Sunday, 29 December 2013

Solid Gold Rolex Time

Take the car leave the canolli.

I was thinking aboot this years ago, and wrote this short story to capture that and other thoughts from early years of the twenty first century.

No matter how hard he stared at his wrist, he could not remember what had happened to the solid gold Rolex. So he started the memory process again, like a broken computer hoping to function from a simple restart. Hughie Kim recalled first struggling to find clarity early yesterday

Splashing his face with water, he reflected on his quick sleep. Soon he thought, I will escape this prison of opportunity and join the upside world. He dreamed of a time he could savior a cup from Timmy’s, without committing stimulant treason. In his world, entrepreneurial tales of lore were the source code for bedtime stories. His favorite benchmarks were the two legendary indicators of a consumption evolution. First: never pay for a cup of coffee. Second: never pay for a tank of gas.
 As the second son of a family built around a corner store, he was well squared away, making money that way. Drinking coffee was understood to be a profit center. In the Kim family business, most endeavors could be traced back to profit motive provenance. Given it was a resource of income, family coffee tasted like Juan Valdez personally brought the beans down from the clouds.  Selling most of a bag full of beans could subsidize the cost of capacity plus 100%. Capacity was the thing of dreams. Expensive blends brewed in the machine made cleaning more Zen than sanitation scouring of stainless steel. To a seller like Kim, his coffee tasted better with every cup sold. The Kim family drank delicious profit plucked from what for them was creamy transparency. Money was made by understanding ways to extract coins from grasping digits. Long had this study become his primary entertainment, looking for ways to profit from universal human behavior. Generous was this pastime pleasure:  for example creating a transcendental drinking experience with the hot steamy brine of coffee seeds. This approach to life was hardwired into his families’ genetic pipeline going back 6000 years. Every generation kicked down field, the advance of the linage had never been refused. Centimeters were centuries and sometimes history reflected dismal pay. Grandfather had always cautioned, “ You needed a smaller measure to reveal the real deed.”
Leaving thoughts of past profits behind he left work at 2 AM. Racing the Scott Sonoma as fast has he dared without perspiration.  Swiftly he retreated down the bike path that was a main artery of customers to his father’s door. Twenty years ago his father president Kim of the Kim Family Variety, had fulfilled the dream of all Koreans. To be earthly masters of their own destiny, and on this earth the only sure path to that position was to own your own company.

Hughie’s academics were credible but he was no math meister. Programming cheats came easy, and he was a three time code breaker. Closing the deal was his mind; it slightly preferred Donald Trump to Lee Quan Yew. Typically Asian, the failure to matriculate robed him in a sandwich board. One side said family shame; the other side was plastered with banana brain. People assumed, his family could not afford university or he did not get a scholarship. This false dream profiling left a taste in his mouth bitterer than a poorly filleted octopus. Quietly and respectfully backed up by web links he would argue to seemingly no effect with his father “Bill Gates never finished University, and I can program better than he ever could imagine, whip his ass at Starcraft as well.”

His irreverence made him tight with his posse. They called themselves the Youngdongs after the Yorkville area of Seoul. Youngdongs shared a common experience. They were all as the Japanese say “nails that were sticking out”. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. Dealings with his tribe meant a hammering rejection would never enter Wa.  Even Hero Park had said, “ Man you should be part of this great wall”. In the Korean entrepreneurial culture, there is a floating loan system. A micro credit bank, often tapped as a spigot for billions of Won. Groups of families and friends pool their money together. When one member has a loan approved by the group, it can be serious kimchi.

Hero Park had pimped for Hughie, sometimes known as Young Chill a chance invest. He had a green card interview to win a first adopter syndicate stake in the Happy Golden Prosperity Niagara Escarpment Company of Canada. Environmentally controversial, yet bleeding green edge friendly, their business proposal had been solid codebook. Boring millions in upscale real estate out of the bounty of nature, gods roughed in condominiums. The project would turn an otherwise undeveloped slab of ancient rock into real fortune. Green goodness flowed from their brochures. In combination with fung shi this gated community was going to make a lot of people reputations.  Sure expected government largesse, exclusivity, and God given microclimate, made good business sense. It  was a project that Hughie had to make better with Kim.

