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Chicken Harry

Chicken Harry was always addicted to the girls, who “worked” in the Blok M bars. No matter how hard he tried not to visit the bars, he always somehow ended up in ‘G String’ or ‘Top Gun’. His addiction cost him most of his highly paid wages and any chance of marrying his sweet secretary, who always had her eye on him.

His secretary drifted away, as he continued hunting the bars and the streets around Blok M for “something new.” One day Chicken Harry was told by his boss that they would not renew his contract. That night in Blok M, he still took another friendly Girl back home, not worrying about his contract.

This happened night after night until his contract was almost up. He checked his bank account at the ATM. It was almost empty, as usual. Then it dawned on him slowly, as he walked the familiar streets of Blok M, he was almost broke, had not looked for a new job, and had to leave in a week.

Tempted by the bright lights of G String, Chicken Harry soon forgot his immediate problems. One familiar expat at the bar asked him,“How long have you been here, mate?”. Chicken Harry, scratched his head, replying “Don’t know, I guess more than five years, I love this place.”

The conversation stopped when he spotted the illusive new girl, small dark, shy and unsure of herself. “Fresh from the kampung” Chicken Harry thought, as he quickly approached her and five minutes later happily left the bar. Hand in hand, with this fresh kampung beauty.

The next day his boss took his ITAS and his last pay statement. Harry was surprised, when he was told he really was not going to have his contract renewed, but he left amicably packing the few things in his desk - secretly wondering if the company would call him back later, offering a better contract.

That night in his room in Kemang, Chicken Harry tried to get it together, writing a list of priorities. Yet the thought of the girl last night made him nervous and anxious to head back to ‘G String’. Eventually he broke and, after an anxious taxi ride, ended up content in ‘G String’.

Disappointed he could not find anything fresh, he was offered a “sandwich” by two giggling but hard faced girls, whom he thought he recognized. He contemplated the offer, shrugged his shoulders and led the girls out into an awaiting taxi.

Paying the last of the Rupiah he had to get rid of two angry girls in the morning, his security guard eventually slung out. Chicken Harry tried to get his act together over coffee and cornflakes. The words visa, Singapore, bitches, air ticket, money, need something fresh, new job alll .spontaneously slipped through his mind.

Somehow he acquired a ticket to Singapore on his way to Blok M through a 24 hour travel agent, deciding to have one last fling before he returned from Singapore to find a job.

That night in ‘Oscars’ was easy. He saw a strange looking Girl, “something different” he thought, “not the usual type”. She seemed distracted by him but willing to come along, they jumped into a taxi together 30 minutes later.

He woke up with a headache, the clock said two and the girl was sleeping while quietly clinging onto him. He swore as he had missed the Singapore flight. He panicked, leaving the girl asleep, threw some things in his travel bag, took a quick shower and rushed out of the room. Forgetting the girl was still asleep in his bed, he locked the door.

After a two hour taxi ride to the airport, he managed to buy a later ticket at double the price. A few hours later he was in Singapore and he did not like it. It looked, smelt and felt different, very different than Jakarta. He already had to get back, even as he passed through Singaporean immigration.

There were no flights back to Jakarta that day, so he took the last boat to Batam and was given a one month tourist visa on arrival, after paying 20 dollars. He ended up at the ‘Oarhouse’, a well-known expat watering hole in downtown Batam.

“There were not many girls, but they all looked fresh”, he thought as he took a Chinese-looking girl back to his hotel, a few blocks away.

The next day, he anxiously flew back to the Big Durian; he was home. And whatever happened to Chicken Harry, he still hits ‘G String’, ‘Top Gun’, and even ‘Oscars’ five years later ...

by Mark W Medley

by Mark W Medley

Copyright © 2008, Mark W Medley, City of Dreams: An extraordinary journey, inside the heart of Indonesia's capital - Jakarta