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1. The Law of The Jungle

I had been set up. I had been given the gram of shit so the police could arrest me and bang me up in prey sar prison for five years…

The little girl’s face was beautiful, yet unfinished. I look into her one eye, which looks back at me. How old is she? Four? Five? Her hair is cut short. Her little friend has one eye oversize, top lid hanging low. Her right cheek, like her friend, is swollen, also unfinished, unique in its beauty, like her friend. Her hair is longer.
Sot s’art, I say. Sot veng, nung sot klai. Pontai sot s’art tain pi.
(Your hair is beautiful, I say. Yours is long, and yours is short, but both are beautiful.)
The two unique children share a glance and giggle into each others’ arms. Their eyes meeting are two stars colliding in the universe – an explosion of light – a champagne supernova in front of my eyes and everyone watching.
It’s then I realize the gram of crystal meth I’d been given by the Bong Tom the night before was not because I was the new James Bond. Was not because I was now accepted into the Cambodian gangland underworld and could now get drugs for free.
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I had been set up. I had been given the gram of gear so the police could arrest me and bang me up in prey sar prison for five years.
I think back to the moment the Bong Tom had given me the little plastic bag.
You are jit l’aor , she had said, with a rising tone, like a question.
Yes, I’m jit l’aor (a good heart) I’d replied.
And now, as I see the two deformed little preahneang’s eyes explode in love and light I realize I am being tried on the street.
Whoever says there is no law in Cambodia is mistaken and knows nothing of this street justice system.
I had made a ten year journey from HTB church in London’s Knightsbridge to a homeless, penniless crystal meth addict on the streets of Phnom Penh and I was being tried and judged on the street.
Was I jit l’aor or jit akrok ? Did I have a good heart or a bad heart?
A good heart would see me free. A bad heart would see me spend the next 5 years in Cambodia’s notorious overcrowded Prey Sar prison.
How had I come from being a passionate born again Christian missionary – 10 years in the church before being called to Cambodia – to being homeless, friendless, and penniless on the streets of Phnom Penh – facing 5 – 10 years in a Cambodian prison?
What had happened?
And what will happen?
A fallen, broken, missionary on meth in Cambodia: penniless, homeless, friendless – would God, like 99.9% of my Christian brothers and sisters, turn His face away from me and abandon me?
Or would He pour out His and save me?
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Follow my blog for the next chapter of my true story: Breaking Bad in Cambodia: Missionary on Meth.

100. The Piccadilly Line

I’ve got no money to buy a ticket.

I apply an old trick from my junkie London days 25 years ago.

And it still works.

What you do is…

You walk in close behind somebody else, through the barrier.

I become pretty good at this over the next 3 months.

I’m sure Mr. Fox tells the underground staff to look the other way when they see me coming.

It’s gotta be good for the movie.

Homeless 007 dodging the tubes.

I can’t believe I’m skint in London again.

Never thought I’d be back here.

Had plenty of broke years here before.

First, as an out of work actor.

Then, as a crack addict.

Then, as an out of work actor again.

I tell Mr. Fox I don’t wanna be paid til the first film’s in the can.

I mean, if they pay me $150 million now, I won’t be able to act homeless and broke anymore.

And that’s the whole movie concept.

A homeless, broke James Bond.

The tube whizzes past old familiar stations.

Piccadilly line.

The blue line.

Turnham Green now.

Soon Earl’s Court.

An announcement comes over the tannoy system every 2 or 3 stops.

This is a Piccadilly Line train.

This train terminates at

Cockfosters.

99. Origin Story

April 2018.

It’s sunny, but freezing.

Begging doesn’t work in Hounslow.

Not like Phnom Penh.

Fact is, it was a choice in Phnom Penh.

I chose to experience life as a homeless beggar.

I thought it was good for the reality show.

Not to mention good for the book.

But for the reality, live cinema James Bond…

…007 the homeless, junkie, born again Christian missionary meth addict praying dogooder James Bond…

…it was gold dust.

A much more exciting story than James Bond the English teacher.

I mean, if you’re gonna make an origin story, where your normal Joe Bloggs becomes a superhero badass assassin what’s more exciting….

Joe Blogs the English teacher or Joe Bloggs the homeless junkie?

What’s more exciting for an audience?

J.B the English teacher turned badass assassin…

Or…

J.B. the homeless, junkie, born again Christian missionary turned badass assassin?

Exactly.

And that’s the brilliance of Mr. Coppola.

It’s brave, ground breaking, genius even.

Only Coppola could pull this off.

Only the director of The Godfather, Rumble Fish and Apocalypse Now.

