One Shining Moment: March Madness, Epilogue


By Pablo Harris

3am was the loneliest time for Paul on the deserted streets amidst the hundreds of high-rise condos in Myeongji New Town. But it was there, in those late nights/early mornings, that he always felt a contented kind of loneliness. So he walked down to the Family Mart, dropped W12,000 on a calling card that would give him 47 minutes to call the West Coast and cracked a tall boy of Cass. He walked down to the water and sat on a concrete wall along the estuary of the Nakdong and began to dial.  

A growly voice answered with a simple, “Hell-low?”  

“Hey, Big T, it’s Pablo. What up, man?”  

“Ehrmm, yeah, what’s up man?”  

“Not up to much, just checking on you, man. It’s been a while.”  

“Yeah, it’s been a while. But, yeah, I’m good.”  

“Cool. You know, just checking, wondering; how’d the rest of Hutty’s bachelor party, Vegas weekend go?”  

“Ah shit, man. Yeah, I told you that Raj ordered up a couple of kind Vagitarian Delight pies to Hutty’s suite, yeah?”  

“Yes you did.”

“Ah, Ginger, yeah, we would’ve had to restrain you from her.” 

“Yeah you told me that, too.”

“Shit, I know I called you from the Caesar’s sportsbook but I don’t know what we talked about. I just know sittin’ there all day, bettin’, drinkin’, and watching all those games, hoping to hit a parlay.  And with all the pony madness going on. It’s a fucking beautiful strange magic. Wish you were there, brotha.”  

“I can imagine the magic, the nervous energy which turns to excitement in direct proportion with how many bloodies and Heinekens are drunk, then the bitterness after buying a few Jame-os because a piddly exacta finally came in and the parlay hasn’t been totally blown yet and you think your luck has changed. And here comes the heat streak but no dice Chino, ‘colder than a well-diggers ass’. Yeah, March Madness and ponies, I’m sure that’s pretty cool and if I was there with all you guys, all that action, all those titty balls, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. But, actually, I did a little gambling of my own that weekend.”

“Oh yeah. Tell me about it.”

* * *

The road out of Tongyeong was at a standstill. Paul and Ellie both felt chills from the palpably frozen silence. After what seemed like hours, Ellie finally broke the ice.

“It’s going to take over three hours to get home. And I just want to go home.”

“Well, yeah, but we’re stuck here. Maybe then… Maybe we should talk about what happened at lunch?”

“I don’t know. Why? Why did you snap at me like that? You were really mean and I’m so foolish for thinking that you really cared.”

“Look, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I snapped. At first, I was excited to hear my boy call me but then it sent me on a weird one. Big T was giving me shit for not being at this bachelor party and not being in this wedding coming up. And then, well, I feel remorse for not being there last month when his father died. And where was I last year when my Aunt Cecelia, my favorite aunt, passed away? Sometimes, I can’t be there for my family and my best friend when they need me and it eats me up. I don’t know how to deal with it. I either deal with grief and regret by drinking on the quiet or lashing out at someone and I’m sorry for that. And maybe I freaked out because I’m scared of falling for you and don’t know when I’m going home again because I’m stoked here. With you. In Busan. In Korea. And my life here. I don’t know how to deal with these conflicts and, even worse, don’t know how to deal with happiness.”

Ellie unclasped the belt and leaned over, placed her hand on his knee, and kissed his neck three times. She smiled and comfortably retreated to her seat.

“Yeah, sweetheart, let’s get home, make out, and make up.”

“Yeah, but this Sunday traffic is the worst. I told you It’s going to take over 3 hours to get home.”

“Nah, this will break soon, it’s gotta break soon, right?”

“I think it’s going to take a few hours to get home.”

“Nah, relax, it’ll break.”

“Do you wanna bet on it?”

“Yeah, Ellie, didn’t know that you were a gambler but, sure. Let’s bet.”

“Ok, how should we do it?”

“Well, maybe an ‘over-under’ bet?”

“What’s that?”

“Well, you pick a time, like say, 2 hours in traffic, and then I bet whether we’ll be in traffic for over 2 hours or under 2 hours, if I’m right, I win. If I choose wrong, you win.”

“Ok, but how about you pick the time and I pick over or under?”

