Total, complete, utter nincompoops.
I swear I am surrounded by orangutans disguised in blue jeans and plaid shirts cause it can't humanly be possible to be this stupid in life and not managed to have gone completely extinct by now. And what exact atrocity am I talking about?
The world ending event that I was finally moving into an apartment all by myself for the very first time cause my brother Sol, who has been practically attached to my hip for the past 26 years, suddenly decided he wanted to shower his benevolence onto the world by moving to Uganda for a year to be a traveling nurse. Suddenly leaving me rather brotherless and definitely very apartmentless.
And that leads us directly to my current predicament of stupidity cause the geniuses I have hired to move my life's belonging just asked me which room should they put my king sized four poster bed in a one bedroom apartment. And while I was still grappling with the sheer asininity of that question, his Einstein of a partner just placed my armchair in the kitchen.
What's next? Dining table in the bathroom? Closet in the pantry? Where does the madness even end? Suddenly I don't feel too heartbroken about having cursed at them approximately six hundred and fifty three times in the past two days.
Breathing an exhausted sigh of relief when they had finally left my sanctuary I plopped down on the couch currently half lodged somewhere between the hallway and the balcony, my trusty and apparently the only loyal companion, my dog, Chocolate curling up next to me as I grumbled under my breath, cause of course I did. Grumbling having become my character trait now apparently. But in my defense I couldn't really help that the collective IQ of the world had been steadily declining. That, or there was a conspiracy to annoy the crap out of me through utter incompetence.
And just as I was reaching the crescendo of my own private whining party all of a sudden I heard the buzz of the doorbell.
Who the fuck was it now?
Can't the man just sit in peace and be a grouch to his heart's content for five freaking minutes?
Apparently not, cause whoever it was on the other side of the door obviously had their finger super glued to the bell button cause the entire time it took me to stumble across the room, hitting every possible box strewn about haphazardly, the ringer had not stopped buzzing for one damn second. Pressing the intercom button, keeping the actual door very much still shut, I bent low to speak near the microphone to the annoyance currently interrupting me impersonating the dwarf lovingly known as Grumpy.
"Ummm...is this apartment 131?"
"I already know my address genius, the question is who the fuck are you?"
"Oh, I am Kongpob."
"Is that name supposed to mean anything to me?"
"Uh, I hope so, since I was hired to be here today."
"Hired? I don't think so buddy. You have the wrong address or something. Move along now."
What I tell you about incompetence? Here we see it once again on full display.
"Wait, wait, wait, are you Arthit Rojnapat?"
"What the fuck? How do you know my name?"
Ok, now that was freaky. I had literally just moved in less than an hour ago. Don't tell me scammers worked that fast. Can we please move back to ineptitude please.
"I already told you I was hired to be here. So as I was saying..."
"And I already told you I haven't hired anyone to do anything. Now you better get your ass away from my door before I call the cops."
"Woah, dude what is your problem? I am just..."
"My problem, dude, is that there is some creepster haunting my front door when I specifically mentioned no one was hired for anything. If you don't bugger that butt away from here I might have to introduce you to a whole new world of pain I am sure you aren't familiar with."
That sounded believable right? Yeah, I am sure it did. Totally like the threat a skinny man who hasn't ever thrown a punch in his entirely life would make. Rolling my eyes at my own stupid words I pressed my ear closer to the intercom to hear the reaction from the potential scamster on the other side.
"Whatever, I am leaving. This is so not worth it anyway."
Thankfully, whoever that guy was obviously decided it wasn't worth sticking around trying to con this grumpy grandpa as I finally heard his footsteps stomping away in the hallway.
Releasing a sigh of relief, I replayed the brief conversation over and over again in my head, each iteration getting even more exaggerated as by the end of the fifteenth time I had thoroughly convinced my own traitorous brain that I had just survived a psychopath trying to mug me at gunpoint.
You think if I told Sol this version of the story he would agree to drop his stupid one year job and move back home with me?
Plotting some rather evil plans I tapped the floor with my cane, slowly, carefully, Chocolate perfectly guiding my steps I made my way towards my bedroom, wondering if it was even possible for me to survive living all on my own for the first time in 26 years after having been ruthlessly abandoned by my own twin brother.
Oh, and maybe I forgot to mention, I also happen to be blind.
I was born exactly four minutes prior to my twin brother Sol, and since the moment we first had our chubby bottoms slapped by the delivering doctor it was universally known that he had been blessed with the worse sense of smell there exists while my misfortune lay in the complete lack of sight. Fluttering my lids open that day in the hospital was possibly the most useless thing I have ever done. Well, that along with listening to Sol when we were 5, to squint really, really hard cause that always made him see better.
Yeah, no amount of squinting in my entire life has worked until now. It was official. I was blind as a bat. Wait, are bats even blind? They aren't, are they? Now who the fuck came up with this ridiculous analogy. See what I mean about the declining intellect of the human race.
Anyway, to get back on topic, I am rather incoherently trying to acquaint everyone with the knowledge of my complete and utter blindness. And one might assume being conventionally disabled and all that would have lent me at least some sympathy in life, right? Wrong!
Cause let me tell you, we humans are a particularly shitty species. Especially twelve year old boys, desperately trying to search for their first sprout of mustache hair, wanting to badly prove their machoness while bullying poor little helpless blind kids. And I swear my sole memory of school would have ended up being tasting swirlies in the gross boy's toilets, if I didn't come along with my own personal saviour, aka Sol.
To be honest, I had long since stopped even keeping track of all the noses he had broken. In fact by the time we strutted our asses to high school I was famously known as someone with a pet hulk, ready to be unleashed the moment my bottom lip quivered in pain.
What was truly shocking throughout our school life was that even after having never lifted a finger myself, I was the one who people correctly stamped as the grouchiest grouch on the planet. Where as Sol, having had gone through uncountable fractures, was still famous for his gentle and kind persona. In fact the weird combination of brawn and heart made him oddly the most popular guy to the opposite sex. He truly must thank me for just how spectacular his romantic life really was.
