นวนิยายขนาดสั้น 'The Spook Radio'

This short novel is about a guy who works as a DJ for the radio program 'The Spook Radio', famous for its allowing audience to share their thrilling experiences or tales about the superstitious stuffs, especially the ghosts, via telephones. Indisputably, this short story is highly inspired by the real program 'The Shock' of DJ Pong , Kapon Thongpub and 'The Ghost Radio ‘of Jack the Ghost , but my imagination completely reigns over them. 

 

                                                           1 

 

It was utterly ironic that I, as the man who genuinely believed in the illumination of science in the 21st century, would someday become a part of the company which had incessantly conjured up the superstitions for the public. After graduating from university, I found myself some odd jobs -boring and aimless, but I was still proud that I could avoid the military conscription by picking up the black card at the ceremony held by the army. I thought I could show my manliness with other methods, not jogging endlessly with the fellow privates or mowing grass lawn at the colonel’s house. I as well succeeded in avoid my parents’ wish that I would enter the monkhood, because I considered myself irreligious. The belief that the exact 25-year-old- man (what about woman?)  should enter the monkhood to avoid the evil fortune was preposterous. And so was the one that the parents could grasp the rim of their son’s robe to the heaven above, as the son’s constant filial love was more important than just a ceremony. 

The only person helping me walk this path with stride was Nid-Noi, my girlfriend of 5 years and a half. Contrary to my tumultuous life, she seemed perfectly positive about hers, as a free-lance artist who revelled in the landscape paintings. Surprisingly, that helped soothe my soul too: it was like a mantra to watch and listen to her sublime works and emotional descriptions about them. For some reasons, we stopped living together after the graduation. She went back to live with her parents who were quite well-to-do, while I lived in a small and decrepit apartment in Bang Na - far away from her. But we were still like a match made in heaven -though I sometimes was not certain which level of heaven we were made in. 

Only a few days before my 25th birthday and complete 4th month of unemployment, I stumbled upon the advertisement of 'The Spook Radio’, recruiting the new crews. I was aware that it was the popular program for allowing the audience to fulfil their wild imaginations by prattling on the ghosts or other-worldly tales which I had openly scorned. But now the works in the large companies or the government agencies looked too competitive or tedious for me - just like my previous ones. Or this was luring me to the new horizon of experience which I deep down inside desired- a job in the little company full of the so-called experts on ghosts. 

"It would be funny for the nerdy graduate from the respected university like you to end up working here, Khun Satit," 

DJ Wan , the plumpy fiftysomething with long beard, said while browsing through my portfolio. He was the boss of the Spook Radio company and the TV personality who was admired by Fanclub nationwide for his friskiness and quirky sense of humour. He had also starred in numerous films - both comedy and horror- and directed one himself, though it was not much successful. After all, he was fondly nicknamed 'the Godfather of Thai Horrors'. 

I just shook my head. 

"I am afraid I don't have much choice, sir. Now our country's economy is on the verge of meltdown, and the rate of unemployment is uglily soaring, more terrifying than the ghost stories themselves." 

DJ Somnuek - DJ Wan's assistant- smiled with mischief. 

" I presume you have more reasons than this, like an urge or something. Do you believe or ever really encounter the ghost?" 

I shook my head again. I would rather be straightforward since it was my real character. 

"Not at all, sir, to tell you the truth. I believe when a human being dies, he no longer exists -just like a flame when its candle is extinguished. But you can rest assured that there is hardly the horror film that I have missed. My most favourite ones were like 'Shutter’, ‘Paen Chu kab Phi' or ‘Rang Song’. Moreover, my daily hobby is to play online games mainly about killing Zombies and other bloodthirsty creatures. " 

Three of my interviewers frequently glanced at one another. They had also been doodling something on their papers. Those were probably the sentences like 'how come this dunderhead has expected to be hired, whilst other applicants are dying to bullshit about their ghost experiences? '.   

Another guy whom I did not know said, 

"Wait for several days, we will inform you of the result of this interview. Have a good day, Mr. Believe-in-nothing." 

  Much to my astonishment, just a day later, they called me that I was hired along with other 2 people and would work with the company next week. I used to ask DJ Wan about the reason for accepting me. He chortled and said that he did not want the fervent believer in supernaturality, as the aim of his company was just the pure entertainment. He was cautious that such a freak would drag everyone to the extreme, and everything would eventually be in disarray. In the future I would merely be trained for acting and speaking to make the audience feel creepy, that was enough. And he had found some gift lurking in my idleness that would be much useful for him. Nonetheless, somebody spilled a secret to me much later that DJ. Wan found challenging and comical simultaneously to change me from the audacious sceptic to the scaredy- cat who would not even dare to sleep alone at the hotel.  

Nid-Noi was the first person who knew about this so-called good news, even before my parents who lived in Chonburi. But she raised her eyebrows. 

"Really, Aon? Are you sure that this is an appropriate job for you? I know you don't believe in ghosts." 

I rushed to embrace her although she was holding the paintbrush before her work. 

"Sure, Sweetie-Pie. It is just the entertainment. I believe most of our crews do not believe in ghosts either, but their performances are supreme, so we are deceived that they’re really into it. " 

Nid-Noi glanced sideways and was still focusing on the canvas. She began to give a me a worthy lecture. 

"Look at you. You are almost 25 years old now, and this will be your fifth job since graduation. Why do you think it will be your permanent one? I used to watch this program via YouTube and found it quite pathetic, though hilarious. Imagine you would become the DJ pretending to be thrilled with the telephone calls about such a crock of shit all late night. You will easily get bored- as this is your habit - and you will look for the sixth job in no time." 

I smiled wryly and softly fondled her left upper arm. 

"But there are many other tasks of the company that suit my interest. Look! Your arm seems flappy. You lately gain weight quite a lot. So, you should … " 

She interrupted, 

"Aon, you'd better care about your work! You know so well that I have been working here night and day for the grand exhibition held next week. It is ordinary for a lady to nibble all the time to compensate for the lost energy!" 

I stole a kiss from her. 

"No, you are also a very part of me, so it is normal for me to worry about you more than myself. Eating less and sleeping more are the best for your health. Hang in there! I know both of us are going to make it at last. And don’t forget tomorrow we are going to celebrate my birthday by dining under the candle lights together, and you will find the most impressive way to relax. I know your urgent work can wait. " 

She smiled faintly to show her satisfaction of my amorous gestures although it was quite tactical. I knew darn well how to appease her.  

 

                                                           2

The experience of my first day in the Spook Radio was so indelible that I could bring it to share with the audience nationwide over and over again. My work here would begin at 6:00 pm, whereas my previous work began at 6.00 am. Walking into the decades-old office during the twilight evoked the feeling of a worker during his tiresome night shift in factory, only I was the white-collar. There I met my fellow rookies: a man and a woman. The first was 4 years older than me. Wit was his nickname, the pale and lanky guy who had changed his jobs more frequently than me. His family of 5 members, solely supported by him, made me feel more complacent with my own bachelorhood. The diminutive woman, Tonya, was probably several younger than me. Despite her gruff voice and short haircut, she insisted that she was 1,000 percent straight, but she didn't mind being treated like our little brother. Three of us became friends rapidly while waiting for DJ Wan, the chairman of our minuscule orientation ceremony. This was because we were in the same boat and didn't know what our future was ushering into. A middle -aged maid walked to greet us and gave us the glasses of water.

Half an hour later, DJ Wan smilingly walked into the room. He was in Mauhom (ม่อห่อม) dress with monk's tote bag around his arm as usual -that made him look like a sorcerer or a temple's liaison (มัคนายกวัด). Before saying anything, he threw the books on the table before us. Their titles were like 'Do Ghosts and karma Exist?' and 'Where are Our Afterlives?’. Among these were also the 10-baht Thai horror cartoons and the papers of the horror novels printed from internet.

"I don't know how much each of you believe in the supernaturality. But I hope you will do your duties eagerly and efficiently for our company's sake. Share these stuffs among you and study them at home. I need you to absorb the staple of your career ASAP, but don't take it seriously, according to my motto: this is just an entertainment."

We were still mute. He paused and sat on a chair; his bead necklace dangling on his chest looked disturbing.

"For the past several years, our company has been challenged by the YouTubers of the variety of horror programs, most telling the stories by themselves with the perfect Thai language and the smoothest voice I have ever heard. Some of them also have the sound effects like the radio drama in the old days that have kept me on the edge of my seat. I know that I couldn't resort to my incomparable handsomeness and charms forever, so it is the uphill tasks for you, the new generation to find more creative ways to attract more audience to our program... Khun Worawit , what do you want to say ? ... Yeah, about salary? ... Don't worry that is the detail we are going to discuss about later. I can guarantee that you will be safe from the bombardments of your 1 nagging wife, 1 ailing mother-in-law and 2 wailing kids."

Tonya raised her hands.

"Sir, this time is our office hours every day, or it depends on each's real task? "

DJ Wan smiled.

"It's up to you , Khun Sarinee. You are the girl; your beauty is unbearable and could bring you in danger thanks to the rape statistics in this country. Perhaps you might be mainly assigned the works that could be done in broad daylight like accounting. For the little company like ours, it is as easy as pie. Even I can train you."

Tonya looked hugely disappointed.

"Does it mean I would never work as a DJ? "

The fiftysomething (I learn later that he was exactly 50 years old) said meekly while twisting his left hands constantly like he was exercising, but it made him quite weird:

"You told me about your apartment; it is very far from our office. One day if you move to stay around here, or with me, you might be able to fulfil your dream at last as the first female DJ of our company. Remember, everyone, to be DJ needs time and patience like Jedi in the Star Wars saga."

Tonya sniggered. I thought DJ Wan meant well, but his opinion was quite sexist.

"And you ..Khun Satit " He looked at me." You are single, though you have a girlfriend. I don't know when both of you will tie a knot, but you are cursed to work here at night forever, any objection? "

I simply accepted his order automatically but regretted about this later. He roared with laughter.

