After about thirty minutes, Brig finally found the energy to stand up and shuffled his way into the living room where he collapsed on the small sofa. He closed his eyes and moaned as the room spun, and the urge to vomit returned. He contemplated running back to the toilet but decided that if he was going to puke, it would have to be there. Fortunately, the spins slowed, as did the urge to puke, and Brig sat up with a determination to overcome his symptoms.
He looked over at the room’s table, where sat a bottle of water, two pills, and a piece of paper. Brig got up from the couch, walked over and picked up the small note written in Chinese. It was simple enough for Brig to understand. “Take pills. Back soon.”
He inspected the two little pills suspiciously. He picked up and studied the tablets, hoping for some clue of what they might be. He was a little irritated that Buddha wasn’t there to explain, but was mostly confident that the Buddha wouldn’t give him something that would hurt him. He put one of the pills on his tongue and washed it down with the water. As the water hit the bottom of his stomach it triggered another wave of nausea. Fuck it he thought to himself and swallowed the second pill, chasing it down with water. He stumbled back into the bedroom and laid down on his bed.
As he lay on the bottom bunk, sweaty and uncomfortably warm, he recalled events from the night before. After dinner, they had escorted the women to an apartment complex in Tsuen Wan. He remembered the girl, A-Ying, had kissed him on the cheek and told him that he was “sweet.” Then she and Candy walked into an elevator and left. But Buddha determined their night wasn’t over yet. If he wasn’t going to get laid, he was going to drink himself into unconsciousness, and Brig was going with him.
They rode back to Yuen Long, and fortunately, or perhaps, unfortunately, the liquor store was still open. The Buddha purchased another bottle of Maotai, and he and Brig made their way to a small park nearby. They were still in their missionary clothing, absent their ties and name tags which they had stuffed into their pockets. Sitting down on a bench, the Buddha produced a corkscrew and opened the bottle of fermented alcohol.
“Ah, the good stuff!” the Buddha declared as he took a snort and then handed it to his companion, who did likewise.
“Sorry Elder. I know how badly you wanted to get your leg over tonight, but call me old-fashioned, I want my first time to be something special.”
The Buddha chuckled, as he almost always did, and reassured Brig that it was no problem. Holding up the bottle, he made another declaration in English, “Bros before Hos!”
Brig nearly fell off of the bench. When he could finally compose himself, he asked, “Where did you learn that?”
“My mission Father, Elder Tse. He was an ABC (American Born Chinese). He taught me some useful phrases that I seem only to be able to recall when I’m drunk.”” He took another swig and passed the bottle back to Brig. “Prophet? Can I give you a little advice? You need to loosen up. Enjoy life…you know? ‘Carpe diem!’ You are only young once, and these beautiful young girls are only going to be genuinely interested in you for another ten years. You’ll lose your energy. You’ll get fat and lose your hair. They’ll be attracted to your money, but they will never, ever want you like they want you right now.”
Brig looked up at the stars, considering the Buddha’s words.
“You never get the same moment twice in life,” the Buddha continued. “Ying was a beautiful girl that wanted you for nothing more than what you are. She doesn’t know how much money you have…or how small your “little brother” is. She knows nothing about you, except what you look like and your personality, and for some reason she still wanted to be with you. There is something raw and natural about that.”
As the Buddha rambled, Brig was barely listening. He was enjoying the buzz and the feeling of camaraderie. He hadn’t had a friend like the Buddha since high school. Maybe ever. He and his sister Brenda were once close, but that was obviously different.
After a long silence Brig said, “Thanks Elder.”
“For not forcing the issue and giving me shit about being a virgin.”
“No problem. But you know I’m going to give you a load of shit in the future. That girl had a great ass.”