I, on the other hand, seemed to have an extremely interesting dating history. And by interesting I obviously meant a non-existent one. I mean, it's not really a walk in the park to stroll up to a chick I have literally never seen before and ask her to go smoochy-smoochy with me in some abandoned parking lot, is it? Hell, even a simple walk in the park wasn't a walk in the park for me at times. In fact I'm pretty sure the last date I have been on was when Sol set me up for a blind one, pun completely intended.
Slipping into the passenger seat as my 'date' picked me up, I distinctly remember feeling like a fistful of dead flowers were stuffed into my mouth as I kept choking on the saccharine sweet smell of her perfume.
And then there were her hands. Why the fuck were they so slimy? I mean salamander slimy. Like she had just gone for a scuba dive in fresh grease slimy. I literally had to hold her hands with both of mine to get a solid grip.
Or maybe I was actually holding on to them so tight cause they seemed to have this wayward habit of sliding up and down my thigh rather uninvitingly. Either she was an overly affectionate woman or I must be one hunky looking dude making her panties wet in all kinds of manners. It wasn't until after our rather mind numbingly boring dinner when instead of driving me home she decided to take us to the famous make out spot of our town, crawling her way out of her seat into my lap did I experience my very first kiss. Which was immediately followed by words I honestly never thought I would ever hear.
"Oh God! Kiss me. Kiss me harder. Ahh...blind guys turn me on so damn much."
Is that even a thing?
Apparently it is, cause to this day, other than some freakish blind dude fetish, I can't explain why that random girl was sucking off a guy she had literally just met as he awkwardly kept flailing his arms and poking her in the eye.
Was that one blowjob worth never wanting to date again? Hell no! But here we are, four years later, lying awake all night in a brand new apartment, staring blankly into the void. I wonder why I am reminiscing these random old memories. Perhaps I was missing Sol more than I was prepared to accept. Not that I would ever tell him that of course. But somehow lying in my lonely apartment I couldn't help but wonder how this coming year would shape up.
And just as I was about to dive into a pseudo pensive mood where I pretend to contemplate the so called mysteries of life, that annoying as hell doorbell rang again.
Now who was it?
Seriously, was the universe just conspiring against me to not allow a single second of peace?
My mood already plenty grumpy after having stayed up most of the night, I stabbed the intercom button none too happily, snapping my frustrations at the faceless stranger on the other side of the door.
"Is that seriously how you always answer the door?"
"You again? What was your name? Kong something."
"It's Kongpob. And yeah it's me again. Hi."
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
"Well, my boss made me come back. So, anyway about yesterday..."
"Made you? I don't see any strings tied on your limbs forcing you to walk up to my apartment and annoy the crap out of me."
Well, to be fair I couldn't see anything, but the man didn't need to know that.
"Unfortunately, for me my boss has figured out that holding my paycheck hostage is a lot more effective way to puppet me than strings. As I was saying, we got on the wrong foot yesterday so if we can..."
"Oh no, we got on exactly the foot that we should have, with mine firmly on this side of the door and yours marching away from my apartment. So can we please just get a repeat performance with you kindly buzzing the fuck off already."
And that's when I heard his exaggerated sigh of frustration. What the hell does he have to be frustrated about? It's me who has a creepster haunting his door trying to scam a supposed helpless man. Too bad for him, he doesn't know who he is up against.
"Seriously, Mr. Rojnapat, I really don't get what is your problem? You are the one who hired me after all. You have already paid for the month anyway."
"I have already paid for whatever you are selling?"
"I mean, I am not really selling anything but yeah, you have. That's why I don't understand why you keep trying to drive me away."
Eh? What new version of scamming was this?
"That's even better then. Now that you have been paid, let's just pretend our transaction is all done and complete and we can just go on about our day. Right? Good. So...bye, now."
"Well, you see it's only my second day on the job, and I am still on probation with you being my very first client."
"So I kind of have to please you enough to get you to sign up for next month too if I want to stay on the job."
Please me? What the fuck was he going on about?
"Listen here, Kong whatever, there will be no pleasing happening anywhere around here ever. Trust me, I'm as unpleasable as they come. Now are you planning to leave or should I..."
"No Mr. Rojnapat, I'm sure once you avail my services you will be thoroughly satisfied. I just need a chance to..."
But thankfully before he could continue haunting my door any longer his phone rang. Muttering under his breath something about how he was running late again, he slammed a hand against my door in frustration.
"Fine! I will just be back tomorrow."
As I heard him march away I finally let out a breath I hadn't even known I was holding in. I'm sure I don't need to explain why I'm not thrilled about strange men knocking on my door telling me they wanted to provide their services to me. Breathing a sigh of relief that he was finally gone I began wondering how I should deal with him come tomorrow when I suddenly remembered Sol's words when he had called last week. Something about a surprise to make up to me for leaving for so long.
My feet instantly halting as a strange realization sunk in.
Don't tell me that idiot hired me a... a hooker?
He wasn't a hooker. Not even close.
Of Course he wasn't.
Why the fuck that was my very first assumption is totally beyond me. It probably had something to do with his voice. Blind I may be, but the one thing I have honed perfectly well is definitely my hearing skills, and trust me when I say that even muffled through the close door one could easily tell that it was smooth as butter. You know the type that sends a tingle down your spine when that voice is whispering sweet nothings in your ear. A voice that obviously belonged to one who was an expert in the art of pleasure. A pleasure that I had obviously never ever experienced. Wait, is that why that was literally my first thought? What the fuck was I even talking about anymore? God alone knows, cause I feel I have gone slightly crazy.
And trust me Sol very much thought the same when I called to yell at him for his sick sense of a joke who couldn't stop laughing for a good 10 minutes at the mere thought that I had branded a poor innocent soul into a prostitute.