 Hughie had to convince the syndicate he could put a positive hit on sales and technology. A dog and pony sell on the multitask would cost him points and cash. It was not enough to have his credentials printed on the passionate paper funding Karaoke theatre, or to earn cash gushing from the keyboard game field. This syndicate only knew Young Chill was Hughie Kim. They did not care that inevitably there would be a presidential title on the left side of his name. Hughie Kim may already picture his face microdot on their IRF pass card.  However, the cards Chinese script would have to be filled in by the syndicate.

Chinese money, Chinese characters, they both communicated the same message. Hughie spoke fluent hip-hop canto pop from watching Hong Kong cable. It was only one of the rewards internalized as he struggled through the boredom of another midnight at the cash register. Software talking confidence would make marks of the seasoned speculators and empty nesters. It was the existential hardware he failed to possess. Park just had to indulge him with the hardware, the perfect costume. He lacked the essential peripherals he needed to bulletproof his persona. Foolish Buddha, he did not even own a suit made with natural fabrics. Rayon printed with animate just did not cut the cheese in the corporate fartland. To succeed he would need another push from Hero.

Hero held stage at the Karaoke lounge and sushi bar. Hughie looked enviously at the performance modified civics and virgin Mercs as he locked his 10Kg bike to the half full rack. Entering into a room blasting perfect pitch, Hero spots him.

“An young Hughie, joe sumunika?” Subconsciously he translates this to mean, how’s it going Eh!

Sweet Hero!, sumnida, may quenti, “ meaning no problem man, is his understood shout.

After Hero finishes his set Hughie warmed up to him with a tumbler of hot sake.

“Hero, I got a problem, shay shay for the interview, but my setup is mayo.”

“Mayo Hughie? What’s not possible for you”

“Success Bling deficit tomadachi.” Hughie replied.

“Yeah Hughie I meant key you about that. No worms dude, were about the same size, I wont be home, but come on over tomorrow before the interview and upgrade yourself with the best of my crib pampers.  I tell Norm, Dad’s rent a security specialist to expect you. Just move your hands slowly. He twitchy brand central now, real drama, two home invasions, not 5 months. They want the Jag man. All these theft proof alarm systems do is put the focus on the key. Codeout threatened with jimmy instead of car. It is just bait for a bad rap.”

That morning on an hours sleep Young Chill spammed Dad, with the first sale of the day the Young Chill scored the Kim company mini van to pick up the threading. It was to far for the Scott, noble, nimble and burn off producing as she be. He trekked past Norm without any movement of the shotgun. Moments later Chill is in the bedroom of Hero Park. It is a massive thing. He has the Carlsberg Cavern closet. Following the colors he locates some serious gray pinstripe. Just as he gets the main body and the needed accessories wrinkle free packed on his back, a glitter attracts his attention. The halogen lights of the closet make a nearby table full of fabled watch collection accelerate Hugh’s heartbeat. Gleaming at him with a golden come see, is a Rolex. It was a solid gold stunning wrist ornament costing more than many a respectable hood badge. Trying it on, it fits so well he can see no way not to drink from the well of glam that would see such a rich watch on such a young man. Outfitted with gold trim, the syndicate could only think; he must have success in mind. We can all share in his good fortune.

Chill left the estate with the golden watch clasped tight upon his wrist. It was an understandable risk. There was tacit approval all over the place. Friends help friends.

Chill parked the van some distance from the entrance. He strode into the trailer like a pirate circling the x on a map. Quickly he spun his DVD. The assembled cabal watched in silence, key man did not snore but the old guy sure looked as if he was sleeping.

