Correspondence, December 18-19, 2001
The 2001 AGM of the Patpong Corkscrew Club is only 24 hours away!1 All else pales next to this: NEWNES, Wescott's saints, IN OUR PAGES: 100, 75 AND 50 YEARS AGO, the toothsome offerings of the Thiers-Bense woman, Morton's darkroom work ... none of this means anything by comparison.
A few days ago (Dec. 14th) we noted Amundsen's footstep on the South Pole,2 Sir Francis Drake's start of his voyage around the world (only last Thursday), and ... just the day before yesterday, the crushing of Zulu King Dingaan by the Boers. Yesterday, of course, was the 98th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight. Does any of that really matter?3 No! What looms large for us today are the efforts of Bull and Helgir to reach Patpong in time for the AGM. May God speed them on their way.But, it is their words ... their tales that ... well, speak for themselves:
Date: 12/17/2001 7:35:19 PM SE Asia Standard Time
I know you are going to find this hard to believe but I have had an amazing journey to Europe. Bernie managed to get me on a plane from Reykjavik at 6AM Icelandic Time. The plane was a supersonic F-69 and was bound for Ramstein Air Base. We arrived at 9AM German time. Now comes another unbelievable coincidence. We got out of the plane and the pilot spotted an old friend of his. He introduced me to his friend, Romanian Count Vladimer Antonescu. It turns out that the Count had just purchased a plane and wanted company on his trip to Bucharest. So off we went. It is now 2:30PM and I'm off to visit the Count's home.
Subj: Corkscrews in Romania
Date: 12/18/2001 12:43:33 AM SE Asia Standard Time
The past five hours have been a real treat. The count took me to his home and there I met his nephew Alexandru who was playing in the cellar with ... would you believe? ... a corkscrew collection. Alexandru collects only Romanian corkscrews and got started when he bought a collection that had been hustled out of the country during the 1989 revolution. He says he got it in Prague from a Czech waiter. He also owns the only know example of a Ceaucescu's Coaxer which is similar in some respects to my Read's Coaxer but has a T handle. And! - remember my Crucifix? I think you have a picture of it somewhere on your website. Well, Alexandru has exactly the same one. I thought mine was unique. Now we know that it is a production item and is of Romanian origin.
Alexandru was quite intrigued when I told him about the PCC. He has formed the Romanian Corkscrew Preservation Society (RCPS) and would entertain the idea of a joint meeting at some time in the future if you're game. I am pleased to say that he has granted me an honorary membership.
Now the really good news. Alexandru deals in non-alcoholic Romanian wines and a client, a Kuwaiti Sheik just ordered 50 cases for immediate delivery. Alexandru will be taking them to Kuwait tonight on his private jet and I have been invited to join him. So that is a relief - another leg of my journey will begin in about an hour - a 1590 mile flight.
P.S. Pic of the Count's home attached. More pix to follow.
Subj: Arrived in Kuwait
Date: 12/18/2001 5:00:40 AM SE Asia Standard Time
Alexandru's jet plane was marvelous. What a smooth ride. We didn't even stir the sediment in the Romanian non-alcoholic wine.
The Sheik met us at the airport with his entourage and we loaded the wine into his Humvee. Alexandru had to fly home and the Sheik invite me to spend the night as long as I didn't get into his Harem (all I could do was dream about them). I really wanted to be on best behavior for this was one helluva a nice Sheik. He is Sheik Billie Bob Jones and says he was so named 'cause his mother and father met while attending a college in South Carolina. I'm not sure I get the connection but so be it.
On the way to his home we were able to see the city towers and lights in the beautiful Kuwaiti night sky.
It's late, I'm tired and I've still got a long way to go before I get to Bangkok. Tomorrow morning I'll check on commercial flights. I've been darn lucky so far doing this on the cheap. I wanted to save money for treats for the Patpongettes but I don't see an alternative now but to bite the bullet and buy a ticket.