"I am insightful, so I know you and Khun Worawit are the night owls. You are both the right men for the right jobs!"

I was about to argue that my daily bedtime was exactly 9.00 pm but held my tongue, as this might take a toll on my new work. I saw my fellows so excited and a bit confused. I hope we would finally adjust ourselves to the unorthodox boss and jobs like these.

DJ Somnuek hastily entered the room, profusely apologizing for being late.DJ wan smiled and said,

"You the new recruits must pass a hazing ritual like the freshmen in university. Here comes your sophomore. Follow DJ Somunek and do everything he tells ya. But remember you must go back here before 10.00 pm, coz you must learn by observing how your senior DJs are working and become their assistants later. "

The Godfather of Thai Horrors excused himself and went to the next room while reading some papers from his tote bag and mumbling.DJ Somnuek who looked more normal than his boss said solemnly,

"Follow me, guys.If that place is too scary or discomforting , tell me.But I suggest that you must be patient as it will be the first test for you to pass.Don't just take for granted that three of you would work merely at the office.Fieldwork is also necessary for our company."

"Fieldwork ?" Wit exclaimed.

"Of course, Wit.” DJ Somnuek called his nickname. "Haven't you ever followed our program? There are many times that we have the fieldworks out of town to conduct the paranormal activities like searching for ghosts. This will always hugely boost our ratings, especially when we find the perfectly blood-curdling places and the thrilling plots. "

I noticed that Wit was a bit ashen, but he tried to hide it. We were led by our senior to the downstairs via the elevator what was working slowly like it was about to break down in any minute with the incessant sound of screeching and clanking. Our building at this moment was quiet and empty like the haunted condominium. We then had to walk along the narrow and dim alley behind our office for almost 20 minutes.

I asked DJ.Somnuek.

"How many men does our company have ?"

He answered,

" Ah, about 6 , including a maid , Pa (ป้า) Nuch.2 men had just resigned from here weeks ago."

I was curious.

"How come they resigned ?"

He mused over something. I swore I could feel his irritation, but the man in his 30s kept his voice emotionless.

"Aon, everyone has to pursue his own dream when he grows up. I remember vaguely that one probably found another job in showbiz and the other went back to be a gardener in his hometown - the sufficiency economy or some sort."

Eventually we showed up at the deserted building which had not been completed yet. Its gigantic body stood in the dark like the castle of Dracula in a film, except there was not a single strike of lightning. Unbelievable that not far from the bustling street were there rarely houses or buildings around. Only the small grocery store with the flickering light was its vicinity but looked far distant because of the large and leafy banyan tree combining with the sparse forest around the building. So, this neighbourhood resembled a rural area, though it was in the heart of Bangkok.

The building as well reminded me of the scene at the ending of the film 'Rang Song'. All the hell would break loose , if we all met Ms.Mink and her minions.

DJ Somnuek smirked and told us,

"If you guys want to earn your living with stories about ghosts, you must get accustomed to their presences. This building was built 2 decades ago but not finished yet, because its owner was broke and jumped to his death from its terrace. It was also plagued by the rumours that several workers faced the horrible deaths in the accidents. Each of you is required to stay on the separate floors of building for one hour."

The rookies glanced at each other. Tonya looked obviously nervous.

DJ Somnuek chuckled.

"Don't worry, Tonya. You are the girl, so I won't be far from you. If any of you encounters something suspicious or dangerous, scream at the top of your lungs and I'll be there. By the way, sorry to say that all of you must surrender your mobile phones to me. I will provide each of you only a little flashlight.DJ Wan wants you to face your own fears without distraction. Who volunteers to be on the third floor which was the farthest?"

No sooner had I raised my hand than Wit sighed with relief. At least he could choose the second floor which was less chilling. Screaming was a taboo for him as it meant losing the dignity of man. He patted my shoulder like saying: you are my personal messiah. I smiled back, as I knew that suppose the ghost really existed and haunted this place, it didn't matter which floor you were on- only if it was hell-bent on punishing anyone for trespassing its turf like a gangster always was.

 

                                                           3

Walking up along the dark and tortuous stairs, I reminisced about my not-so-distant past: the days when I was still a sophomore. At the beginning of new semester, my friends and I were determined to hold the most stunning hazing ritual of all time in our university. Some came up with the idea that we would pull the prank by ordering the hapless freshmen to the deserted house after brainwashing them that the herds of fiercest ghosts were awaiting to suck their souls there. Some members of our staff even spent their own money to pay for the little cheap special effects to disguise themselves as the various kinds of ghosts (like using the soft drink 'Hale's Blue Boy' as the blood). They also practiced so hard to scare the shit out of the freshmen and would teach them at the end of the ritual to be scientifically minded like the concept of their major.

But result was harrowing, although the boys and the girls didn't die from the heart attacks, some of them had the nervous breakdowns and fainted. Many became hysterical and cried like the possessed and few deplorably peed their pants. The very next day, all the reckless staff were summoned and received the harsh reprimands from the Dean. The sophomores and the freshmen thereafter were irretrievably estranged. Several students brazenly attacked their seniors via Facebook. When the freshmen became the sophomores themselves next year, they officially condemned that ghost house adventure and abolish all kinds of the insane hazing rituals like the abolition of slavery during king Rama 5.

Therefore, when DJ Somnuek told me about the ghosts in this building, I lamented to myself: the karma finally caught up with me. I thus became wary that the staff of this little company, perhaps including DJ Wan himself, were hiding on each floor with the sinister plan to ruthlessly ambush us - the helpless little lambs who were cowering in the dark. I smiled to myself.

The atmosphere of the 3rd floor was not eerie at all. I saw the panoramic view of other buildings from afar because my floor was mostly higher than the tall trees surrounding the building. I expected to see some traces of homeless, punks or junkies but found nothing -only almost the empty floor. It was covered by the dust and the debris of bricks, but far from my position were the cluster of unidentified objects - I guessed from my little flashlight- were the pieces of the worn-out furniture. I just stood and leaned against the corner of building, ready to withstand the jump scares of the staff. I wondered what I would then react: should I pretend to be terrified and collapse - just to impress them or pretend to slap them in the faces like Will Smith did to Chris Rock, claiming that I was too startled?

Minutes had passed and nothing happened. It was typically quiet, occasionally defiled by the sound of the rustling leaves of the trees and dog’s barks nearby. I didn’t hear the faint hollers from 2 of my fellows who might be falling victim to the pranks on the lower floors as I had expected. I was perplexed, perhaps my assumption was wrong. Now nothing was worse than not having internet around. I became restless as people in my generation were shackled in the digital world. I wished I had had the mobile phone at this moment, so I would have used the video call to Nid-Noi who was probably working at her gallery. This would have impressed her tremendously, especially while I was chatting with her, the ghost-whether real or not- appeared behind me, I would thus scream fanatically before stopping to say 'Salanghaeyo' (I love you) along with the hand gesture of love like a Korean drama.

Without internet and fear of ghosts, my thought was wandering like it was losing in the jungle. I pondered many things like not so impressive experiences with my ex-colleagues who had been so pleased to backstab or to spread the vicious rumours about me. I thought about a thug who had bullied me several times while I tried to avoid the confrontation. Now I was the new guy who had practiced the Mixed Martial Art (MMA) from time to time. If I had been meeting him here right now, I would have started a fight without the referee. It was just under a law of the jungle: until someone was knocked unconscious or blood from the broken nose covered his face.

The strong wind blew across my floor and conveyed the scent of a flower I had never smelled instead of the fishy one like in a horror film. All of a sudden, I heard some noise from another corner of the floor, not far from the presumed furniture - a strange drone. Then a shadow could abruptly be seen in the dark. I attempted to use the flashlight, but it didn't work like this was a trick from DJ Somnuek.I finally made up my mind that if this was a prank and I pretended to be scared, the new colleagues might consider me a pushover all the time like that thug did. I shouted at the shadow and told it that I had a gun. I then pretended to draw it from the pocket and was ready to shoot, but the shadow was still moving to and fro, along with that nerve-racking noise. Now I suspected that it might be a real ghost, but I would not let it bully me either. I imagined it as the goddamn tormentors at my previous offices, so the unexpected strength and craziness erupted into my veins. I shrieked like a lunatic before darting forward to kick that shadow. It was amusing that the ghost was utterly stupefied to see a guy kicking its ass. But suddenly there was a sound of something extremely frightened - a cat briskly running away from me. And the shadow was merely the small billboard in the figure of a superstar which had accidentally risen to its feet because of the wind and the weight of that chubby cat.

I burst out laughing before everyone rushed into my floor in a frenzy.

                                                           

                                                            4

My heroism spread quickly around my new office in the next day. I guessed I was considered by some of new colleagues quite aggressive. But Tonya held me in high esteem like a big brother. Wit also told me that I was the person to rely on. Their ordeals last night were unexpectedly put to the end by the tumult on my floor. After all, DJ Wan still treated me the same, or was he just waiting to play other tricks on me? I was dying to know. I still did everything as the seniors told me to, even running the errands like a domestic worker. Several weeks later, DJ Wan told me that among the new employees, I was the most promising for the DJ career. But still nothing happened.

One night DJ Jug, who was fond of me and always preferred me to be his assistant, called me that he was suffering from diarrhea and urgently needed me to replace him. It was revealed later that his wife hit his head when learning that he was going to a rendezvous with another woman, so he felt too humiliated to show up at office with a serious wound. I was not excited at all about being the DJ, as I had observed this kind of work days in, days out. Besides, DJ Jug often talked with me on air intermittently to make the program more hilarious, because I had the sense of humour like Phramaha Sompong , the ex-monk who had been the renowned stand-up comedian.

