This here is Brad, Brad Pike to be specific. I think the last time I saw Brad was in Zimbabwe at my farewell party before I left Zimbabwe. I was indulging myself in a couple of frothy tops in Rob De Ridder's lounge when Brad was leaving the party. I heard his truck start up and then a metallic thud as he reversed into someone. I started to laugh until someone in the room said "I don't know what you're snickering at, it was your car he just drove into."
Well that shut me up PDQ. As to the car, the damage was insignificant and a couple of weeks later the vehicle was written off when a fully grown Doberman sauntered into the road when I was driving home. Sadly things didn't turn out so peachy for the Doberman either. At the time I was livid for all the wrong reasons (IE the car being totalled) but looking back I just feel sorry for the dog. Insurance paid up for the vehicle and that in turn paid for my ticket to the UK and everything seems to have fallen into place for a reason. Unless of course you were a doberman whose moronic owners proved incapable of keeping you off a busy road.
Brad in the interim had moved to Australia and set up a new life with his family there, working mostly out of Chiang Mai in Thailand as part of the tobacco trade and travelling between Australia and Thailand for work and family reasons. Needless to say when we knew that we were making this trip emails were sent and luckily our timing co-incided with his and one Friday night we met up and things got a bit messy. We commenced play at the Un-Irish Bar and ended up at Spiceys, a late night joint that sells beer and plays bad music I am told. Between the two venues I could have been taken to Timbuktu for all I know.
The fun did not end here. A couple of nights later we went to watch some Muay Thai and lost all our bets through a combination of picking bad fighters and a very apparent and unsubtle amount of fight fixing that seemed to be taking place. I bumped into one of the fighters later, a behemoth of an Irish fellow who had been ahead on points and then just quit at the end of the second round. Literally. He just heaved his shoulders and dropped out of the fight. He was half way through munching a hot dog at Mikes Kithchen when I saw him.
"What happened" I cried, "you were doing so well, you were ahead on points."
"An old time injury started playing up" he winced.
"But you were ahead on points" I exclaimed, exasperated.
"Thanks," he said somewhat sheepishly.
"Thanks?!!!!! Thanks? I had money on you, you great poltroon," I wanted to cry. I say "wanted" as he was quite large both up and across and mean looking and I suspect that if I goaded him too much he might suddenly forget his old injury and decided to engage me in mortal combat.
The most alarming thing about the Muay Thai was not the rampant match fixing though. It was the fact that out of six fights three involved little kids of about eight, pounding each other with everything that they had. And the crowd loved it! If I put something like this up on Youtube then I would be sent to gaol, but it happens here three times a week.
A third time out with Brad ended prematurely when I ran away (to be fair Nipun was very unwell having picked up a dodgy tummy) early, but I still felt deathly the next day. But that aside this is meant to be about Mr Pike, who quotes Shakespeare when he drinks ("Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war") and inisists on picking up bar tabs that are not his. So thanks Brad, and when we hopefully see you in the UK it will be on us. But I suspect that there will time for a few more catch up sessions between now and Monday when we leave. So please, let us pay this time! Oh, and any chance of a new liver?