Subj: Help, I am misled.
Date: 12/18/2001 6:20:01 AM SE Asia Standard Time
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, FerdPeters@hetnet.nl, email@example.com
HELP ALF, I AM MISLED !
I was told that the Patpong Corkscrew Club decided to move the forth coming AGM to your residence in Florida. I therefore called on my assistant 'Punch Butler' Nick to accompany me (he has a new punch recipe ready for me every evening). After a lot of complications because the pilot decided to have a break and visit his uncle in Buenos Aires, we finally arrived in Florida.
After waiting in your garden for two days, I decided to force myself into your house and see if something terrible might have happened to you. My assistant 'Punch Butler' Nick however stopped me from doing so.
After waiting for another day on our doorsteps, Nick lost patience and this time he tried to force his way in. We were stopped by a guard who asked what we were doing. We explained him the situation, where upon he informed us that we had been mislead my enemies of The Right Honourable 'Mirth' Don Bull. The Patpong Corkscrew Club was to hold it's coming AGM in Kabul. The reason was that the 'Special Task Force' in Afghanistan has hired you to fly the Screwballoon with a basket full of pretty girls to the Tora Bora mountains in the hope that Bin Laden might be tempted to come out of one of his caves. We understood this serious situation, and decided to join you immediately in Kabul. We first decided to go back to Oslo, flying over Sydney but unfortunately my 'Punch Butler' Nick was kidnapped on our way. I am sending a picture showing us in happier days. Nick is the handsome young man to the left. If anyone sees or recognizes Nick please contact my friend Ferd Peters immediately.
Alas I am now stranded back in Oslo again with no one to make my evening punch. Nick promised he would make a special punch for us in Kabul, called The Artillery Punch. I guess we will have to wait until he turns up. I am continuously getting information about the where about of The Right Honourable 'Mirth' Don Bull. Are these falsely being planted by his enemies?
I would be pleased to me informed of what to do next.
Helgir Gees Solheim
1 There is an excellent chance that the 'freshest' members of the Patpong Corkscrew Club (Gift, Ohmy and Amma) will be so excited by their very first AGM that they will want to frolic in front of the camera. This will probably result in total frontal nudity ... and other things. If you wish to see the girls in such a playful mood you can ask for the password. Otherwise, you can be secure in the knowledge that nothing more offensive than a Hollweg's patent or a Williamson will fill your eye.
2 NEWNES' entries for December 14th and 16th for the year 1911 are curious. I shall print them in their entirety, without emendations or editorial asides; leaving it to the reader to make his own judgment.
3 Though I didn't actually mention Drake's start from Plymouth ... nor did I say anything about the events at Kitty Hawk ... NEWNES noted them. I mean, they did happen.
PS The cable traffic from the Middle East continues. But, I'm not sure what to make of this latest thing from "Mirth" Bull. Has something become unhinged in his mind? He is so close (in hours) to the great AGM at Patpong ... .and yet so far away (in miles). Should this worry us? His pen keeps screaming "Phuket". Is this a clever way of telling us to "fuck it"? The Washington Monument ... .the hormonal teen years ... the Thai girl who spoke no English4 ... the "burger, fries and coke"5 ... all those books on corkscrews ... capped with this repetitive use of "Phuket"6 ... what does it tell us????
And then there is the cable from Don's wife ... the long-suffering Bonnie. Did she really write it ... or, are we seeing the creation of a clever alibi? Does this bring us full-circle to those teen age years, the towering Washington Monument, the Thai girl who spoke no English and ... .yes ... the "Phuket"?7
Date: 12/18/2001 10:58:01 AM SE Asia Standard Time
Kuwait, December 18, 8AM (I think that is noon Bangkok time - not much time before the PCC meeting).
