Dr. Russo, I presume

 

Doctor Russo, I presume?

Ha. Yes, I’m Doctor Russo.

Doctor Russo, the phenomenally successful couples’ counselor? Author of The Perfect Match?

I’ve had my moments, thank you. What can I do for you?

You’ve saved hundreds of marriages—and indirectly, through your book, perhaps thousands. You—

Excuse me, Sir, but I have a plane to catch. Is there something specific you wish to ask me?

I have a proposal to make, Doctor. A partnership, so to speak.

I’m afraid I’ve all the work I can handle—fully booked. If you are having relationship issues I can recommend a colleague.

That’s not it, Doctor. You and I have a natural connection. You mend marriages when they go haywire. I create them.

Really?

One-hundred fifty marriages in this state alone, Doctor.

You’re Reverend Moon.

Very funny. Actually, I’m Clarence Dicky, the president of myThai555.com. And unlike Moony marriages my clients get to know each other before tying the knot. Have you heard of myThai555.com?

No. And I —

We arrange tours to Thailand where our clients meet the woman of their dreams, selected from an extensive catalog of guaranteed-no-bullshit profiles and legitimate photos. Wonderful girls whom our clients have already gotten to know via our exclusive myThai555 video-chat rooms.

You’re a pimp dealing in sex tourism, Mr. Dicky. That’s disgusting.

May I continue? Upon arrival our clients are chauffeur-driven to their bungalows at luxurious five-star resorts where their chosen one, after inspection and a clean bill of health from our medical team, will be awaiting them with champagne on a bed of roses.

How romantic. Now, if you could just move out of my way—

It is romantic, Doctor Russo. So romantic that in six cases out of ten it leads to marriage. In six cases of ten–bingo! Church bells! Two souls from opposite corners of the globe will come under the spell of true love and join in holy matrimony. All thanks to myThai555.com.

Why? Why don’t you just let them shack up and have the guy pay the girl off?

Now that would be prostitution, Doctor Russo. That would be sex tourism. I’m helping people find a partner for life. This is not about inconsequential sex. It’s about love and commitment. The great majority of myThai brides are unspoiled when they meet their husbands-to-be. They’re not whores. MyThai555.com not only reveres the traditional values of marriage, we also promote cross-cultural understanding, combat racism, abate poverty, and in our own small way promote world peace.

Sounds like they should give you the Nobel prize.

I appreciate your sense of humor, Doctor. But are you ready to hear my proposal now?

I’ve heard enough already. Why would I want to get involved in your immoral and most likely illegal activities? Hooking up dorky misfits and sorry slobs who couldn’t get a woman here to give them the time of day, much less sleep with them . . .matching these lonely, tragic bozos with impoverished third-worlders who are ready to sell themselves for dreams of Western opulence and some trinkets from Forever 21. Shame on you, Sir.

You’re painting a cruel picture of our operations. And totally incorrect. Happiness is what we deliver. Very successfully I might add. We are the uncontested leaders in the industry.

If you are so successful why are you pestering me, Mr. Dicky?

Because some of my marriages do run into problems once the couples are settled here in America. Every single marriage is important to us and when one goes on the rocks myThai555.com suffers. Word spreads that Thai marriages don’t last—that Thai women can’t be depended on. With your expertise and acumen, we could keep these marriages vibrant and strong and squash those rumors.

I’m totally not interested. Like I said, the whole thing disgusts me.

Tell me, Doctor Russo. Who are we to feel disgust for those you call misfits and slobs and deny them their happiness? Likewise, who are we to condemn those who are willing to trade their one and only asset for a reasonable lifestyle and the chance to lift themselves out of poverty? Doctor, I have read your book. I have read what you write about arranged marriages in Asia and why they last longer than marriages here. When you write that freedom comes from the recognition of necessity, I stand up and listen. That is so true.

So have your clients buy my book. And would you please let go of my arm?

Okay. I didn’t want to have to mention this.

Mention what?

Doctor Russo, I have reason to believe you are familiar with an establishment here in Philadelphia named the K-Club. Correct?