However, I found the full work of DJ grueling, as I had to control the whole program for 4 hours with the short breaks like advertisements and news. It was true that the guests had talked for half of the time, but the DJ had to listen to them patiently and attempt to interrupt, repeat, question and sump up the whole stories like a public prosecutor, that was exhausting. Lucky for me that I had a middle-aged technician staying with me all late night, and he always gave me some valuable advice. When I became the full-time DJ later, I realized that like Nid-Noi's observation, the guests, sharing the horror stories via phones, were mostly lying, or at least embellishing the stories. It was the DJ's utter ability to pretend to be emotionally attached, especially the excitement, so it would make the guests proud though half of them were unrealistic and predictable.

The identities of the guests were not a trifling matter. It was the program's rule that they had to reveal only their nicknames, ages, occupations and hometowns but just in the sketchy details. I believed plenty of the guests were lying about these too, because they felt that they had the power to create their new selves for the audience nationwide. A frequent guest identified himself as a young doctor working in the Northeast and demanded the DJs to call him 'Doctor Aek’. Though his style of telling horror stories was excellent and his hair-raising plots won the public acclaims, there were many times he described his works and routines far from the truth. I knew this as I used to read a ton of books about the lives of medical personnel thanks to the childhood's dream. However, I had to keep calling him like that with respect, and this quite dismayed me. But - like DJ Wan's motto- it was just an entertainment, to deceive everyone, including yourself.

The reactions from my debut as the DJ that night were astonishingly mixed: some users in YouTube and Facebook lashed out that I was too domineering and interrupted the guests too often, whereas others admired me for humours and inquisitiveness. Nonetheless, it was DJ Wan who had the real authority to assess this.

"I listened to you in the live program last night. That’s fabulous for the debutant like you. I should have chewed you and Jug off for not asking for my permission first, but I am a kind of forgiving boss. Moreover, I am deeply in awe of you, so you can commence as the full-time DJ next week." He smiled.

I came up with a question.

"What about a DJ license? Must I pass the examination of The NBTC (กสทช) before? "

He frowned while caressing the skull - the plastic one used in the TV comedy program he was about to join tomorrow.

"Don't worry, Jug will help you prepare for this. I have some friends in NBTC, but even without their helps, I am 100 percent certain that you can make it, because you are so talented: a natural born DJ. Now knee down!"

I was stunned.

"What?"

He looked solemn.

"I said , knee down!"

When I begrudgingly followed his order, DJ Wan used a stick to touch both of my shoulders like we were in the investiture in the medieval England. Fortunate that no one else was in the room.

He spoke out loud and so with power like he was the king:

"I now bestow upon you the sacred DJ-hood. You must pledge an allegiance that you hereby shall execute your task with all your might and will for the sake of our glorious company both in present and future."

I almost laughed my ass off and pretended to repeat after him. He then muttered something like an incantation to ask for a blessing from the merciful god - how it was like Srithanya Hospital (Thailand's largest psychiatric hospital)! But I supposed that he was just rehearsing for the drama tomorrow. He was also a benevolent boss beloved by everyone in the company come what may.

Similar to DJ Wan’s prediction, I passed the examination like tossing popcorns into my mouth albeit a perfunctory preparation. And I eventually became the company's newest DJ who had spent only a month as a novice, as if I had had a close connection with Lung Pom, the deputy prime minister. It was beyond belief that nobody was jealous of me. My fellows were filled with longing that I would choose him or her to be my assistant (I finally chose them both), while other seniors heartily congratulated me on this. They seemed relieved that their burdens would be lessened, as I used to mention before that the duties of DJ drained out much of the vigour of their lives. I presumed even if I by any chance became more well-known or attracted sponsors more than them, they wouldn't even care much.

The first person I called about this good news was Nid-Noi as usual , but her lukewarm reaction let me down. In a video call, she looked tired and nonchalant. I knew that her grand exhibition at Siam Paragon several weeks ago felt flat: the number of visitors was below the expectation, and the critics in the newspapers were sharp-tongued about her works. I tried to console her for fear that she would fall prey to the debilitating depression. Although she said she could stand it, her inside seemed to be the opposite. From then I felt that our relationship gradually became worse, and our meeting was rare. There were many times that I suspected that she was finding another shoulder to cry on, as that person in all likelihood had treated her with more understanding than I had.

I turned to focus on my work and found it diverting attention from this kind of heart-rending romance. I kept reading the books about the so-called supernatural science – the diametrically opposite to the natural science as my major in university. Now I was in the guise of the guru of supernaturality though I was incredulous - what the hypocrite!

However, the more I studied, the more I resented the stories from guests which looked banal and lacked imagination. Here was one of those kinds of stories I always met during the program at night:

 

                                                       The Haunted Hotel

 

The guest told me that his name was Sulak ,27, a salesman. It was obligatory for this career to travel almost around the country to have business deals with clients. His company was quite small, so its budgets for accommodation of the employees were not enough for the luxury or new hotels. Sulak thus had to stay at the run-down ones (โรงแรมจิ้งหรีด) almost everywhere. One day he went to Phitsanulok at night.

Sulak: When I got off the bus at the station about 8 pm, I was livid at myself that I completely forgot the name of the hotel I used to stay in this province years ago, so I asked a motorcycle rider about the cheapest and nearest hotel around here. The guy, in his 60s, asked his friends briefly and took me there. On the way he told me to be cautious while staying in that hotel - I was very curious. When we reached the destination, I tried to ask him about this, but he just nimbly left me.

I: Really? What the odd guy! He behaved like our dear prime minister when meeting the reporters. Did you, Khun Sulak, have some ominous feeling about this hotel?

Sulak: It smelled fishy, sir. This hotel was ramshackle and extremely old; it must have been built around year 2500 (the Buddhist era), I guessed. At the counter, the owner was sitting idly, reading newspaper. He must have been born the same year as the time the hotel was built or even during the era of King Rama 7."

(I chuckled but then hastily warned Sulak not to mention the hotel's name because our company might be sued by its owner.)

Sulak: The geezer almost threw me the key after receiving money. He brusquely told me about the room's direction and kept reading newspaper. What an impressive service - no staff, no porter or any kind! But that was still bearable, as I just wanted to lay down and shut my eyes briefly before visiting my important clients tomorrow.

I: You are such a simple man , Khun Sulak. Did you notice whether there were other guests in that hotel?

Sulak: Not so sure, sir. But it was like walking in a tomb, I don’t exaggerate this. There was no sign of life, no noise or no music. One small black cat all at once darted across me at the hallway.

I: Aha, some may think this is a bad omen especially when it jumps on the coffin. But the cat lovers (ทาสแมว) think a black cat is very cute and friendlier than other breeds. It is the prejudice we adopted from the West in the middle age. After all, I consider this as a personal conviction.

Sulak: (laughed) Yeah, I am a cat lover myself, but this freaked me out. Finally, I found my room which was on the second floor, and its inside was as creepy as the rest of the hotel. I thought about another hotel but knew that the geezer wouldn't throw me the money back. I put the luggage on one of the twin beds as a trick to prevent a ghost from sleeping on it before taking a shower. Surprisingly, the bathroom was not in a deplorable condition -no cockroaches or mysterious stains, but it was mildly fetid. I then went outside to have a late dinner at a little food stall in the hotel's vicinity. Its elderly owner asked me during serving me Padthai: whether I stayed around here. Learning about the name of my hotel, she was startled and told me that this hotel was (allegedly) infested with ghosts ; it rarely had the guests. Other customers surrounded us and seconded her statement. I believed them, but how could I really do? I had already spent the last money of my company. Yet I was at ease because I had the sacred amulets around my neck.

I: Good for you. I do admire you for your courage. Don’t tell me that your amulets are from the venerable Father Kem (หลวงปู่เค็ม)!

Sulak: Thank you. Those were not his, but I would like to omit the monk’s name here. I encountered the paranormal activities frequently, so I was so sure that the amulets would help me survive again. When I went back to the hotel, the owner wasn't there - just the empty counter with the large pendulum clock behind. I was mighty glad not to meet him again , coz he was quite a nuisance (กวนตีน). Before lying on the rugged bedroom, I said a prayer including sending my good will and compassion to all beings in this universe (แผ่เมตตา). I later checked my e-mail and messenger via my mobile phone in the dark before closing my eyes. Suddenly I heard the shower running in my bathroom. I supposed it broke down and went to check it. However, nothing happened while the floor was still dry. I knew immediately a ghost was beginning to manifest itself. I said aloud: both of us should stay in our own places, please don't disturb me anymore. But while I was drifting into a deep slumber, I heard a strange noise and saw a woman with long hair covering her face standing before my feet.

I: Really? How scary! (I almost yawned but stopped in time. I always wondered why the ghost always appeared as a woman with long hair like the film 'Juon' or 'The Ring’? Perhaps this made her look more mystic and intimidating.)

Sulak: I remembered well that she was not the ' Ent girl’ (เด็กเอ็น) awaiting to pay for her unforgettable entertainment like some joke, so I was scared shitless. I attempted to say a prayer, but to no avail, and even my amulets didn't ward her off either. I then tried to stand up and run but tragically, I felt being overpowered. She mumbled something like telling me that she was brutally murdered here a decade ago; all she needed at this moment was a loving companion. The utter fear made my hair stand on end, and the sweat drenched my poor T-shirt. I really wanted to have a family but having a ghost wife was not such a brilliant idea. All of a sudden, I recalled the love of my parents and late grandma whom I got attached to. I thus was able to threaten her that I would curse her to be burnt in hell forever. She looked frightened and vanished into thin air. I jumped out of the bed, collecting all my belonging before dashing out. The old man was there like he had never slept. He was unfazed and smirked to show that he knew what was happening. At the end I had just sat dejectedly in front of the 7/11 all night, as I didn't have a heart and money to go to another hotel.

I: Aha, that is one of the most spine-chilling stories we have listened to tonight! There is no need to wrap it up …

Sulak: No. Khun Aon, this isn’t finished yet. A day later, I saw the TV news that the owner of that hotel was murdered several hours before I visited his hotel. This means that I also gave money to the ghost!

