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4 Chapter 4. An Encounter At The Fishing Site 3

 Gun-Ho got up around 10 in the morning. He has been really lazy since he didn't go to work.

"Should I eat breakfast? Or not?"

The OneRoomTel he was living in provided free rice in a rice cooker, which was located in the laundry room. Cooked rice was always available; the owner prepared for the residents in the OneRoomTel. There was a microwave as well, in the same room.

"If there was a cooktop in the laundry room, I would have been able to cook lomein..."

Licking his lips at the thought of lomein, Gun-Ho opened the refrigerator in his room. Each room in the OneRoomTel had a small refrigerator shorter than a desk.

"Do I have anything to eat?"

Gun-Ho took out a bottle of water from the refrigerator and gulped down water. He further looked in the refrigerator. There were soju, fruit, some left-over pickled radish, and a choco pie.

"I have to have a meal..."

Gun-Ho stepped out of his room with an empty bowl in his hand. He was going to the laundry room to get free rice.

"Eek, why is that guy still here?"

The guy in Room 506 was doing something in the laundry room.

"F*ck, I don't want him to see me with an empty bowl in my hand; it's embarrassing. I ran into him with my empty bowl yesterday."

Gun-Ho closed his door.

"Let's just go out and have a hangover soup!"

After washing his face and brushing his teeth, Gun-Ho went outside. He then got in the car he parked in front of a women's clothing store around the OneRoomTel.

"The store owner didn't come to work yet. If he was here and saw my parked car, he would have snapped at me..."

Gun-Ho often parked on the street because the basement parking lot in the OneRoomTel was too small and always full. As long as you could get your car out of the street before the stores open, there was no problem; otherwise, you would have to bicker with the owners. As soon as he got in the driver's seat, Gun-Ho took a note out of his pocket. A phone number was written on the note; it was the company's number, which Gun-Ho found from WorkNet. That company was hiring a production worker.

"Was it Dongil Tech? I will visit the company after breakfast."

Gun-Ho entered the phone number to the smartphone.

"This is the fastest way to contact them. It will take forever for them to contact me if I apply for the job online, especially for the jobs posted on WorkNet."

"Dongil Tech. How may I help you?"

A lady answered the phone; she sounded a bit old."

"I saw your job advertisement. I am calling to apply for a production worker position."

"Do you have any work experience in the injection molding?"

"Yes, I do. About two years."

"If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?"

"I am 31."

"Do you know where we are located?"

"If you could tell me the address, I can find it using GPS."

The lady gave the address.

"Please bring your resident registration and resume with your photo attached, when you come. You can submit your resident registration once your employment is confirmed."

"Is it ok for me to come today?"

"Come by 3 in the afternoon."

"Thank you. I will see you then."

Gun-Ho felt better. Small factories with less than 30 employees in the countryside usually hired a worker on the spot. Because of the labor shortage, many of them hired even foreign workers. With Gun-Ho's work experience and age, it was easy to get that kind of job. People over 50 had a hard time to find a job because the factory managers didn't want to hire someone older than themselves.

"If I get this job, I will stay until I save enough money as long as they pay me on time. I don't care about the work environment or whatever."

Feeling encouraged and happier, Gun-Ho made a phone call to Jong-Suk Park.

"Hey, what are you doing?"

"Uh, bro, call me later. I am in the middle of an argument with my dad."

Gun-Ho could hear loud talk through the smartphone.


Gun-Ho quickly hung up the phone.

"Jong-Suk seems to be not doing well at home, probably because he works at a factory. His dad obviously wants him to prepare for the level-9 government job exam."

Gun-Ho could picture Jong-Suk's dad fly into a rage and shake his fingers at Jong-Suk.

"In fact, Jong-Suk has issues. He gave up on the exam even though his dad was more than willing to support him."

"Are you confident that you could pass the exam if somebody financially supported you?" Gun-Ho felt like he heard Jong-Suk saying that. Looking at himself in the mirror, Gun-Ho saw a man with empty eyes.


He really felt like he was a loser.

"I studied strenuously for three years but failed the exam. I worked my socks off for several years, but I am broke. What is wrong with me?"

Gun-Ho looked at his hand holding the steering wheel.

"This hand ... is not the hand of Midas, but the hand of minus..."

The thought of chopping his hand with an ax passed through his mind.

"D*rn it, let's just have a pork rib hangover soup!"

Gun-Ho headed to a hangover soup restaurant.

It was a bit after two in the afternoon. Gun-Ho was not hungry since he had had brunch. In order to better present himself at the interview, Gun-Ho went back to his OneRoomTel and brushed his teeth. He changed his shoes; he was wearing flip-flops so he changed into sneakers.

"Where is this? I've never heard of this area... the plant is located in Yangju, Gyeongsin Town..."

Gun-Ho drove northwest to Gyeongsin Town.

"If I turn left, that leads to Seoul. I am not meant to live in Seoul. Hew."

He felt pathetic about himself. Although he went high school in Bucheon City ("Bucheon"), many of his high school friends worked in a big city like Incheon and Suwon City ("Suwon"). On the other hand, Gun-Ho kept moving to further north, away from those big cities.

"F*ck my life!"

While feeling sorry for himself, he thought of his aunt. He remembered her talking about a person's fate during the family gathering on New Year's Day.

"There is a famous fortune teller in Gangnam, Seoul. The fortune teller said that my son, Jae-Woong would have a great fortune for the next 20 years."

His aunt boasted about her son while talking about people's fate. Jae-Woong was his cousin, two years younger than Gun-Ho.

"Jae-Woong just passed the civil service exam required for the level-9 position in Department of Labor. Just like that fortune teller said, Jae-Woong's 20-year great fortune must have started."

His aunt kept boasting about her son to Gun-Ho's parents. Gun-Ho's father said with a hollow smile,

"Haha, he surely will be a labor supervisor soon."

"What about Gun-Ho? What are you doing these days? I heard you gave up on the civil service exam and started working?"

His aunt was smiling as she talked; Gun-Ho felt like she was laughing at him.

"Just... a small company I am working for."

"Well, as long as they pay, working for a small company is not bad. Where is it situated?"

"It used to be in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, and now it moved to Pocheon."

"What is the nature of their business?"

"They manufacture motor vehicle parts."

"Vehicle parts? Terrific. I am impressed. Many young men these days are having a hard time to find a job."

The aunt was snobbish while Gun-Ho's parents felt small, looking down the floor.

Gun-Ho remembered that he had quietly left the room before his aunt started talking to him again.