Read: Matt Smith - THE UNFORTUNATE ODYSSEY OF LEE GO-SAING PART 2
Matt Smith는 애리조나 주립대학에서 영문학을 전공했다. 지금까지 한국에서 3년 째거주중이다. 그는 영화광이자 피자를 아주 사랑하는 사람이다. 그의 문학적 영감은 Jack Kerouac, Thomas Pynchon 그리고 Zadie Smith같은 사람들에서 얻었다.
Matt Smith graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in English Literature. He's spent a combined three years teaching English in South Korea. He's an avid lover of film and has a most sincere love of pizza. His literary inspirations include Jack Kerouac, Thomas Pynchon and Zadie Smith.
THE UNFORTUNATE ODYSSEY OF LEE GO-SAING PART 2
“Police have yet to identify any of those involved in today's robbery at the Korean Exchange Bank in Samsan-Dong. Sources say that besides a difference in height, the men were identical to one another. And since no evidence was left on the scene, police have only the descriptions of the hostages involved in their search for the wanted men. Photos of the men will be posted at the Taewhagang and Ulsan stations, as well as bus stations. Police ask those with any information to come forward and—”
“Turn it off,” Go-Saing grumbled. No one responded. “I said turn it off,” his voice thundered and he whipped one of the stiff pillows at the back of Sung-Min's head.
“Hey!” Sung-Min spun around.
Sensing the inevitable cracks in order, Dae-Jung spoke first. “What is our plan?”
“What's our plan?” Kyu-Hah patronized. His tone was drenched in cynicism. “Our plan is that we're fucked. You saw it on the TV. Now they know what we look like. Doesn't matter that we disabled the cameras. Some fuckin' geniuses we were, not wearing masks.”
“Relax,” Go-Saing commanded. “We're going to get back. We'll—”
“We'll what? Take a cab?” Chung-Hee got his in.
“We knew this would be a risk,” Go-Saing spoke louder.
“Look, calm down,” Dae-Jung pleaded. He spoke in such a soft manner that none of them bothered to address him.
“So what's our plan?” Myung-Bak asked. “How are we going to return to Daegu?”
Just then Go-Saing's phone rang. The 'Marimba' ringtone on his iPhone sent shivers up the men's spines. They were like mice too frazzled and agitated to make any decision for themselves, too paranoid for what remained of their adventure. Go-Saing felt disheartened by the lack of courage and for an instant he considered taking his share and leaving. He had no plan and he knew that without one, his house of cards was soon to collapse.
Outside, he silenced his wife's phone call and collapsed onto a seat on the motel's concrete steps. He reached into his back pocket to retrieve his flattened cigarettes, pulled one out and put it to his lips. The contact list on his phone provided no answers. As he scrolled down the list of would-be assailants, his head jerked to the side every few minutes. Frustrated, he sucked at the corner of his mouth, making a hissing noise.
By the end of the list, no plan had materialized. Go-Saing took a long drag, then looked out through the pockets between buildings. On fire, the sky possessed an ethereal glow of amber and maroon. The city calmed at the twilight. The ordered and frantic energy of business was washed away in the streams of evening traffic. All around him, neon began to buzz and flicker on. Go-Saing was bored. He wanted out and began rehearsing, in his head, how he would break the news. They would simply disband under strict orders of secrecy. The men would have to find their way back on their own.
As Go-Saing's throat constricted to pull mucus from deep in his throat, he turned to fire on the pavement. Looking up, he saw their salvation under the florescent lights of a convenience store, in the form of large red logo on the side of a delivery truck. He flicked the remaining half of his cigarette into the street and ran back inside.
Two nights later, Go-Saing sat cross-legged on the floor opposite his old high school friend, Jong-Un. It was the first time either of them had dined together, much less seen one another, since high school. In those days they had been more rivals than friends, but a mutual respect had developed between them. They periodically contacted one another to share news of their achievements. Go-Saing had notified him of his university graduation and the position he secured within an engineering firm shortly after. Jong-Un had received half a dozen more calls over the years, whenever there was promotion.
Go-Saing waited until the their meal was finished and three empty soju bottles sat on the table before addressing what the two had already discussed on the phone. Despite the open wall at the front of the restaurant, the air inside was thick. Cigarette smoke and the aroma of charred pork hung heavy in the air, creating a haze between the two. It bothered Jong-Un, though he didn't mention it. The previous week he had gotten corrective surgery on his right eye and was required to wear an eyepatch. As the meal went on, his good eye, irritated, became red and aggitated. And in his vanity he hated the inferior position it put him in.
“I need to get home.” Go-Saing lowered his voice, looking from side to side. “I need to see my wife and daughter again.”
Taken aback, Jong-Un asked, “You have a daughter?”
“Yes.” Go-Saing scowled. “She's fourteen. Now tell me there's at least a few strings you can pull around here to get us back to Daegu. I have a recital to attend on Tuesday.”