I:  Gee whiz!  This was double scarier! You were terrorized by the ghosts twice in just one night. Thank you so much, Khun Sulak, we anticipated more of your stories .... My dear audience, please stay tuned, we still have a load of stories that would make you unable to sleep a wink.

(Advertisement about the Viagra for men -our main sponsor- popped up on time to drown out my another yawn)

 

                                                             5

And here was another story, but it was far more hilarious and had a twisted ending:

 

                                                 The Old Guardian Spirit

 

The guest told me that her name was Jib ,45, a housewife living in Bangkong.This wasn't the story about herself but her uncle-in-law.

Jib: My mother had 5 siblings; that was a large family. Decades ago, my mother's hometown, Nonthaburi, was still like the rural area. As I recalled from my childhood, its vastness of lands was for plantation of durian trees and rice fields. I saw the herd of buffaloes immersing themselves in the little swamps. What an idyllic life! Pa Khem was 3 years older than my mother. They adored each other so much, but Pa khem had to live with her cousin in Bang Khun Non, Bangkok, to pursue her study in high school. As a pretty teenager, she met at the market a handsome sergeant who later would become my uncle-in-law: Lung Wallop. He was such a gentle and ...

I: Excuse me, Khun Jib, please cut to the chase: you don't need to corroborate your introduction much.

Jib : (Surprised with my bluntness and immediately caved in to my demand) .... OK, Khun Aon. My aunt and her husband have lived together for 30 years with 2 children in Bang Khun Non. Lung Wallop took the early retirement, according to the government's program. He should have taken a good rest, but the financial problem beset their family when my aunt was too ill to continue her career as the food vendor. Most of their saving was later spent on her medical fees. Regrettably, their kids also seemed to be too busy with their own families, so Lung Wallop decided to work again as a security guard.

(I thought she should have saved the audience’s time by only beginning her story that her uncle was the soldier-turned - security guard, but I guessed she was too excited or liked to talk gibberish. However, I was relieved that she hadn't told me about her ancestors since the early Rattnakosin.)

I: Aha...I think the elderly can still do some jobs if their bodies are fit and healthy.

Jib: Not quite, I felt sorry for him because he was suffering from diabetes. He and his ailing wife were still lucky to have survived from Covid-19.

I: Good to hear that, and what's next?

Jib: Last year Lung Wallop's company sent him to work at a factory, accompanied by several of his teammates. It was situated in the outskirt of Bangkok and remote from the town. Shouldn’t I mention its exact location or name?

I: Of course, we should avoid that as it might land us in legal trouble.

Jib: OK, sir. All the security guards were astounded to see that it was almost the deserted old factory, but the group of workers had visited it sometimes. There was an explanation that it became the warehouse which stored some expensive materials after its owner had decided to do another kind of business. Later, my uncle's young neighbour helped search for the factory's background via internet and found that when it was still in operation, the workers had one by one faced the horrible deaths in some inexplainable accidents. The example was a Burmese guy fatally hit by the falling crane. When they checked out from the CCTV cameras, they saw the chains around it seemed to be cut by something invisible.

I: Perhaps it was from the hands of the menacing ghost. It is creeping me out right now. But we should not rule out the oversight of the company either. In the dire economic situation like this, the owners always prioritize the cost savings, not the employees’ safety. Most of the workers are also the foreigners who don't have much power to bargain with the greedy company for their well-beings.

Jib: (didn't know how to respond me) .... There were also the rumours that the various ghosts had been seen around the factory: the old man roamed with the severed head in his hand, the gang of small urchins liked to giggle and push the napping security guards around and the young woman in Thai traditional dress hovered above the building. Some said this place used to be the old cemetery. At last, no one dared to work there anymore. However, Lung Wallop didn't believe this. He asked for assignation to work solely on the night shift because it was cool and peaceful. Oh, sorry to forget telling khun Aon that there was a wooden shrine of spirit (ศาลพระภูมิ) in the rear of factory. It was extraordinarily large and formidable. The new team of security guards was urged or even coerced into providing the new offering to it daily. But my uncle thought it was ridiculous. He raised the questions to me that if the spirits really existed, why on earth would they be glad to live in just a small house like a shrine? What about the cats? They always had the temerity to descend on the shrines and seized them as their dwellings. But he had never seen them punished by the spirits who were supposed to be extremely furious. After all, I thought that his idea was the profanity, perhaps the spirits have their own reasons which the humans like us don't understand.

I: Really? I think it was the personal belief. Still, we should not insult the spirits just in case.

Jib: I wholeheartedly agree with you. Lung Wallop used to join the armed conflicts, notably between Thailand and Laos in the late 80s.His comrades possessed the little Buddha images as amulets (พระเครื่อง)and passed the blessing ceremonies, but they were shot dead before his eyes. So, he scorned the superstitious stuffs. There wasn't even a shrine of household spirit or a shelf of Buddha images (หิ้งพระ) at my uncle's house, as far as I know. So, Lung Wallop always let his partner perform the ritual of appeasement of the spirits and didn’t do anything when he was on his shift alone. One evening, while he was patrolling around the factory with a partner, he accidentally kicked a pebble to the shrine. However, he thought it was embarrassing to apologize to the thing he didn't even believe in. Lung Wallop just ignored this, which horrified his partner who hurried to kowtow to the shrine. That night my uncle heard some strange noise at the rear, and his partner looked terrified, so he went to investigate it all alone. In the sky the moon was thinly crescent and sometimes shrouded by the clouds, so it was quite dark and spooky. Lung Wallop saw a shadow; he yelled at it and pretended that he was going to shoot out. It was still unmoved. He thus decided to rush into it and found it was just a billboard, shaken by the wind.

(I thought about the night of my hazing ritual and almost laughed.)

I: Human's perceptions can be misled by the atmosphere like that. Imagine what a person with fear of ghosts will see when he or she is in your uncle's situation like this. Your uncle's partner might have peed his pants, I assumed.

Jib: (giggled) Yes, but when Lung Wallop walked past the shrine which was candidly illuminated by the electric candles, he found the strange noise again and the foul smell like decaying corpse. He suddenly saw the large face of the old man inside the shrine -perhaps the guardian spirit for this factory. That face looked furious and baleful like Mr.Putin, the Russian President , and shouted at Lung Wallop that he was going to slaughter him like a pig because my uncle had demeaned him. But Lung Wallop thought the thief was possibly using this special effect to scare off him and his squeamish friend and stole everything in the factory. His humiliation from this was much scarier than ghosts or even death. Then he threw the baton at the old man's face. It disappeared, but he still believed it was the trick. My uncle and his partner fanatically searched around the shrine and the factory but found no traces or anything suspicious. He thus began to get scared.

(I summarized her story and admired her uncle-in-law for his scepticism, saying that if I had been him, I would have done the same. She agreed with me but supposed if she had been him, she would have run like hell.)

Jib: That’s not finished yet, Khun Aon. From then on Lung Wallop always had the recurring nightmares: the same old man kept threatening to chop his head off with his sword. So, my uncle became gradually insomniac and depressed. He had been absent-minded all the time after being fired from work. Pa Khem believed he was being possessed, so she took him to the monks and be blessed by the holy water or the incantations. Still, the situation was not better. Moreover, the dogs in their neighbourhood kept howling every night, and Pa Khem always found them gathering in front of their gate - what a sight! Their son told them that he saw an old man in the ancient costume walking around their house. When he mustered up courage to approach there, the old man simply vanished. Their son left their house as quickly as he could, even though he had promised to stay indefinitely after a big fight with his wife. One day while Lung Wallop was dozing off at his rocking chair, he found that old codger with that ugly face standing above his chest and pressed himself down on to suffocate him badly. Unfortunately, my aunt was running errands at that time.

I: Oh! It’s like straight from a scene in the Korean horror flicks!

Jib: Something like that, according to his vivid account. Lung Wallop could not move at all. He tried everything like saying a prayer or even threatening to curse that old man to be burnt in hell forever (like Sulak did), but it didn't work. The old codger chortled; He now was really yearning to see the last breath from Lung Wallop after the long torments. My uncle's spirit would thus be his faithful servant in the shrine.

(I wondered that if this was true, what would the old codger expect him to do? Feeding the zebras and horses or cleaning the shrine? And would Lung Wallop receive the salaries or other benefits from him according to the law of labour?)

All at once the old man stopped. My uncle struggled to open his eyes and saw him staring at his picture on the wall.

The ghost of old man: Were you a soldier? Bastard.

My uncle: Yes, sir. For almost 40 years - 2 battles with Laos and Cambodia.

The old codger miraculously relented and told him that when he was still human, he himself was a military officer, as he used to join the Indochina War during the era of Field Marshal Plaek Phibulsonggarm.He always admired the fellow officers for services to our country. The old man then started humming one patriotic song played in the army for almost a century, and Lung Wallop still had a nerve to hum along. They smiled at each other. Lung Wallop immediately asked for his forgiveness as he was impertinent. The old codger nodded and said my uncle reminded him of the time when he was young. They thereafter became the good friends and always did many things like playing chess or practicing Thai boxing together, so my aunt, who couldn't see the ghost, thought her husband was insane.

Ultimately, Lung Wallop always made the merits to the old codger, thus the ghost appeared in Pa Khem's dreams and helped them to win the lotteries numerous times. Now both become the rich couple while their sons seem to love them more. That’s the end, Khun Aon.

(Now I roared with laughter, ‘til my body was shaking and my eyes were a bit teary, but Jib wasn't irritated because she was mellow. I thought her story wasn't realistic at all. I was curious why the old man didn’t firstly know about her uncle’s career as he had been hanging around his house for long. However, I admired her story's impressive ending. Human being and ghost can be friends, whether this story was true or fictitious. That old man might have been like the woman ghost in Sulak's story. Both were lonesome: longing for the friendship or love in the atmosphere like the films of Wong Kar-Wai, the Hong kong director.

