I am single for six days, as Maiyuu has gone to the provinces.
He visits his friends and family in his home province of Chon Buri every month.
He stays in a little hotel, while I look after myself at home.
My friends urge me to be naughty as I take advantage of his absence. I am not sure if I can remember how.
'Are you coming to see me tonight?'
That was my needy friend Ball, who I ran into last night on the main road passing his slum.
Dressed in his black and white work uniform, he was driving a motorbike, with his girlfriend, daughter Min and adopted youngster Feh squeezed on behind him.
The kids called out my name happily, as I pulled my bicycle into a corner store to buy a bottle of whisky.
I was surprised to see them, though tried to act naturally. I had cycled up the road in the dark about 50m from his place, hoping I wouldn't be noticed, but here he was.
For the past week I have been getting to know a family who run a massage shop nearby. I have barely visited Ball’s place, nor taken his calls.
I know he wants money, and I am reluctant to give it. More importantly, I am trying to expand my social circle, though it is difficult to do when we all live so close to each other.
Ball is accustomed to me turning up at his place on my days off. I buy whisky, food, and we sing songs and play with the kids.
It’s pleasant enough, but I also find myself paying for their living expenses.
When they are working, Ball and his girlfriend Jay earn a meagre wage. They ask me to help make ends meet.
The last time I was there, on Saturday, I gave him B500. By Thursday, it must have run out, as he started calling.
While they wait for pay day, they rely on my help, or the occasional contribution by idle taxi driver Lort, the partner to Ball’s mother.
She’s not around these days, so can’t provide loan finance to her children as she did in the past.
Ball’s mother was convicted of selling methamphetamine about a year ago, and is now serving time in jail.
When Lort is in a good phase, he takes out his taxi to earn a living. When he returns at night, he will give Ball and Jay spare change for the odd meal.
When Lort is in a bad phase, he can spend days rattling about the slum getting drunk. Ball and Jay cannot rely on his help.
As I walked home from work the other night, I fancied I could make out the drunken figure of Lort tottering about in the distance. I didn't investigate; I don't want to know.
If my money has run out, and Lort is incapable of providing, Ball and his girlfriend must turn to other members of the family.
They are rarely at home, as they work long hours. Despite leaving Ball and Jay to look after their children, they are reluctant to shell out for them when they run out of cash.
'They treat us as the pariahs of the family, rarely bothering to include us in anything,' Ball complains.
Ball has earned a reputation for himself as someone who doesn't like to work. He knows that, though his brothers and sister are also aware that, if worse comes to worse, he can always call me for help.
If I pay out, they don't have to, which is unfortunate, but there it is.
Ball and Jay are good at stretching out the money I give them, so B500 usually lasts a few days. They spend it mainly on meals and getting themselves to work.
When it runs out, Ball and his girlfriend start calling me relentlessly on the phone, and usually I give in.
I make a quick visit to the slum and hand over money. I feel sorry for their plight and that of their young daughter, who needs milk and nappies.
For the past week, I however, I have refused to take his calls. In my friends at the traditional massage shop, I have a new port of call on my days off. I no longer have to spend my spare time in cramped conditions, eating off the floor in Ball’s slum.
I can spend it in the relatively civilised surroundings of the massage shop, where we have plenty of room to sit, and eat at tables, thank you, rather than battling with forks and plates on the floor.
When I met Ball on the street, I told him I would pay a visit if I was free.
‘My friends from the massage shop have started playing cards, which I dislike,’ I told him, which was honest enough.
As he left on his bike, the kids gave me a wave, and I felt a pang of guilt. I didn't go to see him, as I knew I wouldn't.
Back at the massage shop, the card game folded mercifully quickly. I spent the night getting to know the owner – a mother and her two kids from different marriages.
More of them in the next post.