Seoul Novel – Just Eric – Finale C

Originally posted on justeric08:

Working on this experimental style, collaborative, blog-novel has been really fun and I want to thank “Dr. Loser” for putting it together and PhatDog187 for making that wonderful “Street Novel” in Seoul that brought back so many memories. Here now is my final contribution to the story, but be sure to read the first 2 parts on those other blogs first (they all link together):

Seoul Novel – Just You – Finale A

Seoul Novel – Just Seoul – Finale B

Just Eric – Finale

Stacy was pushing a big sucking kiss into my lips and cheeks that was making a really gross wet smushing sound so I gently pushed her off me. I’d lied to Stacy months ago in order to dump her gently so I could pursue the North Korean Princess, who was standing behind me and must have been giving me a very disappointed look. According to…

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Seoul Novel – Just Seoul – Finale B

I am now proud to present the link to the second part of the finale to the collaborative Seoul Novel project, this time coming to you from the Street Novel-ing Tumblr blog:

http://just-seoul.tumblr.com/post/95744007827/seoul-novel-just-seoul-finale-b

Beomgye 3C

And if you missed the first part, it was right here on the Dr. Loser blog:

Seoul Novel – Just You – Finale A

Seoul Novel – Just You – Finale A

How have you been enjoying the “Seoul Novel” – a collaborative effort between the Street Novel-ing Tumblr blog “Just Seoul” (that I still have yet to officially confirm is being posted by my old reader PhatDog, but I don’t know who else it could be?), a reader and friend’s first person narrative “Just Eric” over at Eric’s own WordPress blog (that was inspired by me, thank you very much), and of course, my contribution of 2nd-person one-paragraph micro-stories about this shared universe.

Well, hope you’ve found in interesting… and now get ready for the riotous conclusion! Working in tandem, all three of us will host one part of the finale that is going to mix up the different styles from each blog. I will start, and then when the other pages are posted I’ll link to them as well.

Get ready… because here it comes!

Just You – Finale

Beomgye 1A

Beomgye 1

——

You are Ken, a teacher at a DIP Cool Schools franchise located on Cool School street in suburban Seoul. This started out as a tough year after you broke up with your long time girlfriend who you’d come here with from New Zealand almost 10 years ago. Back then all the foreigners in Korea were teaching plain old English and basically you were just babysitting little kids after school. Then following the All-English changeover these cool schools came along. You thought the whole thing was pretty silly but your ex Catherine really took it to heart and started partying with all these new American teachers and couldn’t take how boring you then seemed. At least, that’s what she told you in front of everyone in the teachers’ office on the day she dumped you. That was annoying and you really just wanted to yell back at her and then quit, but instead you took the high road and in a few months everything got better; you and Catherine made up, you started dating someone new, and even your job started to be fun as your school went from teaching those kids how to be cool to using nothing but gibberish in class. Catherine and the other teachers were offended by the ridiculousness of being asked to teach this gibberish and threatened mutiny at the school almost every night. You, on the other hand, really had no problem with this material, it made about as much sense to you as either the cool schools or English teaching did, since in your opinion none of it had much to do with any kind of real education otherwise they would have hired actual teachers and not just guys like you with university degrees, a ton of debt and nothing better to do. So you were happy when you found out that your friend Eric, the man who actually invented the gibberish curriculum, was coming to your school on that night to work alongside you as a teacher again.

——

After about 6 months away, I walked into the teachers’ office and found that the principal had cleared off my old desk for me. I was not popular among my peers but at least that principal always liked me. He was a middle-aged guy, who was more of a salesman than an educator, good at talking to parents and getting them to re-enrol their kids month after month. His supernaturally slicked back hair seemed to be held in place by ectoplasm, and even though I never saw him actually smoke there was something leathered and yellow about his skin that made me always imagine him as a guy smoking. I’m also pretty sure that he had sex with one of the secretaries in my apartment once while I was working at the head office in the afternoon. Since the apartments were rented to the teacher’s through the school he had a key to my place, and when I came home that day the sheets were all messed up, which was something the old me might have done but at that point I’d always made my bed before going out. Then a couple of days later I found an empty condom wrapper between the side of my bed and the wall that was definitely not mine. Anyways, what could I do, I was lucky to order lunch successfully in Korea so I had no idea how to navigate complaining about that!