-Or were they just like me?)

 

                                                        6

Normally, the schedule of our company's conference was held arbitrarily by DJ Wan - either night or day. It was likely to have the clear-cut agenda like a boring conference of any companies in the world, but our eccentric boss enjoyed ruining them. No matter how well Tonya, the latest secretary, had prepared for the conferences, he would make them like the mumble-jumble or the TV comedy shows. I was impressed with his kind of rebellion as I hated in my bones the long serious talking at workplace. This was one the reasons why I could not tolerate my previous offices which were obsessed with the conferences, even in the Messenger program at night.

This time was quite special because one of the agenda was the casual and cordial assessments of the new employees carried out by the boss. Tonya was praised for her hard works and punctiliousness, while Wit was told to improve his working. They got 9 and 6 scores respectively.

And I....

"The audience are still being polarized about your style of running the show, DJ Aon," DJ Wan said.

"But the complimentary comments about you are quickly growing like wildfire. They say your domineering and straight-talking style make you one of a kind. Your comments on the stories are useful for rational thinking, making our program not the run-of-the -mill that solely feeds the people's superstitions, though some attack that you spoil the atmosphere. In a nutshell, you are the rising star; people are on your tail now. You might be increasingly invited to join other TV shows, even 'Kor ma di krub' (ก็มาดิครับ).I don't give you any scores , don't worry , because you already transcend them."

DJ Wan smiled and looked around. The attendees all applauded and smiled sincerely to me.

The next agenda that should have been reached half an hour ago was about our field trip after one-year hiatus because of the pandemic.DJ Somnuek told the new employees that they had to go outdoor , especially out of town for paranormal investigations for several days at most. Wit raised his hand and said he couldn't join this as he had to take care of everything in his family on a daily basis.DJ Somnuek looked vexed and bluntly said that it was compulsory for everyone, except Tonya and some DJs to run the radio programs. It was the rotation and Wit had to go on a field trip anyhow in the future. DJ Somnuek was then quiet, but I read his gestures implying that Wit's alibi was lame, so it would probably jeopardize his career. Wit knew this and immediately shut his mouth. When our journey began, he looked restless and frustrated.  Although we were quite the close friends, Wit was reticent about his own feeling, thus the only thing I could do was to cheer him up and promise to always help him. After all, I thought he should have switched the role with Tonya who was extremely dying to be on this field trip.

Now It was the turn of DJ Tong to present the choices of our next week field trip with PowerPoint:

A.The deserted bar in Pattaya

It was the brothel where most of the workers (aka prostitutes) had been duped by the human trafficking rings from Northern Thailand, including the neighbouring countries. It was out of the question that those women had to endure the appalling conditions of living and working like the modern-day slaves. Many died from diseases, tortures or even suicides. After it was shut down from the economic downfall due to Covid-19, there were the rumours about the ghosts roaming and shrieking in that macabre bar. They probably were looking for a justice which seemed very elusive in Thailand.

The level of creepiness - 7 out of 10 skulls.

B. The unfinished haunted hall of a temple in Ayutthaya

The temple was centuries-old more or less; its wooden hall had been built when World War 2 had not even finished yet. But, according to the legend, it was infested with ghosts; this had deterred the teams of workers and their bosses from completing the hall until now. The workers claimed that even in broad daylight they met the strange animals or a young woman in Thai traditional dress, whose head folded down while she was dancing elegantly. The locals were as well too afraid to visit the hall alone, especially in the night, as they said to have often met other unsightly beings like the pregnant ghost (ผีตายทั้งกลม), Krasue (กระสือ) or even Pret (เปรต) - a medley of ghosts like the album of Pi Jae , Danuphon Kaewkarn.

The level of creepiness - 9 out of 10 skulls.

C. The abandoned clinic in an outskirt of Bangkok

This clinic used to be run by a quack who finished his study from only high school. Its most frequent clients were the pregnant teens who desperately attempted to terminate their unwanted babies. However, thanks to its extremely unsanitary conditions, some girls died in agony from either infections or too much bleeding. The quack and his assistants were arrested after several years of operation. The clinic was abandoned ever since and terrorized the neighbours with the cries of babies or the blood-soaked girls who walked around, looking for their beloved ones.

The level of creepiness - 8 out of 10 skulls.

D.The lonely road in Lampang

It was almost the consensus among the locals that this road was supposed not to be used at all after the dusk had fallen. The strangers would find it extremely spine-chilling amidst the vast dark fields with not a single house in sight. But the hapless would find the hideous tall creature that resembled one hundred-year-old grandma who was chasing their vehicles at an incredible speed. The person who lost his or her mind would end up as one of casualties of this road.

The level of creepiness - 9.5 out of 10 skulls.

The discussion before voting sounded frivolous, as DJ Wan made the jokes all the time. He supposed more skulls could be given to the choice A, if we were hustled by those ghosts to be their boyfriends. Or in the choice D he would give 10 of 10, if the company's van became a wreck, while he still had paid for it in monthly instalments. I told DJ Wan to choose the location by himself, but he insisted that our company was like the democratic country, so voting was the inevitable process.

Finally the votes for choice B gained the landslide victory, because DJ Jug had successfully swayed the attendees that, though the location like temple was too familiar for the ghost stories, other choices couldn't conjure up a variety of ghosts like it for the commercial exploitation. Furthermore, it was convenient to ask for the abbot's permission to stay in that wooden hall briefly. In the previous years the company had bumped into the legal problems like breaking and entering, as they sneaked into some private places like the choice A and C.  The choice D was tempting, but its road was considered quite dangerous from accidents and crimes.

We then concocted the plots and techniques to make this field trip more appealing, especially in case the ghosts mentioned earlier were merely imaginary. I secretly scoffed, thinking this made me feel like a member of the call center gang, the phone scammers. Moreover, if the ghosts existed, just insulted them like Lung Wallop did, we would have enough materials for our program all year.

"Jug, contact Mor Kob or Jaa Yarnwiset: whether any of them will be free next week," DJ Wan ordered.

Those names belonged to the self-proclaimed clairvoyants who used the modern media as the tools of their fames. I found them laughable as they ostensibly attempted to contact the supernatural beings that were not properly proved their existence, but those TV personalities held the gullible audience spellbound. They lately collaborated with our company and helped us to draw enormous attention from audience on each field trip with their phony sciences.

It was eventually only Mor Kob who was available, so our team on this field trip consisted of only men. I found Mor Kob a kind of nice guy who became the center of conversation with glibness and dark humours. When the bald man was with DJ Wan, they became the rambunctious duo or a partner in crime, though I didn't know for sure whether DJ Wan really believed in supernaturality.

The temple - I wouldn't disclose its name here- was only 10 kilometres away from the bustling downtown of Ayutthaya, but its location was still surrounded by the expansive verdant gardens, which made it serene and mystic at the same time. This temple was not a well-known tourist attraction like dozens in this ancient kingdom, so it didn't bear the brunt of the absence of visitors during the Covid-19 outbreak. Still, the cluster of forlorn bamboo stalls behind the temple's gate was greeting our van, while the dogs on the empty courtyard were watching us cautiously. After the temple's boys had shooed them away, the abbot nimbly walked to greet us. Contrary to our belief, he was only in his 30s.

"Can't believe you are so young, Father."

DJ Wan chuckled and roughly introduced the members of our team to the abbot.

The young abbot nodded and said like he was presenting his resume :

"I think only DJ Tong knows this because we keep talking on the phone. After the graduation from university, I firstly expected to be ordained for a while thanks to a promise with my mother. But I finally discover that the monasticism perfectly suits me. I become the abbot of this temple for only a few years after most of its monks have moved away. I currently study in the master’s degree of Rajabhat University - Social Science. This will help me find the creative ways to lead people to develop our community."

DJ Somnuek smiled.

"You are in the new generation of Thai monks, the beacon of hope after Phramaha Sompong and Phramaha Paiwan quit the monkhood only to be the libertines. By the way, what about the ghosts in the wooden hall, Father?"

The monk shook his head.

"Those are just the rumours, but our folks seem to have a firm belief in this kind of stuff. I do a little research and find the reasons why the hall turns out to be like this. It was mainly the dereliction of duty: the contractors bailed on and the former abbot ran away with the temple's money. But many of the workers might really have faced the paranormal activities, who knows? Still and all, it is strange that I have never experienced such the things, since I have trained my mind well with meditation. Or I successfully send my good will and compassion to them, so we have learnt to dwell in only our own places."

DJ Wan nodded and looked around.

"What about the wooden hall itself? Is it now used for any purposes?"

The abbot beamed.

"No, we just leave it like a museum though without visitors. Our temple has another hall, but it is so decrepit. I zealously welcome you because I hope your activity would make our temple famous enough to grab attention from the public or the National Office of Buddhism. We will thus have enough money to build the new hall."

I asked him,

"Father, Where is it?"

He pointed his finger to the place behind Ubosot (อุโบสถ or chapel).

"Over there. Funny that I have kept some valuables like the boxes for donation in the hall, even outside the steel bar, but they have never been stolen. It is an undeniable fact that there are the rampant junkies and thieves in this community. The ghosts must be so fearsome."

DJ Wan clapped his hands.

"That's cool! We will be camping around here and getting ready for the investigation tonight."

The abbot looked bewildered.

"I remember that I've already talked to Khun Tong that all of you should conduct your experiment tomorrow, because there is a grand fair not far from here, and tonight is its last day. So, it will be boisterous, especially when the youngsters use this area as a detour for their motorbikes to the fair half of the night."

DJ Wan slapped DJ Tong in his head.

"Scumbag! It's your fault! I am going to cut your salary, because we must spend tonight at hotel, and it will cost me dearly."

He then looked around and asked,

"Where is Mor Kob? Does anyone see him?"

