Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 648
Hye-young choked. There was no direct threat, but the feeling of being suppressed was stressful. The only person who could relieve her hag-ridden heart was 10,000 kilometers beyond the Pacific Ocean. If she called for him, would he even hear her since there’s quite a distance between them! Would he be able to cover her shoulders and tell her everything is fine, that she could relax? She lost all of her energy.
Unlike Korea, US administrative agencies’ policy-making and execution moved within a reasonable and predictable range. Excessive physical force by the police was often a scandalous topic, but that is inevitable in a society where guns are common. What is the value of an ordinary Asian student studying abroad to restrict human rights using abnormal means? No matter how much she thought about it, she couldn’t figure out why.
The signal from the stomach interrupted the thought process. Come to think of it, all she had since the evening before yesterday was a glass of wine. The moment she recognized her hunger, her stomach roared. Her insides felt like they were twisting with hunger. The white envelope on the living room table looked like a bowl of noodles.
Dumbfounded, Hye-young laughed. She wanted Mussang like a baby longing for her mother’s breast. She struggled with a longing that felt like death… Should she jump off of the roof? What a body, flipping out with hunger when she was just thinking about stabbing her chest with a knife! She was mortified.
What a solemn instinct of conservation of one’s self. She remembered an actor’s line, “You are not dead until you are dead.” She’s never heard of a mother that lost her child to have died from starvation. Insanity, maybe, but not death from starvation. A widow with a husband that faced sudden death, lying behind the folding screen, still filled her stomach with puffy eyes. That was humankind. Yes, living humans have to eat; if one wanted to live, one would have to eat.
Hye-young got up and put a parka on, and grabbed her wallet. She needed protein and carbohydrates to comfort her stomach. She stopped as she left for the front door, then threw off her coat. She didn’t want to feel the unpleasantness of being watched. She opened the refrigerator just in case.
As expected, there was pizza and hamburgers. These people were just amazing. Anyway, an organization called the Society will soon take action. There was no point in worrying about an event that hadn’t happened. A jew wandering the wilderness wouldn’t stop facing hardship just because they entered Ghana. There’s no life without wounds!
Hye-young bit through the cold pizza without even heating it. It’s ridiculous, but physical hunger beats psychological hunger. [Veritas Caritas Justitia] sorrowful stare looked down at Hye-young.
Paseo Nuevo Alley, on a holiday, the red-brick road was empty without a single car, except for a pedestrian from time to time, and the sound of saxophone at the musical instrument store frequently missed the beat. Flower pots were surely placed on the windows along the leisurely alley of white Spanish-style buildings, and red ivy covering the wall shook leaves in the sea breeze.
The benches, sparsely placed on both sides of the street, were occupied by an old man emitting cigar smoke and an old woman who put down a shopping basket. The leisurely scenery made her heart throb. Until 50 hours ago, she was a part of a peaceful landscape, but now she has become an outsider.
The wind that ran from the faraway sea swept through the alley. All the ivy leaves shook, and the unknown flowers by the window were flattered. She remembered the ivy at her homeland house that used to act pompous with the wind of the Nak-dong River.
A skillful man weaving a boat with ivy leaves to float on a palm-sized pond of hiraniwa garden, a woman tapping the palms of her hands while giggling, and an alley heading home were a path to a paradise just for her.
“Where is he, and what is he doing?”
There is not much to do in Korea for a person who is a high school dropout with an ex-convict label. Although he is a remarkable human being, Korean society is not open enough for a person with no educational background and a criminal record to succeed. Doesn’t matter, anyway. He’s capable, and she will be the support he can rely on. Hye-young comforted herself with a sweet imagination.
A loud laugh broke the afternoon’s leisure. A young couple appeared at the entrance of the alley. The man was as thin as an anchovy, and the woman was as fat as a hippo. The anchovy and hippo wrapped around each other and rubbed so hard that she worried their pelvis might get bruised. The white woman shook her long hair around and constantly laughed, wondering what was so joyful. A generous amount of flesh jiggled like waves.
“Why do they like girls who can’t even care for their bodies?”