It reminded Chill of a round eye friend, with not such a big nose. David Stickland returned from a meeting in the orient thinking he did not know what day it was, what my ass feels like or when will my ears pop. His job was to sell apples in Japan. He checked every apple to ensure it was wrapped like a Faberge egg, and aside from the green, had skin supermodels would envy.  Apples in Japan were going to be falling for him.

 Many meetings later, Stick’s thought the people where half asleep; he did not get the contract.  Devastated despite his charm and a bomb LED array blinking like a fire alarm, he lost the sale to the Kayak harvesters from New Zealand. Now his wrong assumption was to think, those closed eyed people were not paying attention.  A supercomputer may hit a crescendo just before it thinks no more. Chill looked at the values generated by human thinking in a similar way.

Young Chill knew how to deep check his cranium. There was no instant of gratification. It can take days or weeks, serious stuff needs takes centuries.

So what the Sticks had made firewood. That was not his flameout. Sticks was still in play, He had the understanding and application of every tool within his grasp. A few years working security at Wal-Mart will give Sticks cords of time to ponder. Chill used this as positive reinforcement as he faced a room full of people displaying all the emotions of dry ice.

At the meeting, it did not matter that Jimmy Kim’s father was over 90. Chill knew he was still hitting a sweet spot. Facing eyes closed unnervingly or not, he spilled like a dragon with heartburn. Rolled up dry and put away wet he was halfway in. 50 large for admittance and 50 a year plus a double 50-signup bonus, and a 50 real point chance at a lesser deal. After that triumph the ritual entertaining close would pass easily.

At sunrise, he awoke stiff and foggy in lone green spot surrounded by a vacant parking lot. Quickly doing inventory he found keys, cell phone, blackberry, I-pod and sunglasses. All that was missing was the solid gold Rolex.

The GPS on his cell phone said he was 65 meters from the entrance of the Dong Gin. Unrolling his receipts, he came up with a number for the Wildaeast Club. As he dialed, he thought about what to say. Would the person on line really tell him why he awoke in a parking lot of an establishment he no recollection of visiting, or when the last time the watch was on his wrist? Hanging up he considered his options. Trust the Police or the street?  Streetwise connections had a better reputation in matters of not only discretion but freelance bling commerce as well. So, he decided upon a reckoning with the local Yakazia 

Connecting with the white patent leather group clad in plaid was not an association taken for granted. These days they had little business and needed to make exorbitant profits off every transaction just to stay illegitimate. They no longer took only the tip of your finger for failure to deliver upon the goods agreed.
Needing an introduction he speed dialed tomadachi Konichi Wannabe.

“Moshi Moshi Konichi sama. Ima wa muzikashii jikan imasu!”

Konchi replied. “Honto, how can I help man?”

“ You know I would never chase the dragon unless I had real pain. I need tattoo covered help. I’ll front 2 fingers and pay a handful, that’s 5 grand for recovery. “

Being of Japanese ancestry Konichi had to explain and dodge leaving cautions and exits all over the page, but in the end he said ‘’ keep your handy on vibrate, cause they don’t do ring tones.”

Plucking the buzzing phone out of his pocket, he answered with trepidation. Exchanging bank codes and GPS locators he laid out his tale of woe.

Within an acceptable number of hours, the same vibration struck him but without the same dread. Yakazia had an answer. “Take money back; there is no gold on the street, coming close to the watch that you seek.”  Everyone that knew anything about this type of crime said no sold gold blinging Rolex was selling at this time.

Chill has no choice but to buy the best knockoff he can afford. Even he is impressed by how uncannily it resembles the lost one. The question was, will it fool Hero, and if it does not, how to deal with the grim consequences?

Chill stone-faced, gives the fake watch to his genuine friend. Hero smiles as he accepts it,” when I saw it missing I did not think of you.”  Then with painful bow originating at the waist Chill feels compelled by honor to tell his friend the truth“ The watch I returned is fake.” Hero still smiling, but now with a smile shaped by a smidgen of shame or possibly anger says. “As if my old man would give me a big enough allowance to afford the real thing, please, lets just keep this between us.”

All rights reserved under creative commons lic below.

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