He really is the king.

The King of Cinema.

A reality James Bond.

Who would imagine it?

All filmed like a reality show – real footage – from CCTV!

This is the first chapter in the new James Bond story…

And it’s real life!

Reality cinema.

This is the new James Bond.

I mean, it really is fuken genius.

But, Mr. Fox…

Don’t you have enough James Bond homeless footage?

I gotta be homeless in London, too?

I ask someone where the tube station is and decide I’m gonna have to jump the barrier.

Fuk you Mr. Fox.

Mr. C.

Mr. Crystal Meth Psychosis.

98. Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

April 2018.

Exactly 1 year after I resigned from ACE, the English language school I’d worked at for almost 7 years.

The police drop me at Hounslow.

It’s just about 9am.

I’m in the shopping precinct.

It’s just waking up.

Multi-cultural London.

I haven’t been here since my mum’s funeral 2 years earlier.

I’ve got no money.

I’ve got my Lloyd’s Bank ATM card but no cash.

If I can just contact a friend to put some money in my bank, but how…

I’ve no phone.

No money.

I spot an internet cafe.

£1 for 30 mins.

I sit at a computer.

Log onto Messenger.

See who’s online.

I send begging messages to my friends.

They’re used to my begging messages by now.

I’ve been tapping my friends and family for the last year – ever since my resignation.

Then, in December, I came clean to everyone about my crystal meth addiction, and everyone stopped giving.

Some even stopped responding.

No one gives me money now, either.

I have to tell the shop guy I’ll pay later, after I’ve been to the bank. I’m sorry.

He’s not happy.

I go outside and plonk myself down on the sidewalk to beg.

I sing.

I can’t sing.

But I sing.

Nobody gives.

Everyone just looks at me like I’m nuts.

Fuk you, Mr. Fox, I say in my mind.

Haven’t you got enough footage?

Are you saying I gotta be homeless in London as well?

I see Mr. Fox’s face in my mind’s eye.

Looking at me with that pompous, smarmy grin.

Muthafukka.

Fuk you, Mr. Fox.

I’m James fuken Bond.

Fuk you.

97. London calling

2018.

So, what brings you to London? asks the Paramedic.

He reads my blood pressure and writes it down.

I got deported. From Cambodia.

Oh yeh, why’s that?

I was doing a human rights protest. On the street.

Oh yeh? So, you got family here?

My dad and my brothers…and my sister…and lots of friends.

So you’ll be ok then?

I’ll be fine.

Stephen, says one of the cops. We can’t leave you on Heathrow, cuz it’s private property…

I’ve got no money for a train ticket.

Well, you can get help with that from the social welfare office on Terminal 3 – especially if you’ve been deported…but they’re not open til Monday.

Oh.

What I’m gonna do is see if we can give you a lift to the nearest town outside of the Heathrow zone.

Where’s that?

Hounslow.

And then what?

Then, I’m afraid, you’re on your own.

96. Moto, Mofo & Climbing Mount Ax.

I’m outside Town View.

Who goes past…side saddling a moto in dark blue, scruffy jeans ?

Sexy chick from the party.

Yeh…uh…wheres my $20?

She smiles.

Hops off the moto.

How are you?

I’m ok. How are you?

I don’t know how we end up in my room in bed, smoking, but we do.

I can’t do it, I say. I have to be married.

Married?

Are you married?

I was. We broke up.

Oh.

We go climbing, me and Sexy Chick.

Up mount Ax.

We climb together.

Using our hands.

We climb Ax.

Together.

I know Christian’s will excoriate me.

Strip my skin.

I’m 46.

I’m not a kid.

Go fuk yourself.

Cast the first stone, mofo.

If you must.

If it makes you feel better.

Superego.

But cast it with grace.

95. Manager’s Office

2017.

My manager at ACE calls me into his office.

You’re late a lot, Steve.

I know. I’m sorry. I’m going through a difficult period.

So your personal life is interfering with your professional life.

Yes. I’m sorry.

I’m going to call a meeting with HR.

It’s been since my mother died…

He checks his diary.

How about next Tuesday at 9. Are you teaching then?

That’s fine. And the death threats.

So that’s Tuesday at 9am with HR.

Fine.

Death threats to the little girl. She’s only two. You’ve got a young daughter, don’t you?

He shuts his diary.

Right, I’ll confirm by email.

That’s fine, I say.

I leave his office.

See you next Tuesday, I say, closing the door.

