ŝāy thalwng s̄ị̂ (ซ้ายทะลวงไส้) “The Left Hand That Drills Intestines”

The following is made up of the first few newsletters I wrote in 2002 for The Thai Food Eating Society, of which I had been a member. A group of us would get together once a week and eat Thai food. We had matching team shirts made. These newsletters were written before I had discovered my voice as a writer. I was basically copying Hunter S. Thompson. In fact, I’ll highlight words and phrases that were either influenced by or lifted directly from him. The title of this essay is the moniker of the greatest Thai boxer of all time, Khaosai Galaxy. 

The night was cold. I paced back and forth in front of the restaurant while the rest of the team stretched and cajoled each other about the task ahead of them. I stared through the window and made eye contact with some poor bastard who happened to get in my line of vision. He sensed that he had no business being in the restaurant anymore and quickly asked for the check. I cracked my knuckles and turned around to survey the landscape. The rest of the team was scattered about each dealing with the situation in his their way. The feeling amongst all of us was one of paranoid schizophrenia. Who the hell were these other people that kept us waiting outside of the field of play for so long? I looked over at “The Slot Receiver” and saw the veins in his neck were pulsating. There’s nothing in the world so vile than a man in the depths of a pad Thai binge and we were about to get into that stuff pretty soon. Han the waiter came out and said they had cleared a section for us. Once seated, a waitress came over and stifled a nervous laugh. She was so intimidated she took our orders on her hand. In retrospect, it was probably for the best, as the order was now tattooed on her person. For the rest of the evening, her hand would be inscribed with Chicken Pad Thai, BBQ beef, and Duck. Before the restaurant knew what hit them, we were already running up the score. I placed a savory morsel in my mouth. Two days from Shabbos, and already I had that good feeling going. I felt like The Bodysnatcher digging left hooks into the midsection of some no-good pimp. Who did we think we were, Tiger Tong Po reincarnate? No, that would be blasphemy. But we were certainly approaching that status. About a half an hour in, and I felt like Randall Tex Cobb staring across a sea of delicious dishes at Larry Holmes. I knew I was outgunned, but damn it, I was going down fighting. Silverware flashed, teeth were dripping with the flesh of duck and snapper. 

Life outside the Thai food eating society was overrun by no good pimps; a savage and desolate land where decent men are whipped like lame mules. After dinner, I had plans to go home and bathe in Tsing Tsao for a little while. Upon pouring the 38th bottle into the basin, I  would come to the realization this was indeed the only way to cleanse. I would soak in the tub for what seemed like hours. It had become my chamber of solace outside the restaurant. None of these pimps could penetrate its sanctity, and I had the spirit of Tiger Tong Po protecting me on the astral plane. 

Earlier in the day, I had emailed Crazy Legs Conti, the competitive eater, who said he’d be interested in joining us should it work out with his schedule. Slowly my fingers began to prune, and I could feel myself getting drunk through osmosis. I began to have daydreams of certain turning points. Like David Lee Roth once said it’s the simple pleasures in life we must seek out. Thai food is one of them. – Andrew, 2002

Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His other work can be found in links on his website: asdavie.wordpress.com

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