Their first date was at a local bar. Beers, soju, gas grilled squid, silkworm larvae, and what seemed spicy barnacle soup to Brian. Her teeth speckled with seaweed paper, she fed Brian stinky strings of squid jerky. Later she suggested a video bang, a small room with vinyl couches, VCR and TV, typically frequented by young Korean college couples needing intimacy. She immediately pulled a random video from the video library’s shelf and took him to the softly glowing room.
Before previews ended she was naked. Her yellow skin flickered blue with TV images. She looked just as he’d hoped, an absolutely flat Asian abdomen curving into to a thin strip of hair, standing straight up, like a mohawk. And brown beer bottle nipples, big enough to hang a coat on. “Sex okay?” she whispered in his ear with a flick of her tongue, pulling him closer still. “No condom – no problem!” She said.
He’d brought a pack of Trojans across the world anticipating this moment. “American boy very good. Good size,” she cooed, “slowly please.”
And that was how it was every Sunday afternoon. She’d leave a message on his pager at two. They would rendezvous at three. By four he’d have a proper beer buzz and by six-thirty be snoozing in a small local hotel room, preparing for one more sex. “What you want?” She’d ask as they walked towards the maze of game rooms and coffee shops behind Lotte Department Store.
He’d smile wide, embarrassed, and shrug, asking if she wanted to see a movie. But she always said the same thing, pulling him down by his neck and whispering sex in his ear. Then she’d lead him to a dark empty bar where she’d sit on his lap and spoon feed him, pour beers down his gullet, whispering, “beer good stamina. Drink.” Then she’d cackle loudly and breathe stinking kimchi breath in his face. He’d look at her smudged red lipstick and crooked teeth and drink more beer. She always paid.
Sometimes she’d buy bottles and bring them to the hotel with a box of chicken. She’d undress and straddle him, pushing knobby nipples into his neck, shoving a drumstick in his mouth. She’d have him on his back and pour the beers down his throat, grip his neck between her thighs, giggle and rotate her narrow Asian hips. Her crotch always smelled of expensive perfume.
In three hours they’d have sex six, sometimes seven times. Ten minutes on, thirty minutes off, something like that. She had very effective methods, always practical, nothing more. She’d yodel, moan, whisper his name and praise his ability, do whatever, to keep him steady and ready. He couldn’t figure what kept them going, particularly him, for so many intervals. Sometimes he thought it beer and soju. Other times he assumed it was six days of hard work and loneliness. Maybe it was just being in a new country, in a new hotel room with an exotic girl that he could barely talk to. Maybe it was her size. She was tiny, in more than one way, and it made him feel powerful, manly. Probably it was all these things. Whichever it was, they both new it wasn’t love and neither wanted that. Neither asked for more than Sunday.
“You marry me okay?” She asked once, half joking, half serious.
“Umm… No.” He said, not wanting to explain.
“Uh… You marry me okay?”
“No! Mommy kill me!” She grimaced and pulled her finger along her throat. She said, “I marry Korean boy. But I keep you Sunday. Okay?”
“No. You marry, I go.”
“Why?” she said, then she pulled him onto her without expecting an answer.
This was the extent of intimacy. Sometimes he’d bring her flowers, but usually she forgot and left them in the hotel room. Sometimes they’d show each other photos. He had pictures of friends, his family and his dogs. She had high school pictures of picnics at the American military base next to her house. Most pictures of her were on base, picnicking or eating nachos in the on-base Taco Bell. Some pictures were cut up, a forgotten serviceman sliced out.
* * *
One Thursday night Brian went down to Texas Street. It was a Korean holiday, no Friday or Saturday classes. He sat in the pouring rain, outside his favorite pojang macha, ordered a beer and watched hookers and hostess girls walk by. Burly Russian hostesses with metal teeth, platinum blonde hair and green leopard-pattern stoles strolled stiffly down the street, their big white feet crammed into tiny platform shoes. Next to Brian sat Mike, a retired military man. Draped around Mike was his slender Phillipina lover, a hostess on coffee brake.
“Fast or feast Brian.” Mike said. “Only way yer gonna get laid here, cause there’s only two kinds of Korean girls – one’s that fast and one’s that feast. Don’t expect to get some nice girl that aint a virgin. And don’t expect some Korean virgin won’t want to marry you after you violate her!” Mike’s lover poured drinks into his mouth and stroked his neck.
