smaller man said.

“Guns and oil. It’s what pays our salaries.”

“Pays us? I get paid as much as a bus driver, that’s how much. I’m James fucking Bond and I’m behind on my car payments, overdrawn at the bank, and they make me fly economy.”

“This is no time to be whining about pay. You can join a union when you get home if you want.”

“I spent years joining unions for queen and country, spying on the working class for our lords and masters,” the smaller man whispered through clenched teeth.

“We all did before the wall came down,” the bigger man said.

“Oh yeah, and as for a retirement plan; if we get caught they’ll disown us. That’s what they’ll fucking do. They’ll abandon us to do life in a Thai prison.”


“What about it?”

“Death. They have the death penalty here.”

“Even fucking better. You really know how to cheer me up.”

“Now that would be a waste of time.”


“Trying to cheer you up.”

“Happy murderers I have known. That can be the title of your autobiography. All about how you insisted on your partners being cheerful as they waded through blood and shit for a living.”

“Well, you can be fucking happy then. At least there’ll be no blood this time.”

“Better not be if we are going straight from here to the airport. Have you ever tried checking in for a flight covered in blood and guts? I did once. Don’t worry about it though, just give them your big stupid grin and I’m sure they’ll let you on the plane anyway.”

“Can you continue to act this stupid for another five minutes? That’s about all it should take.”

“Let’s get it done.”

The big man put some cash on the bar to cover their bill and then they both stood up. The smaller man started singing an unintelligible song and the bigger man put his arm over his shoulder as the two staggered up the bar like the losing team in a three-legged race, saying goodbye to girls they hadn’t said hello to as they passed them. When they reached the end of the bar they crashed into the group of topless girls and kept going, hitting the table in front of the red velvet sofa hard.

The chubby man with glasses, scared, pulled himself as far back as he could against the wall, as the bigger of the two men leaned in close and told him off, “What do you think you’re doing, you’re hogging all the whores man.”

“Where’s the door? There’s no fucking door. How do we get out of this shithole?” the smaller man to his left demanded loudly, slurring his words horribly.

A pugnacious topless girl, almost a foot shorter than the smaller man, blocked his way and angrily wagged her finger in his face. “This not door. You drunk. Door that way. This toilet.”

The smaller man squeezed her breasts and said, “You want to hold it for me? I’m scared to go in there on my own.”

“You drunk, you leave now!” the topless girl screamed in his face, angry at his audacity for squeezing her breasts without buying her a drink first.

The smaller man pulled a silly face, leaned his head to the side, and said, “Ooh,” to her in a very childish way.

The bigger man put his arm back around the smaller man’s shoulder and told him, “Can’t stay here old man, not if the whores expect you to hold your own dick.”

They both pretended to be holding each other up as they staggered back down the bar to the door and the neon lit street outside. Once outside they both straightened up.

“Done?” the bigger man asked.

“It’s done,” the smaller man said quietly, opening the palm of his hand to reveal a small opaque plastic bottle that had been squeezed almost flat.

They went over and sat on barstools at a high table on the verandah in front of the big brightly coloured go-go bar across the street. The smaller man lit a cigarette.

“As soon as we are sure, we take a taxi to the airport,” the bigger man said.

“I put enough in his drink to give an elephant a heart attack.”

Just then the door opened and the naked girl came running out screaming as if pursued by a ghost. Two fully dressed girls, touting in front of the bar, quickly dragged her inside. Many girls, dressed now, came out and started yelling to the taxi drivers at the end of the street. The two men sitting at the table across the road didn’t understand a word of what was being said but knew it must be something to do with a customer having been taken ill.

“Come on,” the bigger man said looking up at the sky above the rooftops and the neon signs, “we need to get out of here, it looks like it’s going to rain.”

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About Harlan Wolff

Harlan Wolff is from London. He has lived in Thailand since 1977 and is a successful Private Investigator and troubleshooter specializing in major crime and serious corporate issues. He began writing after his 50th birthday claiming he had at last acquired sufficient ammunition for his pen. The first book in the series 'Bangkok Rules' is a gritty and real account of a Bangkok based PI's milieu. Harlan is presently working on the second book which will be published early 2014.

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