What he really turned out to be was a delivery boy. A grocery delivery boy to be more precise. Actually a little more of a personal shopper if you may call it that. Which if you think about it makes a much better surprise gift for a blind man left all by his lonesome than a hooker. Well, maybe.
So when the kid showed up outside my door once again the next day you bet your ass he got an earful for letting me get those wonky thoughts.
"You! Kong-something, why the fuck didn't you tell me you weren't a hooker?"
Except nothing but silence greeted me. Obviously when that happened I am more or less at a complete loss as to what the creature on the other side of the door was up to. Did the man not know my blind ass couldn't really read his expression through the intercom screen. Oh wait, he didn't.
“Hey! Cat got your tongue or something? Yesterday you had so much to say and today you are behaving like someone is mummifying your sound hole."
"Well, I was just wondering what sort of people normally come by your door that I need to introduce myself as Kongpob-the-non-hooker before you will even entertain what I have to say. Are there only those two categories or something else I need to be aware of too? Oh and just to be clear I am not a stripper, masseuse, or an exotic dancer either."
"Ha ha. Funny, funny. Mighty sharp mouth you got there, don't ya?"
"Obviously not sharp enough cause it took me three days to just get you to listen to me. Now before you get me fired in my very first week can we please get down to business. What all do you need me to buy for you?"
"Not so fast smarty pants."
"I need to verify you are who you say you are."
"I am Kongpob, the non-hooker. What more do you want? You can call the company and confirm I am the one they sent."
"Yes Einstein, I obviously already did that."
"So I need to know you are the infamous Kongpob ofcourse. Place a photo id in front of the camera please. Chop chop now. We don't have all day to save your job now do we?"
Dead silence was closely followed by a rather distinct mumbling of the boy who was wondering to himself what god he had offended in his past life to be stuck with a grouch like me. Well, at least he had my personality pegged perfectly, as I heard more rustling which was hopefully leading to him snapping out his wallet to follow my instructions.
Now obviously you are quite aware that the man could very well be turning around right this instant, bending over while dropping his pants to flash his potentially well rounded butt to the camera and I would really have no way of knowing. But you see since I am quite the stickler at having my blindness not be widely popularized now that my saviour has taken a sabbatical from protecting me from swindlers, this little charade was quite important. Hopefully, Mr. Kongpob, the non-hooker, would never really get the chance to discover the truth.
"Here. Happy now? Seriously man, I have never seen a more suspicious soul than you."
"Is that so? In that case I am quite at leisure right now. You can thank me to your heart's content for broadening your knowledge on human behaviours."
"Oh trust me I will be thanking you along with all your ancestors as soon as you sign up for the service next."
"Not just yet. We still need to see if your hands and feet are as competent as that mouth of yours."
"In that case, can we please get down to actual business please?"
"Alright, let's start. I need one large bag of sugar. The two pound one. Brand CTR. It must be..."
"Wait, wait, wait, aren't you going to even open the door?"
"Do I sound like someone who knows too many jokes."
"I guess not."
"So yes, sugar. As I was saying..."
"You are seriously going to talk through the intercom the entire time?"
"Obviously I don't want you distracted by my overwhelming beauty. This is all for your sake really. Now do you not want to get me some sugar or what? You keep interrupting me."
I swear what followed was the most pronounced sigh that could ever exist. I nearly felt his breath brushing against my skin even through the closed door, as he finally gave in to the terms of our exchange.
"Fine, fine. First thing is sugar. Next?"
"Oh no. Not just sugar. It has to be the two pound bag. It also needs to be from the brand CTR. The finely granulated one. I am not fond of chunks you see. Oh and also make sure there aren't any tiny rips or tears in the bag."
"You know what, Mr. Rojnapat, I am seriously rethinking the non-hooker part as a side job. Anyway, one non-ripped, finely granulated, two pound sugar bag from CTR. What's next?"
I must be honest, it was a rather unexpectedly enjoyable experience ordering someone else to go attend to my shopping needs. Especially since Sol, who normally did grocery shopping with me, was probably the most careless consumer ever.
Now I know I come off as an annoying stickler with a rather thick rod up my butt, but guess what a blind man living alone is in desperate need of? You might be tempted to say CTR brand sugar, but the correct answer obviously is consistency. There are only so many times a man can mistakenly brew red chilli powder instead of tea before he learns to recognize the feel of each container by the mere brush of his fingers.
And turns out, a loud mouth this Kongpob fellow might be, but at least he was good at following instructions. Cause that evening when I went through the bags of groceries he had left outside my door, I found everything exactly the way I had ordered. Except, one additional item I had definitely not asked for.
Taking the mysterious box in my hand, I felt around the texture to get any clues as to what it might be. Giving up trying to guess its content I finally ripped open its side to have my jaw instantly drop to the floor in surprise.
I think Kongpob-the non-hooker, just gifted me, the sworn virgin, a large box of condoms.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
"You are late. Again."
"You have a dog?"
"Lookie here, we just found our resident Sherlock Holmes. What was the uber covert clue you discovered, detective? The 20 pound bag of dog food I ordered?"
"Ah so we are going to be a special kind of snarky today huh?"
"Well the dose of snark would be significantly lower if you actually managed to do your damn job. Yesterday you brought back only half the stuff on my list. At this rate you should worry a little less about my tone and a little more about not making it through your probation."
"Are you kidding me right now? It was only half the stuff cause you made me return every freaking thing that wasn't exactly the way you wanted. For heaven's sake how picky can a man be about trash bags? It's literally for trash. I had to go to five different stores to find the exact type of bags and you still ended up complaining."
Is it wrong that I could barely conceal my chuckle the more he grumbled about trash bags? Maybe Sol was right, I do have that sadistic bone in my body. And I might even be lying if I don't accept that I was purposely making my demands exceeding more intricate just to listen to him grumble at the end of the day.
