Cast of characters




Mr Go








Mr E




Miss No








”Thanks for everything…”, said Fred, and he held out his hand for a handshake.




Go was surprised. He heard the words and fully understood their impact but something just didn’t seem right.




Usually people were happy to be going somewhere, but Fred looked outright dejected.




* Is Fred no longer feeling happy and resolved to leave Korea? *




“Fred, are you joking?”




Fred shook his head mildly.




Go: “Why do you want to leave so suddenly?”




“It’s a long story Mr Go but now it is too late for discussion. I’ve already decided.”




Go still looked dumbfounded.




Fred padded his announcement. “It’s inevitable Mr. Go. I’ve heard that Miss No wants to deport and blacklist me anyway.




“I was supposed to meet her the other day but I skipped the meeting. I decided at the last minute that there wasn’t any point. I’ve accepted my fate.”




“Ah yeah,” Go said in an I-see-where-you’re-coming-from way. His meeting the other day with Fred at the small temple and then down into the parking lot flashed-back.




And again he felt pangs of personal responsibility for Fred’s disappointment.




Now, amidst the New Year’s Eve revelry, the revitalized ex-boss had an idea. He interrupted E’s phone call to get an update on Miss No’s location.




Apparently – and humorously – she was still waiting outside that men’s washroom.



* What is Go’s idea? *




“Fred, Just a moment,” Go said and headed toward the tent door. “Stay right there and enjoy. I will go talk to Miss No.”



“Maybe we can work something out for you. It is my duty. You are a good man.”




* Do you think Go will be able to work something out for Fred? *



E covered up his phone and spoke quietly to Go: “Be careful brother, she thinks I’m in that washroom and getting madder by the second because she’s probably frozen solid by now.”



“She might not be in the best of moods when you get to her…”




“I’ll take my chances and play dumb,” Go said and hastily exited.  




E finished his call and looked pre-occupied, perhaps even worried. Miss No was only moments if not seconds away from demystifying his deception.




* Will she? *








 “Patience my dear lady, patience,” Miss No told herself as she continued to wait – and freeze up – outside the men’s john.




She knew from living with her heavily male-dominated family that men often took forever in the can, sometimes reading an entire newspaper.



She tried to distract herself with other thoughts.




The idea of Mr Go randomly popped into her head. She’d not seen him at the beach all night but was proud of the fact that she’d buried the hatchet – for tonight only – and invited him here for the celebration.




But if she didn’t see him all night, that was okay.




She’d come to Lighthouse Beach tonight to spend some relax time with her loyal subject Donna; to test Mr E and see if he would keep himself out of soju trouble.



Also, finally, to give Fred a nice memory since this was indeed his last night in Korea.




I’ll meet him tomorrow at the institute to take care of all this. At some point tonight I’ll pass the message on to him – when and where he must meet me.




And within seconds – as if divined by fate – her carrier pigeon appeared. As the men’s washroom came into view, Go’s mind was racing.



His vision for Fred was forming, infused with a deep-seated desire to see the Canadian treated justly.




Maybe I’m being too sympathetic? That was probably his tragic flaw and he knew it.




No had criticized him many times for it but in the end that’s who he was: Compassion was in his DNA. It was his strongest and weakest point.




Rounding the final corner, sure enough there was No standing with her arms tightly tucked into her chest – physically freezing but seething with red-hot rage. Go’s heart skipped a beat.




Every bone in my body tells me this is an inconvenient time to negotiate with her, but sometimes life’s like that.




* How will the negotiation go? *




And right away she threw him a curve ball, before he could even greet her. “Ah, Mr Go you’ve arrived?” she said politely. “I was just thinking about you and alas!




“While you’re here and before I forget, would you do me a favour?” And she instructed him to tell Fred to meet her at the institute tomorrow at noon. “Got it?”




Go digested the information quickly and responded immediately. “Please,” he pleaded with his hands held up in a prayer position, “allow me to assist you at tomorrow’s meeting.”



“You see, it was me after all who invited Mr Fred to Korea originally, and I have a special feeling about him.”




She waved him off. “I will not require any assistance. Tomorrow’s meeting will be no time for sentiment or gushy goodbye feelings. It will be strictly business and very short.”




She paused momentarily and then let-up somewhat. “I could, however, solicit your services driving Fred to the airport.”




The truth was as cold and hard as the beach sand beneath his feet. Go kicked at it nervously.




She’s going to fire Fred, no ifs ands or buts. He suddenly realized he had to play his last card.




* What is Go’s ‘last card’?… *








Tomorrow: Go pushes himself into tomorrow’s meeting… or rather ‘pushups’ himself!