Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Author:Min Jin Lee
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: 2017-02-07T05:00:00+00:00

The police found him in no time. Only a few minutes before, Mozasu had come back to the stall with blood on his hand and told his mother and grandmother what had happened with Chiyaki.

The police officer confirmed the story.

“Your son hit a gentleman who was buying some socks. This sort of behavior warrants an explanation. The young lady said that that man was trying to molest her and your son was protecting her, but the customer denies it,” the officer said.

Goro-san, the pachinko parlor owner, who was heading to the stand for his afternoon snack, rushed toward them when he saw the policeman.

“Hello, officer.” He winked at Sunja. “Is everything okay?” Goro asked.

Mozasu sat on the old wooden stool by the cart, looking guilty for troubling his mother and grandmother.

“Mozasu was defending a young lady who works at the sock store from a man who grabbed her. Mozasu hit him in the face,” Sunja said calmly. She kept her head high and refused to apologize for fear of admitting guilt on his behalf. Her heart was pounding so hard that she thought they could hear it. “He was only trying to help.”

Yangjin nodded firmly and patted Mozasu’s back.

“Maji?” Goro said, laughing. “Is that right, officer?”

“Well, that’s what the young lady said in the shop, and Watanabe-san agreed with her version of the events. The man who was hit denies it, but I’ve heard from some other store owners that he is a creep who often bothers the younger girls who work here.” The police officer shrugged. “Nevertheless, the man thinks his jaw is broken. His two lower teeth are loose. I wanted to warn the young man that he can’t just hit people even if they’re wrong. He should have called the police.”

At this, Mozasu nodded. He had been in trouble before, but no one had ever called the police. All his life, he had known about his father, who had been wrongfully imprisoned. Lately, Noa was warning him that since the Koreans in Japan were no longer citizens, if you got in trouble, you could be deported. Noa had told him that no matter what, Mozasu had to respect the police and be very deferential even if they were rude or wrong. Only a month ago, Noa had said a Korean had to be extra good. Once again, Mozasu felt bad for messing up and dreaded the look of disappointment that would surely appear on Noa’s face.

Goro considered the boy and Sunja, one of his favorite ajummas in the market.

“Officer, I know this family. They’re very hardworking, and Mozasu is a good kid. He won’t get in trouble again. Right, Mozasu?” Goro stared directly at Mozasu.

“Hai,” Mozasu replied.

The officer repeated his speech about how citizens should never take the law into their own hands, and Mozasu, Sunja, and Goro nodded as if the officer were the Emperor himself. After he left, Goro lightly smacked Mozasu in the back of head with his felt hat. Mozasu winced, but of course it hadn’t hurt.


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