Letters from Cambodia

from Mb

Letter #1

I've been "in-country" 48 hours! This may be my last correspondence if I am killed today. You are the only keeper of the truth. Do not tell my mother or ##### if I'm dead or how I died. Do not tell them how 'zapped' I got by the sun and the fresh air and the beer and the women and the smiling faces and the sweet people and the sad beggars and the dirty poor children in the streets and the 'put-puts' on the Mekong and the good food and the lack of any pretense and the lack of any Hollywood wannabees and how the people here just want to put enough food on their plates and forget about the fucking Khmer Rouge and how the US government was responsible for helping fuck up all of Indochina and how these people forgive them anyway, and all the children hopping around on one leg because of the land mines they left in the ground and unexploded ordinances that Kissinger left them as a Christmas present.

Now a cool breeze is blowing through a thatched hut at the edge of the river. I'm eating mangos and feeling the cool breeze and there are 8 beer girls giggling and flirting with me trying to get me to buy the brand of beer that they're peddling. And I can't take them home. I would if I could... all of them. Set them free like stolen parrots from a pet store. But I can't.

if I die today, I will have died happy. and this letter will be the only record of it. But don't tell them what I've told you. They would not understand. Just tell them I was happy.

-- mb

Letter #2

I am scared. I like this too much. Shit, I can't describe it. It's too fucking crazy strange wonderful frightening embarrassing sexy intense comfortable good-espresso food people wonderful scary traffic, no, not scary--totally fucking insane. Pure madness in the streets on mottos. You wouldn't believe it. You couldn't believe it. No sane Westerner could.

Rode on the back of a 'motto' this morning. cost me 75 cents to go about three miles on the back of an old scooter. It was heaven. Fucking heaven. There are only a handful of stop lights in all of Phenom Phen and a billion crazy fucking mottos, many with whole family's on one scooter. No shit, Mommy Daddy Baby and Youngest Child piled onto on single motto. It's a miracle there isn't carnage in the streets. no stop signs. you just have to plow head-first into a wave of on-coming trucks, mottos, cyclos, and cars all rushing at you. The trick is to pull off this stunt in a collective swarm and it's all predicated on the belief that if you go with the flow, you will not die. This, my friend, is enlightenment. It has to be experienced to understand. The Buddha was right.

I fell in love with Khmer girl last night. she spent the night in my hotel. she wants to marry me and not have to work as a beer girl any more. I told her it was unlikely. she says, 'I know you are a butterfly.' this was the best English she had spoken all night... and there she was, a fucking poet! I was touched by this girl and I did not do the dirty thing although she said it would be okay. Her beautiful black eyes staring at me... sad and happy and unsure of what I was thinking. I felt like crying it was so moving.

Now, thinking about it, I am crying. Fuck.

tonight is 'happy new years day'. Every God damn Cambodian near my hotel has got to say '"happy new year" every time they see me. It's not their new year but they know it is my new year... and it'''s easy to pronounce. They believe they are being "nice." I just want to forget about the west... and they're screwing up my high.


Letter # 3

Good Beer Girls and Bad Beer Girls.

I spent some 'quality time' with a crazy beer girl last night. It was awful. She didn't have any sense for romance. Her heart was cold, her body hot, and all she wanted to do was fuck. I think she stole twenty dollars out of my pants pocket before she left. Big score for her... fuck it, she was a whore. I thought it was love. I was smitten by her beauty. I thought I could melt her cold heart and weaken her defenses. but no. she was just a whore.

Today I passed a building with a sign that read: "Ministry of Cults and Religion" and it gave me an idea. Perhaps one need only apply for a license to start a cult here in Cambodia. I could have my own legitimate cult just like the Scientologists. I will fill my cult with beer girls. I will save their wretched souls and turn them away from beer and from the bottle caps they collect for money. I will apply proven 12 step program technologies upon their cold hearts and help them find their higher-power. I will teach them how to recite cult-like chants and use phrases like, "one day at a time," and "easy does it." My cult could sweep this country and save countless beer girls from utter depravity.

Tomorrow I will go to the temples at Angkor and give my respect. The jungle is calling me. The Temples are calling me. I was never suppose to be an American, I was suppose to be a Cambodian. They got it all fucked up. I am a Cambodian trapped in an westerner's body. But now I appear to them as just another ugly American, here to rape the land and shit on these poor people. I am a taker but think I'm a giver. My money helps the economy while my greed and lust sucks the soul out of this impoverished country. I think I show them respect and kindness. I think I am generous. But who am I fooling. I am a thief and they know it.

I'll be going up river tomorrow... will send a report if at all possible.

God have mercy on my wretched soul.



Mb's other pieces are located in the Built Boyle Archive though his current location today is classified and methods unsound.