"Well, in that case maybe rethink if you really want me to sign up for next month. Leave the groceries in the box by the door as usual. You will find the printout for stuff for tomorrow too. Buh-bye now, all your whining is making me dizzy."
I heard the more muted mumbling as his footsteps retreated away from the door only making me smile that much wider. Waiting till I heard the distinct ping of the elevator leave my floor before I swung open the door to collect the goodies my non-hooker had bought for me today. I might threaten him here and there but barely a week in and I was already getting a little bit spoiled with this home delivery with the added benefit of messing with the delivery boy. To be honest I was secretly even looking forward to tomorrow evening to rib him some more.
Weird, if you really think about it, seeing how I am the most anti-social being on Earth. Infact other than Sol, and now Kongpob guy, there were only two other humans I would interact with on a semi-normal basis.
First, being my editor cum publisher Erica, who was...actually let's hold off on that introduction until we absolutely need to, cause the one cardinal rule I believe everyone should live by is to avoid evil, blood sucking witches until your life depends on sharing breathing air with them. And even then at times I would say living might be considered the lesser of the two choices.
And then finally we come to the fourth and final person that will be pertinent to this tale. That is none other than Mrs. Paikarn.
Now obviously, your very next question will be who the hell is this Mrs. Paikarn? And should we instantly be hating her just like we do the rest of our incompetent species.
Well, Mrs. Paikarn was my school teacher from grade 1 to grade 4, ofcourse. She was someone who had punished me more times than I could remember to count for getting Sol to do my homework, or worse still unleashing his wrath on our school's resident bullies.
But then she was also the only teacher who would pat my snot filled nose dry as I secretly cried in the lonely broken boy's toilet after school when no one ever wanted to play with me. She would hear me whine for hours on end when I was convinced that I was the unluckiest kid on Earth. She would even buy me my favorite popsicle on days that were more difficult than average. In fact the day I heard she was moving schools till now remains the day I first understood the meaning of the word depressed.
Naturally, you must be wondering as to why we are suddenly discussing an old lady with greying hair who was kind to a blind, lost boy decades ago? Well, guess who turned out to be my next door neighbor after all these years?
Ok, maybe that was a sad attempt for a poor joke. But in all seriousness, listening to that stern voice chiding me once again was pure music to my ears. What's more, having one of my most trusted confidantes bang next to my apartment solved one of my biggest dilemmas of life.
So when the clock struck eleven at night I got ready for my date once more. Slipping on an oversized sweatshirt, pulling the hood low over my face. With a bag of sugar-free muffins in one hand, and Chocolate's leash in the other, stepped out of my house for the first time that day, well nothing new there, and got ready to knock on the door of the sweetest lady on the planet.
"I knew you were a bonafide idiot the first time I laid eyes on you. Getting bigger and fatter like a full grown donkey and you still don't know how to tell time? Making a poor, frail, old elder wait for you for over an hour."
"Poor? Frail? Do you have your grandmother tucked in somewhere in that apartment? Cause surely you can't mean you. Oh and if I am really that much of an idiot, we really should blame all the sub-par education I received in my formative years. Remind this dimwit again who was my teacher again?"
"Fine, fine, fine. Stop all your yapping. Your whining is making me all dizzy."
Snatching the bag of muffins from my hand, she linked her arm within mine as she pulled me forward as if we were going for a simple walk together. Keeping any onlooker completely in the dark about my supposed blindness, no pun intended. Chocolate and Mrs. Paikarn together doing a perfect job in guiding my hesitant steps in this strange environment I had not memorized just yet. Leading me towards the small park behind the building where Chocolate could finally run free for a bit after being cooped up in the apartment all day long.
"How is Sol doing? All settled in? Happy in his new position?"
"I'm sure he is. Afterall, he finally doesnt have the burden of a disabled brother holding him back. Who wouldn't be happy?"
"Still bitter about it I see."
"Bitter? Me? No way. I probably don't even know the meaning of the word."
To which she chuckled softly. Something she did every time I got a little too complain-y.
"I clearly remember you two brothers being intensely possessive about each other. It was never clear if you were the one needing the protecting or he was the one who needed to play the role of the protector. Either ways it's good that he is finally trying to find something that is important to him beyond being only your savior."
"All well and good for him but what the hell am I supposed to do now? He went and left me all alone without even a decent amount of warning. And now I am left by myself in a place I know literally nothing about."
"What are you even talking about? You seem perfectly fine to me."
"How am I fine? I am totally stuck at home cause I don't know this Goddamn area at all."
"And whose fault is that? Just put on your 'I am blind' glasses, grab a cane and step outside."
"You know I don't like letting random strangers know about me."
"Another thing that doesn't make sense. It's not like there is a swindler standing on every corner of the road waiting to pounce on you."
"Maybe you should tell that to the 53 wallets I have had stolen until now. I just don't get it. How could he have left me so easily? What if I hadn't run into you? What then? I would have absolutely no one to look out for me."
"Then you would have met someone else. Honestly this is probably the best thing that could have happened for the both of you. Anyway it's high time you tried to meet someone and actually settle down. Have you ever even gone on a date in your life?"
"Of Course I have. I am not a monk you know."
"I bet you spent the entire time scowling at them, didnt you?"
"So what if I did? Sol tells me that's when I look the cutest."
"Pffftt... at least one bonus of no eyes is that you don't have to look at that sour expression of yours. It's only the rest of the poor world that has to suffer."
"Which is why I never leave the house. See how benevolent I am."
"You should ask that cute delivery guy of yours for tips. I bet he knows how to charm the pants off his dates."
"Yuck! Please stop calling guys the age of your great great grandson cute. Just thinking of you leering at them is going to give me nightmares for days."
"Oh stop being such a prude. It's not often I get to treat myself to such eye candy anymore."