Everyone followed suit but had no idea. The abbot sent the temple's boys to search for Mor Kob, and we at last found him in front of the wooden hall. The fortysomething guy was standing still, closing his eyes and mumbling something. He then opened his eyes and told us:

I just see a swarm of ghosts creeping across the hall; they are furious to see us about to disturb them. I ask for their mercies but to no avail, as their wraths are so great. We should brace ourselves the best whenever we will conduct the investigations here."

 

                                                        7

When we arrived at the hotel which was only 20 minutes away from the temple, I realized that I was in Sulak the salesman's shoes. It was so old and dilapidated that it might have been built even before Ayutthaya was completely razed to the ground by the Burmese army.DJ Wan's decision annoyed everyone, though our company's financial situation was in the pink. This was because he wanted everyone to stay in character of the ghost experts who always encountered the paranormal activities. Wit quipped to me that it was not necessary to conduct any investigation of ghosts in that temple, because this eerie hotel was also a prolific place for it. Maybe tonight we would be awoken by the sound of a bloody battle between the headless Ayutthaya's warrior and his Burmese nemesis, who then barged in our rooms.

Our boss chose a room for 6 people: what a night! Since graduation, I had never shared the room with anyone except Nid-Noi when she visited me. But it reminded me of the camping of student's club in Phu Ruea, Loei, when I was in the third year. Mor Kob rattled us again by citing the incantation in front of the room. He said several people died from various causes in this room, but some of them had already been reincarnated (ไปผุดไปเกิด) ages ago. Now he was negotiating with the remaining not to disturb us. We looked at one another and sniggered. I thought if he hadn't been the real clairvoyant, he would have been the ex- agent of the North Korean intelligence who had the superb skill at psychological operations.

Much to our amazement, DJ Wan urged us to go to a pub that night. It belonged to his friend , so we would have a big discount or even the free dinner and beers (not really , we had to mention his pub during running programs - the advertisements).It was the first night for me to hang around with this company's staff so up close and personal. When they filled their blood with booze, they turned out to be someone else I had never met. Half of the time during dinner was spent on gossiping about their own wives. They, except Wit, didn't mince the words ,describing their wives like the bitches or the witches. Funny, I remembered DJ Somnuek used to passionately preach to a guest in his program about the value of family when that guy confessed that he had a mistress (มีกิ๊ก). Mor Kob also claimed in some TV shows that he strictly observed the Buddhist precepts. Tonight 2 of the holier-than-thou were hinting that we should have had the Ent girls as the desserts. This was like DJ Wan's motto- our program was just an entertainment , so were the DJs themselves who lived a double life. I bet that if our fans had found this, they might have lost the faiths in humanity forever. But I would tell them that our company's name was the Spook Radio, didn't you grasp its name? – the spook, the being which never really existed.

Unfortunately, the pub's owner, who also looked wild like our boss, told us that all the girls had been paid to entertain the high-ranking functionaries who were on seminar in the luxury hotel nearby. So, all we could do right now were just drinking and singing along with the ageing trio band on stage.

This time I was jittering for unable to speak with Nid-Noi. I kept calling her, but she had never picked up the phone. When I called up her parents, they said she was going out of town -somewhere they didn't know. I was on edge, walking back and forth, absurdly against the background of our group who was being in orgy.The trio on the stage was playing the song 'Tang Kae (ตังเก)' of Pongthep Kadonchamnan.  It was so deafening that I rushed outside from the pub for another call to Nid-Noi. There I felt like something was slapping my face when I saw her walking along with a guy who looked elegant like the wealthy guy or Hi-So (ไฮโซ) to that luxury hotel. I couldn't tell whether they were the lovers or just the acquaintance. I blushed, thinking of approaching them, but some hunch was telling me that the news section of all Thai websites in the next hours would be :

'A famous DJ, Mr.Satit Kamondetch, or DJ Aon, smashed repeatedly the head of a businessman who he believed to use the hotel in Ayutthaya as the tryst with his girlfriend. Mr. (didn’t know yet) , the owner of (didn't know) factory , was critically injured and died 12 hours later in ICU.The raging  DJ Aon was immediately arrested and confessed all to the police: that was purely from his jealousy.

Some of comments via Facebook were:

1st comment: He is likely to spend at least a decade behind bars ,if found guilty.(140  Hahas , 1 Like)

3rd comment: Unbelievable! While running the programs, he was such a prudent and rational DJ.I was fooled all along.(120 Likes ,40 Hahas , 15 Angries)

16th comment: (to 1st comment) That's not even a problem, if he is rich and his father is a big shot. He can flee to another country like the heir of Kathingdaeng.Or the authority might help hush up his crime when his case is not in the limelight anymore- Thailand only!  (1,450 Likes and 184 Loves)

Because my family was not well-to- do, I grudgingly suppressed my anger and entered the pub. My colleagues seemed not to notice my sulky face, they kept prattling about women , football or the rivals of their company. The trio band stopped and the song of Kai Pannipha , The Red Rose (กุหลาบแดง), was played via loudspeakers. In the dim light I decided to send Nid-Noi a message, telling that I saw her and urging her at least to call me or send the message back for clarification. I wished I had misapprehended her walking with that guy. After all, I was glad to let her go, rather than being cheated on. I knew that lately I couldn't make her happy; it was a human nature to look for someone new. The Messenger application told me that she read my message but didn't reply at all. Perhaps she felt too guilty to confront me.

Our dinner came to the end, everyone went back to hotel without going astray with any girls. But they still had a blast : buying beers and snacks for watching the live broadcast of Premiere League. They however taunted me who looked brooding and quiet all the time that this was due to the defeat of Newcastle, my favourite football team, yesterday.

No sooner had we all entered the room than Mor Kob yelled out,

"Quiet down ! My friends. It is time to be discreet for a while."

He looked at DJ Wan, and the latter ordered us,

"Everyone, sit down in a proper manner! We will hold the ritual to ask for permission from the dead in this room."

Although I felt despondent , I found it comical that we seamlessly transformed ourselves from the revelers to the followers of the mysterious cult .Mor Kob put down the offering at the corner of the room and muttered something that sounded like the Cambodian language (but if we had brought a Cambodian to listen to it , Mor Kob might have abruptly changed his language).He then persuaded us to repeat after him. I heard some faint giggles from some of us. 

When the ritual ended, Mor Kob told us :

"They are now all right with our stay here. However, they need our respect all the time and warn us about the investigation in that hall of temple tomorrow. Its ghosts are notorious for their ferociousness, even the ghosts from other areas are too scared to waltz into there. We should plan the best how to cope with this."

I saw Wit shaken and ashen again. It cast doubt on him why DJ Wan selected him after the interview. Maybe it was the boss's hidden purpose, or Wit tricked him into believing that he was a sceptic like me.

Our activities after the ritual looked much less exuberant like the small kids who knew they were closely observed by the adults. Many of us drank beers quietly and watched the match between Liverpool and Chelsea. When their team scored a goal, they jumped a bit and waved their fists in a frenzy but with no sounds. Some even whispered to each other. I was afraid that the more I worked for this company, the more my mental condition would never be the same.

The last one of our team went to bed at about 2.00 am. I still couldn't sleep , as I had fixated on the tender memories I and Nid-Noi had cherished together. The first time I saw her was when during the camping in Loei. We joined the ceremony of offering alms to the monks at the temple near our camp on Day One. I unashamedly gazed at her while we were sitting and listening to the monk's sermon. The girl was so gorgeous and sublime like a princess, whereas her friends teased me who later attempted to hit on her that I was like a beggar. How we ended up together as lovers still puzzled everyone until now.

Someone nudged my arm, and that was Wit who was lying next to me. He whispered,

"Aon, do you hear something?"

I listened carefully; something was thumping on the ceiling above.

I said,

"Perhaps it is from the guests in the room above us."

He seemingly disagreed.

"I think there are not many guests in this hotel. Besides, when we came back here, I noticed that the windows of all the rooms above us were dark. There is a low possibility that someone would stay upstairs. And what the hell are they doing at this late hour? "

I chided him but still in a whisper:

"Knock it off! Pi Wit. We have already made peace with the ghosts in our room. The worry about your family is unsettling you. I guess some rats are running across the room because this hotel is darn filthy."

He was still curious.

"Or it might be from the ghosts in that room. We don't ask for their permissions yet."

I ignored him and kept thinking of Nid-Noi. Half an hour passed , he nudged me again.

"Listen! Do you hear something like a prayer?"

I listened with attention; someone was muttering an incantation in foreign language. I stared at Mor Kob who was lying not far from me. He was peacefully sleeping on his side, facing the wall. So, the source of that prayer was from somewhere else. Was it really from something supernatural?  It would be absurd to tell Wit that it was from the room above whose occupier happened to be the religious zealot, saying a prayer at 3.00 am.

But I felt sleepy now and told Wit:

"Don't worry, Pi Wit. The ghosts in our room will guard against the intrusion from their fellow ghosts outside. They are just making the noises to scare the chicken-hearted."

Wit still didn't give up.

"Suppose they betray us and let their friends in the room above launch the all-out assault on us like the Ukraine -Russia War from the ceiling? Why do you think those ghosts would be so loyal to us who were only the strangers?"

I was both irritated and amused at the same time.

"Good night. I suggest that you should have your head examined thoroughly or change your career right now!"

When I woke up in the morning, I found Wit had the raccoon eyes: he maybe didn't sleep a wink. Mor Kob told us that this meant that Mr.Wit had an enormous life power , so the ghosts aimed to disturb only him as they hoped for the sharing of his power. I wondered if I hadn't met the heart-breaking story, would I have been tormented like him? But now the scariest story was that Nid-Noi still didn't reply yet.