Hye-young murmured. The woman wrapped her right hand around the man’s waist like a snake and held a bag of nuts in her left hand. No idea if she may have become fat because she is gluttonous or if her being a glutton made her fat, but if a woman who looks like a teenager had a Michelin tire around her waist, she did not take care of herself.
“Self-care? Oh my!”
Hye-young’s head felt dizzy as if a hammer had hit her. It was her who couldn’t manage herself. She was the one who threw herself at lousy trash and shamelessly tried to find him. Did she, by chance, become influenced by American society, which considers sex as easy as shaking hands? Suddenly, a girl with a dark face with a countrified name passed through her mind, and she felt chills down her spine.
Hye-young had forgotten Jo Jin-soon, who she had driven away from a sense of defeat. A girl, wearing a school uniform, who was taller than herself with a bigger chest, a girl who was said to have stopped by Mussang’s home he had lived alone in since she was in the second grade of middle school to cook, wash and clean for him.
Jin Soon is a girl who wandered around Bangtae Mountain in winter in search of missing Mussang, entered a department store as a clerk at the age of 16 to earn Mussang’s tuition, and is a potent girl who waited every single day for seven months with supper cooked for Mussang when he was imprisoned in Daegu Detention Center.
[Why are you doing unnecessary things?]
[How tough and bitter must it be for Mussang. He is not guilty, so he will be right back. I need to have something warm ready for him to eat.]
Her bold reply was vivid as if it had happened yesterday.
[… If I reached out, I could touch your face, but I hid my hand because I was afraid you would get away. Please tell me just once that I can reach out my hidden hand. Never mind, don’t say anything. I’m just going to be a shadow like this…]
The diary I secretly peeked into had ink smeared everywhere from wet tears, and the damp paper had dried up and wrinkled. Can humans even love other humans this much? She was fed up with it, so she had nothing else to do but walk away.
What if Jin-soon was in her shoes right now? Would she have thrown her body out from loneliness? There’s no way. That girl regarded loneliness as a luxury. The girl would have dismantled chickens at the poultry farm and carried manure around at a vineyard so she could earn Mussang’s tuition.
Where there is Mussang, there is Jo Jin-soon. Whether it’s hell or heaven, that was s a fact. Hye-young felt like she was falling off of a cliff. Hye-young abandoned her loved one to achieve her ambition, and Jo Jin-soon abandoned herself for her loved one. That’s the difference between the two. She had no place to stand. A sense of defeat swept through her body.
“What the hell is the problem? You stubborn Korean bitch!”
Robert threw down the glass he was holding. CRUNCH – A glass that collided with a large spectroscope was fallen a heroic death. Sex? They enjoyed each other, what is the problem? He didn’t understand Lynn, who suddenly was acting like a modest lady.
There are plenty of sex partners. Lynn, intelligent with beauty, was a loss, but she was not enough to be upset about. The problem was a phone call he got a while ago. Californian handicrafts-man (Full-member of Freemason) has announced a 30-point deduction. It takes three years to recover the deduction. It was a bolt out of the blue for him, who had been waiting for the day to leave the trainee status.
I can’t believe this is happening because of one assistant!
Robert was very much twisted. Of course, it was his own mistake. If Spector did not take immediate action, Lynn would have flown back to Korea. It is an obvious mistake as an agent who discovers and manages the employees needed for the organization, but the disciplinary action was way excessive.
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The United States is a country where Freemasons are firmly established. Freemasons were deeply entrenched in agencies with authority and the business world. Soon the national interest became a benefit of Freemasons.
The official name of the association was the United States Institute of Energy Management and Development. One of the direct henchmen of the Socrates Project Committee under the DIA was a sub-organization of the Freemasons. The society maintained a pool of talents by supporting financially troubled gifted ones.
The gifted ones that belonged to the talent pool were called assistants. The society makes use of assistants to its liking when necessary. They were used as a researcher, informant, donor, etc., and some were even mobilized for shady research and disappeared silently according to the rules of Gamma No. 2.
Robert, a trainee, was unaware that the organization was keeping an eye on Hye-young. Freemasons kept a close watch on Korea, which was growing into an Asian powerhouse. Hye-young was chosen as a member of the organization to be dispatched to Korea.
