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78 Secret Bar at Hannam Town 1 – PART 1

 Gun-Ho made a call to Jong-Suk.

"Hey Jong-Suk, how are you doing?"

"Oh, bro, what do you do these days?"

"This and that. I am keeping an eye on the real estate market and the stock market."

"Aren't you going to start your own business or get a job?"

"I don't think I want to work for someone any longer. After working as self-employed, I don't want to go back to the life punching clock for an employer."

"But you still should do something. Don't you think?"

"Oh, and I made some money lately. I want to buy you a drink."

"Really?"

"Yeah, really. When are you off from your work?"

"Let me see."

"Let's ask Suk-Ho in Gyeongridan Street to join us. You ask him. You are closer to him than I am."

"Oh, Suk-Ho bro. Sure. Let's then find out what day his bar is closed and we can have a drink there."

"That sounds great. You talk with him and let me know, okay?"

After getting off the phone with Jong-Suk, Gun-Ho received a call from someone he didn't know.

"Are you Mr. Gun-Ho Goo?"

"Yes, this is he."

"I am calling from the stockbroking company. I am a branch manager. I'd like to invite you for a dinner."

Gun-Ho thought this could be tiresome. The broking firm that Gun-Ho was currently using was the same firm he had used when he worked at a factory in Hwaseong. He had put his money borrowed from the sunshine loan to that company for stock investment at that time. The branch was located in Suwon City.

"I will be out of country from tomorrow."

"Oh, you will? Then could we meet once you return to Korea?"

Gun-Ho currently had 19.8 billion won in his stock account with that stockbroking firm. Gun-Ho thought it was natural for them to be interested in him now.

Gun-Ho had used to work in several different factories. He knew how a mid-size firm could be. Even though a company seemed to be decent, many companies in that size had a capital less than 1 billion won. Many of them had their annual sales not exceeding 5 billion won.

Considering the fact above, the 19.8 billion won that Gun-Ho had was a huge amount of money. A branch of a stockbroking company would do everything they could not to lose a client with this much funds.

"I was going to move my account to another branch after I move to another area. It's going to be difficult to do that."

Gun-Ho then received a call from Jong-Suk.

"Bro? I just talked with Suk-Ho bro. He said Monday of the third week is good. His bar will be closed that day."

"Really? But you have to work on Monday, don't you?"

"It's okay. I can take that day off. I already told my manager that I would have to take that day off for personal reasons."

"Really? I will see you then."

Gun-Ho wanted to buy a drink for his friends in a more luxurious bar than Suk-Ho's bar.

Gun-Ho called Suk-Ho.

"I just talked with Jong-Suk. So, what time would be good on Monday?"

"Right. I will have to run errands in the morning; I have to go to the district office and tax office here. So, what about 5 PM?"

It was Monday; Gun-Ho, Jong-Suk, and Suk-Ho were supposed to meet for a drink.

Gun-Ho didn't have a car yet, so he took a taxi heading to Suk-Ho's bar.

The lights in the Suk-Ho's bar were off and all the chairs were placed on the tables. The front door was slightly open.

"Hey, bro. Come in!"

Jong-Suk was already there and he was having a beer with Suk-Ho.

"Hey, come and have a seat!"

"Did you guys already start drinking without me?"

"Have a drink, Gun-Ho. Suk-Ho came early so we started early."

"I was going to take you guys to a good place."

"Let's have a drink here first then go to a restaurant. I know a good one close to Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon Town."

Gun-Ho looked around the bar. The large picture of a musical instrument was still hanging on the wall. That reminded Gun-Ho of Suk-Ho's business partner who looked like an artist.

"How is your partner doing? Your friend from college. His name was Bang something and he looked like an artist."

"Oh, Han-Young Bang! He is not coming here anymore. He works at a room salon*."

"A room salon?"

"Yeah, his sister is a chief hostess there."

"You mean he is not your business partner of this bar anymore?"

"He is still holding the shares in this bar and I am sending half of the profits from this bar to him. He wants to pull out the funds he invested in this bar but I don't have money to buy him out."

