“You like beef brah?” Dave was joking, finding more amusement in Noom stealing food off of his plate than other friends accompanying me to Thailand had in the past.
“I not eat beef,” Noom declared, not quite getting it. And not quite getting Dave either.
“I tink you one lolo buggah brah!” Dave laughed, enjoying Noom’s confusion. But not enjoying Noom quite as much.
“He want eat bug?” Noom asked me, completely bewilder by Dave and everything he was saying. He was trying to understand. But the English was flying a bit too fast and furious for him to catch but the more recognizable words. And too many of those he did catch just didn’t add up.
“No,” I corrected him too busy with my own meal to properly consider my answer before giving it. “He say you bah bah.”
Noom wasn’t sure if he should be offended. Before he could decide, Dave reiterated with an emphatic, “Lolo!”
In my book they were both acting the fool. In several languages. And I was quickly becoming tired of having to translate their separate brands of pidgin for each other. The happy trio of campers I’d envisioned when I invited Dave – my old running partner from Hawaii, a dubiously self-declared straight boy with whom I was best buds and had been madly in lust with for years – to hit Thailand once again. I discovered Thailand with Dave and we’d been to the Kingdom many times together in the past. But that was years ago. That was years before I’d met Noom. Part of the allure of the trip was the opportunity of revisiting our old stomping grounds. Having Dave meet Noom was another. I’d just not planned for the friction that had developed between the two.
After razzing me about having fallen in love with a Thai bar boy, Dave was looking forward to meeting Noom. I don’t know what he expected. But Noom was not it. His smile, those muscles, the supreme air of confidence with which he carries himself, were all more than Dave had planned for. My obvious affection for Noom didn’t help. For a straight boy, Dave was a bit too jealous of his competition. “I thought you said he was straight?” Dave whined picking up on Noom’s obvious affection for me too.
Noom had been looking forward to meeting Dave too. I’d told him in advance that Dave would be coming along on the trip, that he was an old and close friend, and that he was straight. I don’t know what Noom expected either. But Dave wasn’t it. Our first night together, a short one before retiring to our hotel, had gone well. Or so I thought. But we’d barely made it back to our room before Noom made clear there was clearly a problem. For a straight boy, Noom was a bit too jealous of his competition. “He lub you!” he announced not at all happy and making it plain by the look on his face that the lub in this case was far too close to that which dares not speak its name.
Having two straight boys in a rivalry for your affections sounds like pure bliss. Especially since both kicked my libido into overdrive. That competition is what fantasies are made of. That fantasy is why they make large bottles of lube. In reality it was closer to living in hell. And if it was a fantasy come true, then the gods were up to their old trick of fucking with me, having failed to yet invent a lubricant slippery enough to ease the friction between my two studs. It was the mastabatory equivalent of a dry, calloused palm squeezing much too hard. And the two of them with tugging, pulling with a force that was moving quickly from pleasure to pain.
“He thinks you’re gay dude,” I told Dave. He rolled his eyes in reply, used to hearing that assessment of his sexuality. And used to hearing it from me. All my friends, gay and straight alike, think Dave is gay too. So he was neither surprised nor offended. Had I clarified that Noom’s use of the word translates to bottom, he might not have been as forgiving. But then my help was not required in furthering the animosity between the two. They seemed to be doing a fine job at that on their own.
“Dey no moa da kine, Brah,” Dave started in at the battle that was breakfast the next morning. “Ass why I geev ‘um haole boy.” Noom gave him a look usually reserved for encounters with aliens from another planet. What in the hell did the last pastry have to do with ass? Dave flashed an insincere smile back, and then settled for compounding the problem. “So what you like grind?”
Noom’s brain was going into melt down trying to make sense out of Dave’s senseless use of what could not possibly be English. My heart went out to him. But then that emotional tug ran up against a flashback of Noom taking far too much enjoyment from my discomfort in dealing with menus in Thai during meals past. Payback’s a bitch. And I’m a big enough of a bitch to make sure I always get mine. “Kay den,” I said standing firmly on Dave’s side of the net. “ I like foa go da kine. Try hurry up.”