From his office, the principal saw me enter the teachers’ room and he came over, put an arm around me, got way to close to my lips with his lips, and welcomed me back (at least I could then confirm that he really was a smoker). He announced my return to the other teachers in the office and said how lucky they were going to be to have the architect of the gibberish language working alongside them again. They all groaned and barely looked up from their desks. He offered my help if they had any questions about the material, something I didn’t remember volunteering to do. Then Ken, my only legitimate friend who worked here, came in from behind, put his arm around me from the other side, and I was quickly stuck in a bobbing dance to an awkwardly mangled “Welcome Back” song he and the principal improvised to the tune of “Happy Birthday.” No one else was amused, or even seemed to be paying attention, but we laughed. Then the principal said he wanted to introduce us to the two other new teachers starting that night.

The principal clapped his hands and spoke more sternly, telling everyone sitting at their desks to turn around. Only about half of the teaching staff were actually here as it was still 20 minutes before the first class and the rest probably weren’t going to arrive until right before the bell, but the ones who were here did begrudgingly turn around. The first guy introduced was a shock: Steven my old annoying co-worker from the head office who I had gotten fired. He was giving me an incredible death stare and Ken poked me and whispered to ask if I knew this guy. Then the principal called in the next teacher and I was even more stunned to see the North Korean Princess! I’d obsessed over this woman for weeks and even dumped my girlfriend for her on Valentine’s Day. Unlike Steven, she didn’t look at me once. Ken again poked me and commented this time on how hot she was, and he was right, she looked more gorgeous than ever. I needed to talk to her. Even though we’d never really spoken a single word to each other before, the last time I saw her we’d shared an escalatingly humiliating romantic escapade and I needed to apologise, ask for her forgiveness and to beg her to give me another chance.

——

The principal next announced to the teachers that some classes tonight were going to be observed. Steven would observe Catherine, the North Korean Princess would observe me, and as well the CEO and COO from the DIP Cool Schools head office were going to be here soon to observe everyone starting with Ken. I thought this piece of news was a bit alarming. I had a good relationship with those executives since I’d helped them to change all of their franchise cool school curriculum into the insanely popular gibberish language. However, hearing that they were going to be here on the same night I was making my return to teaching made me paranoid. Did they know that I’d lost all confidence in my new cool personality? Are they coming to get rid of me by proving I was breaching my contract somehow and getting my work visa revoked? I didn’t have any basis for these suspicions but I just figured it had to be something sinister because these guys never came out to the suburbs to observe classes, they were simply too important. I turned to the principal and tried to speak in gibberish and tell him that those executives should turn around and go home, an easy enough command that my gibberish powers would have made come true days ago, but the principal just looked at me confused, patted me on the shoulder and led me over to the North Korean Princess.

He tried to explain to her that I was the first teacher she was going to observe, pointing at me and the door with sign language since she none of these North Koreans could speak any English. Then in a message that was also meant for all the teachers to hear, he futilely told her to be sure to take notes since I was the real expert around here and that incited more groans from the ever growing room of teachers. In fact, all those teachers were whispering to each other and seemed like they want to say or do something as a group, probably complain about the gibberish language content, especially with me in the room. Since I was standing in the centre and they were all around me, I burst out into a gibberish speech that was supposed to make them change their feelings about my material and go into class tonight with a great attitude. Instead they all just shook their heads, Steven said, “See!” and even Ken rolled his eyes at me.

The bell rang to signal that classes would be starting in a five minutes and the teachers all gathered up their materials and headed off to their rooms without any mutiny anyways, even though I noticed that Steven was bonding with some of them pretty quickly. I started walking to class and the North Korean Princess followed beside me. This was my chance to explain myself, even though I didn’t really know what to say or how to make her understand exactly how I felt. With one last desperate attempt I started rambling on in animated and passionate gibberish. This time something clicked, my honest and heartfelt emotions were coming through and I could feel the power tingling in my body again with each new word. Her avoiding eyes went from quick blinks in my direction to a full on love stare by the time we got to the classroom door. I was re-energised and just in time, moments before going back in front of those kids and teaching the gibberish language content that I’d invented and had changed my world.

