Fiction Issue 5

The Man Who Became a Flamingo (4)

Read “The Man Who Became a Flamingo (3)”


The Man Who Became a Flamingo (4)

Oh Han Ki. Novelist. Analrealist
Translated by Archana Madhavan


Pleasure of the hunt.
A day for the hunt.
Battle and fatigue.
Hunger and abundance.

As the sun sinks below the horizon, I slowly begin to move. My day is beginning.

I usually hunt barnyard ducks. It is easy to hunt ducks. Ducks are slow-moving. They waddle about and they’re docile because they have been tamed by humans. It’s simply a matter of drawing in close and killing them with a bite to the neck. They don’t even realize they’ve been killed. They don’t make a single sound. Their innards melt in the mouth. Crunching on the bones only adds to the savoriness. The downside is that it melts so quickly, you feel hungry again soon after.

Shh. Over there. That bastard’s moving. That cunning little bastard who lives in that ridiculously rundown cottage. The nephew of the old man who built the cottage. Says he’s a writer or something. More like a good-for-nothing motherfucker who lives life mooching off others. As if I don’t know the truth. When that hack of an author came by every single day to buy hamburgers, it dawned on me. That the girl would be involved. That bastard acted friendly toward me. But I could tell by instinct that he was wary of me. The smell of blood. Toasting a drink. Slender vertebrae.

The girl’s scent emanates from the outdated old cottage where that bastard lives. The scent excites me. Is she being hidden?

I smack my lips. If I do not hunt, my prey and I have no reason to exist.

Starving, I hunt. Only then will I be myself again.

Every night, that bastard and the girl go on a walk. Holding hands, tightly, as if they are lovers. Concealed in the darkness, I observe them. They look so close that my jealousy soars.

That small, scrawny little girl who’s crazy for hamburgers. I know that girl. How can she hold that bastard’s hand but hate me so much? Am I that scary? That girl screamed and ran away from me. Thieving bitch. The watchman’s foster daughter. I forgave her for stealing hamburgers. She was so small and thin that I pitied her. Didn’t I bring her inside after I found her pouting outside the shop window and let her eat all the hamburgers she wanted? 

Poor little girl, how hungry she must have been. How hungry must she have been to steal those hamburgers and run away. On the one hand, I was thankful. There are still people who enjoy my hamburgers. I suppose I can keep living.

It’s because I thought of my daughter. Janie. Poor bitch. After Janie died, I lived alone for thirty years. I made hamburgers every time I thought of Janie.

You bitch, didn’t I give you those hamburgers you like so much? Was it really so hard to hold me and caress me a little? I liked that girl. So I couldn’t stand not to harass her. I hit and grabbed her. I clawed and bit her. I stripped her and tore at her. I loved her with all my heart. My poor daughter Janie. How are you? Janie, call me dad. I asked you to call me dad. Dad, Dad. Say it with me. That ungrateful girl shook her head. I’m not Janie. I begged and that bitch spat at me. You’re not my dad. I said I’m not Janie! I treated you so well, was that really so difficult? 

After that, I decided to hunt that bitch. I’m going to tie up that girl and touch her as much as I want. I will love her as much as I want. Surfboard. I will make that girl into a hamburger.  

Your name is DB. I heard it a while back. That bastard calling the girl DB.

DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. DB. Soon my head was filled with DB. Did you run away because I didn’t say your name intimately like this? Want to try calling me dad? Janie? I mean, DB?

I wait for them. Hiding in the thicket. It’s time for them to arrive. There! You’re babbling to each other, walking toward that damned nuclear power plant. Vicious youth reflected under the moonlight. Age like moss. Youth is easily lured by bait.

Reason resides within action.

Hang on. Hear that? That girl has been spouting nonsense since her father died. Saying she hears a heifer’s voice or something. She’s turned insane and says these absurd things. Pitiful bitch. If it weren’t for me, you’d already be put away in a mental hospital. If you’d been nice, I would’ve fed you hamburgers forever and doted on you like you were my daughter.

Action is not the handmaiden of reason.

I hear it again. That lewd little girl’s venting.

Macau used to be a Portuguese colony. In 1999, it was transferred back to China.
Depression. Woodworks. Fire. Curse from God. 

I see that girl flop down on the ground as she continues to create a ruckus. It’s time. With quiet footsteps. Stealthily, I approach. I must sink my teeth into their necks. Hunger by Knut Hamsun.
Ah, that guy’s looking all around.
I hide myself in the bushes.
And hold my breath.
Careful. I am one, and they are two.
Old age is the evidence of wisdom though one’s strength is lost.
I have to kill them at once when they let down their guard. That would be the most exciting.
I have to kill them when they don’t suspect anything. That would be the most satiating.

