Just You – Part 1 – Korea

You’re a deteriorating corpse of cake still getting picked at, chopped down, and squished into the prongs of a fork. The guy holding that fork is playing with you because his girlfriend doesn’t seem interested in him at all. He was drinking a very feminine looking peach iced tea from a squiggly blue straw while she sipped quietly from a petite white espresso mug and rarely looked up from her book. When she put the empty cup onto the saucer, he quickly asked if she wanted another drink or some more cake but the girl just shook her head without bothering to acknowledge either of you. So he picked away and she continued to read. As different as their attitude was at that moment, when you saw them come into your cafe holding hands, dressed in matching horizontal striped purple and white shirts, you’d thought for sure that this cute couple deserved to eat your sweet, spongy insides. But looks can be deceiving here in Seoul, and even a cake like you that seemed so beautiful on the outside probably just tasted dry, bitter and old.


You are a pigeon who spent your whole short life envying the way humans eat together. Having the freedom to fly around naked all day was great but watching people sit at tables and use utensils without resorting to biting or clawing their mates and peers was fascinating. You shook your beak side-to-side and thought about this again while trying to tear an edible crumb off of the chunk of a donut. Once a piece had been forced loose, donut crumbs sprayed into the air and on the dirty curb. Two more pigeons descended and attacked each other for the scraps, making you lower your head in shame. Hungry, you begrudgingly joined the fight on the edge of the sophisticated downtown Seoul intersection. People would walk across the street and you’d have to flutter up, hover around knee height and then bob back down to try and find a few more specks of donut crumb in the bumpy asphalt. Each time the light turned red you have a few minutes of respite while the jittery impatient feet piled up on the sidewalk border, but when that light went green the feet pushed across the street like blood chugging through a salt clogged artery. As you flew off into the smoggy air of freedom, you thanked the bird gods for keeping you the way you were because as much as you love how they eat their food you are glad you don’t have to take part in all that other human nonsense.


You are a young secretary’s breasts. Despite the reputation that asian women have for flat, shapeless bodies, you never found this a problem with many of the breasts around Seoul. You are quite big and floppy, easily a C-cup by American standards, and on the chest of a very slender and curvy body. That’s why these guys were always stopping by your desk to try and get a look at you. That day was a special case though, because your full bra was showing underneath a completely see-through black lace top. Two of the older boys at the office caught a glimpse of you on their way in that morning and once they got to their desks they convinced the newest employee, a guy about 3 years their junior, to make an excuse and come by your desk. He was reluctant at first, thinking that it was kind of rude especially to an older woman (to him even one year older was too old); however, gender and seniority trumps age and he was forced to tag along. So you gave them something special and popped your right one out over the bra and that way they’d be able to see your full breast skin and nipple under the blouse mesh if they looked closely. During their phoney conversation near the secretary’s desk, that young guy tried his best to hold back but eventually after a few kicks in the shin from his seniors he got a good eyeful. He seemed only slightly impressed and ‘Gee,’ you wondered, ‘what do you have to do to get these kids excited these days?’


You are the American TV show from the mid-2000s “Prison Break”. In the States your ratings were okay but you were always so amazed by how popular you were in Korea. Your best guess for this success was how the greater metaphor of escape appealed to many Koreans at the time. Back then the layers of stifling competitive stress started in kindergarten and stretched all the way until retirement. Everyone was trying to out do each other for the few top spots that were available in such a densely populated country, especially in Seoul. Getting to a good university or solid position at one of the big companies, or better yet getting a chance to move overseas, took an inhuman amount of effort against demoralising odds – almost like trying to escape a prison. And much like you, they knew deep down that the real satisfying action came from the struggle to get out and not what happened after the actual escape. So in your opinion, no one in Korea truly wanted to go anywhere or change the way things were, and they lost themselves subconsciously in the message your corny drama provided. On a lighter note, you helped every white guy living there at the time to be just a bit cooler as they would be constantly compared to your characters, regardless of how little they might have actually looked like them. You always wondered how many of them got laid thanks to you and hoped it was much less than you guessed.


You are the South Korean Red Devils World Cup Championship team from 2006. Few remember how you won that tournament in Germany, probably because no one could believe what they saw. In the championship match against Italy, you used a dangerous and rare technique in soccer that astounded audiences worldwide. In preparation for the big match, your coaches instructed your players to slow their breathing, lower their heart rates, freeze their blood and cease all thought. On the field you were then able to go so slowly that it looked like your players didn’t even move at all. In the first half, you started with possession of the ball and then took almost the entire period to advance just one time into the box and get off a shot. Your movements were so slow that it created an illusion of depth perception that confused the Italians as they kept running past you at just the wrong moments. Then that one blistering super fast shot clapped like thunder and hit the back of the net carrying an icy wave of vibration all the way back to steamy humid Korea that summer. With the Italians on offence in the second half, they couldn’t manoeuvre around your stone-like defenders who were always inexplicably standing in front of their shots and passes. Everyone has tried to forget what they saw that day since it was so miraculous that it called into question the stable fabric of the known universe itself. But you remember and that’s all that matters.


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