Brian watched this familiar scenario, finished his beer and headed to a Russian hostess club. The interior blinked in and out of sight. Strobe lights, mirrors and disco balls materialized and disappeared again to the rhythm of a sped-up Russian techno-ballad. On a small platform an Uzbek girl stiffly danced in a pink G-string bikini. On the dance floor drunken sailors groped at hostesses, grinding slowly to the fast music. Two men jerkily hopped about, glorious, vodka-induced passion. Lonely hostesses faced the wall, wriggling, making love to their mirror images.
In a dark corner on the right, Brian’s Sunday lover – what was her name? Sun-Jue – sat with two Korean women, two bottles of soju, a table full of empty beers and two bottles of Captain Q, a rotgut Korean whisky. All of them were smoking. One woman was rail thin, with bulging eyes and an uncommonly long, hooked nose. She reminded Brian of crack-heads back home. The other girl wore bright orange eyeliner, orange glossy lipstick, long fake eyelashes and red rouge on her cheeks. Her nose was also uncommon, oddly angled as if placed upon her face. The overall effect was of a colorful clown posing as a chubby raccoon. She had a big, kind smile and was staring at a wall.
Brian did not want to see Sun-Jue tonight. But then again, he did. He wanted something and didn’t want to pay. So he sat down with them. Sun-Jue grabbed him by the neck and took a shot of whisky. She pulled her mouth to Brian’s and spat whisky in it. She thought this romantic, but her breath stunk. Brian decided to hang out long enough to sober her up, then take her home, brush her teeth and shower her. Then they’d have sex. This would be her first time at his house. He could light up the room with candles. Let the storm winds gust through the curtains and over them. With enough liquor it might be romantic.
She spit in his mouth again and poured him a boilermaker, lit him a cigarette, placed it between his lips and sucked the smoke shotgun from his mouth. Lipstick smeared across her face. She forced him to the dance floor and ground herself on his thigh until it hurt. Then she whispered, “You dance with my friend. She lonely now.” He said no, but she insisted. So now this other woman was grinding painfully into his thigh. She was enjoying it, too much. He looked around. Nobody seemed to notice. In fact others were doing the same. He saw that Sun-Jue noticed, so was dragging an embarrassed Russian man into a corner couch.
Brian decided to go. He went to the table and sat next to the Russian man. The man apologized and moved away from Sun-Jue, suggesting Brian take her home. He pulled her up and they walked out to catch a taxi. In the taxi she rested her head on his shoulder. Neither talked.
When he got out of the taxi she slid down onto the seats and curled up. Sleeping. He pulled her up but she refused, slapping at him and shaking him off with a feminine snarl. So he dragged her out by the arms. She took a step and her ankle buckled. She smashed her knees on the ground and crawled through the gutter water. He tried to help her up, but she swayed with all her weight. So he picked her up, tossed her over his shoulder, and carried her through the streets. Korean neighbors sat in open doorways watching the rains, drinking soju, smoking and playing poker. Every head turned to watch the white man carrying home a poor, innocent-but-drunken Korean girl. All assumed and every mouth moved quietly as Brian passed.
He lit the candles and undressed her. He saw she was menstruating, so attempted to put her in his pajamas but she pulled at him and tried to straddle his face. She shoved herself at him and said “Kiss me down there, Captain.” He got away while she rolled around the vinyl covered, concrete floor, moaning as if in ecstasy. “Oh Captain,” she said, “kiss me there, very good, slowly..slowly. Yes. Yes. Aah, mmm. Captain.” Her body squirmed as if they were having sex and she kept crying out to captain. “I love you Captain. Push slow Captain!” He wrapped her up in a blanket and brought her some water. She took a drink and then spit it out on the floor. “Fucking! Motherfuck! Shit! Demmit fuck! Son of bitchie!” She slapped at his face and fell on the floor crying.
Brian felt a wet gust hit his face from the window and Sun-Jue shuttered. Her pale, swollen yellow face, smeared make-up and crooked teeth looked so wretched by candlelight. Another gust blew the curtains open and lightning crackled close outside lighting up this twisted scene with this wicked woman. His mind flashed with thoughts of menstrual blood, VD, AIDS. No condom, no problem, he thought.
Once more she pulled his face towards her open thighs and he got up to leave the room. She moaned again. For a while she called Brian’s name but then called for Captain. Finally she was quiet so he tried to cover her, but she crawled to him, pulled at him and begged for kisses down there. Finally he left. He closed the door and went to the living room. Soon she was quiet. He waited an hour and went in, dressed her in pajamas and covered her with a blanket. Then he took a pillow, went to the living room, lay down and closed his eyes.