I have misplaced a story. Where on earth did I put it? It’s a true story. I worked for six months in a United Nations refugee camp in Thailand. That was many years ago. The camp was about a hundred miles south of Bangkok. Barbed wire, watch towers, the level rice fields and scrublands stretching away in every direction. Inside the camp was mostly misery, mixed with a great deal of despair, hunger, apathy, and a certain amount of hope.
I wrote a story about one of the Khmer girls who worked in the post office I ran. It was not a pleasant story, as very little about her life had been pleasant. In addition to working in the post office, she had a moonlighting sideline as a prostitute. Most of her clients were the Thai soldiers that provided security for the camp. Security. Now there’s an odd euphemism for that particular setting. Most of the lives in that camp involved a great deal of unpleasantness. This, I suppose, is the usual result of war, genocide, and the blundering diplomacies of nations. Add to that the incessant heat and humidity and the towering incompetence of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and you had yourself a wonderful holiday camp.
Anyway, I’ve misplaced the story and I’ve discovered I can’t simply recreate it from my mind. I suppose I can, but it won’t be the exact same story. While I can’t recall every single detail of the story (as it was originally written), I do remember being pleased with how it came out.
I’ll have to write a second version of it.
Lately, I’ve been considering whether I should write a travelogue of stories. I’ve been to some odd places around the world and done some unusual things. I don’t aspire to Durrell’s level, or Travels with Charley (who knew Steinbeck lied his way through most of that book?), but I think I can put together some quirky stories. Ethiopia, Kenya, the Amazon, Thailand, Egypt, Israel, Prague (right after it opened up to the West), Fiji, the Greek islands.
At any rate, I need to finish these four Tormay stories before I tackle anything else.