Bangkok Surprise

Author: Murakami Haruki (村上 春樹)
Japanese Title: バンコック・サプライズ (Bankokku sapuraizu)
Taken From: 夜のくもざる (Yoru no kumozaru, 1995)

“Hello, is this 5721-1251?” a woman’s voice asked me.

“Yes, this is 5721-1251.”

“I’m sorry for calling out of the blue. The truth is, I was calling 5721-1252.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I’ve been calling all day since this morning. I tried more than thirty times, but they didn’t pick up. Um, they’re probably on a trip, or something.”

“And?” I asked.

“And so I thought, well, I might as well try calling what I guess you could call their next door neighbor, 5721-1251.”


She cleared her throat. “I just got in from Bangkok last night. This really awesome, amazing, incredible thing happened in Bangkok. It’s something you totally wouldn’t believe. It’s something just really, really incredible. I planned to stay there for a week, but I cut it short by three days and came back early. I wanted to talk about it, so I kept calling 1252. I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t talk about it with someone, but it’s not something I can just talk about with anybody. And so I thought maybe the person at 1251 would listen to me…”

“I see.”

“But, you know, I was really hoping a girl would answer the phone. It would be a lot easier to talk to a girl, you know?”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“How old are you?”

“I turned 37 last month.”

“Uh, 37? I get the feeling that someone a little younger might be better. Sorry about that.”

“No, it’s fine.”

“Sorry,” she said. “I’m going to try calling 5721-1253. Bye.”

After all that fuss, I never did get to hear what happened in Bangkok.