Part 33 - Family Fears

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"PI DAM, WHAT is the matter with you?" asked Noi, Dam's girlfriend.

"You know what the matter is, my cousin and my best friend are missing,"

"They are working, why should they keep telling you every move they make?"

"Noi, please understand we are close, Kev, Skylab and I have been through a lot over the last few years. I want nothing to happen to them. Besides, they've got my favourite truck."

Dam and his girlfriend laughed together, Dam cuddled Noi in a pally way.

He then said, "I better see Gatts, he'll know where they are."

With that, he grabbed an umbrella and marched to the police station.

"Hi, long time no see," said the police receptionist, "What can I do for you?"

"Can I go through and see Gatts?"

"He's not in today. Hold on here is his number two," said the lady, signalling the officer to stop.

"Hi Dam, how are you. No work at the moment, I bet?"

"No, for two reasons, one the weather, and two, my lorry-load of tiles got turned back to the port because of that train joke yesterday."

"So, no work outside, and now no work inside either? That's frustrating."

"Yes, but the staff are happy with a few days off."

"What can I do for you?" asked the friendly police officer.

"I'm looking for Gatts, he must know where Skylab is?"

"He went to Kanchanaburi after them yesterday. I assumed he has taken today off, there's been no sign of him?" wondered the officer.

He called to the receptionist, "Has Gatts checked in today? Has he got the day off?"

"No sir, not a word, he is supposed to meet the chief later too."

Dam asked for any information they had. She gave him the hotel details.

He returned and asked his girlfriend, "Noi, do you fancy a trip up to the River Kwai?"

She jumped at the chance of a day out, even if the weather was not suitable for sightseeing.

"Have you ever been to the region before?" asked Dam as he tightened his seat belt.

"Yes, I have been many times with my dad. He loves rivers and caves. That was always his choice for a family holiday," answered Noi.

Dam put his foot down. Not that it helped much. The two-seater truck had been used lugging heavy loads between building sites, its nearly bald tyres slipped between puddles. At least the train had moved, thought Dam.

Noi curled her legs, rested her head on the chauffeur's shoulder, and stroked his thigh.

"This is the first time we have been away together, you know?"

"Noi, please understand, I'm not going because I want a romantic couple of days with you. I am worried about my cousin," a serious Dam replied.

"I know, but I can dream can't I?"

"When we know they are safe, we can have a few days away from work. I promise." The delighted girl squeezed the leg harder.

Swerving to miss a pothole, Dam carried on, "Kev can drive home in this heap of junk. We can use our decent truck."

The couple smiled, ready for the next stage of their trip.

Flashing blue and red lights coupled with blaring sirens greeted them as they entered the city of Kanchanaburi. Police cars and ambulances seemed to crisscross each street junction.

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