A Story of Make Believe
So, do I have a wild story to tell or what. . .
Yesterday, I was strolling around the commercial district of Bangkok. Tall buildings and western stores and restaurants kind of make you feel like you’re walking the streets of Chicago.
I noticed some kids, just old enough to seem to always want to stir mischief, walking parallel to me and laughing between each other while stealing peeks at me. I saw the same kids a few blocks earlier purposefully tripping their other friends who were no longer with them. They were plotting to do the same to me, but I figured I’d let them think I didn’t know and play along.
I continued down the same street, past my hostel, being careful as I stole occasional glances to my side, quickly trying to plan an unsuspecting counter-attack before they acted. We continued walking next to each other for five minutes and they hadn’t made their move. Maybe I was mistaken. Maybe I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe and that’s what they were laughing at. I gave myself a check — my legs were really pale and I knew I had a bad haircut, but I don’t think it was so bad as to laugh about.
A little paranoid, I turned around to walk home, but here’s where the story gets crazy. . .
It was a sneak attack! They knew I saw them all along. Not more than a few hundred feet after I started walking in the opposite direction, one of the little shits kicked my foot out from under me as I was in-between steps.
To say the least, it was probably their most effective gag of the day. They caught me so off guard I practically fell on top of them. To avoid them, had to take a completely off-balance step that had me falling off the sidewalk and down to a small platform with an inscription on it.
They exploded with laughter at first until I took my final hard step onto the last platform block. I looked up at them with a smile on my face to applaud them. Regular pranksters.
But they had horror on their faces and both of them turned red. I smiled and silently clapped to egg on their laughter again. Instead, they started sprinting in down the street in the opposite direction. This is where it ACTUALLY gets interesting. . .
Next thing I know, a voice is shouting in Thai and I look around to find who it is. My initial thought was that he thought I did something to harm the children and was yelling at me. It was a man behind a street cart a couple dozen steps in the direction the kids were running.
He was shouting bloody murder and pouting directly at me. Of course, the first thing I tried to do was explain myself but it was clear he wasn’t listening as he continued hollering. Causing a scene, I decided to start walking away. The man’s voice got louder and direr and about ten steps later, three men stepped in front of me with a hand up to my chest. I tried to explain to them. None of them spoke English.
The man was still shouting for two or three minutes and, eventually, three Thai officers arrived at the scene. The man at the food cart spoke to them quickly and loudly. He had a loud, annoying presence.
Then, before I had a chance to speak to the police, they were putting handcuffs around my wrists behind me.
I tried to ask what was going on, but I barely got in any words over loud-mouth and I don’t think anybody near spoke English anyway. Three police officers, two in front and one with this hands wrapped around the handcuffs in the back, walked me to the nearest police station just a block down a perpendicular road.
At this point I hardly even had time to be scared because I hadn’t even understood what was going on yet, but, still, nobody would listen to me.
STAY WITH ME!
Inside the police station, finally, someone spoke a word of English to me. Just an order to “Stay,” as if I was going to run away through central Bangkok with my arms tied behind my back. I complied and waited for the five officers to return.
Five minutes later, they did, including a man who could speak English. He explained to me I had violated a federal law by stepping on the King’s plaque.
The platform! It just happened to be the King’s special stone. The man asked me if I would like to call a Thai lawyer. I said no — I knew Thailand had strict laws pertaining to their king, but come on, I was tripped by some damn kids!
The story continues to get crazier. After ten minutes of unsuccessfully pleading my case to be forgiven once, I was being pushed into the elevator and lifted to the top floor. The doors opened to a magnificent penthouse floor with a huge view of the city, but we weren’t done going up.
They led me up the last flight of stairs to the rooftop where I swear I heard a battle being fought outside the door. Sure enough, when the doors opened, there was a helicopter with the propellor turning a storm through the air.
At that point, my heart turned over. I was getting into the helicopter. My first time in a helicopter — and with handcuffs on, nonetheless. My only thought was what the hell is happening.
As we took lift, my stomach curled. What a cool experience under excruciatingly uncomfortable circumstances. My eyes looked out the window but I don’t remember a single thing about that ride.
I think I blacked out until we were touched down and inside a private room. Just me and three officers. Soon, a diplomat of some sort joined us. Then, another one. The six of us sat in that room and the officers briefed the diplomats on my situation. I could only hope they were explaining the situation favorably for me.
I waited for my turn to speak, and when they finally gave me a chance, they were impatient with their inability to understand me. I started to return the impatience and started to get mouthy as most people who know me know I do when I (or someone close to me) feel I’m not being treated fairly.
They didn’t like the rise in tone, and the police escorted me out of the room. I was placed in a jail cell — a cell with actual bars and concrete walls — and left alone for what had to be 30 minutes. I felt lonely and afraid.
When they returned, they returned only to tell me I’d have thirty days in jail until my court appearance. They took my cell phone, wallet, keys — everything including my shoes and belt, and brought me a new set of clothes. A light blue jumpsuit and I was thrown into a different cell with a skinny, paranoid Asian man already in there. He simply pointed to the top bunk as if to take claim to the bottom.
I tried pleading with the officers, as I had been the whole time, one last time. It didn’t work. They locked the door and walked away and I was left with the crazed Asian man who spoke no words.
Now, for anyone who has read this far (Mom and maybe one other friend), please know I’m safe and I don’t need you spreading any of this news because what I’ve written is completely fictional and never happened.
Did I convince you? The answer to your question is yes, I actually did waste thirty minutes of my life in the park I’m currently in to write a made-up blog story.
I promise I do have a life, occasionally. Thanks. The end.