Cast of characters




Miss No




Miss Ping 




Mr Kang








No had the secretary’s attention so she laid her concerns on the line, realizing it might be her only chance.




She stood closer to Miss Ping and lowered her voice: “Young lady, I am very disappointed. First of all, you promised me this meeting would be smoke-free.




“Mr Kang’s office was totally disgusting. Not only did he smoke but I don’t think he stopped smoking the whole time!”




She raised her forearm to her nose and took a whiff. “My blouse smells awful! I’ll have to get all my clothes dry-cleaned.”




“I’m sorry if you were uncomfortable,” the secretary said. “Would you like to come back to reception and I will make you a cup of tea?”





“I can even lend you a change of clothes. We look to be about the same size…”




* Will No take her up on the kind offer? *




No sensed that the secretary was truly genuine. She wasn’t the devil here; it was Kang.



“It’s okay okay okay. I really do have to get going – very tight schedule.” She peered over the secretary’s shoulder down to the men’s can – not a sign of Kang.




No kept her voice hushed. “Look, Mr Kang says you are responsible for all the cash flow in and out of this place. Correct?”




The secretary nodded. “Yes. I deposit it in two bank accounts.”




Miss No gasped. “Please explain.”




“The second one just started recently but now more and more money is going into it – almost all of it I think.”




* What/who is this second bank account for? *




The solution to this whole mess is easy. “Okay, look, don’t use that second bank account. It’s a problem. Send everything to the main, first one okay?”




The secretary had a quizzical and almost disappointed look on her face. Something wasn’t right and Miss No noted her look of grave concern.




No: “What’s wrong Miss? You look as if you’ve just seen a ghost.”




“I think maybe you are mistaken about that second bank account.”




“What about it?” No crossed her arms as the secretary fidgeted. “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”




The secretary put up a cautionary hand. “Maybe you don’t know my situation but I am – was – a foreign student from China. My name is Miss Ping.”




She bowed politely and combined that by offering her hand for a business-style handshake.





Her sincerity immediately captured No’s sympathy but No had a funny feeling that something fishy was going on here.




* What do you think is going on? *




“Mr Kang told me,” Miss Ping said, “that the second bank account was an education savings account so that when I am finished working here, I can go to college in America.”




Miss No did her best to hold back laughter. This poor, naïve, young China girl. No common sense.





Right off the boat from the mainland. Believes anything she hears.




No looked at her watch. She simply didn’t have time to sit down and set the secretary straight. “And you are foolish enough to believe him?”




Ping turned red. “I will confide in you. He was my first lover so of course I believe him.”




* Was Kang being genuine? Or has Ping been being duped? *




Miss No supposed that was only natural. “Okay, whatever, but how much is he paying you to work here? You obviously work very hard.”




Again she looked down at the floor. “I do not receive pay as it would violate my visa, but he is making up for it with this college fund.”




Miss No couldn’t help but shake her head in disbelief. “College fund … I see.”




“Miss Ping!” yelled Kang. “Please more tissue.”




“I just gave you my last…”




“Ayeesh! Miss Ping!”




“Yeah,” she yelled back. “Please excuse me madam.” She scooted into the women’s washroom to further raid its bounty of white tissue rolls.




“This is it,” she called out as she emerged. “After this it will have to be shreds of newspaper!”




It was a convenient time for Miss No to leave. She was even angrier at Kang than when she’d gotten here.




Imagine tricking this gullible secretary into continuing to work here for whatever low pay she was getting (if any), by duping her with the bogus story of the college education fund.




In reality, Miss Ping’s final destination would likely be the Ulsan bus terminal and, if she was lucky, a ticket to Seoul. And where she’d go from there who knows?




Korean employers were notoriously harsh to Chinese workers.





Miss No had heard stories about them not being able to afford plane tickets home and ending up in the streets as sex slaves.




Kang meanwhile, crouched over in his stall, was getting bad vibes.





Without knowing what was transpiring out in the hall, he didn’t feel comfortable with his impressionable young secretary being left alone with Miss No.




Yet when Kang tried to get up, it was hopeless.





“Miss Ping! That paper! Hurry. Bring me newspaper shreds, whatever – but would you try to save the sports section?”




Watching Miss Ping running ragged between washrooms juggling rolls of white paper and then fumbling with a stack of newspapers, No just shook her head and stormed off in a tiff.




* What do you think has happened/will happen to Miss Ping? *








Tomorrow: Go finally opens his mail.