william t. vollmann caught the last plane to jakarta from akron, oh.
not a direct flight, of course.
nothing flies direct out of akron, oh.
he landed at the soekarno-hatta international airport when it was still missing all its toilet doors.
there were pools of urine and cigarette butts in the bottom of the urinals, perched higher on the wall for white male caucasians though of course william t. vollmann, being a white male caucasian, didn’t notice this.
having caught a damri bus to gambir, william t. vollmann walked the short stroll to jalan jaksa which, he thought, would be like a mini pat pong.
it was nothing like pat pong.
he booked himself into a deluxe room at losmen eskol (ice cold!) and ordered himself a whore from the bellboy who was really a fifty-one year old man named samuel.
the whore had dark, perfect skin and was perfectly efficient.
she offered to bathe him before they got into bed and william, that’s what he asked the whore to call him, said yes, okay, agreeing that after a 27-hour non-direct flight, he was a dirty man.
when the whore went home william felt the same emptiness he felt in akron, oh.
it felt like there was inside his chest a funeral cart carrying an oversized coffin draped in old glory, drawn by twelve black belgian horses, and everything was moving really really slowly.
to get rid of the emptiness william went out to dine.
it was a saturday night, or perhaps early sunday morning, and he ended up at a noisy 24-hour pâtisserie.
there, being a gregarious, chatty traveller, william met aldé, an assistant stylist for the indonesian idol, and a pretty boy with curly hair and dark skin that reminded him of friday, yes, crusoe’s friday. friday didn’t say a word the whole time william and aldé were laying down foundation for a friendship that will last less than a lifetime.
aldé said that this girl priska was the prettiest though she couldn’t sing but that one of the judges promised she’ll at least get through to the finals if she let him suck her big toe while she urinated in the cramped backlot toilet after the “spektakuler” show.
that’s all he wanted and that’s all he did!
aldé said and william and aldé both laughed and friday stirred his warm coca-cola with a black straw that doesn’t bend.
are you planning to fuck friday? asked william. they were speaking in english and william was taking a chance on friday not being able to speak it.
or speak at all.
no. let’s go. said aldé.
aldé got up from his seat (a metal chair with rattan back), bent down, and whispered something in friday’s ear. his hand cupping his ear and his mouth so he couldn’t see or guess what he was saying.
friday swung his backpack on his waifish shoulder and walked away.
i will take you places william, i know that’s what you long for, but not tonight. longing is good. but longing on a large scale is what makes history. you of all people, should know that.
they shook hands and both disappear gently into the good night air.
william walked back to his losmen room with a half-aborted idea of a book in his head and a million butterflies in his stomach.