About a month ago I got a call from my old pal, the artist otherwise known as Dewey. Dewey is a good guy. Probably too good. He’s the kind of guy that makes a lot of money and spends it on everyone. So of course he’s welcome at the Dalat 244. He invited me to that address for beers on him. Within fifteen minutes I was sitting next to him drinking my first Heineken.
On a normal Saturday night I am embarrassed to admit, I can drink about twenty beers and somehow make it home in one piece. But, I was broke, and didn’t want to be a complete mooch. I had five beers on Dewey then left for home.
That’s about as much as I remember.
I came to briefly, straddling my rent-a-motorbike. Somehow I called Rita to tell her I had no idea where I was. After listening to her screech a few brief seconds I realized I was right on Pham Ngu Lau, pointed in the direction of home. Yet somehow everything looked so different, a swirling black sky full of bouncing neon bubbles, motorbikes beeping and taxis swirling like so many snowflakes.
It was then I realized I was somewhat scraped. The bike was a bit bent.
I don’t remember the rest but assume I followed my customary actions, driving home very very slowly.
The next morning I woke up for work and noticed my pillow was wet. It was covered in blood. I went to the bathroom and realized I’d crashed my bike.
“How did this happen?” Rita asked.
I told her it was the beer but had a funny feeling it wasn’t.
“Dewey,” I asked him on the phone, “what do you usually do at Dalat 244?”
“They have a couch,” he explained, “I pass out on it, usually wake up just before dawn and head home.” He wasn’t about to admit they probably cleaned out his wallet on the daily, but knowing Dewey I assume they did.
“I think they roofied me. You know, rohypnol,” I told him, explaining what’d happened.
“You’re full of shit!” he said, “you were drunk! I fed you like twenty beers!”
“Five,” I told him, “I have my pride.”
“No you don’t!” He laughed. I did too.
But I knew something was up, and the realization that I could’ve crashed and died did not sit well with me. So to be certain of my suspicions I met Dewey there again a week later, this time walking, no motorcycle. I drank about five beers again.
Sure enough, it happened again.
When I came to I was face down on a floor behind the bar. Someone rolled me over, a woman. She stepped on my chest to pin me down.
“Baaaaa! Baaaa!” That’s about all I could say as she stood above me, straddling my limp figure and fondling my wallet, kicking me around lightly with her foam platforms.
I managed to get up and get my wallet back. I made it out to the parlor where poor Dewey lay drooling on the couch. I shook him. He smiled and blew spit bubbles. I left. Once again I got lost in the dancing whirl of light and shadow, though just a hundred yards from Mimosa, a place I’ve frequented for years.
Still, I got home in one piece. “Why are there foot prints on your chest?” Rita asked when she answered the door.
“Why is your head bleeding? Asked Josh and Caleb.
I declined to answer in specifics.
The fool that I am, I decided to confront the whores, and went there that night, hollering to the German tourists inside, “They put something in the beer! They made me pass out and emptied my wallet!
That didn’t sit well with the ladies. One of them ran out with a pipe and hit me in the ribs. I ran away to Mimosa, where for the next three hours we watched various groups of northern Europeans battle it out against whores with pipes.
Then not three days ago I was discussing the incidents with some of my drinking buddies and another guy spoke up, “They got me at that bar for three hundred American dollars in cash,” the guy said, “I’d just happened to’ve had a lot more cash than usual on me. But I’d hid it in my shoe, under the insole. They still got it!” he explained, “I went home in my socks.”
I’d seen that happen before on Bui Vien, white folks staggering along, stripped to their soiled underoos.
“You guys exaggerate!” Dewey scoffed.
“Easy for you to say,” said Canadian Phil, “You just happen to enjoy getting roofied by whores. We all know that. You’ve been doing it for years now.”
Dewey laughed, “They got some new girls there. Don’t mind if I do.”
Don’t mind if I don’t. And I recommend you don’t. Don’t visit the Dalat 244 Bar. Avoid this spot if you’re not into getting roofied for your cash, shoes and socks.