Cast of characters












Mrs Won




Hot Sauce








“I want to see your nose touch the floor!!” cried Dame. 




Fred was aghast and appalled, so much so that he almost scoffed in disbelief.




“Get ‘er done!” Dame exclaimed. “Then maybe I’ll let you go.”




* Will Fred succumb to Dame’s demand? *




What could Fred do? It wasn’t that bad, he supposed. All that was required was to get down on his knees and…




… yet it was as if an external force was controlling him and he just stood there frozen.




Was Dame only joking – seeing how far he could push? If not, why should I lower myself for this piece of white trash?




Nevertheless, Fred visualized the act of submission, in super slow motion, trying to prepare himself.




Down, down, down.




Just do it and get it over with.




* Will he do it? *




Yet the more he thought about it, the more disdain and disgust arose within him. He felt ice cubes down his spine.





He was completely incapacitated. He could not move.




Dame took half a step closer and his face was now inches from Fred’s. Irately he yelled, “Get down and bow!”




Fred hesitated and the paralysis would not pass.





He continued to stand rigidly at attention and staring directly into Dame’s chronically bloodshot eyes.




The mini-stare-off seemed to make Dame self-conscious.




* Might Dame back down? *




“Ayeesh! She-bal!” He backed off, retreating over to the window.




He retrieved his smouldering cigarette perched on the sill, took a quick puff and flicked the rest of it out the window.





He then hastily lowered the blind and instantly marched decisively back to Fred.




“Bow the fuck down! Now!”




Freddy still didn’t move. He couldn’t; wouldn’t.





The room was gobbled up by silence and there was suddenly a knock at the office door.




* Who’s at the door? *




“Director No, excuse me,” came a quivering, unsure adult female voice from outside the door, shattering the hold that Dame had over the room’s environment.




Fred recognized the voice – unmistakably Mrs Won’s.




“She not here!” snapped Damion. “We busy!”




The knocking continued. “Actually I look for Fred.” She burst in.





“Oh, very dark? Why?” She flicked on the light switch right inside the door.




Dame immediately shielded his eyes.



“Oh,” Won said, “cigarette smoke smell. Very strong.” She fluttered her hand in front of her face as if to clear the air.




Fred smirked. Won was with Hot Sauce, who was holding a gift-wrapped box.




“Oh, Fred here too!” Won then turned to Hot Sauce and nudged her. “Give him the gift – pali, pali!”




Hot Sauce looked pale and sick, her eyes like piss holes in the snow.





Even so, she dutifully and graciously stepped forward and held out the light gift box in both hands.




* What is wrong with Hot Sauce? *




Fred received it but Koreans generally don’t open gifts right away.





The act of giving and graciously receiving is the focal point of the whole transaction.




Fred respectfully held the gift in both hands and acknowledged the generosity by nodding.





Hot Sauce was suddenly overcome with an attack of the dry heaves and recoiled, stepping back into her mother’s shadow.




“Mom,” she said in a low but urgent voice, “Washroom!” She bowed quickly to Fred and ran out of the office.




“What’s wrong with Hot Sauce?” Fred asked. “She doesn’t look well.”



* Will Hot Sauce be okay? *




Won waved him off with a not-your-problem type of wave that Fred was getting used to. He filled the awkward silence with a less personal question.




“Appreciate the gift Mrs Won but … what’s the occasion?”




She paused to choose her words carefully.





“Thank you for being a guest in our home. We are sorry for so many problems – such as my husband.”




Now it was Fred’s turn to wave her off. “That’s no problem Mrs Won – all good.” He perused the gift and admired the wrapping.




Won looked at Damion but was unsure what to make of him.





Her glance shifted back to Fred, she bowed and scurried out. “Hot Sauce! Let’s go together!”




The room was engulfed in complete silence.





Won hadn’t closed the door and the cross-breeze from the partially-open window made the blinds clang erratically.




Fred stood there with his gift and couldn’t help but crack a smile and shake his head.





The ajumma had just unwittingly shot Dame’s meeting to rat shit.




“Get out of here you moron!” Dame shoed Fred away with a hand motion. “Just get out. Go away!”




* Will this be the last Fred hears from Dame? *








Tomorrow: 13 Good Lucky apartment is unnaturally clean and quiet…