94. Paramedic for the Hero

April 2018.
I’ve touched down in London on flight SGN 007.
My brother has walked out on me after I proclaimed myself to be the new James Bond.
Heathrow police, armed like SWAT, think I’m nuts.
Mr. Fox, the director of this ground breaking LIVE CINEMA reality show Hollywood 007  movie about a homeless, crystal meth addict, born again Christian missionary James Bond has not followed thru on his promise that in London it would all be over…a wrap.
Surely they’ve got enough footage for the movie already.
How long have they been filming me ffs.
What’s this…the resolution?
We’ve done The Road Home part of The Hero’s Journey already on flight SGN007 from Phnom Penh.
This should be Step 12 – Sharing the Elixir.
The wisdom every hero can now share with his friends and family back in the ordinary world.
Sharing the moral lesson he has learned.
The paramedic arrives.
You OK, Sir?
Fine, thanks.
He’s holding a clipboard.
Can I just take your name?
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91. Note from the Writer

First, thanks for reading.
We are now entering Part 3: The Razor Years from 2016 – 2019.
Part 4 will focus on The Psychosis Years 2018 – 2019.
Part 5 is 3 months homeless in Phnom Penh.
Part 6 is 3 months homeless in London.
Part 7 returns to Cambodia in 2019 after a brief break in Yangon, Myanmar.
That will be the end of the story to date.
If you are wondering why I’m jumping around in time, there are 3 reasons:
1. Writing a non linear story is more challenging.
2. I like to write as memories come to me each day.
3. I like to entertain myself with my writing.
(I figure if I’m entertained the reader will be.)
This is a novel based on a true story.
Also, remember you are reading an unreliable narrator struggling to retell his story in the midst of crystal methamphetamine psychosis.
It is important to differentiate between what is real and what is fantasy or delusion.
It’s also useful to remember you are reading a rough, rude, raw first draft.
Some names have been changed.
Stay with me as we ride the edge of a knife through the Razor years.
Love, romance, sex, drugs and violence and…yes…even God… are all on the menu.
Welcome to my world.
Steve Edwards.
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90. Welcome Home

London.
April 2018.
My brother and his wife are gone.
Matt and Sandra.
Left me alone.
My screaming rage.
Why am I surprised?
Really?
You fly me all the way from Phnom Penh to London, Cambodia to England, and leave me alone with no money.
3 armed police march towards me.

Are you OK,  Sir?
I’m fine.
We had a report of a disturbance.
Sorry, I had an argument with my brother.
Do you have any I.D ?

I produce my passport.

Where have you come from?
Cambodia.
And where are you going?

Another cop radios through my name and date of birth.

I don’t know, I say.
Where’s home?
My home is in God, I say.

It’s the answer I always give to that question.

Right. Do you have somewhere to go?
I need to get into central London, I say.

The cop who’s radioing hands me my passport back.
I’m clear.
Clean.

I’m O.K, I say. I’m the new James Bond.
You’re the new James Bond?
Yeh, this is a movie. It’s being shot on the CCTV. You guys are in the new James Bond movie.
Right.

A cop radios:

Can we have a paramedic, please to Terminal 3?
I don’t need a paramedic.
We’re just gonna have you checked out. Is that O.K ?
Not a problem, I say. I’m not crazy. I’m fine.

Mr. Fox must be loving all this. Great for the reality, live cinema, crystal meth addict, homeless 007 movie.
I thought my homeless stint was over.
This is not funny, I tell Mr. Fox.
In my mind.
Like he can hear my thoughts.
I know he can hear my voice, bcuz of the mic in my head, but I know he can’t hear my thoughts.
That would be too sci-fi…even for James Bond.
This is not fuken funny, Mr. Coppola, I think to myself.
Mr. Fuken Fox.
The Paramedic arrives.
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89. The Warning

Don’t do bad.
Don’t do drugs.
And stay away from Silly Mall.

I take another hit on the joint in The Red Fox.
Gangster Girl smokes with me.
Unusual for Khmer chicks to smoke weed.
Usually only ice.
An Icy Whip.

I get money.
I’m that type of bitch.
An icy whip.
Said he gonna wife me quick.
Gonna Skype me shit.

Gangster Girl leans into me and whispers into my ear.
The police could shut down street 51 in 51 seconds.
Silly Mall…Sorya Mall is on the infamous street 51.
Infamous for sexpats and ‘freelancers’.
Freelancers are girls who work the streets as opposed to work in the ‘girly bars’ for a salary + tips.
Gangster Girl is neither.
She’s a dealer.
Don’t do bad.
Don’t do drugs.
And stay away from Silly Mall.
I stub out the joint.
Stoned now.
We leave The Red Fox.
Gangster Girl disappears.
I’m left with the lunch to share with Richard.
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