——

You are the North Korean Princess. Your bodyguard was hiding in the DIP Cool Schools washroom with orders from your parents to kill the foreigner who’d dared to touch their daughter. Fortunately, much like most most men who spent just a few minutes around you, he was completely in love and would do whatever you said. You didn’t want the white guy dead since he was obsessed with you and this was something you could work to your advantage in some way. Although you weren’t sure how at that moment, maybe watching him teach would be a good start. You were supposed to start teaching gibberish to these moronic South Korean children soon and you had no idea what that meant. The principal of this school didn’t really have much of a choice when it came to hiring you, not after your bodyguard recommend it to him. That’s how things are going to work in this country soon enough, you thought, your family has money and that means power so once all these poor people on the street are weeded out and things settle down, your people will be back on top. Until then you needed some way to blend in and a job was a minor suffering you’d have to endure. Of course, you weren’t really a princess. You were no more royalty than the president of South Korea was a king, but you heard the white guy call you that and you liked it. And, oh yeah, you could speak English fine too, but he didn’t have to know that.

Just Eric – Seoul Novel – Part 8

Originally posted on justeric08:

Just Eric – Part 8
[Warning - This entry contains some explicit language]

As I searched the city for the North Korean Princess who I’d seen only once, I started smoking since that what she was doing on that day and I thought it might somehow attract her to me. I really didn’t even know where to start looking, I stood around that subway station entrance where I first saw her and smoked just hoping she’d show up again. No matter how hard I concentrated though, I couldn’t locate her with my mind or draw her to me with my will. Then one day I took a break and went into a coffee shop at the corner. I walked up to the counter and the staff gasped – yes it was me – so I gave them what they were waiting for, “gruzuh kepeep.” and their eyes bulged out of their heads…

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Just Eric – Seoul Novel – Part 7

Originally posted on justeric08:

Just Eric – Part 7

And then stuff just started to get weird. I wasn’t just a regular office worker anymore, or an irregular white guy working at in office in Seoul, nor was I teaching kids how to be cool in an All-English South Korea, or even just another person caught up in the mess of the North Korean refugee crisis – any one of those things would have been extraordinary weird for any foreigner to experience over here – but I was then considered the coolest guy in the entire country. I lost any self awareness of what was happening to me once I really started to actually feel that cool. I mean, I’d always figured I was cool, just not in the Hollywood way we portrayed it in the cool school classes. I thought of myself as a loner on the fringe who did his own thing…

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Seoul Street Novel-ing – Gangnam

More street novel-ing pages have been found and posted on the Just Seoul – Street Novel Tumlbr blog! This time the 5 new pages are located on the famous streets of Gangnam in Seoul, where the most affluent people in the country come to hang-out:

http://just-seoul.tumblr.com/post/95430628852/street-novel-just-seoul-5-gangnam

And now here is my own set of one-paragraph short stories to accompany the action in those Street Novel pages. Last time, millions of North Korean refugees took up on the streets of Seoul, none of whom could speak English – the only language being used in South Korea in this alternate universe. And so now a new form of language communication will emerge: speaking total gibberish!

Just You – Part 5 – Gibberish

You are the head office of the DIP Cool Schools located in downtown Seoul. Just a few months ago, you were spearheading the fastest growing expansion in the cool school industry, opening new franchises in the busiest parts of the country every week. Your staff went from 50 one year earlier to the then 200 eager, hardworking Koreans willing to put in a good 12-14 hours a day for your cause. But everything changed when your one foreign employee, a white guy from Canada, came up with the idea of teaching all of your classes in gibberish. This decision started a national fad that earned your company ten times more money and led to even further prosperity. The gibberish content was just pure nonsense and therefore it was very easy to make and then never needed to be updated or changed. This was a problem because, while the different school franchises had to hire many new teachers and staff, you started to lose employees as the work creating new material became obsolete. After a while there was only a few people left working in your lonely cubicles, as the firings bled over into the marketing and human resources departments. Even accounting was rendered useless, as the popularity and influence of the gibberish language craze was leading to a near communist belief in sharing that mirrored the universality of the nonsense words, and these schools taught themselves, sold themselves and then paid for themselves in a cannibalistic social revolution that everyone seemed to welcome gladly or had no idea was happening.

