Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chicken, 3

Perhaps a man had started out for a walk on the beach. Perhaps he had stopped to eat in one of the beach front warungs, or more probably one of the upscale restaurants with the bule prices. Perhaps the beach boy watched him along the way. And then the next thing he knows, this man is riding on the back of a scooter, bound for the dark end of a back street in Legian or Kuta, with maybe a stop at the ATM along the way--for there is more available, as he learns, than the one hour only, the quickie, the single bottle of beer. It is the party of his lifetime. He did not look for it, it looked for him. Maybe it has become two hours, or three, or the full long night. Maybe one girl, maybe two. You name it. The sky the limit as long as his pocketbook is fat. And it is fat, always, for the vacationing Westerner here on the island of Bali. This man, common enough in his own country, is rich now, a man of means, the whole pallet of the paint of life set before him.
The taxi driver is another link in the chain--not, again, the pimp, but the middle man, the man who knows, the man who facilitates. Take a walk after dark and see for yourself. A man alone, just walking like that? What else can he want but a woman? The driver slows down, creeps up to the curbing, beeps his horn once, rolls down his window. Where are you going, he asks? What do you want? Young woman, yes. Very young, maybe 17.

He does not take no for an answer. He creeps and insists, insists and creeps. He argues the value of his offer. He knows what you really want.

Money is got by all means here, and the competition is stiff, very stiff indeed. The man who is not quick, the man who is not saavy, plays at ruin and starvation.

And so the meter runs. And so the alley opens to the light at the end of the tunnel.

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