No. Never heard of it. What is it?

Foregoing circuitous language, it’s a whorehouse, Doctor. My mother runs it.

Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.

Would it surprise you to learn that my mother is also a member of the WFF?

What do you want from me, Mr. Dicky?

Mother says you gave a really fine speech the other day at the WFF conference. I don’t suppose you recognized her in the audience. Her presence might have seemed incongruous to you. But she was there—right up front. And she just loved your talk on feminist family values. She’s a staunch feminist, Doctor.

I’m sure she is.

Well, Mother found it hard to fit that really fine speech about family values together with the gentleman who had visited her K-Club the previous day and spent a considerable amount of cash on a deliciously wild and hot Cuban chica named Sabina.

That’s ridiculous. Your mother has mistaken me for someone else.

Yes, she thought so too. She had to check her security tapes to be sure.

Security tapes in a brothel?

You can’t be too careful, Doctor.

My research takes me into a lot of improbable places, Mr. Dicky. I need to know why happily married, caring family men seek sex outside of wedlock, which you realize is one of the foremost causes of broken homes. I have no recollection of the events and people you are referring to, but if I ever was on the premises of a place like that it was because I was carrying out research and nothing more.

No doubt, no doubt. But will you hear me out now?

Extortion is a criminal offense, Mr. Dicky.

Please, Doctor. I’m not a blackmailer. I’m a man with some very serious problems. I need help. You see, Thai-American marriages just don’t break up naturally—they are sabotaged. Thai women are normally among the most loyal in the world. Have you heard of the Yam Kun Chiang?

No.

It’s the Thai mafia here in America. A crime syndicate run entirely by women. The Yam Kun Chiang target my wives and sow discontent. They approach our girls on false premises and indoctrinate them. They convince them that the men they have married are losers and that the girls deserve better.

True that.

They kidnap them from their homes and enter them into slave labor at Thai take-out joints, massage parlors, and nail salons.

I thought the nail salons were all Vietnamese.

Most are. But that is irrelevant. The Yam Kun Chiang have multimillion dollar business interests. They are very powerful. Don’t look now, but the two women sitting on the couch at the far end of the lobby are Yam Kun Chiang operatives. They launch cyber attacks on our websites, steal clients’ addresses, and they shadow me constantly.

Sounds to me like you should work together. If you didn’t bring the women here in the first place they wouldn’t have anyone to recruit. What do you care if your myThais leave their husbands anyway? You’ve already made your money from their sucker husbands.

Such cynicisms are unbecoming for a man in your line of work, Doctor. I’m not a scoundrel.

So what is this thing you want me to do that I’m not going to do?

I want you to start group sessions locally with four or five of my couples. I want the experience from those sessions to be the basis of a program, eventually a book, authored by Doctor Jonathan Russo. A sequel to The Perfect Match focused on Thai-American marriages.

Which is, of course, out of the question, Mr. Dicky.

There is one more detail, Doctor. A sad and very personal detail. My own wife, Saowanit, the original myThai bride, the light of my life, and the inspiration for my business has herself been abducted by the Yam Kun Chiang. She has been missing for the past six months. You see I am one of those lonely, tragic slobs you spoke so condescendingly of.

Sorry buddy, but I can hardly do anything about that.

They tricked their way into our home with talk of my wife joining their Thai cultural circles, self-identity strengthening and all that. But, of course, it was just a ploy to get her alone and brainwash her. That’s the way they work and I fell for it and let them in. And now she’s gone. Probably massaging some fat bastard in a basement as we speak.

Sounds rough, Mr. Dicky. But—

Doctor, with your expertise, we can save hundreds of myThai marriages, ease the pain of my own personal loss and, who knows, perhaps your message would reach Saowanit and jolt her out of her brainwashed condition. Bring her home.

Okay, Mr. Dicky, Let’s get this straight. You’re barking completely up the wrong tree. I am leaving now. If you ever again try to contact me with any sort of reference to your mother’s security tapes you’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

I didn’t expect you to say yes right away.

Don’t expect me to say yes ever.

Think about it.

I won’t.

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