When I was seventeen and a half, I went on a field trip to Washington, D.C. While admiring the Washington monument in the evening light, I met a Thai girl who was also quite enamored with that solid monument reaching to the sky. I invited her out for a burger, fries and a coke using hand signals for we had no other common language. Halfway through the meal, she leaned over and whispered in my ear "Phuket, Phuket." Not knowing Thai, I didn't know what she meant. Was that her name? Some food she wanted? What could it be? Again she whispered "Phuket." I shrugged my shoulders and she simply got up and left while loudly saying "Phuket!"
The next day, I picked up a Thailand tour guide in a book store. I didn't find the term "Phuket" under language listings, so I looked in the index and I learned it was a beautiful island in the south of Thailand. I now knew that that Thai girl was telling me where she lived. I dreamed for years of going there. Perhaps I would meet here there.
Alf, you know how dreams can come true? I think one has! This morning at 7AM (Kuwait) there was this most horrible commotion outside the door to the harem room where I had found a place to sleep, what little sleep there was. The Sheik was in the hall screaming "Phuket! Phuket!" He banged on the door and I grabbed a sarong and went to face the music. I opened the door and once again the Sheik said "Phuket!" I was nervous as hell.
Then another Sheik came down the hall. It was was Sheik Billie Bob's brother Sheik Bobbie Joe. He told me to relax and he had great news. Sheik Billie Bob had told him about my corkscrew addiction and my urgent need to get to Bangkok for the PCC meeting. Then I learned the most wonderful thing. Sheik Bobbie Joe and his family were planning to leave within a short time for their vacation in Thailand and they could give me a lift. They were going to Phuket and, at last, I was going to PHUKET!
Now all I have to do is how to get from Phuket to Bangkok.
Hoping to see you soon.
Subj: Re: Help, I am misled.
Date: 12/18/2001 11:05:19 AM SE Asia Standard Time
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, Corkscrew@aol.com, email@example.com
In his absence, I am answering Don's email. Yes, rest assured that he is indeed on his way to Bangkok and the PCC meeting. Before he left he told me that Bangkok is an untapped resource for corkscrews and he is so looking forward to finding some great screws while he is there. I have heard stories that there may be a few sinful places (dens of iniquity as we used to say) in Bangkok but I feel confident that Alf will look after him and guide him on a righteous path.
It was nice to see you and Anna at the ICCA meeting in Florida.
4 Many Patpong girls have a 'working' knowledge of English that is almost totally limited to asking your name, where you are from, how long you will be in Bangkok, can they have a drink, and do you want to fuck them. Admittedly, this is about all the English that the client wants to hear anyway.
5 Bull's use of the noncapitalized: "coke" for Coke is suggestive.
6 "Phuket" is used 11 times. Count them.
7 Many months ago when those of us at corkscrew-balloon.com started the search for an Asian model we posted a photograph of Miss Chopsticks. Do you remember her? She was from Taipei ... a pig dresser by trade. Anyway, within days of her photograph appearing on our 'wanted' page Don "the Mirth" Bull sent us a photograph of another Asian girl. Is there a connection between this girl and the one who said "Phuket"?
PPS Dear reader, the clock now says only 16 hours remain before the gavel must clang open the first AGM of the Patpong Corkscrew Club. Since my dinner hour tonight, the following cable traffic has pushed its way to the front of all other stuff on my computer screen. You, oh faithful follower, are going to be able to read all of it as it rolls across the page; at the exact same time that I see it ... raw and uncensored.
Subj: a package arrived.
Date: 12/18/2001 6:06:19 PM SE Asia Standard Time
To: FerdPeters@hetnet.nl, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr Erickson,
A package arrived for Nick today (Federal Express from Bangkok) with Nicks PCC Membership and Singlet, but we haven't seen Nick for a while.
The last we heard he was making 'Punch Concoctions for Helgir and was then heading to off to track down Don Mirth-Right and in particular a cute 'farmers daughter'.
We haven't seen or heard from anything from him since. (We hope he hasn't been abducted!!!!!)