We continued our nonsensical banter for a while longer until Chocolate had finally worked out all the pent up energy from the day. Honestly, Mrs. Paikarn was the only person who could tell me absolutely anything and I would take it as gospel. After all these years even my twin brother was conscious of the words he used in front of me. But not Mrs. Paikarn. She always told me exactly what I needed to hear. Even when at times it hurt more than the punches of the bullies. For that I would never ever stop respecting her.
Two lonely souls slowly making their way back to empty apartments in the middle of the night. Each drowning in their own thoughts.
Maybe she was right.
Perhaps I really do need to get out of my shell if I ever want to stop following around Sol's coat tails for the rest of my life.
"Goodnight now kiddo. And don't be late tomorrow."
About to bid farewell as I punched in the door code somehow I found myself turning around swiftly.
"Mrs. Paikarn, wait..."
"Is that guy actually cute?"
"How does it always take you ages to answer the call?"
"How do you always know my busiest moment of the day to call?"
"Busy? You should be done with classes by now."
"I am in the middle of work, mom."
"Your part time job? See, you wouldn't be busy wasting your time on that if you would just..."
"Mom! Can we get to the point please? I just said I was busy."
"Yes, yes, you are always busy nowadays. Anyway, I was just calling to make sure you remembered about tonight."
"Ofcourse, I do, mom."
"And you bought gifts?"
"Even before you did, I'm sure."
"And don't be late."
"And don't fight with your dad."
"And stay back home for tonight."
"Ye...ahhh, that was sneaky. No way that is happening. Anyway, I got to run. See you tonight. Love you. Bye."
You know what sucks more than being the only brother to four younger siblings? Being the oldest to two sets of twin sisters. I still clearly remember the night before my third birthday when I stayed up late and prayed extra hard to all possible Gods in the skies to grant me my wish of a cute fluffy puppy. What I got instead was my parents grinning from ear to ear as they informed me that my blissful life as an only child was forever coming to an end.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I didn't love my sisters to death. I do. But I also didn't ask to be a full time babysitter when only five years later they decided to pop out two more. Seriously what specialized genes were my folks born with that other than me they refused to have kids if not in multiples.
So you can't really blame me when once again on the night of my birthday, exactly eighteen years after my puppy dreams were crushed to smithereens my parents had the same scary smile on their face once more, my very first reaction was to walk straight to my room, pack all my belongings and move into my college dorm. Now I might have left my very pregnant mom in tears with my dad screaming on top of his lungs at how dare I have the audacity of leaving when they needed me the most. But by Gods was it the most redundant sentence ever.
When have they ever not needed me?
Infact the stench of the mountain worth of dirty diapers I have changed throughout my life is so firmly lodged within my nostrils that I doubt I will ever be able to enjoy normal smells anymore. But if my parents decided 5 kids were just not enough to satisfy their need to populate this world then they were welcome to do it without my help. And I told them exactly that in so many words. Which naturally launched world war 3 between me and my father. And let's not even talk about the battle about my choice of major.
Long story short, instead of enjoying my vast inheritance I was reduced to cursing some ass that found innovative ways of making my life hell through a seemingly innocuous grocery list.
Still looking for that elusively annoying soap he demands he must have my phone beeped once more.
"Ouch! Aim, do you need to be so loud all the time?"
"You are late!"
"Late? For what?"
"For May's birthday party. Where the hell are you?"
"You mean May and Piya's birthday. You know they are twins right?"
"Right, right. Now how come you aren't here already."
"Well cause the party doesn't start for another 4 hours.
Just cause you want to hit on May every chance you get doesn't mean I want 4 teen girls competing to paint my nails."
"Anyway, I just called cause May asked to not be late."
"And also not to fight with your dad."
"I'm hanging up."
My best friend, everyone. Also in love with my little sister. But that is a Pandora's box we will have to wait a little while longer to open.
Here I couldn't wait to get away from my overly noisy family, and my closest buddy of all times couldn't wait to assume the mantle of the perfect brother in law. My hand had barely moved away from my face when the phone it was clutching buzzed once more. This time my youngest of the four, and definitely the most boisterous of sister's.
"Yes Kerry, I haven't forgotten about tonight, I have already bought a gift, and I will definitely not be late. Anything else?"
"And I will try very hard to not fight with dad. Now can I get back to doing the thing I am actually being paid to do?"
If you haven't caught on already I belong to a family who takes the definition of being closely knit to an ultra next level. Birthdays, especially for the two pairs of twins could easily overshadow the new year celebration for some small country. And that's not even mentioning the hundreds of extra curriculars they are a part of which always came with their award ceremonies and even more hoopla. Naturally, being the only older brother to such talented young women with two insanely busy parents chasing their careers came the responsibilities of cheering on their achievements until my throat was sore.
It really wasn't that I didn't want to be supportive in their ventures. Nor was I bitter at their successes. Honestly, I was just tired.
Tired of behaving like a parent before I had managed to bag my very first girlfriend.
I mean was it really so hard for people to deal with their own shit for once without laying down the responsibilities at the feet of a man who had yet to even figure out himself who he was. Honestly, if God ever wanted to make it up to me for screwing up my puppy wishes so massively, all I would ask for is the ability to fly away to some remote island where for the first time in forever I didn't have another soul depending on me. I just wanted to be a bratty college student for once. Was that really so Goddamn unreasonable?
Oh, but speaking of bratty and very definitely unreasonable I finally arrived at the front door of the latest bane of my existence, to drop off his day's groceries before I headed off to the party I have been reminded about five individual times already.
And as if my mood wasn't already crabby enough just at the thought of the fanfare I would have to participate in soon, let alone the tensed environment created with trying to avoid unloading my nuclear arsenal on my dad, as soon as I stepped outside the elevator to drop off the heavy bag I knew trouble was just around the corner.
Cause sitting not so innocently right in front of the ever shut door, was a lone three inch box of baking soda I had purchased for him yesterday.