The identity of the national scholarship Hye-young received was the living expenses paid by Freemasons. The organization treated the assistant relatively reasonably. They solved economic difficulties, and the assistant needed to work for a fixed period of time. Of course, breaking the rules resulted in restrictions, but that was the same for any organization.
It depended on which rules, though. The DIA Gamma Rule followed a top-secret elimination guideline that granted the project manager absolute authority. When Gamma is invoked, the person in charge could eliminate any internal and external adversaries against the project.
Gamma 1 restricts the fundamental legal rights of personnel mobilized for the project. No. 2 can dispose of the personnel engaged in the project without trial. No. 3 eliminates one part or all project personnel. No. 4 wipes out external adversaries. Robert was completely unaware that his life was in jeopardy.
Fifteen days passed. Hye-young keenly felt that she could not soothe her physical hunger with the delivery of food nor soothe the hunger of her soul with TV. She was tired of just looking at pizza, hamburgers, and kung-pao chicken. She was desperate for the spicy taste that tingled her tongue and burned her throat.
Unable to resist, she bought kimchi and rice at World Mart and roughly bought spices, including red pepper powder. She wasn’t sure if it was made by Koreans here or imported from Korea, but she appreciated that there was kimchi on the aisle at the mart.
She had no experience in making kimchi stew. In the United States, she did not cook at all, and when they were in Korea, Mrs. Deoksan and Mussang were in charge of cooking. She recalled what she saw Mussang do while cooking. The stock was made with dried shrimp and onions, and kimchi and pork were stir-fried in a frying pan. She added different ingredients to the boiling water and then heated it.
The sour smell of kimchi filled the small studio apartment. Hye-young’s impression distorted as she tasted it. She didn’t expect high quality, but it was plain and just spicy. The kimchi stew made by Mussang was not like this. It burned her tongue, heated her throat, and set fire to her chest.
Her forced cheerfulness turned gloomy again. She wanted to put the stew pot in the trash can. First time for everyone! Hye-young comforted herself and pushed the poor-tasting rice and stew down her throat like a widow who lost her husband eating rice and stew at the funeral home.
Rrrr- the doorbell rang. Even the sound of the doorbell was as squeaky as the kimchi stew. She stuck her chopsticks in the rice bowl and pushed her eye into the small hole on the front door. The convex lens showed a waning yet clear face. Hye-young opened the door with the chain still in place.
“You still have things to do here?”
“Honey, can we sit at the table and talk?”
Robert looked as pitiful as a beggar begging at the entrance to Goletta Beach Park.
“Robert, if it were inviting all the people in the world to the table, you’d be the six billionth one.”
“Ow, that’s cold. We’re closer than this.”
“We definitely are not!”
Hye-young pulled the handle of the front door. Robert stuck his hand urgently.
“What a temper, and I came here because of the society.”
“Stop being funny!”
Hye-young pulled the handle as hard as she could.
“Hey! I’m telling you the truth. Check this out~.”
Robert screamed. There was a plastic ID card in the hand stuck in the door. Hye-young snatched the piece of plastic away. It was a temporary researcher identification card from the United States Geological Survey.
Hye-young sharply raised her eyes. She didn’t want to let a lump of filth inside the house.
“Damn, Reagan’s office would be easier to get into than here. You still haven’t gotten over it? I apologize from the bottom of my heart. My mind must have gone out for a while.”
“Oh, my God, why did I… with that kind of man…”
Hye-young shuddered at the uneasy feeling as if she had lard all over her. He doesn’t even know what he’s done wrong. The blue eyes that once appeared likable seemed like a muddy puddle with all kinds of filth.
“If you’re going to talk about personal things, get the hell out of here!”
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‘Damn, my nails can’t even squeeze in.’
Robert kicked his tongue at the cold message for him to leave. He couldn’t understand Lynn’s behavior. Men and women cannot eat steak every day. Sometimes they eat pasta, hamburgers, and Chinese food. He was frustrated with Lynn trying to end everything for good after only tasting some Chinese food.
“You have to take a flight to Africa in three days. It’s a geological survey.”
Hye-young opened the door. A geological survey business trip caught her attention.