Chapter 28

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Yesterday, I woke up at one p.m. and drank a can of Coke. My brother-in-law is a wealthy man, so he doesn't drink generic cola like poor old Mr. Buffalo. Then I read the paper while taking a nasty shit. A Korean politician is in a little bit of hot water over some unfortunate comments she made during a press conference. She claimed that Africans are primitive people. Racism is widespread on the peninsula, and little love is shown toward black people. They're often looked upon as being on the bottom of the racial barrel.

I'm in my eighteenth year of a mixed marriage, so racism should infuriate me. I've even suffered from it in the past. The local men don't like to see their women holding hands with a paleface American. Many years ago, drunken assholes would offer to fight me. One guy even threw his beer at me. But it's all water under the bridge. I forgive the rhino killers, the dog eaters, the whale munchers, and the racists. I'm too fucking old to be a hater. Anger is a young man's game.

The Dragon Lady banged on the bathroom door.

She said, "Hully up! We rate."

I said, "Do I have time to wash my cornhole?"

She said, "No! Hully up! Evelybody waiting."

We drove to The Queen Elephant's house in our Hyundai Santa Fe. The Queen Elephant is my mother-in-law. Korea's a matriarchal society dominated by women. The females control their households with an iron fist. Men are reduced to nodding smiling puppets.

The Queen Elephant is a powerful force. The entire family is forced to dance to her tune. Back in the day, I wanted to buy a van—a Kia Carnival to be exact. I had this dream of opening a small private English academy and using the van as a school bus for future students.

But my mother-in-law put her foot down. She ordered us to purchase a Santa Fe. I remember the day perfectly. I was at work, and The Dragon Lady called me on the cell phone.

She said, "Today I buy Santa Fe."

I said, "What happened to the van?"

She said, "Van not good idea. Mom say that Santa Fe is vely popurar. Easy to sell in future."

I said, "OK. Do what you feel is best."

She said, "Do you rike white or brue?"

I said, "Blue."

She said, "You can't have brue. Onry white."

I said, "Why?"

She said, "Mom say so."

I've been driving that same fucking automobile for the last eight years. But I'm not bitter. My SUV has proven very reliable. It has a diesel engine, and diesel engines last forever.

We arrived at the Queen Elephant's apartment around three p.m. I bowed and said hello. We don't talk much. She doesn't speak a word of English, and my Korean is horrible. I'm certainly not a cunning linguist.

Then I walked to my little room. I spent the next twelve hours binge watching an HBO prison drama called Oz. I like the show a lot. The men get treated like animals. They're often beaten, raped, and murdered. Their endless suffering makes me feel better about my own miserable life.

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