The Fisherman’s Daughter

10 Dec


In Puerto Princesa the guard at the resort gate had an M16 with the blacking worn off. A kind smile. He made 50 cents an hour and they posted him by the road. When Abu Sayyaf took you they approached from the beach. They drove speedboats up the coast from the south; he’d read about it. If they came the guard would have to hear the disturbance 200 yards away. Run to the beach, fight off five men with AK-47s by himself. 50 cents an hour. That’s assuming the boats weren’t already halfway back to Balabac where they kept the video equipment dry for the beheading. The hotel came at a significant discount but the desk girl still charged him for an upgrade. We need it sir, she said. No more Westerners now because of the terrorist. She had studied hospitality. Hoped to work in California. You’d be like a movie star there, he said. The men will go crazy for you.

Her laugh was perfect. It didn’t quite accept his premise but didn’t make him feel stupid for trying. I don’t know about that, sir.

You would have many men fighting over you. Malibog, he almost said, but didn’t know what it meant in the Palawan dialect, or which Palawan dialect she spoke. In Tagalog it was “horny.” In Visayan “riled up”, which was what he meant. Many men, he said instead, which seemed worse. He was blushing.

Thank you sir, she said. If you need something I am Joy.

In his room white lizards looked back from the ceiling. He masturbated to Joy on their wedding night. Giving her their first child of many. Her eyes full of totally benevolent love. He was almost asleep when the lizards started screaming.


The next night, when he came back from the underground river tour, she was at the desk again. It was teak, modeled after a Polynesian ship. Do you like the river, she asked. Yes, he had; he had seen cave swallows. Some kind of wild jungle turkey digging a hollow for its nest. Unusual terns on the sheer black cliffs. No Palawan cockatoos but he’d startled a monitor lizard trying to snap a butterfly with his phone. It was bigger than him, lumbered off shaking its head. Its bite could kill a water buffalo. Its saliva evolved over eons to cultivate flesh eating bacteria. A horrible death. Yes, beautiful, many birds, he said. He was studying a pamphlet of hotel services. Her eyes were too gentle to look at.

You have in-room massages here?

Yes, she said. I give. He suddenly got nervous.

It is OK, she said. I have a license, I am training–

Oh no, it’s good that it’s you.

Maybe you are shy sir?

Yes, he said. I guess so. He felt if she touched him she’d become unclean. But can I get one?

Yes, when?


She laughed again. You take a shower, in 30 minutes I come.


When she put her palm on his neck to apply lavender he felt like he was dissolving. She’d changed into a white uniform. Like she’d just won a high school karate tournament. Her ponytail tickled his back as she worked. She hummed and murmured. You have big muscles, sir, she said.

Thank you.

Back home, sir, what do you do for work.

Suddenly he was awake. Motherfucker, he thought. Even in the jungle. I uh, work in an office.

What kind of office.

It’s… marketing.

Marketing sir?

Yes, people who want to sell… products, we give them data.


You know what this is? Data?

You have information.

Yes. We give information to people who want to sell things.

Good money, she said. Your wife is happy, sir. Her hands slipped down his spine and she began rolling back the top of his underwear. Her hair tickled his legs and he was at peace again. I don’t have a wife, he said.

No wife, no baby?

No baby. You?

No baby, she said. Not yet. Girlfriend?

No girlfriend.

Her palm on top of his ass crack made his blood change direction. What kind of information, she said.

We have every kind. We buy everything you put in your computer. Your phone, everything from your credit card. We know everything about people and we put it together so… you know what ads are?

Yes sir.

We put it together so people can make better ads.

Do you like it?

I hate it.

Then why do you do it?

I need money. Where I live everyone has to work.

Mmm… I am working until I find a husband.

California husband?

Maybe if I am very lucky. Please turn over, sir.

He was hard but she didn’t seem to panic. Her fingers moved over his chest and the lizards squeaked on the ceiling. They are called “toko,” she said. Later he read they were endangered. Her face got close as she plied his collarbones and her breath was cool on his neck. So do you know things about everyone sir, she said.

Yes, we look at everybody.

Even the powerful men? The government and the movie stars?

I guess so. But it doesn’t matter, we collect–we have everything on everybody but we have to give it to another place before we look at it. Make it anonymous. A credit bureau. Do you know this, credit bureau? Equifax?

No sir.

You’re lucky.

You can’t look because it is the law?


And you don’t break the law sir? Just to find out?

I mean–who cares, I don’t… who cares what some guy buys with his credit card.

You really don’t like it, she said. But I think you are strong to work hard at something you don’t like. The men here are not like this, sir. I think you will be a good husband, good father. When you are ready.

She looked in his eyes. He put his palm on her cheek, moved it to bring her face close to kiss him. Slid his other hand on her knee where she crouched, moved it up her thigh, warm under the white fabric. She laughed. A laugh that didn’t make him feel like an asshole for trying. Shifted away from him and made wrinkles in the comforter. It is not that kind of massage, sir.

I’m sorry–

It is OK, sir. I like you too. But if you want to know me like this, sir, you will first come to meet my father.

Wait, really?

Yes, he is near here. He is a fisherman.

Is he going to kill me for touching you?

Oh no, she said. I think you will like him sir. He is always asking to bring him a man like you.


15 Responses to “The Fisherman’s Daughter”

  1. MD December 10, 2017 at 1:52 pm #


  2. Atlanta Man December 10, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    Fuck her ,but don’t bring her back to America-She will change.

    • dickycone December 10, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

      Harsh but true.

    • Chico December 11, 2017 at 11:11 pm #

      If you want to reproduce, are you going to do better with anyone else?

      Just get a prenup to set the frame.

  3. Isaac December 11, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    Wow, great. My fav chapter so far by far

  4. Small December 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

    Gosh, it’s so real – it’s almost like you’ve lived through something almost exactly like this!

    Seriously though, it’s objectively good. Glad you found time to write.

  5. The Nude Matador December 13, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    American Houellebecq.

    • Someguy January 19, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

      Dude, I’ve read Houellebecq, in French, and DT is hands down better.

  6. Skookumchuk December 13, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    You have to find a way to keep her as she is and to build the relationship from there. Otherwise it will just turn into another tedious dystopian novel. If you can pull it off, it would be an inspiration.

  7. basstardben January 2, 2018 at 1:21 pm #

    Cut me to the quick. Sorrowful but really good, it was like I looked into the axeman’s eyes for understanding of the whole pitiful beautiful mess before he swung and executed me…,
    maybe I found that understanding, but nobody knew besides him

  8. Someguy January 19, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

    Dude, I’ve read Houellebecq, in French, and DT is hands down better.


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