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          The Sea of Sorrows

                 Book Two of

             The Rod of God

A man returns to Thailand after a fifty-year absence. When he was in Bangkok on leave from the Vietnam War, he met a girl and fell in love. After returning to the battlefield, he was critically wounded and shipped to a hospital in San Diego. After recovering from his injuries he goes back to Bangkok looking for Chayan, but she’s not there. A year later he returns and one of the other girls tells him Chayan died during a typhoid epidemic. Devastated, he returns to the States, goes to medical school and eventually starts a family. Now, after fifty years, he goes again to Bangkok, but instead of Chayan, he finds his past had been evolving without him.

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Spanish Language

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Audio version

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                                                                Excerpt from Chapter Two

“Who was that?”

“Business partner,” I said.

“What kind of business?”

“Hospital renovation in Los Angles.”

“Sounds hard.”

“Yeah,” I said, “hard to get everyone on the same page.”

“What page?”

I glanced at my watch; after 2 a.m., I tossed money on the table and grabbed my iPad to leave.

“Why are you spying on me?”

“Actually, I thought I’d get away without seeing you.”

“You’ve been watching me all night.”

“I’ve been working all night.” I held up the computer for her to see.

“I hope it’s not the same twaddle you were writing last night.” She sat at the table, but I didn’t.

“No, this is mostly drivel and tripe.”

“Should be an improvement. Sit down. You look like you’re about to take a runner.”

“I guess it’s too late for that.”

I took the chair across from her. She waved the waitress over.

“So you’re like a voyeur?” She spoke to the waitress. “Hi, Ringy. Can we have two root beers?”

Ringy smiled and went away for the drinks.

“Why are you nice to her?”

“She used to work the street until she got too old.”

“That will happen to you, too. Probably next week.”

“Funny. Why do you come here?”

“I thought I might find intellectual stimulation, but all I get is boring conversation.”

“Stimulation cost money.”

“But boredom is free?”

“Until I get a paying customer. How about you? Wouldn’t you like to buy some real stimulation?”

I laughed. “Why would I do that?”

“Why does any man?”

“Because they can’t get a date with a real woman.”

“You don’t think I’m a real woman?”

“I think you’re a–

Ringy brought our root beers and set them on the table. Prija sipped her drink, then raised an eyebrow.

“I think there’s a time for banter,” I said, “and a time to shut up.”

“Why? Last Saturday night I called you an old American bastard.”

“The truth never hurt anyone.”

“Then tell me the truth about me.”

“All right. You’re a beautiful young woman.”

“Blush.”

“And working the street because you can’t make the same amount of money in a store or a factory.”

Her phone vibrated. She looked at the message but didn’t reply to it.

“Why is Siskit happy working in an export office for a fraction of the money you make?”

“Because I won’t let her work here.”

“Oh, but it’s okay for you?”

“I know what I’m doing.”

“What are you doing?”

She stood. “Going back to work. You can pay for the drinks.”

I watched her walk away, then I left money for Ringy.

I love it. Just like the old days.