When we returned to the temple in the afternoon, the abbot was on a business trip. Another monk who was even younger than him welcomed us and led us to the place for our camping. He was thrilled to see the heap of our sophisticated equipment. But I thought it made us look like the hilarious scientists from the movie 'Ghostbusters’. During the preparation I went to check the location around temple alone. The atmosphere in the temple looked indeed serene. The gentle breeze rustled the leaves of sprawling banyan tree along with the small bells hung from the Ubosot's roof. Banyan tree was believed to shelter Lord Buddha while meditating and reaching Nirvana. It was thus one of the emblems of Buddhism. However, in the horror film, it evoked the opposite feeling when the protagonists met ghosts even in broad daylight under it. The old shrine of spirit with the dolls of grandpa and grandma and the withered flowers inside made the banyan tree above me much creepier.

I suddenly heard someone talking behind the bush near the banyan tree and saw the smoke of cigarette lingering above it.

Mor Kob : I am disappointed that our trick last night worked only with Wit. But I almost laughed my ass off to see the faint-hearted like him tossed and turned.

DJ Wan: (chuckled) Wit is a scaredy-cat, but Aon is dauntless. No matter how much we have assigned Aon to listen to the top-notch horror stories, he still appears sceptical of ghosts.

Mor Kob : Tonight that wooden hall will change him to be the totally new man who is startled even by his own shadow.

DJ Wan: I hope so …. but we must set up the trick awesome enough to scare him shitless. By the way, I admire you for acting well before the wooden hall yesterday. Your voice was so chilling, even I had big goosebumps.

Mor Kob: (scoffed) No, that is not my acting! I really saw and had the words with them! Do you dumb-witted think that I am the charlatan? The trick in that hotel is all your idea.

DJ Wan: (giggled)

Mor Kob : Perhaps tonight we don’t have to use any tricks as those ghosts would be more pleasant to make our so-called investigation utmost realistic. And the victim might not be only Aon or Wit but also you and me.

DJ Wan : Really ? Are you serious?

Mor Kob : (laughed) No, look at your face ,haha. I think I have enough power to bargain with them. Just do our jobs with an extreme care.

DJ Wan : Well , I have known you for years , but I am still perturbed by your antics sometimes.

Mor Kob : Our relationship is just an entertainment - your motto , right ?

Both roared with laughter.

 

                                                        8

I began to be exceedingly curious whether this night would be packed with thrills by the further pranks from DJ Wan or terrors from the ghosts themselves. After learning the hair-raising phenomena last night was just the trick from my boss, my respect and appreciation of him were in smithereens. This reminded me of Phra-Amphaimani , the tale written by Sunthorn Phu, especially the teaching of the respectful hermit to Sudsakorn not to trust humans since human hearts were fathomless. I from then on deemed DJ Wan quite untrustworthy. It would be a sweet revenge to make him face his own karma , along with that so-called 'Mor' (sorcerer) Kob.

Our team was in good spirits. I suspected whether they were in cahoots with DJ Wan and Mor Kob. They kept cracking the jokes and laughing while setting up the equipment in the wooden hall. Someone just played the song from YouTube along quite faintly. The most vibrant one was 'We Are the Champions' of Queen - Live Aid in 1985. Yeah, The Spook Radio would be always the champion of the radio program about the horror stories like this song, although Freddie Mercury, the Queen's lead singer, died of Aids years after the concert.

A large group of locals visited us and stared at us like we were walking on the landmines, after they had been informed by the abbot who just arrived at the temple in a hurry. Some showed their mistrust this might have provoked the ghosts and led to their unrests in their community. But the abbot , sceptical like me, strongly disagreed. He opined that our team had already asked for an apology from the spirits in the wooden hall in advance; this activity was for a sake of education. So, they just left us quietly.

Temple in the twilight was oddly mystic for me. In my childhood, I imagined the ghosts were too afraid to insert their big toes into the temple. And when they met the monks, they would run away after being intimidated by the power of Dhamma radiating from the yellow robe. But the current media seemed to shed the new light on a ghost's nature that they could hang around in the temples and bully both monks and folks at their wills. Now it became antiquated to believe that ghosts were a monk's bitches.  The anthropologists pointed out that this was the outcome from the battle for superiority between the supernaturality ingrained in Thai society and Buddhism which was adopted much later. Nowadays Buddhism as a master looked too boring for the thrilling plots.

Our team had a serious meeting for the last time before the investigation would begin at 9.00 pm, that would be live via YouTube and our application. We also let the audience participate by telling us various methods about how to entice the ghosts to appear. DJ Tong warned that we were supposed to put those under scrutiny, so the ghosts wouldn't be offended by some risqué ones. Wit told me that we might follow in the footsteps of the teenagers who challenged the ghosts in the haunted places and were ruthlessly hunted down one by one later. On the contrary, if we were unable to show anything to the audience nationwide, we would end up as the laughing stocks.

It was already the time for broadcasting. DJ Somneuk and I were assigned for the communications with audience like the PRs. Our propaganda really captured the public hearts according to the number of live broadcast viewers. They cheered for us and gave us the various methods. Those were traditional like using the ashes from the burnt corpse to smear our eyes. Some even suggested the dog's tears (it was certainly an animal abuse because you had to hurt it first) to do the same. Some told me about bending down and watching them between our legs. Other methods were combing hair in front of the mirror at night or having dinner at the spot that someone was believed to die on. But one shrewd fan told me if there were really ghosts there and hostile, just sat idly and they would appear before our eyes and snapped our necks without delay.

Most of the members of our team walked almost around the wooden hall and attempted to follow those advices as much as we could, combining with our own tricks. We would ramble on and act incessantly like the herd of loonies. Nothing still happened. I sneered; now Mor Kob's fraud about the wooden hall was hitting a snag.

All of a sudden , Mor Kob sprang up to lead the ritual in his style by yelling out the incantation to invite the ghosts. His partner, DJ Wan, kept calling them audaciously in tow. Other members of our team were controlling the equipment or just standing beside me. Apart from our group, the abbot and a small crowd were watching us from below the hall. I felt that the real angst was swiftly engulfing everyone, though nothing was likely to happen.

Mor Kob spread his arms and said passionately,

"Everyone, now the chief of the ghosts was manifesting himself !"

He quickly kowtowed to the dark corner before us.

"May I wholeheartedly pay respect to you, the almighty Chief !"

DJ Wan talked to the audience:

"Now the truth is revealed ! I have such the big goosebumps! "

He turned to DJ Tong "What about our equipment ?"

DJ Tong immediately replied,

"Its indicator is rapidly moving back and forth! This shows that it is detecting some colossal power nearby, sir ".

I knew that there was a technique to move that indicator as much as we wanted, but DJ Tong's face looked too solemn.

There were the strange sounds from that corner for several times - like a mysterious creature fiercely roaring. I heard the screams from the people below. Some ran away, whereas the abbot stood still , perhaps in shock. The audience in our live program showed their excitement , but some poked fun at us by commenting that we had the unrivaled sound effects , and Mor Kob deserved the Academy Awards (Oscars) for the Best Actor. Some audience urged us to go away from the wooden hall, because they thought we were in jeopardy.

I was surprised those sounds were not in our plans at all, or our staff had intended to conceal this part from me ?

Mor Kob's eyes were then weirdly bulging , almost implausible to do for a normal human being. The questions swirled around my mind: he was accidentally hypnotized by the atmosphere around him or he was indeed being possessed by the spirit, the owner of that sound ?

Mor Kob shook his body so strongly, gawking at me and Wit. He said in a voice that sounded like an old man.

"Both of you must go over there to pay respect to the Chief : this is the mandate from him !" 

He pointed his finger to the darkest and farthest corner of the wooden hall. That was the most frightening place even our team had avoided going there since it was getting dark.

"Me?"  Wit exclaimed before pointing at himself. When Mor Kob nodded, he flinched. He finally wailed and begged DJ Wan pitifully:

"Please don't force us to go there or just let Aon go alone, he is so brave, Boss! "

I grabbed his arm while whispering to him:

"What are you afraid of? This is the trick from our own team!"

Wit was hysterical. I thought I was not much surprised if he would squirm on the floor like a small toddler.

DJ Wan shouted at him in front of the camera.

"You coward! Collect yourself! You are obliged to go with him."

I supposed this might be the scheme of our team too to show the audience that we were also scared just like them. And Wit's reaction would greatly heighten the distress in this live broadcast, though this was the humiliation plus the torture for him. Other members ardently urged Wit to go. I stared at all of them and found no glints of mercy in their eyes at all. They became the strangers who were utterly savage again -just like in the pub last night.

The reactions from the audience via YouTube were similar  : they unanimously sent the messages  "Yes !" and "Go !" repeatedly. Our several well-wishers just now all vanished. Both I and Wit were like the gladiators cheered by the frenzied audience to fight against lions in the Colosseum during the age of Roman empire -the victims for the sadistic entertainment of the powerful. I also felt that DJ Wan was observing me closely, and he might be discouraged to see me fearless, in spite of the fact that I began to get scared. If this had been true, the chief of the ghosts must have looked more abhorrent than Pret or the pregnant ghost. Still, I wondered why he wanted to see just the two of us.

Suddenly I sent the message 'Salanghaeyo (I love you)' to Nid-Noi, just in case my neck was ruthlessly snapped. If I could pass this night in one piece, I would certainly change my job. I still wanted to see Nid-Noi, via Instagram even when she had someone new already. Now She didn't read my message yet.

I decisively stepped forward and dragged the pathetic Wit with me while my other hand was carrying the camera which helped the audience to see what we were going to encounter and our faces alternately. This resembled the scene of the film 'The Blair Witch Project' when the lone woman was victimized by the presumed witch in the dark forest after her 2 friends had been gone. I swore the audience could see even the beads of sweat rolling on our pale faces.

Trying to suppress my quivering voice, I said to the camera:

"We now are going to the corner that is believed to be the location of the chief of the ghosts. I don't know whether he will welcome us or not. Everything is getting more and more challenging. Let's see, my dear audience."

Our atmosphere was increasingly tense when Wit cried out in the repeated sentences:

"I am so sorry if I offended the Chief before , please have mercy on me ! I don't want to die. I still want to see my wife and kids."

