Gun-Ho’s desperate and distressed life as a factory worker made him want to consult the fortune teller about his life, whom his aunt mentioned.
“I don’t believe in fate, but I am miserable enough to talk to anyone who could tell me about how to fix my life.”
Gun-Ho drank again by himself in his room. He felt like without alcohol he wouldn’t be able to go another day.
Gun-Ho’s work would start at 8 AM. At 10, he could take a 15-minute break time. He made a call to that philosophy hall that his aunt mentioned during the break. This time, a lady answered the phone.
“Our master is with a client right now. What can I do for you?”
“Um… when will you close today?”
“We are fully booked today.”
“What about tomorrow?”
“He won’t be available tomorrow either.”
“Does he give consultations on Saturdays and Sundays as well?”
“On Sundays, our master goes to the mountains to pray. He is available on Saturdays.”
“I will come on Saturday then.”
“I will make a reservation at 11 AM on Saturday for you.”
This fortune teller must be very popular; Gun-Ho thought after he hung up the phone. His sessions were already fully booked for the next few days. He must be good at what he was doing. On the other hand, Gun-Ho was skeptical about the reservation thing.
“Maybe it was all an act pretending they had a lot of clients, and in fact they had none.”
Gun-Ho’s new company worked 5 days a week. He had to work on Saturday sometimes, and he made a reservation with the fortune teller on a Saturday, he didn’t have to work. Gun-Ho took the subway heading to Seoul; he enjoyed this relaxing trip. It had been a while since he visited Seoul. While sitting on the subway, an old man got on and stood in front of Gun-Ho; Gun-Ho pretended to be busy with his smartphone not wanting to offer his seat to the old man. At that moment, his phone rang.
“Gun-Ho? It’s me, Won-Chul, your high school classmate.”
“Won-Chul Jo, it has been a while.”
It was Won-Chul; his mom had a pharmacy in the neighborhood and he was working for a big and nice company. It was unexpected to hear from him.
“Can you talk?”
“Sure. How did you get my number?”
“Yeah, I ran into Jong-Suk at a restaurant in Yeouido Island the other day. I heard you are working for a company?”
“Uh, yeah… it is a small company. I was told that you are working for H Group. Did you get promoted already?”
“Yeah, I am just an assistant manager.”
“Big company pays well, right? How much do they pay?”
“Not much. Our company is cheap. I get around 7,000.”
Gun-Ho almost let out a groan. He was being paid a little over 2,000 yearly. The gap between Gun-Ho’s salary and Won-Chul’s was like the gap between land and sky.”
“You get a lot. Our company doesn’t pay much at all since it is a small firm.”
I heard many small companies unexpectedly pay well. Since you have been in the field for several years now, you’re probably getting paid well, right?”
“Our company doesn’t.”
“How much? 6,000?”
‘6,000 my as*, f*ck.’ Gun-Ho thought.
“Don’t let me start. It’s depressing. By the way, is your mom still running the pharmacy in Bucheon?”
“No, she moved to Mok Town, Seoul. My older sister is working in a hospital in Mok Town. The pharmacy is in the same building as her hospital.”
“Oh, really? Since the pharmacy is associated with a hospital, they must be getting lots of customers. How much does she make?”
“I am not so sure. Probably around 2,000 per month.”
Gun-Ho almost let out a groan again. Monthly income was 2,000; that was his yearly salary.
“Actually, I am calling you today for my wedding. I am getting married on the 5th next month. I was going to send you my wedding invitation, and I realized that I didn’t have your address. That’s why I am calling you.”
“Really? Congratulations. Well, you don’t have to mail me the invitation. Why don’t you just take a picture of the invitation letter and text me through KaTalk (a mobile instant messaging application)?”
“I will do that.”
“What does your bride do for a living?”
“She is a pharmacist. I didn’t like a pharmacist because of my mom, but it happened anyway.”
The image of Won-Chul’s classy looking face with fair skin and his pretty bride flashed through Gun-Ho’s mind.
“Ok. I will be there. I am heading somewhere right now.”
“Where? Somewhere nice?”
“Nah. I’m going to a philosophy hall. Someone introduced me to a popular philosophy hall in Gangnam.”
“Haha, you are going there to see your marital compatibility, huh? Where is it?”
“It’s around the Gangnam subway station, called Jinyeo Philosophy Hall. I was told he is good.”
“Jinyeo Philosophy Hall? My mom goes there pretty often. Master Park at Jinyeo Philosophy Hall is very popular among ladies in Gangnam. Well, good luck there.”
“Ok, thank you. I will see you at your wedding. Bye.”
After getting off the phone with Won-Chul, Gun-Ho received a call from his mom.
“Why are you calling me? Aren’t you working at a nursing home right now?”
“I am at home. I got off early from the nursing home today. I am so sick and tired of cleaning old people’s shit.”
“Why did you call me?”
“Oh, what was I thinking. Um, it’s about your dad.”
“What about him?”
“Your dad is now fully recovered from his lower back problem. So he wants to look for a job, maybe a security guard.”
“So? What does it have to do with me?”
“Have you seen your dad’s training certificate for a new security guard? He placed it in your desk drawer. He needs that.”
“I don’t know! Why are you asking me!”
“Why are you yelling at me? You could just say you didn’t know. I’m hanging up.”
After Gun-Ho received calls from his mom and Won-Chul, he already arrived at the Gangnam station before he was even aware of it.
The Gangnam station was overcrowded with people of course. It was hard to even walk. It was so different from Gwangjeok Town, Yangju City, Gyeonggi Province where Gun-Ho was currently living in.
“These two are different countries. Korea has Gangnam state and a provincial state separately. Oh my, there are a lot of pretty girls here.”
Those girls pouring out of cafes and stores around the area all looked sophisticated and pretty. They seemed to be out of his league; Gun-Ho was just a factory worker in the countryside. Gun-Ho accidentally entered into Samsung Electronics headquarters.
“Oooh, nice building.”
Young people wearing their company ID cards around their neck passed in front of Gun-Ho; they looked arrogant.
“If I was reborn, could I be on the same level as they?”
Gun-Ho envied them. He took out his memo.
“Jinyeo Philosophy Hall must be on the 8th floor in an office-tel around here…”
The name of the office-tel was… what? A light of a city? Go to the Bangbang four-way intersection? Where is the Bangbang four-way intersection?”
Gun-Ho had to walk for quite a while before he found the office-tel. He went up to the 8th floor in the elevator. The sign on the door of Jinyeo Philosophy Hall was so small that he almost missed it.
“This is it.”
Gun-Ho knocked on the door and then entered into the office. An office-tel was usually small, but this one was large, probably around 40 pyung. He could see a few middle-aged women sitting in the chair wearing expensive clothes. There was a desk for a receptionist. The receptionist was wearing glasses, and she seemed to be in her early 30s.