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Irish pt. XLVIII

...Back

"He speaks English!" says YoYo.

"YYYYessss. Enggglish spppeaking I dddo," chatters Joe Bap.

"Get him a shot of brandy," says Ramona. I head over to the mini-bar. I find an airplane bottle of E&J and bring it into the bathroom. I uncap it and hand it to Ramona. Ramona holds it to the kid's lips.

A few drops trickle into his mouth. He snorts and gags.

"Asylum, I need, help me, please!" he says. He is warming up fast in the tub. "I want to be an American! I want to be in debt for a worthless college degree. Have a huge house with an impossible mortgage payment. An ugly house located in a remote suburb so I also have to have more debt for unreliable automobiles. I want to work seventy hours a week but always be falling farther into debt. Have a wife and kids who hate me. Then when there is an economic downturn I lose everything and wind up living in my car. Yes, that is the true path to enlightenment!"

"What the hell is he gibbering about?" says YoYo.

"You cannot let the monks take me back to Bangkok. They keep me locked up in a tiny room with only a dictionary. If I don't memorize twenty pages a day they beat me. I only get a bowl of rice a day. Then they bring me to tournaments and if I don't win..."

Joe closes his eyes. He shudders. I hate to think what they do to him if he loses a tournament.

"Is he from Thailand or North Korea?" I ask.

"Does it matter? We have to help him!" says Ramona.

"Naw naw naw. We ain't getting involved in this," says YoYo. "Send him back to his people and be done with it. I don't want nothing to do with this shitstorm!"

"How can you be so cold hearted!" yells Ramona.

"Please help me," says Joe Bap. He starts to get out of the tub.

"I'm calling security!" says YoYo.

"Over my dead body!" says Ramona.

The females face off.

"Whoa whoa whoa," I say. "Hold on. Let's think about this."

Ramona and YoYo look at me.

"There's nothing to think about!" they say together almost at once.

Joe Bap picks up his wet clothes. He starts trying to put them on.

"I can see I am cause much turmoil, perhaps I have to pull my own boot straps," he says.

"Wait wait, just hold on there, Joe," I say. "Look, should we call Larry?"

YoYo and Ramona look at each other.

"That's probably not a good idea," says YoYo.

"No, yeah, right, not a good idea," says Ramona.

"If I am returned to Bangkok I will be heavily punished. If you cannot help me I am understand. But I cannot go back to Bangkok!"

"You know he's telling the truth!" says Ramona to YoYo.

"I believe him," I say.

"Well what are we supposed to do?" says YoYo. "How we gonna get him out of here without anybody noticing? They looking all over the place for this runt."

Joe Bap looks hopeful. "Help me you will?" he says.

YoYo and Ramona and I go in the other room. We have a seat.

"I think we should tell Larry," I say.

"I think so," says Ramona. "Joe Bap would be an asset for Larry. Now he'll have two Scrabble prodigies he can manage. If anybody can figure out how to smuggle Joe out of here, it's Larry."

"You white people are crazy!" says YoYo. "What if we get caught?!"

"That's why we turn Joe over to Larry," says Ramona. "It's on him then. I know Larry. He won't be able to resist a cash machine like Joe."

"You know she's right," I say to YoYo.

YoYo's jaw muscles relax a bit. "OK, maybe she has a point," she says.

"I'm going to call Larry," says Ramona.

"When you coming back to the suite?" says Ramona, into her phone. She has Larry on speaker. There's a lot of static from the storm. Larry's reply is garbled. Ramona switches off the speaker.

"You still with all those people?" says Ramona. "They still didn't find the kid?"

Ramona clicks off. "Larry's gonna take a minute," she says.

Joe Bap comes into the room, wrapped in fluffy hi-thread count hotel towels.

"My clothes are full of water. I need some other clothes," he says.

"You're not leaving just yet so don't worry about that," I say.

"You will help me?"

"We think so," I say.

"Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!!" says Joe.

Larry and Desiree barge into the room.

"The casino ruled a forfeit," says Larry. "We're going to clean up on this job!"

Then he notices Joe Bap.

"Who the fuck is this?!" says Larry.

"Joe Bap. He is requesting asylum," I say. "He needs our help."

"We need to smuggle him away from the casino here," says Ramona.

Larry goes over to Joe Bap. Sizes him up. "So you're the famous Joe Bap. You want to be an American?"

"Yes, please," says Joe, bobbling his head enthusiastically.

"You're going to need a job," says Larry. "I suppose I can hire you. How about you work for me and I only take eighty percent of whatever you win? You don't have to pay me anything if you lose. Is that a good deal or what?"

"Larry!!," says Desiree. "Give him a fifty fifty split at least!"

"We can negotiate later. We have to get him out of here first," says Larry. He pulls out his phone. Punches in a number.

"Jose, look, I have a job for you. Can you come up here?" says Larry.