Today: Thomas is transported in a cancerous cloud.



Cast of characters






Wide Eyes/Damion



Mr Go






An hour later Go was whizzing his car along the highway from Chinju to Ulsan with Wide Eyes riding shotgun and Thomas stuffed away in the backseat.



Go and Wide Eyes were still wearing their mirror shades; smoking profusely and effusively.



“You know what I like about Korea, boss?”



Wide Eyes said to Go.



“Koreans don’t have shame about smoking. In Canada, it’s this big guilt trip. Every package tells you you’re committing suicide and murdering children by the very act of lighting up.



“Here, smoking is seen the way it really is – a natural, manly act. It isn’t even an issue here. Kills me how you guys light up and then ask if it’s okay to smoke!”



Go waved him off gloomily.



“Smoking is not good for health. I will quit some day soon. These days I have stress so … me smoking.”



Thomas behind them was crumpled down as much as possible.



The pall of combusted tobacco smoke hovered around eye level; with his legs all scrunched-up he could slither down the back seat and his head sunk barely below the cancerous cloud.



“Since we’re well on our way,” he said, “do you think you guys might want to have the courtesy to tell me where we’re actually going?



“I know that teller back at the bank told me but I forget already. I’m no good with Korean names.”



Wide Eyes glanced over at Go and when he saw that the boss wasn’t going to answer, he supplied the response.



“Ulsan city.”



“That’s what she said! Oh, and one more thing: Do you think you guys could try going five minutes without a cigarette?



“It’s stifling back here. I know this is Korea and all that but second-hand smoke is still second-hand smoke.”



Wide Eyes grinned.



“Consider this car ride basic training for your lungs,” he chuckled.



“Ulsan is the most polluted city in Korea. This will prepare you.”



Go was pre-occupied.



Now that getting rid of Thomas was a fait accompli, he was anxious about who would replace his prize waygook teacher.



He turned to Wide Eyes and muttered in a low voice so Thomas wouldn’t hear, “When can your sister arrive?”



Wide Eyes mumbled quietly, “She’ll be on the next flight, boss. Don’t worry. This is going to be a smooth changeover.”



Will it really be as smooth as he thinks?



He was brimming with confidence now and beaming from ear to ear.



He flipped his head around to check on Thomas, who’d dozed off in the back.



“I owe you a coffee, boss. My first stop when we get back to Chinju is to drop in on that musty, mildew-ridden café of Coffee Lady’s. Let’s go together!



“She’ll be so lonely now that Thomas is gone you’ll have to keep her off me.”



* How will Coffee Lady react when she learns Thomas is gone? *



Not quite.



Quite the opposite in fact.



And as Wide Eyes would soon find out, Coffee Lady wasn’t the only woman who’d be regretting Thomas’ departure.






Tomorrow: Miss No learns of Thomas’ departure.