After spending a little over a week in our beloved new house, it quickly became apparent that cheerful ‘Moo Bah Pattana’ road was not the quietest stretch of town. We were starting to acclimatise to the strange sounds that played out all around us throughout the day. The roaring of mopeds at in the early hours signalled it was morning market time again. Apparently 5 am is a perfectly acceptable time to wake up! With the afternoons came the echo of the local policeman repetitively hammering on our door yelling ‘Do you speak Thai?!’ The evenings brought the sound of drunken banter as the neighbours knocked together their glasses of Leo Beer and let out hearty laughter. And it would be rude to forget the strange howl of the creature across the street, which looked like a dog but sounded more like it belonged with a herd of cows.
Ah yes. The noises of an average Thai street would certainly take some getting used to. But it wasn’t just the street that was noisy. The house itself contained a whole buzz of activity. Most of the sounds within the house didn’t bother me. They were sounds that I had started to expect; sounds that I had grown comfortable with. The pelting rain against the bedroom windows. The gentle whirring and beeping of the aircon as Sinead and I fought to turn it on and off throughout the night. The terrible tuneless strumming of the guitar next door, which was unfortunately missing at least three strings. Hearing these sounds was not a problem. Hell they were almost soothing! But among this harmless hubbub was a sound that struck fear in even the bravest of Farang inhabitants. How could anyone adapt to a noise that caused them to dash out of bed in the middle of the night and frantically hunt for the nearest light switch?
The sound was like nothing on earth I had ever heard before. Not quite a demonic cackling clown. Not quite the same as a baby incessantly gurgling the letter ‘E’. Not exactly dissimilar to an elderly gentleman clearing his throat. But imagine if you will, a mixture of these sounds together. In the middle of the night. Followed by a tense silence. It’s not really the sort of thing you hope to wake up to.
For nights and nights, this sound outsmarted us. There was no trace of its source. Not a shred of evidence. What was it? Where did it come from? Why did it always wait until we closed our eyes? As time went by, discovering the origin of the sound was almost becoming a fixation. Theories were born and then dismissed. It couldn’t be a rat in the aircon unit…surely? There was no way it was Mr Udon playing tricks on us…even he wouldn’t take things this far. Just before even more outlandish theories began to take hold…on one particularly warm and sticky night in mid November, the truth…was revealed.
‘What the frig IS that?!’ grumbled Sinead as she reached over to flick on the light switch for a second time that evening. I turned over and squinted whilst my eyes adjusted to the brightness of the room.
‘Whatever it is, it’s clearly enjoying this’ I moaned. We sat upright in the bed. Anxiously waiting. Eyes wildly scanning the bedroom for movement; for anything that was misplaced; but there was nothing except the tension that hung in the air.
‘This is ridiculous! Right I’m away to the loo here’ Sinead announced, following the long period of inactivity.
I was left to fend for myself against the unwelcome stranger of the dark, who was waiting to take advantage during my state of vulnerability.
‘Eck Eck Eck.’ The sound teased quietly.
‘Sinead!’ I cried, ‘It’s back again!’
‘Eck Eck Eck.’ It was louder this time. More intimidating. And it was coming from the curtain next to the door of the balcony. Did I dare take a look?
I crawled to the edge of the bed and slowly reached out to lift up the curtain. But as I did so, I heard it again.
‘Eck Eck Eck!!!’ It was behind me. I quickly turned to face the opposite wall and noticed something that was definitely not there before.
A tiny pale green creature with luminous yellow eyes gazed down cheekily at me. Gary the Gecko. He’d been chilling in the house ever since we moved in. But surely he couldn’t be the one making this horrendous sound? Gecko’s don’t even make noise…do they?
I crept over to the wall where Gary sat and unwillingly entered a staring competition with the little reptile. He refused to break eye contact. Then, as bold as brass, Gary bellowed: ‘Eck Eck Eck’ right in my face! As he did this, he shot out a huge poo from his little bum and then wriggled off behind the wardrobe as if he owned the bloody place.
‘Ewwwww! Oh my God that’s disgusting!’ I squealed.
‘What? What’s happened?’ enquired Sinead, returning from her midnight toilet trip.
‘The noise! It’s Garry! He does it when he’s having a poo!’ I shrieked, pointing to the unsightly brown stain that Gary had generously left on our clean white wall.
Sinead inspected the wall with obvious disgust. Upon closer examination we discovered more of these brown marks littering the bedroom walls…and the walls in the hallway…and the walls of the bathroom…and the walls of the kitchen.
‘Gary may have to go’ muttered Sinead under her breath.
I think she was imagining somehow luring Gary into crawling behind the broken fridge and ending up like the Gecko ice-lolly we’d discovered the previous week. It looked like Gary’s days were numbered…