Cast of characters








Mr Go








No Meets Kang         





Is the unconscious mind like a little security camera, which films everything going on around us?




* What do you think? *




Back in his film student days, one game Dame liked to play with his mind was to wait a while and then recollect a scene he’d filmed and try to recall detail.





Then he’d replay the actual video to see how close he was.




And that’s what he was doing right now in Go’s apartment.




Scene One: Gathering the toothpicks out at the phone booth moments ago. He’d been largely oblivious to his surroundings, preoccupied trying to win the toothpick lady’s attention.




Even so, he’d half noticed someone in the adjacent phone booth: A shadowy woman; polished black boots; slick black handbag; the bottom of her charcoal-grey, knee-length coat.  




* Will Dame realize that it was Miss No? *




A moment had passed. Scene Two: Out of the corner of his eye he’d seen that the adjacent phone booth’s top window was missing.





Dame recalled a fragment of the woman’s conversation that had leaked through the windowless space.




From her tone, he’d detected that she was calling … the police?





He’d inadvertently glanced up but only caught her face from an odd angle and then she’d hastily turned away.




He made nothing of it and went back to picking up toothpicks.




Now back in Go’s apartment, everything came into focus.




“Mr Go, what time is Miss No supposed to come by tonight?”




Go shrugged. “It’s getting late. Usually, she’s come and gone by now.” He looked at his watch.




“She usually heads home around this time or goes to church and then home.” He shook his head. “Maybe she won’t come here tonight.”




He tidied up the eating area, scampering into his kitchen with a pile of dishes. He placed them in a big plastic bowl by the sink for washing later.





Water would have to be heated up and that was a time-consuming pain in the arse.




“It’s a bit stuffy in here,” Dame complained. “Feel like getting out of the house?”




Go thought about it. He was full and could use a leg-stretch. He normally didn’t eat rice this late nor did he eat so much.




Usually just a bowl of instant noodles would do him just fine; then he’d relax, smoke cigarettes and watch TV.





A sizeable dinner like tonight’s was the kind he’d normally only eat downtown and follow up with rounds of the soju tents to aid digestion.




He asked Dame: “Where do you want to go? Maybe I should not go too far – Miss No still could come by and then big problem…”




Dame chuckled. “Don’t worry. We’ll keep you out of the drunk tank. How about just a stroll around the block? We’re out of soju and cigarettes anyway.”




Go could live with that. They headed to the door to put their jackets and shoes on.




Exiting, Go locked the door and they shuffled hastily down the stairs.





Down in the landing where the mail slots were, Go noticed a pile of junk mail with his apartment number written on it.




“Ayeesh!” he said. “These advertisers waste so much paper. Some days I can’t even move through this lobby.”




He bent over to sift through the flyers when he noticed a manila envelope under them. He picked it up and read the return address.





He recalled it as being from his lawyer.




* What might it say? *




“Ayeesh! More trees gone to waste. It’s sadder than a Korean War widow…”




“What’s in the envelope?” Dame asked offhandedly as they stepped out into the street and he lit up his last cigarette. “Looks important. Official.”




Go shrugged nonchalantly. “I think an overzealous lawyer is trying to take advantage of my downtrodden situation.”





He sighed and lost interest, using the envelope to fan some fresh, cool evening air into his face.




Dame wasn’t so easily cast off. “A lawyer? What the hell for?”




Go yawned while explaining, “It’s nothing, nothing. No doubt another delay in my court hearing against Miss No.”




“Court hearing against … You didn’t tell me about this!”




Go wished he’d kept his mouth shut. “Don’t get excited,” and he waved Dame off. “There has already been many delays and the case just started.”





“Lawyers – Ayeesh! Every delay is another ka-ching of the cash register for them.”




Dame scoffed. “So much for ‘everything happens fast in Korea’, eh?”








Tomorrow: No gets rid of any incriminating items and checks what’s on her agenda for the next day.