Suddenly I found the place around us became cavernous: I couldn't see the light from other parts of the wooden hall and its outside -like the thick curtain falling around me and Wit. There was also the deadly silence like in a cave.

"What the hell is going on here? "

I fumed to myself. The camera on my hand was seemingly shutting down by itself. I shook it and tried to switch on it again, but to no avail.

Wit shook my arm.

"Let's move our assess out of here! Aon."

I shook my head.

"Look! Pi Wit. I am afraid that we can’t, just look around here. I think we are in some ghostly dimension or perhaps our company's prank is gone too far. I am going to kick DJ Wan' s fat ass if we can get away from here!"

However, we saw a shadow from afar in the dim light. I hoped it would be the small billboard cut in a figure of an actor like I used to meet in the deserted building, but it was swiftly walking toward us. Or was it a person hired by DJ Wan to intimidate us?

Wit trembled and said aloud,

"Who's that ?  Identify yourself! "

That shadow didn't utter anything but kept approaching us. I was deciding whether I should have kowtowed to it or fended for ourselves by the Mixed Martial Art. The Chief must have been so electrified to see my agile feet or knees. Now Wit didn't even bother to run away: he simply collapsed on the wooden floor. I managed to hold his head in time.

I looked up but saw that shadow already standing before me - too close to do anything.

That was Nid-Noi smiling at me!

 

                                                               9

I felt petrified of such an inconceivable view before me. The questions raced in my mind and my heart: was she really Nid-Noi ? Did she just sneak here to support me?  Or was this orchestrated by DJ Wan to surprise and humiliate me? The ludicrous question was even whether she had already died and staged the coup d’état against the government of ghosts here and became the prime.... ah the chief of ghosts instead.

Nid-Noi mesmerized me with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen since we had relationship.

"Aon, are you OK? I am really worried about you. You just sent me the message 'Salanghaeyo' to me, didn't you? How adorable!"

 

"Nid-Noi, is it you? How did you enter this hall?"

She still beamed but didn't answer me. She simply said,

"I know lately we have been so estranged, but don't let this fool you. I keep thinking about you and ardently yearn for our reunion. The old geezer you just saw walking with me last night is nothing, compared to you."

I was still curious.

"How did you come here? "

She just smiled. Suddenly I was enlightened.

"This is not you!  I know that, besides, you will never have such the nice words to me. Who are you really? Reveal yourself now! "

She chortled like an adult who knew that the kids had already learnt her trick. Nid-Noi all at once changed her face to a being that resembled an alien with the black eyes and bald head. Its body became incredibly tall, slim and fluorescent. I was baffled by the twisted plot of the story of my life: the DJ VS the Alien (ดีเจตัวร้ายกับนายต่างดาว) at last.

"Young man , I am sorry to bamboozle you. I intend to meet you in a form that you feel familiar with, so you would feel quite comfortable."

The place around us turned to be like the computer screen with the beautiful paintings of landscape by the European artists in 18th century -Nid-Noi's favourite and inspirational masterpieces.

I still had a bravery to ask it:

"Are you an alien like in the film ' The X- Files’? Are you from Mars or some mysterious planet and settle down on Nevada, USA, since the 1950s? "

It burst into laughter.

"No, I am merely the spiritual being in this world. I died long time ago, much longer than the guardian spirit in Jib's story that was told to you via telephone long time ago."

I was startled.

"How come you know a lot about me ? "

It replied brusquely ,

"I won't say that our minds are connected to each other because it was quite tickling, as I used to be a straight male , haha. In conclusion I have the power to learn everything about you and everyone on earth."

I successfully stopped my quivering voice.

"So, you are a ghost, aren't you ?"

He (now I knew he was male) snickered and looked at Wit who was stilly lying unconscious on the floor. I began to envy Wit since he did not know anything extremely ghastly like this.

That Being fumed,

"Look at him: how piteous he is! He and you personify the ignorant and stupid human beings who will never understand my being. Words or images in your languages couldn't describe me at all. I am beyond a ghost or anything you have imagined, but you can call me 'The Holy Spirit'. I love it though it is damn old-fashioned."

I felt my forehead and shirt drenched with sweat.

"What about other humans in the history? Do they die and become like you?"

He almost yelled out,

"No! there are just several of us who are assigned by 'The Architect' to dwell in this world and watch it for million years."

I thought I was going to lose my mind. This was almost like the plot of the movie franchises ' The Matrix'. I assumed that The Architect must have been parallel to God in any religions.

I asked,

"Did other humans just vanish or become the ordinary ghosts like in the horror stories after their deaths?"

He didn't say anything but his face was briskly transformed into various kinds of ghost : that disheveled woman in Sulak's hotel, the old guardian spirit and even Dracula or the werewolf.

"Like I just said, all are but the lies- the wild imagination your ancestors have used to weave into the horror stories. I can't divulge to you what was like after you are dead. It is like one trying to explain the complexity of machine to a little ant. You must die yourself to know it. By the way, I have been agitated for a long time that the Spook Radio and other modern media have brazenly propagated those bullshits via the foolish audience. It resembles the religions in human history: their teachers and followers don't know anything about the ultimate truth, but their mendacity and the people's superstitions empower them, helping them to be the privileged or even God-like. Now it is too marvellous for words that you and your colleagues have visited me here for this kind of revelation."

I am doubtful.

"Why do you choose me and Wit to meet you?

He turned back to be the alien-like being and said,

"Because you and your friend are so human : self-contradiction , and I enjoy it.This guy (Wit) is so coward but he is a loving husband and father. I rest assured that he can sacrifice his life for his family. And you , you think you are the scientific mind but deep down inside you are confused; you are ready to be superstitious at any minutes. Moreover, you looked prudent, but your rage is simmering inside."

I murmured,

"The Holy Spirit, I am afraid that I am not different from my colleagues. I have lied to the audience nationwide like my fellows have just for money and fame."

He waved his thin hand.

"At least both of you are innocent. Your colleagues in this wooden hall are all sinners like most of the priests in all religions. They are self-righteous but at the same time they have sinned a lot: they fool around, lie and deceive people without qualm. Do you remember the 2 employees of your company, according to DJ Somnuek, who have previously resigned? During a field trip like this, one of them died of heart attack, while other became a psychotic and has been in the psychiatric hospital ever since. Everyone in the wooden hall agreed to gloss over these from public and never paid compensation to their families. What the motherfuckers! "

He then showed the glint of viciousness in his eyes.

"Don't you want a sweet revenge? DJ Aon. Now watch this!"

The picture before me was that other members in our team were running around the wooden hall like the lunatic. They were being attacked by the herd of the pregnant ghost, Krasue and Pi Pob (ผีปอบ), to name a few. The prestigious DJs cried out at the top of their lungs and attempted to escape from the hall, but there was miraculously the iron cage around it. DJ Somneuk and DJ Tong fanatically shook its bars in vain and shrieked. DJ Wan was then in a nervous breakdown: wailing and squirming on the floor. On the contrary, Mor Kob seemingly gained his composure. He just sat and paid Wai pitifully, asking for the mercies from those ravening ghosts. He eventually lied twitching and frothed at his mouth.

I asked with worry,

"Will they be forgiven? Are you going to scare them to death? I implore you not to hurt them too much."

He smiled in cold blood.

"Young man, I am afraid I can't give you this answer. They are in the hell conjured up by their own freaking minds right now. Isn't it the karma they deserve? Haha, even our dear abbot is running away like the crazed rabbit to his dwelling!"

He then pointed his finger.

"Now, look at this!"

The picture before me turned to be Nid-Noi who was sitting on the rocking chair at her house. She looked obviously absent-minded.

"Your cherished lady still loves you though she has been detached from you lately. That dirty old man tried to seduce her but he failed, because her heart- unfathomable like an ocean- has only you. Go back to her now and don't forget to take this man with you. He is such a twat, but I really like him. I won't preach you to be good, just follow what your heart will tell you from now on. But, above all, don't propagate the lies about life after death again."

I came up with the 12th question. Thank the fate that he wasn't irritated by my boundless curiosity.

"Aren't you afraid that I will blow the whistle on these to the public?"

He smilingly shook his head.

"Sorry, I even hope they buy into it if you expose me, so I will become a megastar. But your account of me will doubtlessly be like the plot from the crappy fantasy films in Hollywood. You will be derided, jeered or disowned by your own fan club if you are adamant. You even might end up in bedlam, though you are trying to tell the truth. Let your fellow humans worship the false idols like this; it is no use trying to change them. And they will repent the minutes after they pass away."

There was abruptly a bright corridor not far from me. He said,

"Now, be gone!"

I nodded to show my gratitude.

"Thank you so much, The Holy Spirit. Shall we meet again?"

He laughed.

"I can't ensure this but ..."

All of a sudden, I heard a song which I learnt later that it belonged to the rock band in the 80s like The Police: Every Breath You Take.

Every breath you take

And every move you make

Every bond you break

Every step you take

I'll be watching you...

The holy spirit cheerfully shook his body and sang along this song. He then pointed both of his forefingers to me.

I dragged Wit up with me and gradually went along that corridor. I can't stop smiling.

The end

 

PS

Aon is currently the happy married guy with 1 kid. He turns to be the DJ for Thai, US and UK songs, especially in the 1980s ,  instead.

นวนิยายขนาดสั้น 'The Spook Radio'

This short novel is about a guy who works as a DJ for the radio program 'The Spook Radio', famous for its allowing audience to share their thrilling experiences or tales about the superstitious stuffs, especially the ghosts, via telephones.

๊Unfininished novel 'For All Eternity'

นวนิยายภาษาอังกฤษเรื่องนี้เกี่ยวกับคนไทยที่ใช้ชีวิตในเยอรมันช่วงพรรคนาซีเรืองอำนาจ  เขียนยังไม่จบและยังไม่มีการ proofreading แต่ประการใด 
 
                   Chapter 1 
 
             Opernplatz , Berlin , Germany