From The Glare of Contradiction

            Tookta asked Bernard what he intended to do for three months in Klong Graitin. Bernard’s atonal Thai was limited to about fifty words mostly to do with tracks and animal faeces and the like. He said he was a zoologist out on project which was meaningless to Tookta who knew a few hundred English words to do with beds and nights and greetings and taxis. Bernard made as if he were studying a book and then stalking an animal and then writing notes in a notebook. Tookta nodded.
            “Pangolins,” he said, sticking his tongue out as far as it could go.
            “Nix?” said Tookta with a squeal.
            “Nix?” said Bernard. “Nix?”
            Tookta demonstrated fangs with her fingers. She put her other arm to her flank and swayed from side to side like a cobra.
            “Ah, snakes. No, not snakes,” said Bernard, demonstrating legs, but he found it difficult to imitate a pangolin as there were no ants around and succeeded only in implanting the idea of a lizard in Tookta’s head. He could see that her opinion of him had sunk a little as lizards were less impressive and much less frightening than snakes but he was bored with pantomime and let lizards stay. He inquired about transport to take him into the park and asked for a guide as a translator since his pangolin programme required him to liaise with the authorities.
            Tookta mentioned Suk as the local interpreter most fluent in English and added that she talked a lot. Bernard said that he knew her and that sometimes Suk acted rather than talked. Tookta did not understand although she remembered some connection between Suk and Bernard.
            “Suk know everything in Klong Graitin,” she added, feeling that she had been disloyal to Suk in saying that she was loquacious. “Suk know everything.”
            “She thinks she knows everything,” said Bernard but he too felt he was being ungenerous to Suk. His mind’s eye conjured up Suk lying naked on the bed, hair spread upon her bosom, waiting while he stood dumbfounded. “It is very difficult to know everything.”
            Tookta’s limited English was losing stamina and she merely added that Suk was very beautiful and departed to her Vasa duties.
            Bernard did not think of Suk as beautiful so much as radiating sexual appeal, that is, when she was not lecturing like a schoolmistress or screwing her face up because irritated. Bernard had not come to Klong Graitin to look for Suk but to look for pangolins for he was a serious biologist and wanted to do his part to save the world, its species and sometimes even the human race.
            Or so his official self told his glandular self. But the latter, watching Tookta’s still pleasantly female form disappearing up the track towards the reception building of the House of Vasa, set to work on the former as it had done in Sydney and created a loop, a pangolin-like circle in which it was difficult to know where the head or tail begun. One element fed back and reinforced the other so that his sexual genetic component interacted with his professional environmental opinion, his educated free will with man’s most determining driving factor, and finally he had ended up in a chalet in Klong Graitin, not with a pangolin’s scales and tongue and termites in his mind but Suk.

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