The redoubtable Mr Double awakens with a gurgle, blank emptiness becoming conscious awareness in a heartbeat.
Lying in bed, he feels for his glasses, coughs and lets out a stale ale fart. He pads to the bathroom to piss and pays a passing glance at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.
With no particular part to play right now, his features are saggy and impassive: grey hair, overweight and in poor health, he has successfully passed himself off as a pensioner for the last ten years, as need dictates, yet in reality is still only in his early fifties.
Feeling quite peckish, he prepares himself to go out for the first of seven meals that punctuate his perambulations while on holiday in Patong and it’s his favourite. Already licking his lips at the anticipatory tingling he feels somewhere in his frontal lobe, he coughs once more and lets out a silent one before pushing his way into Seven-Eleven to survey the sandwich situation. Cheese and ham toastie it is and why not he thinks. Why not indeed. Mr Double is doubtlessly in demand.
“She definitely fancies me,” he thinks, scrutinising the girl behind the counter. “She’s getting hot and bothered with me in the shop.” He feels an urge to suck in his stomach but is afraid he will fart yet again, thereby destroying the ambiance. Today’s are particularly sour and eggy. Probably a good idea to splash in the sea for a bit after the toastie- get it all out the system that way- a sulphurous bubble bath drowned out by the pong of the waves.
It’s his turn at the front now. As the Seven-Eleven girl unwraps the toastie and slides it into the sandwich toaster, he focuses on her every movement, recording things for vivid recollection later. “I know she wants it,” he thinks. “And she knows I want it. But I’m damned if I’m paying for it.”
He commits to memory the way she smiles, the way the ill-fitting green uniform clings to her pert, youthful titties, her tight teenage bum, her on her knees in the back of the shop and him getting sucked off by her and her friend and them doing some lesbian stuff amongst the cardboard boxes.
His reverie is interrupted by the toastie reaching optimum crispiness and as the girl gathers it up and asks him for thirty Baht, their eyes meet and in that moment they both know: him and her and that other bird all getting down and dirty and only the price of a toastie as an admission fee.
“What a wonderful holiday this is turning out to be,” he thinks as the hot cheese squeezes in his stubby-fingered grasp.
“I will have such stories to tell.”