——

You are a horrible sounding mash of music being performed by a group of Korean kids parading through the Seoul streets. Unable to properly converse, since the South Koreans only spoke English and the North Koreans only spoke old-fashioned Korean, this group of about a dozen middle schoolers started to play you after using gibberish to communicate their feelings. Whatever they said in those conversations somehow led them to go and get traditional Korean instruments and march through the city making your music. You sounded just like their conversations: jumbled, stuttering, awkward and funny, hammered out on drums and cymbals, spit through recorders and flutes, and even one guy screeching away on a violin. At first they were met with resistance in the crowded downtown intersection that was also a confusing mix of hurried South Korean work day foot traffic and the motionless North Korean refugee camp. You eventually won over the agitated adults, as refugee and commuter alike were almost hypnotised by the kids’ circular dirge and joined in singing gibberish and dancing like maniacs. That crowd on the street beamed massive smiles and instinctively held hands, inspired by your sounds to become one big musical blob.

——

You are a group blind date made up of 5 guys and 5 girls. Surprisingly, you were having a nice, comfortable time hopping around the pubs on a street popular for university students like them. You were nervous beforehand after hearing all the horror stories of awkwardness from your older relatives who’d lived in Korea prior to the All-English changeover. At best there was often a few guys who were interested in one girl and then blatantly ignored the others, but usually it just ended up with the guys hanging out on one side of the table and the girls on the other. You experienced none of that and it was all thanks to the new cool school gibberish language craze. These young university students hadn’t actually suffered much following the elimination of their native language in Korea because their English level had been pretty good, and thus they excelled in Business programs at university and enjoyed cool school classes that let them use English outside of the academic frameworks they were used to. When the idea of speaking gibberish came along, all of a sudden grades, studying, and even Business degrees, didn’t matter to them anymore. Like many of the students at that time, they’d all switched majors, taking up Drama, Dance, Music, Art, Film Studies, History, Literature and even Creative Writing. Doing all of this in gibberish let them finally reach their full creative potential and it was overflowing into their personal lives as well. They’d made peace with their parents, no longer having to hear about future plans for marriage and careers, their friendships were not about competition or hierarchy, and they were free to say and act anyway they felt. Romantically, there was no more pressure to win a prize based on who they hooked up with in some kind of superficial ranking, it was loose and free and very, very cool – just like you.

——

You are the new ‘gibberish language’ theme park that just opened up outside of Seoul. Kids were flocking to you, teenagers loved to hang out in your parking lot, and university students were looking to you as a wonderful location for a date. There was a combination of factors that made you so much fun, the first being how people wanted a place where they wouldn’t be judged on how they spoke English and with you being an all-gibberish place there was no one here to evaluate the English level of your customers. Secondly, after the cool schools had taught these young Koreans how to be more creative, you were a place where everyone could show off their crazy new styles. You also liked to think that some of your attractions were responsible for your popularity too, rides that brought gibberish to tangible life – the maze with no exit, the roller coaster that didn’t move, the haunted house filled with farm animals and bright lights, and the ferris wheel that rolled randomly through your streets like a awesomely angry dog biting everyone in his path. And then at the end of the night, a huge parade would rumble through you, picking up people from every section as it swirled around led by your mascot Dip, who stood on the main float, dancing around and pumping his fists. The parade would end at your centre when Dip, costumed in a royal red robe with a big fake head that looked like the caricatured handsome face of a generic white guy, would sit on his throne and everyone inside of you would bow down to him in nonsensical reverence.