Bob & Sue Hunt (concerned parents)
Subj: Praise the Lord
Date: 12/18/2001 7:10:15 PM SE Asia Standard Time
Just a quick note to tell you that I have arrived in Phuket!
Subj: On my way to Bangkok
Date: 12/18/2001 7:52:44 PM SE Asia Standard Time
I said my goodbyes to the Sheik and then I found the food court. It was so nice to find some normal food. There was a McDonald's, a Burger King, a KFC and more. I wolfed down a corn dog and finished with a TCBY ginger flavor yogurt. It was time to complete the final leg of my trip - on to Bangkok.
As I approached the Thai Airways ticket counter, memories of my field trip to D.C. immediately came to mind. Standing behind the counter was that same girl I met forty years ago. I recognized her gold necklace which seems to have had a couple of rings added to it. She had not aged well but, nevertheless, the dream of seeing her again had been realized. I walked up to counter and she looked up. She seemed stunned. I knew she recognized me. We then had this conversation:
Miss Phuket: YES! (She had learned English)
Don: I want to go from Phuket to Bangkok.
Miss Phuket: Oh, I see, you mean to say "Phoooket."
Don (thinking back fifty years): Phuket, Phoooket, whatever.
Miss Phuket: Yes, and now you want to Phuket?
Don: No I want to go to Bangkok.
Miss Phuket: That's what I wanted to do forty years ago.
Don: You wanted to go to Bangkok, Thailand?
With that she screamed "Phuket," left her post, ran down the hall, and stopped at the corn dog stand.
I mused in a montypythonesque mood ... Phuket ... Phoooket ... Bangkok ... fifty years of my life were running fast forward through my mind and it was all coming together. I was beginning to fully understand the meaning of life. And suddenly I rewound back in the 60s when I was studying Russian language and literature. The words from Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground loomed before me:
"I don't understand a damn thing about my sickness; I'm not even too sure what it is that's ailing me. I'm not under treatment and never have been ... I don't expect you to understand that, but it's so. Of course, I can't explain whom I'm trying to fool this way ... Do you think I'm trying to make you laugh? Then you've got me wrong again. I'm not the cheerful fellow you think I am."
and later he says:
"I will admit that reason is a good thing. No argument about that. But reason is only reason, and it satisfies man's natural requirements ... I, for instance, instinctively want to live, to exercise all the aspects of life in me and not only reason, which amounts to perhaps one-twentieth of the whole."
So what's it all about Alfie?
Well Alf, it's about this whole great adventure and reaching a goal. Attending the first PCC meeting in Bangkok. We corkscrew collectors are so many yet I fear that few will attend or even attempted to. That goes beyond reason. So, Alf, as this chapter of my journey comes to a close, I shall with great joy look forward to seeing you, Watcharee, Amma, Gift, Ohmy, and Yourjoy. I will be there.
On that note, Alf, I lay down my pen. It is time for me to rest and enjoy my stay in Bangkok and the PCC meeting. As our supreme leader, it is only right that you seize the pen and record the events of the coming days.
Subj: The train to Bangkok
Date: 12/18/2001 8:53:09 PM SE Asia Standard Time
I'm taking the train and while waiting, I have been re-reading my faithful Dostoyevsky companion. In his The Dream of a Ridiculous Man: A Fantasy he writes:
"I'm a ridiculous man. Now they call me a madman. That would be a promotion if I weren't just as ridiculous as before in their eyes. But it no longer makes me angry. I find them all nice now, even when they laugh at me--indeed, if they do, they're somehow particularly dear to me. I'd even laugh with them--not really at myself but out of sheer love for them--if looking at them didn't make me so sad. Sad, because they don't know the truth, while I do. Ah, it's so hard to be the only one to know the truth! But they won't understand it. No, they won't."
Too bad he's dead. He would have been an ideal PCC member.
Subj: Re: a package arrived.
