"Fraternizing in Hell"

Busan, South Korea 1987

July 17, A.M.:
Up late. It's Friday, no class, a holiday. The night before was the rad typhoon but I was fraternizing in hell*. Then yesterday was class and then we went to The Bistro. I met Miss Shin. She was rad I thought. Then at night I went to the downtown with some students. it was packed and full of plenty of roxies. I met Hye-Jin from Seoul. She was staying at Hangook Condo. I was deeply impressed but to no avail. After separation my heart was full of her and this morning too. Now I have today and tomorrow to blow.

*Here's what really happened on July 16. I'm not thrilled about including this particular portion, and have tried and failed to write it several times. Apologies.

The forecast called for an overnight typhoon. Not uncommon in Busan but unheard of back home. After the last class of the evening, Mr. Moon (a Korean dude with a Canadian passport who taught a couple classes at our institute), Andy (an American--married to a Korean gal--who also taught a class or two), and I went down to the casino. The casino was a sort of getaway for us, a place where Koreans were not even allowed unless they held a foreign passport. Hordes of young Korean agasshis worked there, eager to take orders (one could even get a dish of ice cream brought to their seat at a Blackjack table) and deal cards. We escaped there, had a few drinks, played some table games, and killed a few hours while the typhoon gained strength.

By the time we left the casino, the wind was blowing pretty hard and the rain was starting to spit. We piled in a cab but instead of heading home, we went for a nightcap. Andy directed the taxi to what was clearly a regular stop for him. The Ajumma greeted him by name and walked us through the empty place, out the back door, and into a small room that stood off from the main structure. We sat and waited.

After a bit, a side door opened and in came a young woman with a tray of fruit and several tall bottles of beer. She placed the tray in the center of the room and left. Before we could get the bottles opened, three young ladies entered. One was a bit older than the other two. She greeted Andy familiarly and they both giggled. The other two sat on either side of Mr. Moon and myself.

They dimmed the lights and plied us with drinks and fruit. Mr. Moon asked me if I liked the girl who was feeding me bites of fruit. Since none of the girls spoke English, I told him she was wasn't very cute. It was more hurtful than necessary, and probably spoken more out of discomfort than anything else, but I certainly didn't expect it to be translated. It was translated and she was hurt. She left the room in a huff.

Her replacement was quite a bit larger; I'm pretty sure she outweighed me. But I wasn't cruel enough to send her away too. She cozied up to me and immediately worked my shirt off. Next came hers. We danced an odd kind of slow dance without music, her bare breasts and belly pressed against me. Andy and his partner sat fiddling and giggling over in the corner.

The next morning on the way to work, the streets were littered with debris. Tree limbs blocked the road, signs, and all kinds of trash were strewn all over. It looked nothing like the place I knew when I went to bed the night before. But July 17 had only just begun...

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