Jong-Un looked down for a moment and picked at the charred remains of garlic and fatty pork. He wanted to savor the moment. Out of desperation, Go-Saing had turned to him. He could find help nowhere but with him.
“It's going to be hard to disappear a truck that size, without someone accounting for it.” Jong-Un played serious.
“You've worked for Lotte for eighteen years and you can't let a tiny little delivery truck go missing?” Go-Saing taunted.
“I didn't say I couldn't,” Jong-Un responded defensively. “You have five more men with you?”
“Yes and they'll sit in their own shit if it gets them back to Daegu in one piece.”
Jong-Un continued picking at the remains of dinner and for a minute he didn't say a word.
“Hey! Did you hear me? We need a vehicle.”
There was no response from Jong-Un.
“Hey!” Go-Saing shouted, and those dining at the neighboring tables glanced over.
“I heard you,” Jong-Un chuckled.
“And?” Go-Saing was irate.
“I think,” Jong-Un paused to chew a large piece of garlic. As he continued he leaned in, so that his pungent breath whipped across Go-Saing face. “I think, this is all a sort of karma for my eye. You know, the doctor they told me I'd have to wear this,” he waved his hand in front of his healing eye, “for weeks, perhaps months. Can you imagine having to go to work every day with this absurdity on your face? My subordinates laugh behind my back. They make up all sorts of names for me, like the Cyclops. But then I get a call from my old schoolmate, the one who paraded his scores in front of my face, the one who stole from me one of the only women to ever had feelings for me.”
“Oh please! That again?” Go-Saing scoffed.
@@“Oh yes, that. You fucked her the night before graduation and never spoke to her again. What was it you told everyone? 'She's only worth the time of trash like Lee, Jong-Un.'”@@
“You sad piece of shit,” shouted Go-Saing, as he held the side of their wooden table with a grip that might reduce it to splinters. “That was years a—”
“No, you listen to me,” Jong-Un cut him off. He spoke calmly and coolly. “I'm going to help you. I will get you and your men back to Daegu, you don't have to worry about that. And I don't want any of your money.”
“Why?” asked Go-Saing, seething.
“Why? Because of this. Because I've finally gotten to see you fuck up, and how monumental a fuck-up it is.” Jong-Un laughed. “This is worth more to me than any sum. I'm going to remember this. Even after my back goes and my eyes cataract, when I have no use left and I'm simply a burden to offspring, I will still have this moment to savor. And how it will fill me with such immense joy.” He smirked.
The two were interrupted by a waitress who set a pot of boiling kimchi soup between them. Even with no fire beneath the red soup, it bubbled and frothed at the top, over chunks of tofu and cabbage.
Jong-Un lit another cigarette and chuckled. “You should have some,” he said.
Go-Saing's muscles had been tightening and constricting for ten minutes, and with that last remark they seemed to simultaneously go limp and take on a mind of their own. Watching himself move with a curious satisfaction, he saw his arm swing out and swipe the boiling pot at Jong-Un. The fiery red and orange broth flew in a wave, directly into his face. A few layers of skin were immediately removed as Jong-Un screamed in pain. He tried to grab at his face but only pulled off more skin. His face was a bloody mush of skin flaps and muscle tissue. The soup had blinded him in his seeing eye and as he moved about the floor on his knees, screaming and howling, no one knew what to do. He was a mutilated horror, seemingly something that crawled up from over the crust of hell.
When the soup's red pepper flakes came in contact with his wounds, his screams drowned every inch of the restaurant. On his knees with his arms out and fingers looking as though they were trying to grasp something, he howled like a demon. A few women bawled and someone shouted for the police.
Go-Saing watched with an amusement that surprised him. All at once he felt his anger subside. It was replaced by a feeling of victory and satisfaction. Then he began to laugh. He laughed louder and louder. He laughed until his laughter rivaled Jong-Un's screams. Then he got up and ran.
Running down the street, all he could hear was the sound of his loafers awkwardly slapping the pavement. He felt the room key in his pocket poking at his thigh. He turned down an alleyway to let loose a torrent of obscenities. In a fit, he hurled his phone at the pavement and watched as it exploded in electric flashes. It skid twice before colliding with wall. He kicked a large dumpster which sent such a bolt of pain through his foot he knew he had broken something.
Go-Saing took a seat against the building and began to pout. He had promised his men a solution. Now their leader was wanted for not one but two crimes, and they were no closer to Daegu than they had been two days prior. He considered flagging down a cab as it passed but something in him wouldn't allow it. For half an hour he sat staring at the concrete under him. Jong-Un's taunts still rang loudly in his ears. He wasn't a failure, he told himself. He was in charge of the men and he wouldn't leave them.
Looking up, he noticed the pink lights and dual barber poles of a brothel on the corner. He stood up and dusted himself off. 'We're going to get back,' he whispered. 'I will lead them home.' With renewed confidence, he crossed the street and walked toward the sensuous glow once more to escape into perfumed pleasures.