The 23rd Floor: About this Weekend Past, Part 1

I woke up Sunday, around noon, groggy as hell. The night before was Anthony’s birthday, and through a series of random contacts we ended up spending most of the night sitting on the 23rd floor of the Renaissance Motel, in an exclusive club, slogging back 300,000 won (around 300 dollars) bottles of Whiskey.

The club consisted of one long room, and the roof was constructed as half an archway with light bulbs covering every square inch. Just to the right of the entrance there was a small stage where a woman, dressed in a Marilyn Monroesque type ensemble sang English ballads, accompanied by a man on the piano. Across from them was a fully stocked bar. Although the bar had chairs around it, absolutely nobody sat there; everybody in the club was sitting at dimly lit tables, engaged in what appeared to be very important conversations. They all stared at us as we entered the room.

We sat in the back corner, at the far end of the room. Me farthest back, to my right was Stephen and to his right was Anthony. Across the table from me was Kahng, our jump off to the high class world that Seoul provides to its overly wealthy and powerful male class. Two tables over sat the Fortuneteller. We call him the Fortuneteller because he tells peoples fortunes, extremely accurately. About a decade ago he was forced to flee South Korea because of an overly accurate prediction he made regarding the death of the father of Kim Jong-Il. Now he is back, and that is all I know about the Fortuneteller.

He was in deep conversation with another man, I do not know exactly who. Stephen, Anthony and I mused about his status as we topped off the first bottle of whiskey. Kahng motioned for a second one to be brought over and it was. Kahng was not drinking because he was too hopped up on pain medication he was taking for his broken hand. He got the broken hand one night when he was drunk and angry and punched the sidewalk. I know this, because I saw him do it.

After another 2 bottles of whiskey we looked over to see the associate of the Fortuneteller stand up, bow deeply, and with two hands shake the hand of the Fortuneteller. Then he left. The Fortuneteller stood up and ambled over to us. He is an extremely animated person and on the few occasions I have met him have grown to enjoy his presence more and more, although I understand little to nothing he says. He told us that this was an exclusive club and that the only reason we were there was because we knew him.

We finished a 4th bottle of Whiskey together and then we left to a club. All of our drinks were free. We went to a few random clubs and bars, but by that time it didn’t matter. I was staggering from one conglomeration of lights and sounds to another…the Spy Club, GoGo’s, Timpan? Who the hell knows? Somehow I got home.


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Filed under Culture, Narratives

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