Is he freaking joking right now? How could any human possibly find something wrong with something so insignificant.
Stomping towards the intercom, I punched my finger on the button extra hard, snorting in my unconcealed annoyance as my nostrils flared, impatiently waiting for the man to answer the door.
Well, obviously by answer I mean not really answering, cause it's been two whole weeks since that first unfortunate day he drove me away from his doorstep and he has yet to ever even grace my eyes with his face.
"Ah, you are early? What is the big occasion today?"
Oh, let's please not even start with that.
"Never mind that. What is with this box outside?"
"Well you messed up my order. Again. Are you sure you want to stick to the non-hooker part?"
"How the hell did I mess up? It's exactly the one you asked for."
"Of cpurse it is not. I wanted the one from the brand Nature's Best."
Arggghhh! Was he testing me? Why today of all days?
"Can you even read? It's the same brand."
"Yes, but I specifically asked for the 5 ounce one."
Lord, please give me strength.
"Are you blind or something? It's goddamn 5 ounce from the brand Nature's Best. Are you doing this just to mess with me now?"
What followed was an extended silence. All that filled the quiet hallway was the sound of the shallow breaths from the other side of the door. A muted sigh of resignation as it probably finally hit him how ridiculous he was being.
Was he...was he seriously going to apologize to me?
Did the lord almighty finally listen to my silent prayers?
Was I going to feel one moment of triumph before I brave the challenges of 4 younger sisters, a pregnant mother, an over enthusiastic best friend....and of course there was my dad too.
For the first time in the entire day a smile was almost creeping up on my face, and then the devil spoke once again.
"Well, return it anyway. I want the one which is sized 4" by 2" by 1". And this is obviously 3" by 2.5" by 1.5". Make sure you get the right one tomorrow."
Is he fucking kidding me?
Ring. Ring. Rin..
My arm automatically moved towards my phone, slamming down on the stop button before I jumped up on my feet, eyes still half closed as I sleep-walked into the bathroom. Drowning under the scalding hot shower in a poor attempt to wake up. Mentally checking through all the hundreds of annoyances I had to navigate through all day, and as I lathered the little too sweet smelling shampoo my sisters insist I use into my hair, I heard my alarm ringing once more.
What the hell?
I was uber sure I had shut it before the third ring. The way I do every single morning. Waking up sharp at 6:30 am to go for a refreshingly lonesome run before the hustle of the day crushed my soul and happiness.
Wrapping a towel around my waist I hurried out the bathroom, water still dripping all around me, before the annoying buzzing woke up the entire dorm to grab the phone when my jaw literally dropped to the floor.
Now, let me tell you, as much as I am not in the habit of receiving calls first thing in the morning from the top headache of my life, Mr. Asshole Rojnapat, it was really not the thing that had left me utterly speechless. That, my friends had more to do with the fact that the beeping that had roused me from my much needed slumber was at four freaking am in the morning!
Did the man have a death wish?
Anger rising from the tip of the fingers still glaring at the flashing call screen of the phone, all the way to the top of my still wet hair, nostrils fuming in rage, I punched the accept button, all ready to scream out my frustrations of the week at the man that had just disturbed me at this ungodly hour. Except, somehow this mysteriously weird man has a way of always throwing me slightly off guard.
"Coffee. Two creams. Four sugars."
"Are you deaf?"
I'm not generally this stupid. I swear I am not. But somehow his bizarre little declaration before the crack of dawn had left me a little speechless.
"It's four in the morning."
"So deaf and dumb it seems. And yes, I learnt how to tell time sometime over a decade ago. Any other inane comments we want to get out of the way before we get down to business."
I swear the only reason I am not marching over to his place and chopping the man up into 200 bite sized pieces was cause I am too pretty to survive in prison.
"Why the fuck are you calling me at this hour? I was fast asleep and thought tha..."
"Did you not hear the first time I told you? Coffee. Two creams. Four sugars. Just leave it outside the door and ring the door bell when you get here."
"Woah, woah, woah. Hang on there speed racer. Who is leaving what at your doorstep now?"
"You. Coffee. My door. Seriously Kong something, it is really not that complicated an instruction to follow. Do you need me to make it into a Sesame street show for you to comprehend what fetching a simple coffee entails?"
You know what, maybe my pretty face might actually be a bonus in prison.
"You must be smoking something extra crazy right now if you think I am bringing you coffee."
"The only thing I would like smoking is the piping hot cup I am still waiting for. Now when do you expect to get here by? Make it under 15 minutes and I will include a rather generous tip."
"What the fuck is wrong with you? I am not bringing you coffee at 4 in the morning."
"Well, it's closer to 4:30 actually. Can we please stop wasting my precious minutes and do something about my caffeine problem?"
"Dude, you must be fucking out of your mind if you think I am bringing you anything. I am not your Goddamn servant."
"The technical term is errand boy. And if you really don't want to then that's perfectly fine."
"I mean I can't force you to do your job ofcourse. I will just have to call your boss and let him know that I won't be signing up for the whole year after all, nor will I be covering your salary and all transportation costs while all you have to do is run some simple basic errands for just plain ole me and nobody else. I'm sure he will be very understanding and still end up hiring you when you lost him a massive account all for one simple coffee."
He was actually blackmailing me, wasn't he?
Well, screw that!
"Listen, you fucker, take your insanely sweet coffee and shove it up your butt cause there is no way I am going to let you order me around ever again."
Metaphorically, slamming the phone on his face, nostrils still flaring in anger, I literally plopped face down on my bed, not caring in the least that I was drenching the mattress wet all around me, I replayed the conversation over and over again in my head. Coming up with all sorts of innovative techniques to plot the most painfully brutal ways to murder the man that I can officially confirm was the absolute bane of my existence.
