30. Pizza and San
.Toothless homeless is beyond joy. As I go down the stairs to reach the river and go to the Gaia I ran into him and Lina, the Chinese girl. He is carrying a pizza. Roxana, the English girl who works here (although she should be on TV doing stand up comedy), had explained to me earlier that now Toothless homeless was no longer homeless. He was living with Handless- The drug dealer.

Now that he had a house he could finally make the pizza he had promised us. He was starting a new business: pizza delivery. With unconstrained joy he carried his pizza on his hands, and like a 7 year old that has lost all of his front teeth he smiles from ear to ear. Lina, the Chinese little doll, is next to him.

She is so delicate. In her little dress, Fine hands that seemed to have been drawn by a painter, and that move almost as if she was a ballet dancer. Her smile always concealed by her hands while her shoulders move up. I can barely understand him.  But through gestures, unarticulated words, Lina’s translations of what she understood I get it. He wants me to go into the Gaia and pretend he had dropped the pizza on the Mekong. He is like a child in ecstasy.

I go into the bar and try to play my part on the game. I am awful at it. No one really understands what I am talking about. So I tell my friends. “Guys toothless homeless is here with the pizza, but he wants me to say that he has dropped the pizza on the Mekong. You have to act surprised when the pizza comes!”

Everybody does so. The pizza is brought. He unwrappes proudly and it does indeed look great. The pizza is devoured in a second and everybody is interested in supporting this new business. Even though we are all skeptical about the time it took him to produce one pizza. San, Toothless no longer homeless, tells me that next year he will put teeth back in. He thanks me for insisting on making Lina stay. “Thank you. Thank you! I will make vegetarian pizza for you next week.”

“Are you in love San?”

He opens his arms, lifts his shoulders and gives me a huge smile.

“I can pay for sex you know. But Lina is like an angel. I have not had a girlfriend since I a teenager”

I am not sure Lina knows she is in his mind his girlfriend. Maybe she does. She seems happy to have friends here. He pays her bill before she can see.  She is shocked and struggles to pay back. He does not let her. He wants to offer me drinks. I thank him but refrain. My Israeli new friend watches with me the scene. We are playing guitar in the Mekong. I play the Israeli song I learned. Preek, the Thai bartender, shows me the bossa nova song I taught him the day before. As the boat rocks as it has never done before, I imagine it as a living organism. I imagine it as big giant roaring with laughter up and down. A giant that is being tickled by all this joy

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