Across the inside of both her wrists are white linear striations of lightly raised skin, a bar-code of the history of her misfortunes. He sees them briefly: she is flashing her arms about animatedly as she talks and laughs.
She is the slimmest girl in the bar in Soi Lion, the one wearing the least clothing (a white backless top and a denim skirt more belt than dress), the one with the brightest smile, the one with most bravura to stand up to approaching farangs and not back down with her suggestion of a drink, though they side-step and feign disinterest. She has the cheekiest grin, the most sparkling eyes and, when teased by one of the other girls, the loudest, most peircing voice: a shrieking Isaan accent of accusation and attack. He wonders if she is cooked up on YaBa or X and whether she will soon crash into a mood of sullen anger and recrimination when the drugs fade. He has seen this before.
"I tired, you take me sleep." She rests her head on the shoulder of the one farang who could not pass her by tonight, and looks up into his eyes, her own deep brown almost black orbs transmute into pools of unfathomable sadness - a figure background switch that almost sends him reeling off the stool. Is she crashing now? Then she laughs and jumps off his lap to confront the next group of farangs tourists looking for the bar with the biggest TV screen and the prettiest girls. She is OK, not on drugs. Just bubbling, making money from drinks, the happier she is the happier she makes her farang, the more drinks he buys her, himself, her friends in the bar. What could be wrong with that?
He strokes her arm but doesn't mention that he has noticed the self-inflicted hieroglyphs, the cicatrices which code her youthful anomie and self-hate. He wonders where is the machine that could read the truth from those wrists?
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
The start of a novel ! Very good ! Go ahead !
Ah yes, the perpetual commencement...
Yes, work on what you're realising, or have realised all along - a great book, about a tragic story - a story of slavery?!