Prising apart the soft pink flesh with my fingertips as I pressed it close against my lips, the dragonfruit burst suddenly revealing its secret inner fleshiness. Juices spilled freely down over my chin and neck staining my shirt. Few things were as evocative of the mysterious Asian southeast as its bountiful bizarre and utterly exotic array of fruits. Once a fruit had been an apple or an orange or maybe even a peach now surveying the enormous fruit bowl at the poolside bar I had a choice between the luscious mangosteen, the bitter sweetness of vermilion tinged spiky rambutan, or might I dare the infamous pungency of the “King of fruits” the durian. Oozing with juice and dripping in the heat, I thought to myself, it never actually said it was an apple, perhaps, although the Dragonfruit of Original Sin didn’t have quite the same ring to it.
My favorite, picking out a fresh young coconut, the bar girl hacked away savagely with a machete exposing the milky clear juices within. Waiting, I scanned the bar, the usual array of lost souls populated this Eden of the fallen. A weird mix of white kids with dreads who can play that one Bob Marley song on a guitar glowering in righteous indignation at a smattering of beer bellied middle-aged geezers with beautiful young lithe-limbed locals. Rootless and rudderless I’d drifted to this aeolian isle of damned, a beach bum kite boarder hangout on Vietnam’s southern hook and the wrong side of paradise, Mui ne was about as far from the sort of travel I had originally envisioned as I been so far.
Rising, the moon was high now and the strong gusts fleeing the typhoon out on the South China Sea set the palm trees lining the beach swaying in unison giving the night a frantic harried atmosphere. Soft sands kicked up from the beach filtered in and scattered across the white marble floors.
Delicately balancing my coconut, skirting around the barside pool I made to the cushioned seated area overlooking the sea where Andy was sitting with the latest addition to our entourage a young doe-eyed French girl of barely twenty named Sophia. We had found Sophia wandering alone in the foothills of Dalat. Her family had once owned a plantation in Vietnam before the war, she had returned here now alone chasing some fantasy of a past she had never known. Given the vast multitudes of freaks, weirdos and miscellaneous hungry wantful creatures I’d encountered wandering the earth, I was glad that we were the worst things that she’d met.
Reclining back against the purple velvet, striking a matching and cupping it from the wind, I lit a cigar and signaled to Sophia, “looks like we’re in for some entertainment tonight…….”
Mickey danced every night at the Sankara bar in Mui ne. A passerby on the street outside looking in would see her silhouetted beyond the shimmering oasis of the pool bathed in the cool blues and greens of the soft mood lighting, twisting and gyrating with her eyes half closed as if in wild rapturous trace to the music. With long luscious black hair tumbling down over her bare slight shoulders, with her beguiling brown softly oval eyes in the impassioned heat of the night many man could be forgiven for making the mistake.
Already she had caught the eye of two Russian skinheads who’d been drinking vodka by the beach all day. We looked on watching in bemusement as the Russians staggering onto the dance floor began circling in ever tightening spirals like sharks closing on a kill. The bouncers too had caught wind to something afoot, realising the danger they began shifting uneasily, signaling for backup. Puffing on my cigar I sat observing from the shadows. Soon the whole scene was awash with muscular heavily tattooed men fanning outward in concentric circles surrounding one semi naked Vietnamese girl who, seemingly oblivious to the threat had now dropped to ground, and with impressive agility, balancing on her fingertips and stilettos began thrusting her hips repeated upwards in a rather unambiguous fashion – blood in the water, I chuckled softly to myself. as she stood up pouncing in a pincer like movement one of the skinheads towered over her from the front whilst the other, encircling her narrow hips with his enormous hands began grinding hard into her from behind. Uncaring and in reckless wild abandon with her arms raised towards the heaven she continued writhing sandwiched between her two pursuers. Word had quickly begun to spread around the bar and small groups of onlookers had begun to gather, pointing and laughing – adding fuel to what was already a dangerous and incendiary situation. It was only a matter of minutes before one of the thugs ground up a little too closely on Mickey sending the spark which would blow the lid on this powder keg.
Chomping down on my cigar, I chuckled softly to myself, this was about to get interesting…………