I don't even know how long I laid there, face buried deep into my pillow, now fully awake after the infuriating exchange, wondering exactly what saint I had offended in my past birth that I was blessed with each and every character in this life out to make my life a living hell.
I am not even going to think about the not so pleasant conversation I was surely going to have to suffer through with my boss as he gladly fired my ass, but somehow I found my mind wandering from the morning's jerk naturally to the even bigger bully in my life. Aka, my dad.
Ugh! The fight on my sisters' birthday party was something else alright.
But in my defense, I had tried. Like really, really tried.
I bit down on my cheek when he kept going on and on about how it was a houseful of only vulnerable women whenever he had to go on a business trip cause someone decided to abandon the family.
I held my tongue when he very publicly announced how he planned to buy me a car on my 21st birthday but perhaps I had a lot more growing up to do still.
I even physically stuck my fist in my mouth to make sure I didn't snap his head off when he 'joked' about needing to hunt for a new heir.
What ended up being my last straw actually turned out to be a whole lot more stupid. Why did I throw a fit when he simply readjusted my camera settings is a question not one living soul present in that room could answer. But everyone has a breaking point, and obviously that was mine. Although, to be fair even I can admit that tossing my wallet at my father, yelling at him to go get his tubes tied so that he doesn't spawn any more devil offspring bang in the middle of a birthday party wasn't the best idea, but turns out my traitorous tongue can be rather out of control when I lose my infamous temper.
Sighing loudly into my pillow I finally rolled over onto my back. My eyes immediately scrunching shut at the blindingly bright light of the noon sun.
Here I thought the day I get to stay in bed all morning would be the best day of the year. Obviously not so much, seeing how I have to do some major making up to my two sisters whose day I completely ruined. A very pregnant mother who kept bursting into hormonal sobs the minute she heard my voice on the phone. A father who...actually, let's not even go there right now. And obviously a boss who was probably sitting on the edge of his seat to unleash hell fire on me the first chance he got.
So with all the things I had to sort out in my life I am not exactly sure why I decided to roll out of my bed, completely avoiding the long day of classes I was supposed to attend, ignoring the volley of phone calls from my family and Aim, I found myself walking into a coffee shop.
And if you think it was only to dump a smokin' hot cup down that jeark's head, surprising even myself, it was actually not for that.
Maybe it was that I had so many freaking things I had to iron out, and I had no idea how to even begin, that I decided to start with the absolute simplest.
I guess I can get the man his damn coffee.
Even if I was to get fired because of it very soon.
Somehow the skies completely attuned to my dark and gloomy mood, cause the moment I stepped one foot out of the shop, the brightness of the sun was instantly shielded by some freakishly thunderous rain clouds that opened their gaping mouth and unleashed a vicious downpour.
I swear, this has to be the most cursed cup of coffee in existence. Could it possibly ruin my day any more?
Shoving it under my jacket to protect it even a little bit from getting drenched, I ran my way to the apartment complex with the tenant that haunts my dreams on the regular. And I have never even seen the man. Honestly, he must have a super power in torturing people or something, cause I have never before met such a tight ass stickler in my life.
Still grumbling about all the crap the man had put me through in the brief time I had the misfortune of being assigned to him, I stepped out of the elevator, taking hasty steps towards his door before something suddenly caught my eye.
My feet automatically slowed down as I squinted to get a better look at what was sitting outside his front door. Bending down I carefully picked up the brown package with a sheet of paper attached to it that had my name printed on it.
Frowning slightly, I turned it over before tenderly slipping my hand into it to pull out a thick envelope with a decent sized wad of cash and another printed sheet. Containing just three words.
For the coffee.
My eyes literally bulged out of its sockets when it finally sunk into my head that the money was meant as a tip for the coffee.
It was more than two months' salary.
Was he fucking serious?
Is that what he was planning on tipping me?
Did this mean I still had my job?
No way. Not after I told him to shove it up his asshole.
Then why was the money still sitting outside?
Was it a mistake?
Maybe he forgot to take it back in.
Should I ring the bell and let him know? Should I simply take the money and leave? I mean I did get the coffee right? Even though it was soaking wet. And black, with not a hint of cream or sugar. And probably cold and bitter. Coffee is coffee after all.
An entire monologue going through my brain as I wondered what to do with the bundle of cash I was holding in my hand when once again my attention was diverted towards the one other thing still sitting innocently inside the brown package.
A small, black, foldable umbrella.
I simply stared at the thing in my hand for a lot longer than I needed to. Parsing in all the different emotions running through me.
Sometime in the past 30 minutes since it had started raining today, the man I have called absolutely all cuss words under the sun, placed an umbrella with the tip for the coffee outside his door.
I don't even know how he was so sure that I would come drop off the coffee hours after I had so unceremoniously hung up on him, when even I was frankly a little too surprised at my own actions.
Pressing the button by the door to let him know his coffee had finally arrived, I simply turned around and walked away. The smile creeping up on my face completely involuntary.
Perhaps he wasn't such a mega jerk after all.
Maybe being his personal errand boy wouldn't really be all that bad. Especially if the tips kept up to this level. I might even be able to save up enough to move out of the city. Cause right now putting thousands of miles between me and my father might be the only way to ensure I don't commit patricide.
My mood taking a very unexpected upward swing all day when I even found myself humming softly under my breath as I went to bed that night.
Eyes about to droop shut as the clock struck midnight, the storm outside raging in full force almost sounding like a lullaby as I began drifting off to sleep.
Ring. Ring. Rin..
I swear, I am going to fucking kill the man!
Perhaps it was nothing supernatural.
Maybe the man was covered in non sheddable hair all over?
Or maybe it was just as simple as the man was butt ugly?
Whatever it may be, there was something definitely super fishy about the guy who was currently talking to me through the shut door via the intercom. The man's face I have yet to see after a whole 3 months of being ordered around.
