“Get out of the way. Come on!” one of the detectives shouts, frustrated.
“How about you go and eat shit,” says one of the men blocking the corridor.
“Wow, what the fuck are these guys eating to get this heavy?” another detective grunts.
There’s no way through with five huge men stubbornly standing in the way. Or rather, squeezed together and stubbornly pushing against the detectives. I can’t see a gap that even a sheet of paper could fit through. We might need to call the fire department.
The detectives look defeated.
“Go and get some more men,” one of them orders.
“I think we’ll need a machine rather than more men,” says another.
“I wish we could just push them all down,” a third says with a sigh.
“We’re sure there’s no other exits, right?” someone asks.
There’s silence. Nobody can answer this question.
From the way that Song Dae-Ak is putting up so much of a fight, it’s clear that there must be another way out. There’s no other possible reason for him to drive himself into what seems to be a dead end.
Shit. I need to hurry.
Just as I’m about to turn around back towards the stage, I hear a shout from behind me, and a man appears in the corridor.
It’s none other than Black. Those guys must have been clinging onto him pretty hard; his undershirt is all stretched out and disheveled. The bloodstains here and there… probably belong to the gangsters.
“What is this? What are you all doing here?” Black asks.
“Ah, about that,” I say.
But he seems to have grasped the situation before I can explain.
He pulls the detectives out of the way and stands in front of the Fork Gang guys.
The gangsters gulp nervously as they look at Black’s bulky body. A fierce mental battle unfolds between them and Black.
Black turns away from them and exhales. He locks his fingers together, puts his hands near his stomach and bends his knees a little.
The detectives and the thugs stare at him with puzzled expressions. They have no idea what’s going on.
Black was engaged in a mental battle a moment ago, and now he looks like he’s mentally preparing himself?
But I know what he’s planning to do.
I run quickly towards Black.
“Lift me!” I shout.
I plant my foot on Black’s hands and leap into the air. I feel his strength as he lifts me up.
Finally understanding what’s going on, the detectives throw themselves at the gangsters with everything they have.
There’s a lot of shouting.
“You sons of bitches!”
As I run across the thugs’ shoulders, the detectives use their bodies to distract them so they can’t stop me.
Someone grabs my ankle, causing me to lose my balance.
But I’ve already run across the shoulders of all five of the men blocking the corridor. As I get all way over, I see the bare floor beneath me and roll across to land safely.
The detectives and big gangsters are still grappling with each other and scrambling around.
“No! Don’t let him get to Hyeong-nim!” one of the gangsters shouts.
“Stop him!” yells another.
“‘Stop him’ my ass!” a detective says as he throws a punch.
“Go on ahead!” another detective shouts at me.
They’re all pulling at each other in a chaotic mess.
I hastily run up the steep stairs.
There’s nothing notable on the next floor. A pile of miscellaneous items stacked up in one place and a half-open door.
Through the door, I can see two men moving busily. They’re taking something out of a safe and putting it into a bag.
“Police! Stop what you’re doing and put your hands up!” I shout as I point my pistol at them.
Song Dae-Ak slowly puts his hands into the air. It seems that he’s finished what he was doing; there’s a heavy sports bag hanging from his shoulder.
I see. He was packing his money and ledgers.
And there’s a familiar face next to him. Seeing a peculiar burn-mark around his neck, I recognize him with certainty. It’s a guy I know very well.
“Dal-gon,” I say.
Song Dae-Ak grabs Dal-gon’s throat with his thick hands, his face twisted in a frown that expresses a raw, wild anger. “What the fuck, Dal-gon. You ratted me out?”
“N-no, Hyeong-nim. I’ve never seen him before!” Dal-gon stammers.
“Then how the fuck does he know who you are?”
Dal-gon turns his head backwards and stares at me in disbelief.
It’s a bit sad, but it can’t be helped. He doesn’t know me, after all.
I nod to calm Song Dae-Ak down. “That’s right. He doesn’t know me.”
“What kind of bullshit is that?” Song Dae-Ak spits.
“You wouldn’t understand even if I told you. So just put your hands above your head.”
