But the Bali beach boy is only the tip of iceberg--a small player, rightly reckoned.. I mention him first only because he was my own first experience of this peculiar institution after my initial arrival on the island. He is a scrapper, a scavenger, a jack of all illegal trades, and some legal ones as well. He prowls up and down, like a hungry lion, so to speak, seeking whom might be devoured, or whom he might offer for devouring, in the case of the chicken. It is commonly a community effort--no one gets the whole victim, but only each a piece--say a flank, or a thigh, a finger or a nose. He is the middle man, and less than the middle man. He is one head on the totem pole, a link in the chain. It’s all about networking, you see. This man has connections, whether they be to boat owners, diving instructors, drug dealers, or whore house proprietors.
Maybe the Bali boy starts with a boat. Everyone wants a boat ride, don’t they? Snorkeling? Fishing? It is, in any case, a safe, a neutral starting point.
Mister, you want boat? One hour only? Swim? Snorkel? One hour, very cheap for you.
It is his first card only. No worries, there‘s more to come. His pockets are full of options, each more tempting than the last.
How about a driver? A motor bike?
How about magic mushrooms then? How about a girl, very young, young girl, 17 years only.
Mister, you want?
A wink of the eye then, a lowering of the voice, a confidence, a newly forged friendship.
My goodness, this Bali beach boy is friendly.