Location: Koh Rong, Cambodia

It’s already half past ten, the sun is shining, and the island is just waking up. Hungover Aussies stumble into lounge chairs, mumbling out orders for $3 french toast and $2 omelettes. Nobody seems to be able to stomach any curry or fried rice this morning. 

I’m wandering over to my own breakfast, swinging my plastic water bottle in one hand, squinting under the brightness of the tropical sun. I pass by the Vagabonds bartender from the night before, the one covered in stapled notes. He waves “hi” and asks if I had a good night in his sing-song Norwegian accent. He’s so cheerful, it catches me off guard.

“Yeah, you know. How are you this morning?” I look at his shoulder, notice teeny puncture wounds from the staples dotting it. He’s like a human pin cushion. 

“Great! Did I see you last night? I don’t really know what happened.” 

“You don’t remember Jolie stapling stuff to you?”

“Is that what it is?!” His eyes go wide, clarity filling them. “I showered this morning and found a staple in my chest, and I thought to myself, ‘freak accident!’” He shrugs his shoulders and holds his hands in the air. I gawk at his unconcern. 

“Now it makes sense!” He pats me on the shoulder.

There’s a slogan that the Western staff on the island often quote and as the Vagabonds bartender away, I say it in my head. “Everything has gone Koh Rong.”