Monday, January 7, 2019

The Angel of Death


 
 
Chapter 55

          In April of 1997, I was relaxing in the television room and enjoying a cigarette with horny Old Linda. I used to purchase a brand of smokes called Omar Shariff. A pack of Omars cost approximately $1.20. They were considered quite expensive at the time. I sat in a comfortable recliner, gazing out the window. The sun was very bright.

          Linda suddenly spoke up.  “Have you thought about seeing a Korean prostitute?”

          I said, “Not really.”

          “Not really? What does that mean?”

          I remained quiet hoping that she would find another topic to discuss.

          She cleared her throat. “I’m glad that prostitution is legal in Korea. Women should be allowed to sell their bodies if they wish. I hate puritans.”

          Silence.

          The nasty old pervert smiled at me. “This topic makes you uncomfortable, doesn’t it? I bet you’ve seen hookers in the past.” She laughed out loud. “Don’t worry. There’s no shame in it. Guys function better when they get their rocks off.”

          “Why do you want to hear dirty stuff from my past?”

          “Who says seeing a prostitute is dirty? You’re being very puritanical. I love talking about sex. In fact, I consider myself a sexologist.”

          Suddenly, Scotty walked into the room with two other guys. He introduced them as Brandon and Yvonne. Yvonne had a left ear which was easily three times larger than his right ear. I couldn’t help staring at it. He was also carrying an acoustic guitar.

          Scotty said, “They work in Nonsan. However, they’re on loan to our company for the next several weeks. Mr. Song needs them for an afternoon class.”

          Yvonne said, “It’s a bunch of bullshit. We’re required to drive all this way for a single hour of work. Then we have to drive all the way back to teach classes in the evening.”

          I said, “Nonsan is supposed to be wonderful. It has a giant statue of the Buddha.”

          Yvonne chuckled. “It’s anything but wonderful. Nonsan is considered the boondock's by Korean standards. My contract specifically states that my school is supposed to be in Daejeon. My recruiter lied to me.”

          Brandon said, “It’s not that bad. There are plenty of bars, and compared to Canada, the beer and cigarettes are nice and cheap.”

          I said, “How’s the housing?”

          Before Brandon could answer, Yvonne started strumming his guitar and singing Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here at the top of his lungs.

          He smiled at Linda. “Do you think my voice is beautiful?”

          Linda said, “It’s about as beautiful as your face.”

          “I bring this guitar to work every day. The kids love it when I play Gordon Lightfoot.”

          Linda sneered at him. “You don’t say.”

          “Do you want to know what happened to my ear?”

          “Not really.”

          He went on with the story, anyway. “What can I tell you? I was born without it, so the doctors had to fashion a new one. The year was 1966 and technology wasn’t great back in those days. Sadly, they constructed this monstrosity which you see plastered to my head. But I’m not bitter. I have God on my side. Did you know that I’m an ordained preacher? I’m a beer-drinking Baptist.”

          Linda’s sour expression remained unchanged, but I was quite impressed. “You’re really a minister?”

          “That’s right. Ordained and everything.”

          “Did you ever work in a church?”

          “No, my first job was in a hospital. I was a morale officer. The gig paid very well.”

          “What happened?”

          “I was fired.”

          “Fired?”

          “I got the unfair reputation for being bad luck. Lots of my patients ended up expiring, so people kept calling me the Angel of Death. My career went downhill from there.”

          Linda chuckled. “You’re kidding, right?”

          “No,” he said sadly. “Hell, I wish I was. It was my dream job. But that’s OK. When one door closes, another one opens.”

          I patted him affectionately on the shoulder.

          “Well, I’m certainly glad that you’re here. And I can’t wait to visit you guys down in Nonsan. I’d love to see that statue.”

          Brandon said, “Why don’t you come this Friday?”

          “Friday’s great. I’ll see you both then.”

8 comments:

  1. Did it affect his hearing, though?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You -- or your students -- or perhaps one of your family -- or maybe even a dear one with whom you have lost touch -- will appreciate the "angel of death" motif in the short story "Torch Song" by New Yorker short-story-writer John Cheever.

    Five and one half pages of sheer joy.

    https://www.rulit.me/books/the-stories-of-john-cheever-read-237432-31.html

    “You’re sick, darling,” she said. “I can’t leave you alone here.”

    “Get out,” he said again, and when she didn’t move, he shouted, “What kind of an obscenity are you that you can smell sickness and death the way you do?”

    “You poor darling.”

    “Does it make you feel young to watch the dying?” he shouted. “Is that the lewdness that keeps you young? Is that why you dress like a crow? I’m not ready. My life isn’t ending. My life’s beginning. There are wonderful years ahead of me. Then, as an old friend, I’ll call you and give you whatever dirty pleasure you take in watching the dying, but until then, you and your ugly and misshapen forms will leave me alone.”

    She finished her drink and looked at her watch. “I guess I’d better show up at the office,” she said. “I’ll see you later. I’ll come back tonight. You’ll feel better then, you poor darling.” She closed the door after her, and he heard her light step on the stairs.

    Jack emptied the whiskey bottle into the sink. He began to dress. He was trembling and crying with sickness and fear. He emptied the ashtray containing his nail parings and cigarette butts into the toilet, and swept the floor with a shirt, so that there would be no trace of his life, of his body, when that lewd and searching shape of death came there to find him in the evening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've read my share of John Cheever stories. He's one of my favorite sodomites. Much ruv.

      Delete
    2. wikipaedia doesn't mention any sodomming
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cheever

      instead it says he had wife and chilrin
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winternitz_(surname)

      Delete
  3. When i was a kid i used to build Estes rockets and launch them at the park. They made one with a see through compartment and we promptly went down to the pet store to buy a 69 cent white mouse who became a volunteer space traveler.

    We put the poor guy into the rocket and sent him high up into the heavens with estes top of the line D engine.
    Evidently the g forces were more than the little guy was used to because when he came back down to earth all he did was run around in circles chasing his big red ballsack.
    I still feel bad about it to this day, though at the time we just laughed and laughed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Screw that piece of vermin. All mice and rats should die. Much Ruv.

      Delete