Summer of Soju

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제 20 장

The next morning, I wake up to an empty bed and a slamming headache.

And still no sign of Joey.

I drag myself to the lounge where I find Justin sitting watching something on TV. ‘Oh, hey,’ he looks up at me, smiling. ‘Morning,’

‘Did they not come back last night?’ I ask, concerned.

‘Oh, no, they did.’ Justin clears his throat. ‘You must have been asleep. They’re at the shop right now.’ He pauses, exhaling. ‘Those fucking guys, man.’

‘Yeah.’ I sit down next to him.

‘You feeling alright?’

‘Yeah, I think so…’ I sigh. ’I’ve just never seen Joey act like that before, you know, so… vicious. He didn’t need to hit that guy. And then he just left us there.’

‘I know.’ He smiles again, this time pitifully.

‘I didn’t recognise him, Justin. He was like a different person.’

‘Yeah… I know. They both acted stupid, man. I’m not happy about it, either, but… what’s there to do? Joey’s still your same old brother.’

I shrug plainly.

‘Just try to forget about it, man.’ He places a hand on my shoulder. ‘You’ll feel better that way, trust me - people do crazy, stupid things sometimes… but family should stick together.’

*

Twenty or so minutes later, Joey and Frank return to the Kingdom, both of them holding a plastic bag full of groceries, their wet clothes dripping on the floor. They squelch inside and take a seat in front of the TV.

A Korean news channel shows clips of North Korea testing missiles and Kim Jung-Un grinning pridefully.

Joey’s body sinks into the sofa so much that his body and head are at a right angle. ‘Sleep well?’ he asks me.

‘Yeah,’ I breathe out, my eyes still fixed on the TV. ‘You?’

‘Not too bad.’ I hear him laugh.

‘Good, then.’ I nod my head, unable to bring myself to look at his face.

‘Yeah…’ He walks over to the fridge and takes out some dried squid.

Standing behind me, he chews bits off with his teeth. ‘So,’ he says, ‘up for anything tonight? It being your last night in Daegu?’

‘Like what?’

‘Dinner? Few drinks, maybe?’

‘Sure,’ I say dispassionately. ‘Why not?’

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