Sunday, May 30, 2004

back to PC-bahng hell

I'm in a PC-bahng. The sounds of Starcraft and Warcraft are all around me. Aliens are dying everywhere, being sent to pixel hell for their soldiering sins. I'm not loving life: would much rather be blogging from the relative quiet of my abode. At least I'm at the Korea University PC-bahng, which is non-smoking. So I got dat goin' for me. Which is nice.

My new hasuk digs are extremely tiny; I'll barely have room to roll around epileptically on the floor. The place is still about half-unpacked; I'm going to take it slow, unpacking bit by bit over the course of this week. No need to rush; I'm not expecting any visitors anytime soon. The most important things right now are some clothes and my computer, so I can print out worksheets for my SWU students.

My cousin Kang-yeol came over to help me with the move today-- this despite my having told K'eun Adjoshi that I didn't need help from his sons or anyone else. As it turned out, though, Kang-yeol's help made the move much easier, and he also kept the yohng-dahl adjoshi from cheating me out of too much money. Originally, the cost for the move was supposed to be W40,000. This sounded suspiciously low to me, but K'eun Adjoshi's the one who spoke to the movers. The adjoshi hiked the cost to W60,000, which is about normal for yohng-dahl service. I was prepared to pay, but Kang-yeol argued the guy down to W50,000.

My upstairs neighbors at my now-former Jangui-dong residence expressed regret at my departure; they're worried that the next tenant downstairs won't be as well-behaved. I don't drink; I don't smoke; I don't listen to loud music or watch TV. All my vices are quiet: blogging and snacking. If I'm loud, it's because I'm laughing maniacally at something I'm reading/writing, or because I'm ripping out a particularly mean fart. And then laughing maniacally.

I'll definitely have to blog my first shit at the hasuk. I doubt it'll be anything special. It'll be Dogen's shikantaza, just-sitting. Or maybe just-shitting. Shit-kantaza. Just so you know: I'm the type who can poop more than once a day, so I'm predicting the shit-blog will occur at some point within the next twenty-four hours.

This week will be my final week at SWU. It's been fun; I've enjoyed my students, even though a lot of them have been slacking off. My class features no tests, quizzes, or even grades; there's no attendance policy. I can only assume that the students who come to class every day are either dedicated to learning English or think my belt-obscuring gut is the sexiest thing since bacon.

And now I'll going to go off on a tangent for no particular reason.

Andy the Yangban posts about the Ultimate War Sim, an article by David Wong. Wong's article is here, and I highly recommend it. Wong's a ferociously talented writer, too: I busted a gut reading the first chapter of a ghost story he wrote (see here), and laughed my sizable ass off at his review of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Wong's ghost story is several chapters long. I haven't read the whole thing, but here's a snippet from the first chapter, which is about two ghostbusters, Dave and John, who get a gig that involves visiting a supposedly haunted house. There's a problem: the seemingly innocent girl who led them to the house is actually some sort of demonic being who "bursts into snakes." Our two heroes have just walked into the house's basement to hunt for clues when the supernatural begins to erupt all around them. As any normal folks would do in the same situation, Dave and John decide it's time to get the fuck out of the basement.

We kicked through the slithering things and stomped up after her just as the stairwell door banged shut, completely on its own.

I reached for the knob at the same moment it began to melt and transform, turning pink and finally taking the shape of a flaccid penis. It flopped softly against the door, like a man was cramming it through the knobhole from the other side.

I turned back to John and said, "That door cannot be opened."

We stumbled back down the stairs, John jumping the last five and landing on the floor below with a smack of shoes on concrete. The snakes fled from the firelight, disappearing under shelves and between cardboard boxes.

That's when the basement started filling with shit.

A brown sludge oozed up from the floor drain, an unmistakable stench rising above it. I looked around for a window we could crawl out of, found none. The sewage bloomed out from the center of the floor, touching my shoes, rising over my soles to the shoe leather in a few seconds.

John shouted, "There!"

I whipped my head in his direction, saw him grab a little plastic crate from a shelf and set it on the floor. He climbed up on it, then just stood there with the muck rising below. Finally he looked at me and said, "What are you doing? Go find us a way outta here!"

As you might imagine, Dave and John escape the basement, only to be confronted by a reanimated beast composed of meat from the freezer and the pantry (imagine something walking on sausage legs and canned hams, with a turkey for a head and a half-frozen deer tongue hanging from the turkey to facilitate speech).

Before they encounter the meat-monster, though, they make it into the house's living room and realize that they don't know where their supernatural enemy is. Here's how they handle that situation:

In a few seconds we were both standing inside the living room, glancing around, breathing heavily.

Nothing. Just a living room.

A low, pulsing sound emerged from the air around us. An almost-human sound that was utterly without humanity. A laugh. A dry, humorless cough of a sound, as if the house itself was expelling the air with giant lungs of wood and plaster.

They love to play games, don't they? It's all they have time for.

We both knew the drill. We had to draw the thing out into the open again, get something we could see and touch and cut and set on fire. John handed me his lighter.

"You light some candles. I'll go stand in the shower naked."

Molly [NB: their dog] followed me as I went back to where we left the boom box and the other supplies. I lit a few candles around the house - just enough to make it spooky. John showered, I found another bathroom and washed the sludge off my shoes and feet.

"Oh, no!" I heard John say loudly over the running water. "The power has gone out and here I am in the shower! Alone! I'm so naked and vulnerable!"

Out of things to do, I walked around for a bit and eventually found a bedroom. I glanced at my watch, sighed, then lay down over the covers. It was almost four in the morning.

This could go on for hours, or days. Time. That's all they have. I heard Molly plump down on the floor below. I reached down to pet her and she licked my hand the way dogs do, me wondering why in the world they felt the need to do that. I've often thought about trying it the next time somebody got their fingers close to my mouth, like at the dentist.

John came back 20 minutes later, wearing what must have been the smallest towel he could find. He lowered his voice. "I think I saw a hatch for an attic earlier. I'm gonna see if there's room to crawl around up there, see if maybe there's a big scary-looking footlocker it can pop out of or somethin'."

I nodded. John raised his voice theatrically and said, "Oh, no. We are all alone here. I will go see if I can find help."

"Yes," I answered, loudly. "Perhaps we should split up."

Hilarious. The sheer fun of writing fiction.

Which reminds me--

Joseph the Infidel sent me a cordial email (thanks, man). I still think he needs to get his ass right back on that goddamn blog of his, and the above story reminded me of why: sometimes people write fiction just for the simple joy of writing it. Fuck everyone else; have fun!

OK... I can't afford to spend too much time in the PC-bahng, so I think I'll call it a night.


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