Cast of characters








Mr Go




Mr Kang








Mr E








“Mr Go, my good man, it’s time to say good-bye…” said Fred. 




Not to be deterred however, Go’s energy level seemed to instantly ratchet up a notch. Again, he brusquely brushed aside Fred’s concerns.




“Fred, you need not worry about my condition. Now is the time for you to worry about your own situation” He started to get up. “Ajumma…”




Fred followed suit and quickly got to his feet, tagging behind Go to the restaurant front where the ajumma was tallying the bill.




“We still have time,” Go said while paying, “to get back to the institute and finish our meeting.”





He rapidly muttered something to the ajumma in Korean and she seemed to give him approval for something.




“Fred, now I’m full. My condition is good!”





To the astonishment of Fred and the amusement of the ajumma, Go dropped down on a patch of floor by the counter and pulled off one hundred push-ups.




“Mr Go! What are you doing!” Fred exclaimed. “Save your energy.”




“It is okay,” Go gasped between pushups, “I am … super man.”




Back at the office, Go nipped into the men’s room to wash his face and Fred zipped into the office, where he tidied-up Go’s desk.





The cell phone that had received Comrade No’s call was sitting abandoned on the desk with a dead battery.




Back in Ulsan, Comrade Kang figured that Comrade Go had undergone some kind of nervous breakdown; was likely still in his mind-washed state and would have to be coached out of it so things could be returned to normal.




Actually he was correct. As it was, Go was a ticking time bomb. At any moment, the most trivial cause could set him off and he’d be capable of destroying anything in his path.




* Will something set Go off?… *




Kang had seen it before in a military experiment — it had taken no fewer than four military police officers to restrain Private Go.





Presently, Kang was calling back every five minutes, and resolved to keep doing so until he got through.








Fully awake in Mr E’s back seat, Dame vaguely recognized the scenery.





They were dangerously close to Chinju and he was ready to unleash a final delaying tactic to ensure Fred’s meeting with Go could be successfully concluded.




* What might Dame’s last delaying tactic be? *




Dame’s stomach rumbled again. Show time. Ready, action!




Mustering a sense of urgency, he exclaimed: “Mr E, sorry, can you pull the car over? My stomach condition — very bad.”




E was taken aback. “Huh? Yeah?”




“Maybe … diarrhea!”




His proclamation brought about the desired panic in the car. Not even Miss No put up a peep of resistance.




E quickly diverted off the highway and into the next road side stop. Dame hobbled out and took his sweet time in the men’s room.




As he dramatically staggered back out to the car he thought, there – those 10 minutes should seal Fred’s deal with Go.




* Has it? *








“Okay Mr Kang, Fred will sign his new contract. I will call you later.”





Go hung up the land line and then hammered the fully-inked name stamp down on Fred’s document with a satisfying thud.




“Maybe,” he said to Fred, “Miss No will cause aggravation for me and give me trouble but I don’t care. You did good job here and you tried hard.




“You deserve another chance. You were just caught in middle of some bad circumstances beyond your control. You are good man Fred and I believe you.”




Fred was amazed at the turn of events, given the drama of the last hour. “The Korean Gods are on my side after all.”




Go waved him off. “It is nothing Fred. I am wise to Miss No’s games now. She was only able to temporarily influence me with this morning’s phone call because – how you say – my low blood sugar.”





“It wasn’t a true mind-washing.”




Fred stood up and proffered for a handshake.




Go reciprocated. “Did you make schedule with Mr Kang?”




“Yeah, I must go to Ulsan tomorrow morning – first bus.”




They left the office and walked down the hall toward the spiral staircase. Go had his arm around Fred’s shoulder as older-generation Korean men are prone to do.




“Where go? It is still early. What will you do for rest of day – your last day in our fair city of Chinju?”




“Back to Good Lucky Apartments. I have to pack and prepare to leave. I will say good-bye to Mrs Won if she is at home.”





“Then I want to take one more walk around Chinju just for old time’s sake.”





“Ah, yeah. Good idea. Fred, only because this is the last time, can I offer you a ride back to your apartment?”




“Thanks for the offer Mr Go but you know me by now. I need the exercise and the fresh air.”




“Yeah, yeah, I know. I admire your dedication to physical fitness.”









Tomorrow: Fred and Go leave the institute together and then part ways.