Song Dae-Ak glares at Dal-gon and mutters something to him. It looks like he’s suspicious, but he’s left with no other choice but to trust him.
“Got it?” Song Dae-Ak says.
“Of course, Hyeong-nim,” says Dal-gon.
“I trust you, Dal-gon.”
“Please be careful.”
Dal-gon stands between me and Song Dae-Ak.
Meanwhile, Song Dae-Ak pulls on the emergency escape rope.
I have a pretty good idea of what he’s planning to do.
“Hey, don’t do that. You’ll just make things exhausting for all of us,” I say, waving my hands to indicate for him to stop.
“If you’re tired, go and take a fucking nap,” Song Dae-Ak sneers.
With that, he throws himself at the window.
“Shit!” I mutter.
The window is built in a way that it shatters easily, like a biscuit. It looks like this was all set up with a scenario like this in mind.
My gun was pointed towards him, but with Dal-gon standing in the way, I couldn’t pull the trigger.
“You can’t stop Hyeong-nim from leaving,” Dal-gon says.
The wheel of the pulley that Song Dae-Ak’s rope is attached to is turning rapidly.
I look out the window to see him tumbling onto the ground. Despite using a pulley, it seems that he landed in a bad way; he’s limping now.
I take out my radio to inform the detectives outside about the situation. “Song Dae-Ak has escaped from the second floor window on the right side. He’s heading towards the subway station -“
Suddenly, Dal-gon dives at me, knocking the radio from my hand. I feel a dull pain in my wrist.
I grimace and grab Dal-gon’s neck.
This isn’t the same guy that I met in prison. His plump, soft body that I knew is a mass of muscle now. He was really fit when he was younger. He used to always brag about it, and I never believed him.
“You should’ve kept a better eye on me,” Dal-gon breathes.
“Stop talking bullshit!” I mutter.
Dal-gon kicks me hard in the stomach.
I’m going to get hurt really badly if I keep underestimating him. In my previous life, he was one of the skilled guys who ruled the prison.
Holding his neck, I exchange punches with him as we roll across the floor. I can feel pieces of broken glass burying themselves in my neck and back.
But it’s not just me. Dal-gon’s face is covered in small cuts from the glass fragments.
He intends to kill me. His eyes are full of agitation and anger.
Come to think of it, the Dal-gon I knew was from a different violent gang, not the Fork Gang. Why’s he here?
I kick him hard to get him off me and get some distance.
Breathing hard, I examine him carefully. I stare at his smooth, wrinkle-free face and shining pupils. It’s hard to believe that this is the same Dal-gon who would always lament about having lived such a bitter life.
If I remember correctly, when he was young…
“Dal-gon,” I say.
“How the fuck do you know my name, you son of a bitch!” he spits.
“You shouldn’t be doing this. I have a pretty good idea about your situation…”
“What the hell do you know!”
“That bastard Song Dae-Ak isn’t the kind to keep his promises.”
I vaguely remember. When Ho-un made green tea, the prison family would gather and exchange stories. Dal-gon’s life story was particularly popular because of all the hardships he went through.
He was a born fighter and brawler. It was said that there was something deadly behind his fists, and he would always draw blood with them in a fight. But he was notably friendly and loyal to those he viewed as his companions.
After graduating high school, he was invited to join an organization by an older guy he hung out with, and that’s how he got into that life.
Dal-gon spoke candidly as he sipped his green tea. About how he regretted it all. About how he was too immature.
And the thing he regretted most about his life was…
“Song Dae-Ak told you that he’s going to pay your mother’s hospital bills, didn’t he?” I say.
“How did you… know that…” Dal-gon whispers in shock, his fists uncurling.
I know what is going on. Song Dae-Ak is holding the money and forcing Dal-gon to play puppet master. He’s told Dal-gon that he’ll pay his mother’s hospital fees if he shoulders all of the illegal activities that take place in the club.
He believed the promise of his gang’s leader without question, and that’s why he went to jail. Like a damned fool.
But all he got for his loyalty was hospital bills that were three months overdue and the news that his mother’s condition had worsened.
