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A Phoenix Fiction Writer Rising From The Ashes of Nonfiction



Bowling  With  Joy 
by Michael T. Martin

Sampan Alley, Bangkok, Thailand

After serving in Vietnam for several months I was allowed a week of R&R: rest and relaxation. The military arranged for us to leave our units and fly to locations where our hotel expense was paid and we had no official duties. Australia, Thailand, and Japan were the primary attractions.

I chose Bangkok, Thailand. Unfortunately I contracted a case of diarrhea before arriving and so my first day was spent sightseeing. The center of Bangkok has elaborate temples and cultural areas, but I had to remain within running distance of my hotel room. I went to the embassy clinic and received treatment for the diarrhea. That worked rather quickly and that night I went to a bar and picked up a young Thai woman for entertainment.

The next day I did a little sightseeing, including a visit to "sampan alley," a long stretch of small houseboats side by side on the river that runs through Bangkok. I then ventured to a local "massage parlor," where you could choose from a large selection of young ladies sitting on stadium seating behind a large window. They each wore a prominent button on their clothes with a number. Their room was well lit, the customers' area dimly lit, so the window acted like a one-way mirror.

I chose a young lady and took her to my hotel room that evening. She was compliant and passive when we had sex. Soon afterward, there was a knock on my door. It was another R&R serviceman from across the hall. I had encountered him a couple times in the hotel. He asked if I wanted to trade girls. I said "fine, but why?" We went across the hall to see his "girl" and I was stunned by this gorgeous woman. He complained that she wasn't compliant and passive. She had told him she would have sex with him only one time an evening. So I made the trade because my specialty was making one-time last an hour or two.

She spoke English fairly well, and eager to converse. She told me she was from northern Thailand near Laos. She said her name was Joy, and she really lived up to that. I took full advantage of my one-time. Afterward we went out to eat, with her leading me to the restaurant section of Bangkok. I don't remember much about the dinner except that she wanted me to try Thai food but because of my recent bout with diarrhea I wanted American food. I did buy her a squid on a stick at a street cart on the way to an American restaurant where I had spaghetti, something easy on my stomach.

Because of her rule, we didn't have sex after getting back to the room. The next morning we woke up together and had sex. Afterward she wanted to go out and do something instead of just staying in the hotel room. She took me to Timland, where they had shows about Thailand and exhibits with elephants and cobra snake-charmers. She made an engaging guide, enthusiastic for me to understand the culture of her country. She actively participated with me in enjoying the visit, becoming more of a partner. I admired her assertiveness.

But then I had to take her back to the massage parlor and rent her again, since my twenty-four hours were up. She wanted me to rent her for my remaining three days but I only went for another day. Her "rule" somewhat offset her beauty.

After I paid for another day Joy wanted to go "Thai bowling." I didn't know what "Thai bowling" was, but since it was still early in the day I was game. She led me to a normal American-style AMF bowling alley where we rented shoes and took over a lane. I bowled rather poorly. I didn't even break 100 in my first game. She did. I just barely broke 110 in my second game. She bowled better than I did but not by much. However, probably because she was winning, she suggested that we bet money on the next game.

I wasn't really interested in taking money from her so I told her I didn't want to bet. She accused me of being a "cheap Charley" and insisted on betting $50 on the next game. I told her I didn't need the money, but if I won, we would have sex two times that night. She agreed.

I had bowled in a league when I was in junior high school. My team, the Four Eagles, did okay in the league, we came in second. My highest game had been 165, playing weekly, but that was about ten years ago. I hadn't bowled much since then.

However, now there was an incentive. As I stepped to the line in the new game, my brain suddenly began feeding me all the tips I had learned in the league. I changed my stance and remembered my aiming point. As a consequence, I bowled much better, but this doesn't entirely explain how I bowled 227. I think it was the incentive.

I had my two times that night and then again in the morning, but that was it. I looked forward to renting her again but Joy told me I had my chance to rent her for three days and didn't. It was apparently a point of pride among the women to be rented for three days. So I got dumped by a prostitute in Bangkok. I ended up renting another woman for my last days. Then I went back to Vietnam for the remainder of my adventures in the war.

Four women in one week made for real R&R. But Joy stood out as more than just a recreational encounter. I have to admit that when I returned to the states it was hard for me to date American women because none who I encountered were as assertive and self-confident as Joy. She was a prostitute but the sex was incidental. She accepted sex on her terms but insisted on enjoying life while doing it. I hadn't really encountered a strong woman like that before. I was impressed. She profoundly changed the way I thought about women.


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