“Ok, I say we are going to be stuck in this jam for one hour.”

“We are definitely going to be in traffic for over an hour, you are going to lose my friend, I pick ‘over’.”

“Ok, bet’s on.”

“How do we know when traffic’s break and someone has won and lost?”

“Don’t worry, we’ll just know.”

About 15 minutes went by, they’d moved maybe 3 miles or so, Paul asked: “You know, we never said what we’re playing for, like what do I get if I win?”

“Well, whatever you want.”

“Let me be clear,  ‘whatever I want’?”

“Yeah, and I get whatever I want when I win.”

“Wow, you are a gambler, Babe.”

“Maybe. I am Korean, you know.”

“Great. Now move out of the way you mother fuckers!”

“Paul, jeez.”

“Sorry, uh, I don’t like to lose.”

“Either do I but you don’t have to yell at these people. Anyway, they’re not going anywhere and we’re not going anywhere for a long time.”

“Son of  whores,” Paul swore dejectedly under his breath.

“I heard that. Anyway, what do you want if you win?”

“Do you really have to ask?”

“Really? Guys are so simple, come on.”

Paul just shrugged and nodded.

“Well, what do you want if you win?”

“I don’t know, but it’s going to be nasty.”

“Hell yeah!”

“No, not like that. I can’t pick anything sexual because you’ll just like it. It’s going to be nasty as in really mean, nasty.”

“Yeah, like what?”

“I don’t know yet, I got to think about it. How about at 4:30 we’ll say what will be our prizes.”

“Good idea, I suppose I should try thinking a bit instead of just going with the usual go-to.”

“What’s your usual go-to?”

“Tell you at 4:30.”

Another fifteen minutes go by, another 3-5 miles, then Ellie inquired about the prize: “So what is it you want if you win?”

“Well, I decided I can’t just go with my go-to blowjob with -”

She interrupted, a bit perturbed, “Come on! I just gave you a blow job yesterday, I give you blowjobs all the time!”

He glanced at her with a raised eyebrow.

“Ok, maybe not all the time but I’m not shy about it either.”

“Fair enough. You are right and that’s why I decided I can’t just choose a blowjob for this victory but you didn’t let me finish what I was going to say: a blowjob with your glasses on.”

What he really wanted to request as his reward was a facial on her glasses a la but figured it’s too early in whatever you call this relationship to go for that.

“Jeez, do glasses really matter that much to you?”

“We’ll discuss that later. Back to the issue at hand. So, like I was saying, I couldn’t go with the usual because you did such a good job of taking care of me yesterday and I thought about making you dress up and do something special for my birthday -”

“Dress up how?”

“Haven’t figured it out yet. But then I thought it’s my birthday, I shouldn’t have to use my capital from winning a bet on my birthday.”

“True, it’s your birthday, it’s your day and it only happens once a year.”

“Then I thought about making you spend the night with me tonight because you’ve never slept with me on a school night and last night was great and I just ate a ton of raw fish and oysters this weekend, you know what that does to me -”

“All right, tell me already, come on!”

“Do you know ‘Spanish-style’?

After about 45 white-knuckle, sweaty-palm nervous minutes, Paul saw the freeway split: one way going up through the middle of the country through Daejeon to Seoul, the other, a veer to the right onto the Namhae Highway to Jinhae, Masan, Busan, up the coast to the DMZ. As he hit the on-ramp he got over 40km for the first time in three-quarters of an hour. 46 minutes after the clock had started, he was doing 120km.

She conceded. Paul raised one finger in the air and triumphantly proclaimed, “Winner, Winner, baby-oiled breasts for dinner!”

“So, Spanish-style, uh, does that mean, like, titty fuck?”



“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t like my breasts. My mom says they’re too big because she says I’m fat.”

“Ridiculous. Just because a tall, curvy girl in all the right places gets judged for somehow being overweight? Bullshit.”

“And, really, that’s what you want for your birthday?”


“Such a boob guy! But I’m glad you are.”

* * *

Big T sarcastically replied to Paul, “That’s great, Pablo. And I thought I was a big winner because I left Vegas only down a couple hundy.”


“And now you’re going to do some perverted shit to this poor girl. I know you, you sick fuck. I fucking hate you now more than ever.”

“Yep. I understand.”





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