Once upon a time, there lived a man called God.
He was also called Peter Pan, Michael, Boss, Choi Kang-ta and Show-off. Of the last it was unclear who bestowed it on him; perhaps it was someone who couldn’t stand Michael’s endless posturing. Or the fact that the guy possessed an insane number of skills, conquering with uncommon ease even the sky and sea. He could be a bird, he could be a merman!
He could also be a much leaner version of Shrek, off to rescue his Fiona held captive in a castle. Except that Shrek’s hairstylist knew what he was doing but Michael’s didn’t.
No matter how he styled his hair, whether sleeked back or hanging loose, it kindled a long-ago saying by a certain bard: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Certainly there was something rank about the guy’s appearance, a sense of him having aged twenty years in just mere months. It was enough to make people who profess to know him (having watched him here and there, and in this and that) cry. What had the man done to himself to look this… this
But as the bard also said, “Let every eye negotiate for itself,” so beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To Vivian Castle (because she lives in a castle, hello), Michael was her Prince Charming, that swashbuckling knight come to rescue her!
Except it wasn’t so much a rescue as it was another airy dream in that plethora that was Michael’s imagination. But don’t awaken him yet; let him smirk away and let that chest swell!
Because you see, twenty-five years ago Michael had watched his dad being slashed and bludgeoned. The boy, so wee at that time, could only cower in horror as the blood drained from his father’s body and as the flames licked their house and reduced it and his mom to ashes. He had been so helpless then but not anymore.
Now he was all grown up and ready to exact revenge. He would hunt his parents’ killers down and make them pay. He would build for himself a surveillance room so sophisticated it transmitted images that were only occasionally blurry, and also so spacious he and his fencing partner could spar and not knock into furniture except occasionally.
As he contemplated how his years of planning were finally coming into fruition (he might not have actually taken that long to hatch his vengeance egg, but “years” sounds more impressive than “weeks,” no?), he remembered his father again. His heart tied itself into a knot, but you wouldn’t know it looking at him because his face was nothing but beatific as he gazed upon the children running toward him with their open arms. Maybe they thought he came bearing gifts, or maybe they were told by a higher-up to “run gleefully into God’s arms or else”; whatever the reason it didn’t matter in the end. What did matter was that we got to see a rare moment where he wasn’t hamming it up to some invisible camera. (Or maybe he was? Drat.) Nothing like a smile to make that face look less craggy and careworn.
And so off to Hawaii trooped Boss and his retinue, which comprised Vivian and an underling. His first target was one Chairman Kang Tae-ho, who owned TH Energy, one of Korea’s biggest conglomerates. Kang also happened to be the mastermind behind his parents’ deaths. Outside the airport, as the aggrieved one watched his enemy intently, he soon realized that someone else was just as engrossed in the same task.
This someone was a reporter with a rather unusual name: Jin Bo-bae. Supposedly she had an inkling that Chairman Kang was up to no good (arms smuggling and all) so naturally she wanted to be the first in the country to expose him and earn for herself a promotion from veteran reporter to veteran reporter. (Yes, some jobs have no prospects, so?) There was little that she wouldn’t do to earn her scoop. Don a bikini so that she could photograph Kang cavorting with some sweet young things? Easy-peasy. Stick a hidden camera into a strategic location and squeeze said camera discreetly? Okay, that “discreetly” part needs more work but who is complaining?
Either because she was feeling cold or because something was sore from too much pinching, Jin soon slipped away behind a tree. A normal camera in her hands this time, she positioned herself to take more of Kang’s photos but something in the distance caught her eye. That something, because it was called God and possessed a certain omniscience, sensed that it was being spied upon and promptly put on a show befitting her curiosity.
Then, because he knew that if he continued to perform that he would tire himself out and perchance fall ungainly into the sea, Michael decided to return to shore. As he swaggered up the beach, a bewitched Jin could not help putting on her own show for him. Whichever way you looked at it, from front or back, it was all rather amusing.
Meanwhile, another show of sorts was unfolding. Seagulls paused in the midst of fish-scavenging to gawk and even the palm trees sighed in envy, cursing the bad seeds that stunted their growth.
The chairman thought he had died and gone to heaven…
…which might not be such a fantastical notion after all when everything is said and done… Michael’s way. He’s not called God (in this drama) for nothing. Don’t cross him, and definitely don’t make him cross. You don’t want him giving you the evil eye. You don’t want him sending you to
hell a different kind of paradise, a very fiery one.
