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2 Chapter 2: An Encounter At The Fishing Site 1

 It was early autumn with Cosmos flowers in full bloom, shaken by the wind along the asphalt-paved mountain path. An old shabby sedan struggled up the hill, carrying two young men. Its muffler was probably broken because it made an odd sound. The paint on its rear plastic bumper was flaked off.

"Korea is the best place to live. Even the road to the fishing site is all asphalt-paved."

"This fishing site is not a well-known place. It is surprising to see a new Genesis here."

"That's right. Is it EQ900 limousine?"

The two young men parked their shabby Avante behind the Genesis.

"Hey, our car with this peeling paint bumper looks even shabbier sitting next to Genesis. Let's park our car away from here."

One of two young men reversed while complaining, "It must be a rich dude. Why doesn't he just go golfing?"

"He probably doesn't know this is a free fishing site."

After they parked their car, the two young men took fishing rods out of the trunk. They were lure fishing rods, not bait fishing rods; one had to move to catch fish with lure fishing.

"I prefer lure fishing. I don't have to touch earthworms or maggots."

"But you have to move a lot, too busy in catching fish."

"Lure fishing is really an effective way to lose weight."

"Well, since you, Gun-Ho and me, we both lost jobs, we will live with hunger and malnourishment, and suffer from cold weather. We won't have chance to gain any weight."

"I heard that these days, poor people gain more weight because they don't have enough resources to watch their diet."

"Hmmm, I will gain weight again then."

"Look, Jong-Suk! Our lucky spot is already occupied by two old men."

"Oh shoot, that's the whole point of coming here."

"Let's try the spot across the reservoir."

"I don't like that place, too many underwater branches."

"Let's then try up on the bridge side."

Those two old men fishing in the spot turned their heads to look behind them; they must have heard the talk. One looked about mid-40s, and the other man seemed to be in his 60s. They didn't appear to be friends or father and son.

'They must have plenty of time in life like us since they came here fishing on weekdays, not on weekends.'

"Mister, did you catch a lot of fish?"

The man seemingly in his 60s shook his head side to side with a smile on his face. Probably not a productive day of fishing. The mid-40s man then gave Gun-Ho Goo and Jong-Suk Park a menacing look.

"Jong-Suk, let's keep walking. We seem to make him uncomfortable."

"For f*ck's sake, they are the ones who took our lucky spot..."

Gun-Ho chuckled and said, "We'd better mark the spot with our names, Gun-Ho Goo and Jong-Suk Park, showing that it is reserved for our exclusive use."

"Be quiet! What time is it?"

"It's 20 to 5. Almost 5 o'clock."

"The fish will start biting soon. You go that way; I will go this way around the chestnut tree."

"Catch a big enough fish for spicy fish stew!"

Gun-Ho Goo and Jong-Suk Park were laid off from their jobs in a small factory with less than 20 employees in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province. The company lost their contract with the vendors, leading them to start laying off employees. 'Well, I was going to quit the job anyway; I haven't been paid in two months now.'

"Once the company gets back on its feet, I will make sure that you receive unpaid wages and severance pay. You know that I am not doing well." The factory owner implored Gun-Ho Goo to understand his situation.

For the past three days, Gun-Ho Goo went through job search websites such as WorkNet and the classified section in newspapers to find a job. He felt suffocated staying in a small room all day; he used to go out and work in daytime. He pulled his car out of the parking lot in the basement of his tiny studio building and drove around. It then crossed his mind that he didn't file a complaint with the Provincial Office of Labor about his unpaid wages. When he went to the Provincial Office of Labor to file it, he ran across Jong-Suk Park, his colleague there. They then decided to come fishing together to this fishing site the next day.

"I see the bite!"

Gun-Ho Goo tried to reel in the fish. The fishing line got tight then became loose.

"F*ck! It went off the bite! It was a bass the size of a forearm! I saw it when it jumped out of water."

"Bro, did you catch it?"

"It went off!"

"Well, at least you are getting bites. I am not getting anything."

"It's almost sunset, dinner time for fish. They will start biting."

While Gun-Ho Goo and Jong-Suk Park were having fun fooling around and talking loudly, those mid-40s and 60s men started packing their fishing rods.

"Bro! They seem to be leaving soon. Let's move to that spot!"

"Let's wait until they vacate the spot completely."

"They are so slow."

"It appears that they didn't catch a thing; their fishing net is empty."

"Huh? That Genesis limousine belongs to them? What? The mid-40s man is sitting in the driver's seat and the man in his 60s is sitting in the back seat. They are probably a CEO and a chauffeur." He chuckled.

"Let's focus on fishing."

"If he is rich enough to have a personal chauffeur, why Genesis. Why not Bentley."

"Stay focused!"

The sun went down and it became dark. Gun-Ho Goo and Jong-Suk Park continued fishing. No one else was around, and only the sound of water filled the air. They couldn't catch anything good. Gun-Ho Goo caught one palm-sized small catfish, but he eventually released it.

"Today is not good. The fishing circumstances are not good."

"You sound intelligent, bro."

"Let's just drink up the soju (Korean distilled liquor) we brought in and let's call it a night. It's getting cold out here; I forgot to bring my long sleeve shirts."

Gun-Ho Goo and Jong-Suk Park laid out a picnic mat on the grass. They took out a roasted chicken and soju they prepared.

"Drink up. To celebrate the fourth day of our unemployment!"

"You can't straighten your pinky finger."

"This? It is a glorious wound. I got this injury at work handling factory machine. Well, it's still attached. You have a lot of burns!"

"I got burned a lot when I handled injection molding machines at work."

"Try to wear long sleeve shirts when you work. Your future wife won't think those burns are pretty."

"You think it didn't occur to me that I needed to cover my arms at work? It was just too hot to wear long sleeve shirts during summer. I couldn't even wear arm covers from Daiso. Your future wife won't like the bent finger."

"Haha. Who would want to marry a factory worker like me! I am not even a typical factory worker. I am a factory worker who was unpaid and laid off."

"So am I. Korean girls are all gold diggers. Who would marry me? I have no money; I am a low rank college dropout, a cyber college graduate, not so good looking, pot-bellied, and old."

"Do you remember Jung-Hoon from logistics team? We used to work in the same factory. He was a chick magnet. Not just girls in the factory, but he also dated Ms. Gang from the quality control department; she was a college graduate. He also dated the girl who played piano. She was the daughter of that Korean buffet restaurant owner across the factory. These days, I heard he is dating a new girl in the accounting department."

"You think that is normal? He is a con artist. He didn't even pay me back the 300,000 won he borrowed from me."

"Anyhow, he is able to do it. Let's accept the fact, bro. He is a high school graduate working as a truck driver in a factory; he is something."

"Let's drop it and drink. Talking about him made me lose my appetite. Drink up!"

"This is fantastic. Drinking soju on the bank of the lake in the moonlight. It's killing me."

"I told you. I come here by myself sometimes."

"I will come with you sometimes, and I will bring soju; you buy a roasted chicken."

Gun-Ho Goo and Jong-Suk Park devoured the roasted chicken; they must have been very hungry.