——

You are just another random office building on the streets of downtown Seoul, but unfortunately you were in the way of the infuriated President of South Korea. Having taken his media nickname of ‘King Korea’ perhaps too literally, the President decided to hit the reset button on a country that he felt was getting too far out of his control. He absolutely hated the gibberish language fad. All of his hard work following the revolutionary All-English policy was being undone and Korea was going to be a laughing stock soon, not the dominate force to be reckoned with that he had envisioned. Even his idea for cool schools and the covert invention of ‘Korth’ discrimination over the massive number of North Koreans refugees on his streets, were then meaningless in the face of the gibberish language wave. The appeal of using gibberish to communicate was incredibly making everyone – smart and dumb, old and young, pretty and ugly, North and South – feel equal and happy. They were sharing, enjoying the company of strangers, and feeling creatively fulfilled all day long just by speaking. No work was getting done and King Korea was quickly losing all of his power over the people. So he went up to the old North/South border and started to slowly walk through the countryside and down into Seoul like a warlock, casting a tornado of spells by describing every object that he saw as vibrantly as possible in his old language of Korean. This magical poetry disintegrated the infrastructure as he walked past and left behind only the pure forestry that had once separated this peninsula into two countries at the DMZ. King Korea planned for this path of deconstruction to go straight down until he hit the ocean, as a condensed mass of zombified Koreans would push south behind him. He stepped up to you and described your revolving door, grey walls, multiple windows and so on, as your molecules swirled up into dust and scattered wordlessly into the air.

Just Eric – Seoul Novel – Part 6

Originally posted on justeric08:

Just Eric – Part 6

Just when it seemed like my life in Seoul was perfect, yup, that’s when the North Koreans invaded. When I say they “invaded” I don’t mean like in a war but it was more like millions of refugees who had nowhere to go and nothing to do (I’m sure you’ve seen all about it on the news by now). It was bizarre, to say the least. They looked all ragged and weird, like strange hillbilly mountain people or something, moved slow, sickly and weak, had nothing to say and didn’t seem to understand any of the English the South Koreans at that point were only allowed to use. This mess of people was slowly trudging down the streets by the hundreds of thousands, seemingly circling around the city like a big whirlpool until they’d get tired and sit on the curb. Since there were so many of them…

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Millions of North Koreans Fill the Streets of Seoul!

In the latest new pages of the Just Seoul – Street Novel found posted up around the city, the story took a big twist as millions of North Korean refugees storm across the border and occupy the streets of Seoul.

You can see/read the latest instalment over at the Tumblr blog (which may or may not have been created by one of my readers/trolls PhatDog) dedicated to showing pictures of where these pages have been posted in the city, this time around the popular arts and theatre area of Hyehwa:

http://just-seoul.tumblr.com/post/95172796592/street-novel-just-seoul-4-hyehwa

And as usual, I have written my own complimentary chapter of micro-stories (in the 2nd person) dealing with the current predicament described in those street novel-ing pages. Enjoy!

Just You – Part 4 – North Korea

You are all the people of Seoul who were on the street when those North Korean refugees ran into town. You were just on your way to the bus or subway to go home after work when these runners stampeded right through the central business district. You thought this horde of super skinny people trotting along were part of some kind of strange countryside marathon. They were dressed in ratty brown rags like those gross people who live out on those farms or whatever is outside of Seoul. No one told you what was happening on your phones, so you slid over to the side and started to cheer the runners on. Some of you were clapping and encouraging them to keep going, some were passing them cups of water you’d bought from the convenience stores, and some were even trying to reach out and high five them as they went by. When none of this effort was reciprocated, you started to get suspicious that all this running wasn’t what it seemed. A few days later there was still no explanation from the government and the marathoners were not only staying in town but also taking up residence on the actual streets. That’s when you knew for sure that something weird was going on. However, it was business as usual for you, life had to go on and all these North Koreans weren’t going to get in your way.

——

You are a street in downtown Seoul. You used to be filled with constant traffic, buses pushing through the congested car lanes inter-spliced with all these delivery people weaving around on scooters. That constant wear-and-tear created a culture of on-going shoddy repairs that were always hastily attempted during the daytime while the traffic was still thick. The feet of the people crossing at your intersections were no better on your psyche; the men in their hard stepping dress shoes and women with their piercing heels tapping you like water torture. However, there was nothing worse than garbage days, three times a week everyone from the shops and apartments on your long stretch would pile mountains of seeping, smelly, crinkly bags that made you feel more like a cheap 3rd world dirt road than a decorated stretch of futuristic prosperity. Then the North Koreans came and all that pain went away. There were millions of them and they had nowhere else to go apparently, so they just walked on you – a constant flow of soft, sandalled and shoeless feet dragging across your hide with massaging consistency. There was no room for cars, buses, construction or even the marching South Korean office army, so you were happy for a while there until the smell started to kick in and make the old garbage days seem like a fresh flower patch.