"Hmm, I see."

"I want to go to that room salon he is working to contribute to their sales, but I don't know anyone who could afford to drink there and pay for their expensive service and liquor."

Jong-Suk asked Suk-Ho while pouring beer in Gun-Ho's and Suk-Ho's glasses.

"Bro, you have a lot of friends who seemed to be rich. Many of your friends are riding a luxurious car."

"They do have luxurious cars; that's true. But that doesn't mean they have money to spend at a room salon. It's not like they are running a big company."

Gun-Ho gulped the beer and said while putting his empty glass back on the table.

"Let's go there today!"

"Bro, are you drunk? It's way more expensive than we could afford."

Suk-Ho also tried to talk him out of it.

"Jong-Suk is right. It's not like we are having a special occasion to go to a place like that, such as closing a very important deal or something. It's a waste of money. You have never been to a room salon before, haven't you? Just drink your beer."

Gun-Ho, Suk-Ho, and Jong-Suk walked out of Suk-Ho's bar after having a few drinks and headed to the restaurant close to Hamilton Hotel. They continued to drink beer in that restaurant. After the three men got drunk, they all couldn't think straight. Gun-Ho stood up first while staggering.

"Let's go! Let's go to the third place, the room salon where the curly hair guy Han-Young Bang is working. Let's go!"

Jong-Suk stood up next while staggering as well and then he yelled,

"Let's go! F*ck! Gun-Ho bro made some money. Let's go!"

"Hey, Suk-Ho! It's your town. Get a taxi for us!"

"Okay, let's go! Let's have that Ballantine's 17 years old whiskey there!"

They eventually took a taxi and headed to the room salon located in Gangnam close to Samsung Subway Station.

Gun-Ho was so drunk that he didn't even look at the room salon's business sign before he walked down to a basement of a building. There were young men wearing a suit at the main entrance; they must be bouncers. They all had the same hair cut that made their head look like a square.

"Welcome our brothers."

They gave a 90-degree bow to Gun-Ho's party and then they grabbed Gun-Ho, Suk-Ho and Jong-Suk's arms and took them inside the room salon.

The room salon was located in the basement of a building and its interior was decorated luxuriously like a palace. There were Ionic style columns in the room. Even though he was so drunk, Gun-Ho touched the column wondering if the column was made of stone or plastic.

One of the bouncers clapped loudly and said,

"Customers here. Serve them well!"

A waiter wearing a white shirt and bow tie came out with a broad smile and led Gun-Ho's party to a room. The waiter looked like a weasel.

"Hey, bring Manager Bang here!"

"He is not here right now."

"Where did he go? Bring him here as I said!"

Suk-Ho was so drunk and he started yelling.

Young ladies came into the room with a tray. There were wet wipes and bottles of water on the tray.

The man with a bow tie came back to the room and said while taking Suk-Ho's jacket and hanging on the wall.

"Manager Bang is coming. Just give him several minutes. Let me take an order for you. What would you like to drink?"

"Let's have Ballantine's, bros!"

Jong-Suk's words started to slur; he must be very drunk already. When Jong-Suk asked for Ballantine's, Suk-Ho who was sitting in a chair while breathing heavily jumped up from his seat and said,

"Ballantine's is too expensive! Bring us Chivas Regal instead! The last liquor that our former president, Chung-Hee Park had before he died."

"Alright. I will bring you a salad and fruits for snacks as well. Also, I will ask three ladies to join you."

"We came here because we heard there were many pretty girls working here. So do what you have to do, okay? Manager Bang is my best friend! You know that?"

"Oh, okay, brothers, or sirs!"

The man with a bow tie gave a 90-degree bow to Gun-Ho's party before leaving the room.

After a while, two waitresses came to the room with a cute smile; they brought a bottle of Chivas Regal, cute whiskey glasses, and some snacks and fruits that were beautifully carved.

Note*

Room salon - a type of a bar in Korea where you can drink in a room with bar hostesses.