Noom made the smart call, began communing with his food, and tuned out the strange farang. Because in Thailand that is always the smart option. Even more so in this instance because Dave was purposely being obdurate, making life as difficult for Noom as he could. A local boy, he could speak pidgin with the best of them. But unlike many of his fellow islanders Dave was equally capable of using proper English. And even though that alone could cause comprehension problems for Noom, Dave wasn’t taking any chances.
“We go!” announced Noom, pau with his meal and ready to head off to wherever ‘da kine’ was. Unsure of where my sympathies laid, Dave shot me a quick look thinking I’d been schooling the boy in pidgin. “Not me,” I said. “But if he shoots out hele on, you know you’ve got a problem.”
Noom in his mangled use of English, part bar boy speak and part Noom-speak – a dialect comprising the worst of several languages that he’s come up with on his own – had hit on a often used phrase of Hawaiian pidgin. I guess it was inevitable. Both stem from a non-native English speaker’s desire to force standard English words through their linguistic norms. Not really meaning it, Dave offered to help him out. “Bumbai I geeve you da full deal on wot foa say and how foa say em bradda,” he said. “Mo’ bettah you get em wen stay all stinkeye l’dat.”
Noom trying his best to ignore Dave, grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the restaurant. “Why he like dat?” he asked, flustered and attempting to reason out why the strange farang was acting even more strange than usual.
“He’s just jealous,” I told him, an explanation I’d hoped would soothe his ruffled feathers. “He thinks you lub me too much.”
“Wot, boddah you?” Dave called from behind having overheard our conversation and not being willing to cut Noom some slack regardless of the truth in what I’d said. Noom replied with one of his favorite cross-linguistic come-backs: a snort. He might not understand what Dave was saying, but felt he now understood why he was saying it. He couldn’t understand Hawaiian pidgin, but could understand jealousy. And then being Noom, the sweetheart that he is, he decided to calm the waters. And fuck with Dave at the same time. “I lub you too,” he told Dave, the accompanying look on his face leaving no doubt that he meant it.
All that it took for Noom was to know where he stood. That’s not unusual for a Thai, their entire society is set up to identify each party’s place in their social hierarchy. Now that he felt his status was secure in a relationship that had suddenly become a three-some, he was willing to be friends with Dave. And to start taking care of him.
Da kine in this instance was MBK; there was some shopping that needed to be done. We had not been at the mall for long before the two of them discovered they shared something besides an overreliance on pidgin in common. They both have the bladder of a three-year-old girl. Noom used his eyebrows to indicate it was time for a pit stop. Knowing Dave well, I let him know Noom was headed to the restroom, correctly assuming Dave too was by that time feeling the need to go.
“Toilet,” I heard Noom instructing him as they headed off to the loo. “Go pee pee,” He added, helpfully enlarging Dave’s English vocabulary. Since Dave had been speaking some unknown foreign language for far too much of the trip, Noom figured the brown skinned boy was not a native English speaker, was unaware of some the English words that Noom knew, and was just being his normal helpful self in providing Dave instruction. Unfortunately when Noom is in his teaching mode, he can be a bit much. A bit arrogant, a bit condescending, and patronizing to a fault. And Dave, though not Thai, shared the Thai cultural aversion to being thought of, or it being implied that he was stupid.
Stupid me was amused and had allowed the rivalry to get out of hand. I’d let it go on a bit too long. But then I thought perhaps a bit of male bonding over a urinal might bring the two closer together. It didn’t look like that was in the cards. Noom was willing to share his knowledge of English with Dave, but not as willing to share his knowledge of how things operate in Thailand. He’d armed himself with two baht for admission to the public loo. Dave had not. He needed to pee. Badly. And a four foot tall, hundred year old Thai woman was guarding the entrance, denying admission to those without coin of the realm.
Not one to hold a grudge and despite the hard time Dave had been giving him, Noom allowed Dave to use his baht for entrance to the restroom. And then hurried back over to me to get more cash. Whether it was that act of generosity or that the two had established whose dick was bigger while peeing, by the time they came out of the restroom they’d agreed to the pecking order. Noom was in charge. Pleased with himself and pleased with his world once again, though half Dave’s size the two of them came sauntering back up the aisle, Dave’s hand firmly in Noom’s as he led the way.
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