Don’t Talk to Strangers/A Case of Mistaken Identity
By Jean Grojean ©
When I was growing up my parents often told us not to talk to strangers.
After traveling for 24 plus hours on the train from Singapore to Bangkok we finally arrived in Bangkok Thailand! This was our first trip into this exotic fascinating Asian country and city.
We were very excited! We checked into our hotel and ate Lobster Thermidor which at that time was only $3.50 and that was the most expensive dish on the menu! Most of the dishes were one to two dollars! I was in love! Wow! We would be eating a lot of lobster as well as all of the other very delicious spicy Thai food. The choices were endless.
After eating we decided to rest and relax while swimming in our hotel pool. With a Mai Thai in hand we had truly arrived in paradise! Life was good and exciting.
My partner wanted to go the bank and I decided to stay and relax. The last thing he said to me was “don’t talk to strangers”. He knew very well, that in some of our
previous travels to other foreign places, I had, immediately engaged with strangers leading us into some, shall we say, interesting and at times precarious situations.
Well, his warning did not stay with me for very long. Anyone that knows me, would tell you that his request of me would not hold for any length of time!
On my way back up to our room I did talk with someone in the hallway. He was a Thai. He asked me some questions. Where was I from, was this my first time in Bangkok and Thailand, something about palm trees and numbers of palm trees and a few other trivial things. I didn’t think anything of it.
Some time passed as we relaxed in our room and sat on our balcony overlooking the pool with more Mai Thais in hand. We really felt that we had arrived in paradise. Great weather, amazing food and drinks – what could possibly go wrong?!
Suddenly there was a knock on our door. Who could that be? Maybe a hotel maid? We hadn’t requested anything or ordered room service. I opened the door. The Thai man that I had met and spoken with earlier in the hallway, was now at our door. He stepped inside of
our room, closing the door behind him, which both of us thought, was weird.
He had something under the front of his shirt. He reached under his shirt and began to bring something out. What was it?! What could it possibly be?! To our utmost surprise and then horror, it was a rectangular shape package covered in brown paper that he, immediately cut a slice through the top, revealing white powder. Lots of white powder. Thailand is known for heroin ….
Yah …. sooo we were now in a very dangerous difficult situation ….. possibly and most likely a death situation – our lives began flashing before us … our hearts beating rapidly … we immediately sobered up from our earlier indulgence of consuming probably too many Mai Thais …..
The Thai man registered the shock and horror and absolute fear on our faces. He realized at that moment we were NOT the people he thought we were, regardless, of the fact, that I HAD accidently answered a secret code in my earlier conversation with him.
Now he had to decide what to do … we saw his face. He had a very large sharp Thai knife with him – the one he
had used to open the package with earlier. Western tourists were often found dead in hotel rooms in Bangkok. Many came here to take drugs …. In particular heroin. He could kill us and leave some of the evidence behind. This was in the early 1980’s and it happened all of the time. Even famous American actors had died in hotel rooms here in Bangkok, with a heroin overdose being cited as the cause of their death.
I, being a survivor, and being able to think quickly on my feet said “ohhh …. Actually we were looking for marijuana”! At this time in Thailand marijuana was also very illegal and basically a death sentence of rotting in a Thai prison for twenty years or more. I knew I had to give him something to have on us …. After all, we definitely had something on him. Miracles of miracles, it worked. He put his “package” away, smiled and left our room.
Forty-five minutes later there was another knock on our door.
We looked at each other – would we be stabbed when we opened the door?! Were the assassins sent to take care of the job?! Even worst, would it be the police who
would take all of our money, beat us up and throw us in a Thai jail for the rest of our lives?!
Much to my relief when I opened the door this time, it was the same Thai man, with a smile on his face and something, under his shirt. He came into our room, reached under his shirt and brought out a big piece of bamboo. Inside of the bamboo was marijuana tightly stuffed filling up the entire piece of bamboo. We smiled and he smiled as he said 300 Baht. My partner gladly paid him the 300 Baht. He took the money smiled and left.
It took us days to flush that marijuana down the toilet. We had never seen so much marijuana and were really scared we would plug the toilet up or that someone would hear us flushing the toilet so much. We decided to just put the rest of it up in the bathroom ceiling after removing a panel and then putting it back.
We then checked out of that hotel as I remembered what my parents had tried to teach me many years ago when I was young, “don’t talk to strangers”.
Don’t Talk to Strangers/A Case of Mistaken Identity
© Jean Grojean 07/22/2023
The Siskiyou Writers’ Club is a local group of folks with a passion for creative writing of all genres. We generally meet the last Thursday of the month in various locations throughout Siskiyou County. Our next meeting will be Thursday, August 31, 2023, 5:00 PM, at the YMCA in Yreka.
For more information about the club, contact Bob Kaster, 530-598-5204, email [email protected]
or Mike Grifantini, 530-710-4882, email [email protected].
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