The Krirk and the Kris (Ong’s Pub II)
This fiction was the second installment of “the bar that can’t be named” series. It explains why people can’t name pubs when distracted by sword-carrying Luxembourgians.
The saws were buzzing loudly from the workshop and dust was flying everywhere. Pi Ong was busy making a sign for his bar. The pub had recently held its grand opening, so Pi Ong thought it needed a catchy name to attract more business. The sign was ready to hang before long. Each letter was carefully carved onto a wooden plank. When it was finished the sign read: “Welcome to Krirkkrai Taweekul’s Pub”.
The problem was that nobody could pronounce it correctly – that and the fact that his name was too long. His name had so many letter that the sign stretched over to his workshop. Cars couldn’t park inside without bumping into the sign. Tourists entered through his workshop by mistake. Therefore, Pi Ong decided to shorten his sign instead. He intended to chop off the last part of his name, but he had been drinking Beer Singh that day and cut in the wrong place. The sign now read: “Welcome to Krirk”.
“Mai Phen Rai,” Pi Ong said, “No Problem. People should be able to say that name correctly”. Ong was pleased with this outcome and poured himself some Thai whiskey. He had a few long guzzles and realized that the name “Krirk” is spelled the same way backward as forward. “Wow!” he said, “I bet there is an English name for when words are spelled like that”.
Pi Ong sat down and went into deep thought over this question, “Hmmm … let’s see … synonym, homonym, pseudo name, dangling modifier, onomatopoeia … something like that”. It was unfortunate for Ong that he was thinking too intensely. For at that precise moment, a new customer walked into his bar. The swinging doors hit Pi Ong in the head so hard that it rung like a bell. “OOOOOOONG!” it vibrated – and that is the exact reason why he was given this nickname.
Pi Ong was rattled into a temporary case of amnesia. He momentarily forgot who he was. The loud ringing sound brought his wife, Nong Djim, in from the kitchen. It was she who first saw the strange European standing in the doorway. “Hey baby,” he bellowed, “Do you want to see my sword?”. Nong Djim told him that she wasn’t that type of girl. She was Buddhist and bounded to the principle of pacifism. “In that case may I interest you in a dagger for your kitchen. See this one is very sharp” the strange European inquired. He whipped it out before she could reply. The curves of the blade looked exactly like a Kris, but the Aranyik blacksmiths had accidentally made the blade curve in the wrong direction. It was a perfect for left-handers. The European called this new style the “anti-Kris”.
In one swoop the bold European sliced the pub’s sign in half (the word “Welcome” is all that is left hanging today). The other half the sign fell to the floor and bounced at Pi Ong’s feet. He picked up the plank of word and read it. The two words said: “… to Krirk”. “Hmmm …” he thought, “that’s my name”. Then his memory came back.
“Thank you for helping my memory return” Pi Ong said to the man as he gave him some ice cold alcohol to drink. The European, whose name was Serge, had been forced to leave his homeland and come to Thailand. A traveling family of four moved back to his country, but Luxemburg was so small that it didn’t have any more room to stand. He was forced into exile because he was tallest. In this reluctant action, Serge became the first Luxemborgian to ever step foot in Ayutthaya.
Serge asked Ong for the name of this pub for future reference. When Ong told him the name Serge tried to repeat it: Krirkkrai Taweekul’s Pub. Krirkkrai Taweekul’s Pub. Krirkkrai Taweekul’s Pub. The name was too difficult to pronounce quickly. Serge worried that he would never find this place again. The Luxembourgian accent made it impossible to say. “Acch ….this is the Pub-That-Can’t-Be-Named. Pi Ong suddenly leaped to his feet. “Eureka!” he shouted with glee, “Maybe I don’t need that sign after all. From hereon I declare that this is the Pub-That-Can’t-Be-Named.