Chapter One

Frank Perce was not an unassuming man. His Scottish accent was pleasant. His words, direct and certain (or as he would say, “sher-tehn”). It is not the case, as has been widely reported, that the Craft family introduced me to Perce, though they did in fact recruit him for the campaign. I first ran into Frank Perce in Thailand where I had been dispatched by my father’s ministry to investigate reports that Pastor David Svusta was abusing his position, as well as the children at the Kuhn Kon Mission just north of Chaing Rai. And, though I had been asked to simply investigate the matter and report back to my father, I could not contain my outrage. Having just completed my Marine Corps tour of duty in South America, where I’d become known as Ardi Gora (Big Friend) to the tribal members, and where the things I witnessed changed me forever, the timing was ripe.

While he made “use” of the children, his wife got daily massages, feet washings and, when not comfortably lounging in her air-conditioned palace, fannings from a young girl who she called “Nitnoy Marie”. My father would have preferred I arrange for the two of them to go back to the states to be reprimanded, expelled from the ministry. I turned them over to the Thai authorities.

Perce was an attorney for Human Amnesty of The Americas sent to represent the Svusta’s, arguing that international law did not allow for U.S. Citizens to be tried by the Thai court system for alleged offenses on NGO property.

“They say you Scotts can drink,” I hollered at him as he dismounted. He requested allowance to interview all of the staff and locals regarding the Svusta’s time at the mission. Instead, I suggested he and I take an elephant ride along the Yang Mi River to discuss the matter.

“I don’t know,” he said, “I just came over from Australia and those motherfuckers can drink. Have you ever seen what the locals in South Africa suck down?”

“I could have sent him home, you know? That’s what everyone in both countries would have preferred. Shit, even the locals. They don’t know any better.”

It was decided that Perce would make an effort not to invite additional attorneys from his organization and, in turn, I would buy him a drink. The bars in Northern Thailand tried their damnedest to be as American as possible. They were just the dandiest little spots.

After two drinks, Perce confessed, “We’re not a healthy bunch, I suppose. You ever have a deep-fried pizza or Mars bar? Nothing we can’t deep fry ‘till its crispy, covered in grease, and dripping like Irish Dew. A to zed, we’ll deep fry your mother if you let us.”

The world according to Perce, two drinks down:

In Australia, white girls don’t like Asians and cricket matches are more rowdy than football.

In South Africa, they’ll chase you down with machine guns to steal your shoelaces, the German women are suicidal, the terms “leader” and “rapist” are synonymous, and it all has something to do with Apartheid ending.

Airplanes should be bigger and so should the cheese they serve with those tiny little crackers and never, ever take the back seat, unless you prefer to recline in a toilet.

Only Americans should try dissecting that mess in your country ‘cause its complicated and uniquely Texan, but where else would Deep Throat reveal himself to Martha Stewart while in prison? And why are all the anchors smiling through their deliveries? The world is disgusting. I love it!

Frank Perce was easy to warm to. As I saw myself, young, arrogant, fearless, I saw him. We were the celebrities of the developing town of Chaing Rai. We refused the free drinks, tipped extravagantly (at the time, one U.S. Dollar was worth one hundred and fifty Baht). I knew nothing of the Perce cults or his purported connections to Crazy Frank or the Buffalo Bearer. In fact, I would hardly recall my time with him, except for how it changed my life completely.