Our Man in Manila

February 2001

The name is Pforr, Chris Pforr. AKA lonesome traveler, Seattle studmuffin.

I've hung a few shingles in my time: workin' the woods with a chainsaw, crackin' joints on old fogies in nursing homes, and ridin' digital jockey on a buncha crash-prone servers at a local nonprofit. But I was getting' bored, ya know? So a few weeks ago I open my own little office there in Greenwood: "C4, Private Investigator."

First day this dame walks in and wants me to track down her mug who'd apparently skipped town in a hurry. I wanna tell her to forget the guy but she flashes a G-note so I keep my trap shut. All she knows is, he apparently headed to the Philippines Islands. Ok, I don't know squat about no Philippines except it's General MacArthur territory. But when she offers me a retainer of 10 G's to track this lunk down and haul his sorry can back to Seattle, I suddenly acquire a profound interest in the price of coconut shells in Manila.

A few days later I'm on a EVA Airlines redeye, with a short stop in Taipei for a refill of fly juice. Lemme tell ya, these Taiwanese babes servin' the pillows an' coffee are some real dishes, an' if I ain't already on my away to Tagalog-land I'd be thinkin' about workin my way into a Taiwanese flight attendant suitcase.

After payin off the customs stiff to bring in my 4 cartons of Marlboro's, I finally get outta the Manila airport and light up my first coffin nail in 14 hours...how sweet it is. I probably coulda got the same buzz from inhaling the air in the street, which happens to be thick, black and about 3 times stronger than the last nursing home I was workin' if you know what I mean. I catch a taxi to a cheap dive and spend the next 24 sawin some serious logs.

What a place, I tell ya. Life is cheap and so is everything else. If you gotta dollar in your pocket, its yours. And lemmee tell ya, these little Filipinas are some little fillies. But I got bigger fish to fry.

I figure tomorrow I'll head south for a little loop through the Visayan Islands, then up north to Marcos country. Not many tourists here on account of a few kidnappings and some political instability, but that ain't get me spooked. Ignorance is bliss, huh? Dis is definitely not Bellevue. Should make it easier to find this guy.

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