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Good Luck Next Time

Chúc may mắn lần sau

By Michael O'ConnorPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
2

I take the motorbike down to the beach. I decide against the paid parking spot and go further down to where the locals go, I’m a local after all. On the way I thought a Coca-Cola would suffice to defeat the pit of guilt for an angered night that burned alongside a steady, scattered hangover. There’s a little restaurant there that’s overpriced and sells those ‘I’ve been to Asia’ type tourist meals that people flock to. They’re fixing the side of the restaurant and the aqua blue tin sheeting has been pulled off and they’re using a drill to reconnect it. I remember that I, too, know how to complete such a task. I walked to the sand and seated myself on a red, leather cushioned lounge chair parked under a large umbrella, along a line of red, leather cushioned lounge chairs parked under umbrellas. It’s satisfying enough. I remember how my ex-girlfriend - the woman I asked to marry me and was engaged to for a short period - used to require sculling a can of coke as a means of curing a hangover. I remember my sister saying the same thing just a few days ago. I remember that my Mum loved Coca-Cola in a can too. Before she passed, after I’d finished a long day at work and finished all of our grocery shopping, being sure to bring home the coke that she asked for, she sent me back to the supermarket to exchange the Coca-Cola bottle for a can. She always preferred it in cans - nay, required it in cans. I sipped away before agreeing and sculling, thinking maybe it will help. “Hi sir, you want something to drink?” I knew what was coming. “No Chí cám ơn. Oh I can’t sit here? Ahhh..”

I moved to the sand and found a comfortable spot and thought maybe I ought to order a drink and treat myself to a fine chair. You can’t sit on them unless you buy a drink. The sun is beaming down upon my brown, tanned skin, and a scent of completion is in the air.

“Chí, bao nhiêu, Larue?”

“Twenty-five.”

“Ahh, no, mười lăm.”

“No, hai lam, twenty five.”

“Okay, I go to the store.”

The store was only a short drive up the lane and across the main road, the mini-mart it was. The mini-mart where I remember the lady asking me if I lived in Hoi An, when I was still on holiday. Before I’d decided this home away from others is the place I’d like to build my life. It’s the same mini-mart I’d just bought the can of Coca-Cola from. I parked and asked her how much.

“Eighteen.”

I checked my wallet and saw 35k. I remember my sister told me to grab some food while I was out. Bánh mì was twenty, so spending eighteen then meant I couldn’t have both.

“Chi, mười lăm.”

“No, eighteen.”

You can easily become tired of the backwards and forwards hustle of desperately attempting to save twenty cents, and barter with the store owners at each place until a regular price is agreed upon, all in a third world country. It gets tiring, but I still appreciate the joy and the unconventionality of it that I’m not used to back home.

I find a mini-mart further down the road. I can see through the open, second shop window a few men sitting around a table way at the back.

“Anh oi!”

“Anh oi!”

No response. Not even a turn of the head. They couldn’t hear me.

The lady walked by them in time for me to wave and catch her eye, so she came to meet me at the door. I got caught in drifting off into fantasy land while waiting as I noticed the little bonsai tree that looked identical to a screaming mandrake from Harry Potter. I wondered why I couldn't hear it screaming, considering it was so far above the dirt in the open air. Hm.

“Chí oi, Larue, mười lăm.”

“Yes, mười lăm.”

Thank the universe. Thank the Gods. Thank all that is alive and worthy of thanking. Fuck it, thank the dead too.

I handed her the money and exchanged it for the nectar of life that was set to revive my senses. I rode back to the beach to walk past the lady who told me twenty-five. I really showed her. I settled down on the beach to watch the couples passing by and the lady jogging with her breasts bouncing and the dog chasing the stick. I pulled back the beer can tab to see if I’d won a free one, considering I hadn’t yet. I remember the guy at the bar telling me how in Cambodia he got stuck at the supermarket drinking beers one day because every one in three is a free drink win. I started dreaming about how maybe I’d have the same sort of luck as he did, only here on the beach instead. I figured I could be as lucky, but the tab revealed words that were not the ones I was seeking. ‘Chúc may mắn lần sau.' Yep. Good luck next time.

Stream of ConsciousnessHumanityBad habits
2

About the Creator

Michael O'Connor

If you like my content, you can purchase my published short story in ebook or paperback on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CRF12G63

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  • Oneg In The Arctic3 months ago

    This was such a unique and sublime introspective read. You don't know what you'll get out of it, or where it'll go, but you hold on and it ends so perfectly.

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