Date: 12/18/2001 9:05:13 PM SE Asia Standard Time
Bob & Sue,
In his absence, I am answering Don's email. I'm sure Nick and Helgir are on the right track and will soon turn up in Bangkok. As I responded to Helgir, when he sent out his call: "I have heard stories that there may be a few sinful places (dens of iniquity as we used to say) in Bangkok but I feel confident that Alf will look after him and guide him on righteous path." I'm sure Alf will look after Nick and Helgir as well.
Rest easy and don't worry,
PPPS - WE WELCOME THE ARRIVAL OF DON "THE MIRTH" BULL
Is this a bad omen, or is it not? I mean, today is the day of the Patpong Corkscrew Club's very first AGM.
Last night, while on the way to my favorite Thai massage parlor, a man pressed this little booklet into my hand. Well, he was handing these things out to everyone ... Thai people got it in the Thai language and we farangs got it in English. I didn't look at it until this morning ... I figured it was just a promotional coupon book for KFC, or one of the other fine Patpong dining spots.
Can it be that J.C. himself is getting really personally involved in this ... .like in a very big way? I truly hope that His 'concern' has nothing to do with our little AGM. Perhaps it is limited to Don Bull's dubious-taste crucifix corkscrew. If so, the smiting will ... pray to God ... be highly focused. But, I'm a little worried about 'friendly fire' and 'collateral damage'. When the Lord gets pissed there is always a chance for a bit of overkill.1
1 Remember the big flood; everything except Noah and a few animals went. Poof! Just like that.
PS Ning says we should not worry too much about this Jesus thing as Thailand is a Buddhist country. Whew! But, if "Mirth" Bull is still somewhere in His jurisdiction ... well ...
PPS This final cable just came in from Bull (as you can see, no longer a very "mirthful" Bull); again, I am leaving you with raw and uncensored stuff ... but, before I do: I am off to Patpong, I shall not cringe:
Subj: Re: Jesus steps in
Date: 12/19/2001 11:19:43 AM SE Asia Standard Time
I think the answer lies near the end of Dostoyevsky's Dream of a Ridiculous Man:
"I've seen the Truth. I've seen it, and I know that men can be happy and beautiful without losing the ability to live on earth. I cannot--I refuse to believe that wickedness is the normal state of men. And when they laugh at me, it is essentially at that belief of mine. But how can I not have faith, since I've seen Truth? I didn't arrive at it with my intellect; I saw it in its entirety, and it is inconceivable that it could not exist. So how can I lose my path? Of course, I may wander off it a few more times and speak in alien words perhaps, but it'll never be for long: the vivid picture of what I saw in my dream will always guide me and correct my course. Ah, I'm fresh and cheerful, and I can go on like for another thousand years."
and later he adds ...
"But here's something that those who laugh at me cannot see. They say 'So he had a dream, a hallucination.' Well, is that really such a wise objection? Why are they so proud of it? A dream. What's a dream? And what's life if it isn't a dream? And I may say, moreover: 'All right, suppose it never happens, let's say paradise will never come about I know myself it won't'..."
Alf, with that in mind, was it all a dream, a hallucination? Yes, your readers may think so. But, Alf, you and I know the Truth. And the Truth is a scary thing. The flyer you received today indeed evidences that. I have no choice but to get the hell out of Bangkok. To get the hell out of Thailand. My regrets to you and to the Patpongettes that I will miss the first annual meeting of the PCC. But you do know and you do understand. Please apologize to all for me and remember that I will be with you all in spirit.
I will be in touch once I am home in the safety and comfort of Greater Wirtz.
Again my apologies - you and the Patpongettes will be in prayers. Through the man outside your massage parlor, God has spoken and we know these Truths.
P.S. I had some photos taken of me at a Kiosk in the heart of Patpong. I was dressed for the meeting. Go to the KFC and ask Reynaldo for them. He'll need a few Baht.