Lustfully unaware of the ominous fate awaiting him, Kang glowed like a forest of fireflies as he and Vivian frolicked, she showing off her baby-soft and odor-free armpit. She also showed him a non-permanent tattoo on her back, said act causing his drool to spill over and kill three ants just minding their business on the ground.
If his brain was working (it wasn’t, all the blood having gone south), he would have paid attention to the words on the tattoo…
I WILL OBEY FOR HE IS MY GOD
…and to the sword and two serpents. Alas, all he saw was flesh beckoning to him. His eyes glazed over.
Ms. Castle, on the other hand, was bright and alert. As she leaned close to plant a certain something (not a kiss but a circular bandage with chloroformic potency) on his neck, she saw out of the corner of her eye that Pesky Reporter was pointing a camera in the chairman’s direction. Swift as an arrow, her boss and his underling swung into action. Before she knew what hit her, Jin’s camera had been snatched (by Michael’s underling) from her hands and tossed far out to sea. Screaming frantically, she ran to Mr. Cute (the one who proved to be so distracting earlier, and who now happened to be just nearby, ha) and asked him to help her. And of course he did (not). Most cheekily, too. Guy’s a born flirt.
Surprisingly, Jin didn’t take the untimely death of her camera too badly. She was probably too floored by a certain wink and wave to realize Mr. Flirty was God and possessed such powers as making blood drip from a ceiling!
And appearing in the likeness of his dead father!
Without leaving the comfort of his chair in his special den, Michael was able to plant a nightmare in Kang’s head à la Inception. By remote control he was able to make the chairman crap his pants in bed. Behold the man called God!
But Kang wasn’t chairman of Korea’s eighth largest chaebol for nothing. Refusing to bow to Michael’s demands (that he publicly declare in the papers the next day his murderous deeds and also divulge the names of his accomplices), he blithely proceeded with a secret meeting with an Arab sheikh, purportedly to discuss business. Somehow bumbling Jin got discovered by Kang’s lackey and was offered a chance to prove her suspicions (of Kang’s arms smuggling) wrong by tagging along on said business trip. All aboard, ahoy!
The meeting at sea got underway. Since it was off-limits to all and sundry, and since Jin had by now lost all her sleuthing abilities (or perhaps she never possessed any in the first place), she happily photographed the ocean and not Kang or his distinguished overseas guest. But as any kid could guess a mile away, the guest turned out to be none other than… Michael.
When the disguise was removed, the chairman shrieked in shock and promptly keeled over. Well, not exactly (although who could blame him if he actually did, for that exact reason?). He was merely pretending to faint so that he could seize a sword and demonstrate the fine art of slicing
Choi Junior tuna.
But since Michael was Michael (and also something else), he of course won the battle of the gleaming blades. Kang had no choice but to bow before him, like someone about to be knighted (or blighted, you pick).
Still, the chairman thought (erroneously) that he was a cat with nine lives. Making a dash for freedom, he jumped onto a smaller boat and gleefully sped away, his sigh of relief caught in mid-explosion. BOOM! Bye bye, chairman. Startled by the blast in yonder distance, reporter-turned tourist Jin fell overboard, pretended to be dead, and was revived through underwater mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Because if a person was drowning, the surest way to save her was to clamp her mouth shut so she
had one less orifice with which to breathe would not inhale more water. Got to hand it to you, Michael.
As expected, Vivian was none too pleased that Michael had spared Ms. Jin.
Not that Vivian’s displeasure bothered him one bit. The man called God was reprising Titanic and crooning “And my heart will go on and on…”
Still, no matter how he sang, that slow boat ain’t bringing him back to Seoul from Hawaii. A private jet, on the other hand, would do nicely and wouldn’t ruffle up his hair one bit.
Also back in Seoul was our reporter, looking all perky and completely unlike a person who had witnessed a man and boat being blown to bits. Maybe she honed her reporting skills in Afghanistan or somewhere equally dangerous. Or maybe she was just made of steely stuff… like the man greeting her at the airport. That man was an upholder of the law; not that you could tell if you saw how viciously he beat felons, to a pulp and even less than that. He, incidentally, was out to nab a crook called Peter Pan.
Michael, you’d better watch your step and not act like you were God or something.