By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
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Tourists can go to…" He took the map and pointed to one of the bigger islands in the small archipelago, three islands down from where X marked the beach. "… this one. Ko Phelong. Tourists can go to Ko Phelong on a special guided tour from Ko Samui, but… but they can only stay one night. " "They cannot get there. " I leant back on the bed and lit a cigarette. "That's that sorted then. " Étienne shook his head. "No. Not bullshit. Really, why did the man give it to you? He went to so much trouble.
People pushed past me on the pavement, knocking me with their shoulders. One caught my eye and smiled. The man stopped stroking my arm and started stroking my leg. I looked at him. His face was passive and unreadable and his gaze was levelled at my waist. He gave my leg a final caress, turning his wrist so his thumb slipped briefly under the material of my shorts. Then he released my arm, patted me on the behind, and turned back to his stall. I jogged after Étienne — he was standing on the pavement twenty yards ahead with his hands on his hips.
Tienne shook his head, pushing backwards through the water away from where he'd landed. "This! This animal! " I began wading towards him. " "I do not know the English — Aaah! Aaah! There are more! Aaah! " "Oh," I said as I reached him. "Jellyfish! " I was pleased to see the pale shapes, floating in the water like drops of silvery oil. I loved their straightforward weirdness, the strange area they occupied between plant and animal life. I learnt an interesting thing about jellyfish from a Filipino guy.
Next Door by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.