After getting released from jail, he looked for the organization that had lied to him so he could take revenge, but it was too late – the organization had already disbanded and vanished.
After that, he used his history to find a place in yet another organization.
This is crazy. How could things get so tangled up like this? To think that the organization he joined afterwards was the Fork Gang.
“It’ll take too long to explain,” I say. “First, we need to catch Song Dae-Ak and -“
Just at that moment, the door slams open and police officers rush inside. They approach Dal-gon, force him onto his knees, and put handcuffs on his wrists.
Our task force leader and Black rush in and take a look at the situation. It looks like they’ve gone through a bloody fight as well; blood is splattered on them here and there.
“What about Song Dae-Ak?” the task force leader asks.
“I’m sorry, sir. He broke the window and escaped. I contacted the others by radio, so they should be chasing him,” I say.
Dal-gon quietly accepts his arrest. His goal was to allow his leader to get away safely, after all. I guess he thinks that he’s done what he needed to do. Or maybe he’s confused by my words.
He’s looking straight down, so I can’t see his face. As a result, I can’t tell what he’s thinking.
Considering the personality of the Dal-gon that I knew, he probably won’t throw away his loyalty so easily. He’s a guy who believes that loyalty and trust are everything in relationships with others.
A situation report suddenly comes through on the radio.
“Affirmative. We’re currently determining Song Dae-Ak’s escape route and chasing after him.”
That’s a relief. They haven’t caught him, but they haven’t lost him completely, either. There will be plenty of chances to catch him.
I go out back to the stage to see that things have been mostly cleaned up. The detectives are rounding the gangsters up.
“Come on. Walk slowly and stand in line.”
“You there. Stop that.”
“Hey, would you look at this guy. Where’d you come from?”
“Stay still. It’s hard to tie you up.”
Mong-Doo is sweating profusely as he ties the gangsters up.
The Fork Gang members are quiet, but the Guma Gang members are just the opposite, frothing at the mouth and still trying to resist. Of course, they’re all tied up, so they can’t do much other than making a lot of noise.
The task force leader takes a look at me and pats my shoulder.
Ouch. I’m starting to feel the pain of the cuts that I’ve sustained.
“I’d say that if you lose blood while arresting someone on your first day, you’re probably pretty good at catching criminals. Good job,” the task force leader says.
“It’s a good thing our youngest kid thinks quickly on his feet,” says Black, smiling as he puts a hand on my shoulder as well.
He’s praising me for the move that I made earlier.
Hmm. Youngest kid, huh? Me, a guy who lived to the age of 40 and is now going through Life: Part 2, the youngest kid.
Whatever. I suppose it’s not a bad thing. It gives me the sense that I’m getting a fresh start.
“Are all of these gangsters going to be handed over to us?” I ask the task force leader.
“Most of them should go to the Gumun Police Department, since this area is under their jurisdiction,” the task force leader replies.
“There’s too many to handle in one place, so some of them will be allocated to other departments,” says Black.
That means that it is very likely that I won’t be able to take care of Dal-gon.
I run after Dal-gon, who is heading towards the suspect transport vehicles.
He frowns, as if I’m the last person he wants to see. I guess it’s because the more he looks at me, the more his trust in his boss is shaken.
I’m going to help you, man. I’ll make sure that you only end up paying the price for the crimes you committed, and nothing more.
“Dal-gon,” I say.
“… Piss off. And don’t talk like you know me,” he mutters, checking his surroundings.
If rumors spread that he has a connection with the police, he might stop receiving Song Dae-Ak’s support.
But I don’t back down. “Don’t worry.”
Dal-gon says nothing.
“Your life, I’ll take responsibility for it,” I say.
“See you soon,” I tell him.
“You crazy son of a bitch,” Dal-gon finally mutters as he gets into the transport vehicle.
Where has the friendly Dal-gon I knew gone?
The incident has concluded with Song Dae-Ak’s escape.
The nine o’clock news reports the large gang fight, and my task is decided.
I need to catch Song Dae-Ak and save Dal-gon.
Song Dae-Ak’s future is already set, but I’m sure it won’t matter if it gets changed a little. Changed so that I’m the one who catches him, that is.