——

You are a blank expression. You had nothing to convey to the person looking at you. More information was required but you had nothing to give. The day changed to night and you were still blank. The North Korean who’s face you were on made no attempt to control you.

——

You are a pre-packaged, convenience store hamburger. You were a popular item with Koreans looking for a quick snack between meals or classes but were generally the second choice after your nemesis – seaweed-rice triangles. Those things just couldn’t be beaten until the North Koreans arrived. They didn’t want anything to do with rice for some reason and would vomit if they ate any. But the greasy, microwavable meat inside you was a delicacy to the indescribably abused North Korean palate. Stores couldn’t keep anything like you on the shelves, not that the North Koreans bothered to pay but then again no one stopped them from taking anything anyways. The North Koreans seemed to get away with whatever they wanted since there was just so many of them – what could the South Koreans do? Eventually, they just ignored them (if the North Koreans wanted the seaweed-rice triangles then maybe it would have been a different story). When your turn came, you were kind of frightened as you were put on a shelf and grabbed by a North Korean and brought over to a whole group of them. In the course of trying to divvy up how to eat you they just started to rip you  apart. However, there was something grossly sensual in the way they dissected and savoured every one of your pieces, even the package you came in was licked clean by three of them and then balled up and swallowed by one lucky guy.

——

You are the new derogatory term “Korth” that is being used to describe the North Korean refugees in Seoul. Little kids started using you first to make fun of those dirty North Korean kids who looked so stupid trying to play video games at the old arcades and eating candy without even taking off the wrappers. While the South Korean kids really disliked those nerdy and lame Korths, their use of you was more of a manipulation by the government than actual impromptu slang. These kids had no idea that you had been focus grouped for weeks and implanted in them subconsciously by direct order of the South Korean President. Everything the President had accomplished with the All-English policy looked like it was all about to crumble because of the damn North Koreans. Then he got the brainstorm about how to use them in his plans: discriminate against those North Koreans as much and as harshly as possible in order to be cool. Americans always benefited from multiculturalism when learning how to effectively leverage prejudice to their advantage, and that was something you just couldn’t buy in Korea’s homogenised culture. The arrival of the irrational, ignorant, dumb, poor and unhealthy refugees was a gift. The President knew how reprehensible it was going to look to intentionally impose intolerance against an entire impoverished nationality but he felt justified that even a life of squalor and ridicule in Seoul was going to be better than any existence they’d had in the North. So after the kids warmed it up, “King Korea” (as he was sometimes known) officially announced that the term Korth could be used to negatively identify North Koreans, and since Korths didn’t speak English anyways, they weren’t going to know what was going on.

Just Eric – Seoul Novel – Part 5

Originally posted on justeric08:

Just Eric – Part 5

I considered Stacy my girlfriend pretty much right away, even if she didn’t think so. There was no conversation about it or anything, I just thought it and that’s what she was. I got a bit of a wake-up call though when we went on our fifth date to a skeet shooting range just a little bit north of Seoul and she pulled away when I tried to hold her hand for the first time. ‘I guess we should have had that conversation,’ I thought to myself then, and awkwardly tried to recover with a joke asking if she thought it was good idea for a white guy like me to have a gun so close to North Korea. She giggled and kept her hand close to her leg. I watched as it didn’t sway free again, and kept up a positive exterior while I got all nervous…

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Just Eric – Seoul Novel – Part 4

Originally posted on justeric08:

Just Eric – Part 4

Once I started working at the head office full time, I was just another rat-race 9-5 jerk-off, getting up early in the morning at my suburban apartment and commuting on the subway for over an hour with all the other miserable ham-and-eggers. We squished into those train cars all weirded out by being so close to each other but acting like we’re alone, then scooting along between transfer points, clanging together in line like empty glass bottles in a soda factory. Making the transformation, in such a short span of time, from a completely self-absorbed drama major to a full-on paper-pushing company man was oddly less depressing than I’d expected considering how fully entitled I felt before as a super human artist. How did I end up in Korea in the first place then? I’m just going to straight up blame that Canadian student loans system. They fed…

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