When Brig returned to the table, a full glass of beer had replaced his empty one. Tommy had ordered another round. Brig intended to take another pill when he was in the bathroom but uncharacteristically restrained himself. He realized he was on the edge of turning a comfortable buzz into a drunken stupor.
“There he is! Welcome back. I hope you don’t mind. I ordered us another beer.”
“Maybe one more, then I gotta get outta here.” Brig’s words were starting to slur.
“Me too. Let’s drink this one slow. OK?”
“Perfect.” Brig sat back down and took a sip off the top.
“So where are you from, Brigham Young?”
Tommy looked at Brig, sizing him up, “You’re European. British.” Tommy stated confidently.
“Ha. No way. I’m no Brit.” Brig said, forgetting to use Cantonese. Tommy looked at Brig confused. “Sorry. No. I’m not from Europe.”
“Then you must be an American.”
“Nope. I’m not American either.” Tommy looked confused again.
“I’m kidding! You got it. I’m an American.” Chuckling, they took another drink.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing in Hong Kong?”
“I don’t mind, but you’re not going to believe me.”
“Americans don’t lie! Do they?” Tommy asked sarcastically. Brig laughed as if this was the funniest thing he had ever heard, a loud, slow laugh. A laugh on drugs. Tommy laughed as well, though if Brig had been sober, he might’ve noticed that Tommy’s laugh was not as sincere.
“I’m on my way to climb Mount Everest and stopped by Hong Kong to see a…a few friends,” Brig mumbled.
“Everest? The mountain? You’re going to climb Mount Everest?”
“You sound like my father! I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”
“Oh, I believe you. It’s just…”
“Just what? I look like shit? Like I couldn’t climb out of my chair, let alone the tallest mountain in the world? Well, don’t you worry. I’ll make it to where I’m going, ‘cause I got skills!” Brig yelled, a little too loudly.
“No, no, no, my friend. You misunderstand. I too have always wanted to travel to Tibet…not to climb Mount Everest, of course, but to see my ancestral city of Lhasa. My father was born there. Perhaps we could travel together,” Tommy suggested.
“Fuck yeah we could! Brig and Tommy. Brommy, or Torg. No. Brommy sounds better.”
Brig was about gone. His speech slurred and his eyes drooped. Tommy had slipped a dose of Rohypnol, a “roofie,” into Brig’s beer while he was in the bathroom and had already paid their bill, giving the waiter an HK$1,000 tip while directing him to say nothing to anybody, about the gwailo.