We Are Lucky Aren't We?
by Kim Ha-ri, 10th October 2022
Seon-ho headed towards the cafeteria of the prison after his morning trainings. He placed the plate on the table. There were a number of scrap papers and soft pencils because it was made out of rubber. Seon-ho took one of the rubber pencils and wrote BINGO on a piece of scrap paper. A prison guard sat somewhere in the restaurant and announced start of the bingo game.
He called out, “B, 4.”
Seon-ho scratched out line B number for with the pencil. Lunch time bingo game was the prison guard’s little event to get rid of his boredom. It was the 273th day since he started the bingo game. Seon-ho succeeded the bingo game for 142 days. For those who succeeded the bingo game, they were given the other inmates’ praises and honor of admiration. Seon-ho thought himself had talent at the bingo game and also was lucky at the same time. Seon-ho was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison for murdering his son. Since it is not a death sentence nor life in prison, so his theory of him being lucky is somewhat true.
“G, 9” The prison guard shouted.
Several inmates looked down on the paper and sighed. There was no number 9 on G row on Seon-ho’s scoreboard. While him grumbling and jotting down G, 9 on the corner of the paper, Lotto placed his plate next to Seon-ho. Lotto had a small physique and was an old man with red name tag on. While Lotto was eating, he filled up alphabets and numbers on his scrap paper. Everyday, he completed his bingo in advance without listening to the alphabets and numbers called out by the prison guard. Surprisingly, Lotto actually won a bingo game through this way. 10 days out of 273 days. Winning rate 3.66%.
“O,34” said the prison guard.
This time also, there was no 34 on G row of Seon-ho’s scoreboard. He muttered it’s such a strange day and wrote O, 34 in an empty space of the paper.
Lotto said, “Seon-ho, did you hear it? People say it went crazy outside the cage”
“The transmit disease, right? Are you talking about that disease that turning people into an animal? Hasn’t it finished yet?”
“There is apparently a variant. The news says that normal antibiotics doesn’t even work so they found some answers during research. It is said that the cure for the disease is a human’s heart or something. Doing some research about extracting a pig’s heart cell and blah blah. Anyway, we’re safe and sound here in the cell so the transmit disease or whatever doesn’t matter to us, right?”
Seon-ho thought Lotto was crazy. Human’s heart is the cure? Nonsense. The prison guard called out I row’s 12. There was no 12 on I row of Seon-ho’s scoreboard. Lotto shovel downed the kimchi soup.
He shouted, “We are so lucky, aren’t we?”
“N, 48” The prison guard called out the alphabet and number.
There was no single number that matched after B row’s 4. Lotto roundly pointed to his left chest with his index finger. And then he pretended to take his heart out with his fist.
Lotto said “People with variant virus needs heart from people who are alive, so your heart will be taken out while you’re alive. I took the teeth out of my first victim while he was alive.”
Seon-ho gave up the bingo game. He wasn’t in the mood to eat, either. Instead, he decided to jot down the alphabets and numbers the prison guard called out. Lotto continued.
“I pulled everything out. Toenails, nails, and eyeballs. Then, I threw him in a river. He was torn into pieces, so it took them awhile to try and catch me. Ay, why these bingo games matter.”
Lotto crumpled the bingo paper and tossed it to Seon-ho.
“If you think about it, people like to pick things out. Picking toenails, picking nails. The researchers for new drug would have gone to pigsty and picked one pig out of the few. Afterwards he would open the chest of the picked pig and pick out that pig’s heart. Isn’t bingo also a kind of picking game?”
Lotto chatted while picking out his nose hair. Seon-ho unfolded the crumpled paper from Lotto. He compared Lotto’s scoreboard with the numbers that the prison guard called up until now.
B, 4/ G, 9/ O, 34/ N, 48/ I, 21.
Seon-ho shouted while holding up Lotto’s paper. He walked triumphantly toward the prison guard. The prison guard nodded whilst taking Seon-ho’s bingo paper. Normally the guard will end at shaking hand, but today was different. He tied both of Seon-ho’s hands with cable tie and led him outside of the cafeteria. Lotto shouted at Seon-ho who was following the guard.
“We are lucky, aren’t we? You were also found late because you cut your son’s wrist and ankles and pulled his teeth.”
One more guard came around to grab onto Seon-ho. Seon-ho had two guards by his sides and walked down the corridor. Seon-ho asked one of the guards.
“Where are we going?”
“It’s a kind of gift”
The guard closed his mouth. Lotto’s voice was dimly there while three of their footstep sound was ringing the corridor.
“The arm that I cut floated on the local stream but the fisherman never reported. Do you know why? He thought it was a pig’s leg.”
The lunchtime was almost done. A part of inmates headed out to prepare for the afternoon chores. Though Seon-ho didn’t have any lunch, but he could miss the afternoon’s chore. That was also lucky. He was trying to figure out what the guards could gift him. Snack? Porn? A phone call? As he didn’t have anyone to call, he preferred pornographic magazines.
The guards stopped in front of a fgrey door. The prison was like a maze, it was difficult to figure out if the distance from cafeteria or if it’s not that far from the cafeteria. The guards opened the door and pushed Seon-ho in. Seon-ho went into the room, collapsed.
“It’s a gift. Gift for the human kind”
Someone spoke. The white light in the room poke Seon-ho’s eyes. When Seon-ho tried to get up three men held onto Seon-ho. He couldn’t move a single bit. Seon-ho adjusted to the light after a few seconds. He could see a man with transparent rimmed glasses. There were about ten people standing behind him looking all at Seon-ho. Seeing how they were standing in twos or threes, they seemed like a family. Most of them held hands together and stared at Seon-ho being emotional. Seon-ho smiled.
The man with glasses smiled back at him as a response. The man dragged out a growling dog from the crowd. Actually, it was a boy on four limbs.
“The sinful criminal will become the cure for this little boy.”
The man with glasses raised his voice. One of the man holding Seon-ho pierced a sashimi-knife deep into Seon-ho’s chest. Before Seon-ho could scream the man opened Seon-ho’s chest and took out his heart.