Well, to be fair he turned out to be a lot less of a headache than I originally imagined, except the odd 4 am coffee he required once every couple of weeks. Which I find a lot more forgiving now that it came with a hefty tip every single time I visited his threshold before the crack of dawn. Once I figured out how badly he needed his grocery list to be EXACTLY the way he wanted, the job turned out to be smooth as butter. I mean, the dude literally stuck to the same script week after week.
But keeping the fattiest bank balance I have had in ever aside, I couldn't help but wonder what the big mystery surrounding the familiar stranger really was about.
If someone were to take a quick peek into my internet search history they would naturally think I was obsessed with the man.
Who is Arthit Rojnapat?
Arthit Rojnapat image
Arthit Rojnapat picture
Arthit Rojnapat profession
Ok, perhaps I was obsessed. But c'mon who wouldn't wonder at least a little bit who or what he really was and why after 'meeting' me daily for over three months now he still refused to show me his face. Especially since he was like a complete ghost on the world of the internet. How the bloody hell was there not one single picture or search result with his name? Did he really even exist?
Was he a famous movie star or something using an alias hiding away from some big old controversy?
Or perhaps he was on top of the countries' most wanted list and didn't want his identity revealed.
The ideas bouncing around my head as to who he truly was were getting bizarrely endless. Almost as if it was a puzzle I needed to solve before I found some sort of relief from making up conspiracy theories about my supposed boss.
After all, what did I really know about him?
He was obsessively particular about every single thing he ordered for me to buy.
Maybe he has OCD?
He had a dog named Chocolate, who he pampered to bits seeing how his food was more gourmet and pricier than what I ate in a whole month.
Oh and then he kind of liked to load up on his caffeine at oddest times of the night.
And weirdly, this little piece of information gave me the deepest glimpse into the mind of the man.
For instance, he must obviously did not have a regular 9 to 5 day job seeing how he had a habit of staying up all hours of the night.
I don't think he even likes coffee with the amount of sugar he dumped in every single cup, no matter what time of the day or night he gulped it.
But most importantly, he wasn't really fond of the rainstorms now, was he?
He might not have intended it but I had definitely noticed that most of his all nighters slash break of dawn coffee cravings somehow always overlapped when the weather about to get a little too wet. Did the man not have any friends or anything that I was the one he decided to annoy everytime the clouds decided to be a little noisier than normal?
Wait, did he?
How come I have never run into any of his friends and family? And I have even gone out of my way to come by his apartment at all different hours just so that I discover something, anything new about him.
My obsession continues.
"Oh hi Kong."
"Hey Mrs. Paikarn. How do you manage to get more gorgeous every time I see you. You must teach me your secrets"
"Oh my. How do you manage to get even flirtier every time I see you? And I don't even think your secrets are something I can learn."
"No secrets at all, maam. Seeing your pretty face, compliments just flow out naturally. In fact it would be blasphemous if we didn't acknowledge your beauty every single chance we get."
I can officially say that seeing my personal enigma's sweet little neighbor might be the highlight of this job. I have literally lost count of the amount of her homemade cookies I have chomped down on in the past few months.
"Yeah, yeah, you and your sugar tongue. Now what are you doing here in the middle of the afternoon? Shouldn't you be in class right now?"
"I got done early so I thought I would come by and drop off the groceries for the day."
"You just wanted to see if Arthit wanted some coffee huh?"
My wide grin the only response that was needed. I mean, who doesn't like getting tipped more than a week's salary for a simple paper cup.
Rolling her eyes, her smile still lingering on her lips she made her way from the elevator to her apartment door.
"Seems like it's not your lucky day today. Arthit's not at home right now so you will have to finagle money from someplace else today."
Wait, the man can actually leave the confines of his apartment? So not a vampire then?
"Oh? Is he going to be a while? I need to also pick up the grocery list for tomorrow."
"Hmmm, not sure. Generally he takes all day when he has to go to the doctor. At least a couple more hours maybe, wait what time did he leave in the morning..."
Mrs. Paikarn was still talking as I found myself stopping short with the words she had just spoken.
Was he sick?
"Is he sick?"
Hang on, did I say that aloud? How come when it came to him my brain seemed to have a mind of its own?
"Why don't you ask him yourself when he returns?"
"Didn't you just say he will take a while to get back?"
"Well, then it will give us enough time for you to fully critique the cake I am baking. That grumpy pup is going to mope for at least a week once he is back anyway, and any sort of sugar is the perfect remedy. And I would very much like to have a hunky taste tester if I have to put up with that man and his upcoming mood swings."
Have I mentioned how much I freaking love the woman?
And it wasn't even all about how she kept feeding me constantly. It was a lot more to do with the fact that she was one person I knew who spoke to the enigmatic Arthit Rojnapat as if he wasn't the most intriguing man I had met. And somehow the few interactions between them I had managed to catch here and there, it seemed he may even genuinely like his neighbor. Like they were friends or something. I know Mrs. Paikarn had mentioned in passing that she used to teach him in grade school or something like that, by the way there goes my werewolf theory. It was still so surprising to hear the pinnacle of grump mountain actually soften his voice when he spoke to her.
So as much as I thoroughly loved getting loaded up on chocolate as I lounged on her comfy couch, chuckling almost non-stop at her anecdotes of some rather devilish students she had to suffer through as a teacher, most of the evening I couldn't help but wonder if any of the stories she was regaling were secretly about the elusive man.
Ok yeah, maybe I am obsessed with the man. But can you really even blame me? For three months I haven't had a face to associate to that sometimes hard sometimes soft voice, and that had gotten me more curious than I have ever been about anything in my life. Ever.
And finally, today of all days we were going to address that particular issue.
So I didn't give it any thought that even though Mrs. Paikarn was very much in the middle of a rather intense story when I heard the soft woof of Chocolate right outside the apartment I suddenly found myself sprung right on to my feet. Rushing towards the door I swung it open.
I was finally about to find out who is Arthit Rojnapat.