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Chiang Mai Surprise: A Prayer Before Dawn

I have always been a rebel without a cause, always defended the underdog, and always fought other people’s battles. In this case, I was helping Also, a fat, old Italian and his American buddy, John. Both these guys were getting bullied by two Australians and an Iranian.

I had only been in the prison a couples of months and had watched these three cowards physically and verbally abuse the two old men. It had to stop. I couldn’t allow this to continue if it could be helped. Actually, the two old guys made good targets. They were forever complaining about conditions and the human rights they were convinced applied to them. They were dead wrong.

I approached the cowards who were responsible for the escalating physical and verbal abuse, and asked them to lay off and give the old guys a break. We were all foreigners and should stick together.

I was standing by my cell when Ali the Iranian came walking towards me, screaming: “Hey, motherfucker! Who are you?” He was up in my face and my back was against the wall. The two Australians, John and Daniel, were standing either side of him, and I could see a small wooden chair in John’s left hand and a look of pure hatred in his eyes. I really didn’t want to fight. I clenched both my fists, readying myself for what seemed to be the inevitable. I wasn’t scared; these were not thoughts I entertained.

I looked towards Daniel and could see big nasty metal rings on both his hands, the cheap ones the Thais made to sell at the weekends.

“Motherfucker!” Ali continued to scream. I said nothing. I was cornered. Ali threw a punch, but before it connected, I launched myself at him. Ali was over six feet tall, wiry and strong-looking. I had to act fast. I was sinking my teeth deep into his neck when something solid hit me on the back of the head. Out of the corner of my eye I could see John swinging the chair. I sank my teeth deeper into Ali’s neck, tasting his blood. Daniel smashed his ringed fist into my face. I could hear Ali’s blood-curdling screams. He was pleading and begging for me to let go. I was growling like a rabid dog with a bone.

A whistle blew in the distance and I could hear the sound of footsteps running towards us. Hands grabbed me around the neck. “Stop, farang!” I was being pulled off Ali, who quickly ran off screaming: “Motherfucker! You die!”

Ali ran down the landing holding his neck, his blood seeping through his fingers. John and Daniel stared back at me, eyes wide open, with a look of horror on their faces. Blood was everywhere – on my clothes, my face and particularly around my mouth. I grinned back at them with blood-stained teeth, raised my middle-finger and screamed: “Shit bags! Three onto one.”‘

Want to find out what happens Billy next? Read A Prayer Before Dawn before it’s movie debut at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. You can buy it here

Posted by John on 5th May 2017