1. The Mango Thief
“Watching a pair of magnificently breasted Norwegians stroll along Moon Muang the other day, I was reminded of the time I met my first wife.
I had been sent from Jasper & Berkeley’s head office in Bangkok to a jungle north of Phrao, where I was to oversee the running of a rubber bed linen factory. One morning the foreman – a stout character by the name of Boonlert – approached my cabin dragging what appeared to a large sack of potatoes, however upon emptying the sack I was surprised to find it contained a naked man. I was informed that the native was one of the factory workers and he had been caught picking a ripe mango from one of the trees in the forest.
Not quite believing the insolence of this savage, I put down my gin and tonic and told Boonlert in no uncertain terms to take him down by the river and give the mango thief a bally good flogging.
Sometime around noon I ran out of ice and not quite knowing what to do with myself, I decided to go for a stroll and see how the flogging was getting along. Imagine my surprise when, upon reaching the river I found no sign of Boonlert or the thief. “The crafty buggers” I thought to myself and headed towards the village to flush them out.
As I approached Boonlert’s hut, I became aware of the most peculiar sound – a kind of grunting and panting. I crept up to the hut then burst through the door. The image I was confronted with was enough to shame a Frenchman! Boonlert and the savage’s wife were going at it like a privvy door in a gale.“Good God man!” I bawled “get off that woman and put your loincloth on!” Which he promptly did.
Looking around the hut, I quickly spied the savage hiding behind an enormous pile of ripe mangoes. Obviously unflogged, the cowering thief stared at me for a second then leapt up and ran out the door screaming like a crazed banshee. Boonlert followed suit, leaving the savage’s wife and myself quite alone.
With the intention of burning the shameful hut of sin to the ground I struck a match. However, when I caught a proper look at that fine filly as she lay startled on the bed, I quickly changed my mind.
And so I took the woman to be my wife. Despite her complete ignorance of English and pig-headed refusal to even try to understand the finer points of cricket, we spent a very satisfactory three days together before she too, somewhat predictably, ran screaming into the jungle.
Funny girl that one. Never did catch her name. But the things she could do with a mango…”
Citylife, November 2004