Even though I am not lonely, I murmur that I am lonely.

Darn it, they’re on the move. They’re turning back toward the cottage. That bastard is holding the girl to his chest as he walks. Son of a bitch. Janie, hang on a little longer. I’ll save you.

I missed out on the chance for a perfect hunt.
I missed out on the chance to capture them alive without spilling a single drop of blood.
An old hunter’s regret.
As wisdom increases, pleasure decreases.
I become more and more weary. The closer I get to death, the more my strength wanes.
Once I die, I will no longer be able to make hamburgers. I will not be able to miss Janie.

In any case, what I’m making isn’t hamburgers. If people don’t eat them, hamburgers aren’t hamburgers. Everything is because of that nuclear power plant. That house is a disaster. It’s a prison where leprosy patients wander about. Do leprosy patients have souls that are rotten too? 

I disliked the look in their eyes from the very start. Eyes that looked toward imminent death. Eyes that weren’t afraid of death. In all honesty, I fear game like that. They whisper to me, begging to be killed. Please kill. Please kill me. In exchange, you’ll be hurt more. You’ll suffer for the rest of your life.

Damn it, in the midst of all that babbling, they vanished from my sight. Hold on, where are they?

Found them. They’ve passed the reservoir and intend to head back to the cottage. I’ve been afraid to go to that bastard’s place lately. If I go anywhere near Room 110, I smell lead. The sour smell of bullets. A silent assassin waiting for me. If I get shot, I will burst into smithereens.

I don’t want to die yet. Before I die, I must first rescue DB. I need to embrace DB once again. Don’t worry, I will save you. Try calling me dad?

To capture them alive, I have to use my head. Strength and weaponry aren’t the only things that make up a hunter. To a hunter, intellect is indispensable. I make a phone call. Hello. Is this the police? I called yesterday. He doesn’t believe me. He detests my voice. I keep going. There’s a crazy person here. He’s locked up a young child in his cottage and rapes her several times a day. This isn’t a prank call. He hangs up.

Push today to tomorrow.
Waiting is a virtue of the hunt.
I hunt.
Lying low.
Waiting for everything.
Memories. Tyranny.
I’ve lost love.



I sometimes sneak a look at the notebook DB has hidden under her bed. Like myself when I was younger, DB also enjoys describing every single moment, every useless emotion. DB’s notebook contains many descriptions of her father. Her handwriting is a mess, like she’s trying to write quickly before she forgets, but I fully feel the earnestness in her heart. Maybe it’s just me, but DB seems more grown-up now that she’s started writing.

I vaguely remember. When I was young like DB I, too, made an effort to describe everything. I liked waking up and opening my eyes. I felt the sunshine. My ears perked at the sound of the wind. I’d daydream about what passersby might be saying to each other. I’d spend the whole day staring into an ant hill.

The ants didn’t eat me. Unfortunately. Had they been multi-colored? No, not rainbow, bluish-gray.
A memory of myself trying hard to describe the ant hill to my mother came to my mind. Busy with something else, she only half-listened to me. The fundamental reason for describing things is loneliness.

Once I got older, I stopped finding joy in describing things because I realized no one liked it. Everyone was too busy to listen to them. Plus, descriptions are uneconomical. They can be misunderstood as emotional. They aren’t logical. They aren’t philosophical. They are tiring. If there is no description, the world is somewhat fit to live in. Even without descriptions, there are lots of things one can understand. The more things one knows, the more things one loses. If one loses a lot of things, one can’t throw away anything else. 

Useless worries. It doesn’t matter now anyway. Since I started turning into a flamingo, I haven’t been particularly conscious of descriptions. Descriptions are human behavior. 



At some point, DB begins to wander inside the flamingo brain at night. She gets up with a start and roams around everywhere, unconsciously, inside the flamingo brain. She plods about, searching for her father. She bumps into walls. She falls to the ground. She bows her head. She stirs the flamingo brain, and then smooths it down. Memories spill out of the flamingo brain. Regrets overflow. Faces bubble forth. Names suddenly enter the mind. Terror and delight escape it. Mistakes and shame surge.

At the end of her efforts, DB leaves the flamingo brain. She leaves Room 110. She is about to leave me. DB is leaving the shell of the flamingo.

Hang on, DB, where are you going? I shout.

Sex with a peanut is my troubled mouth.
Are you a human or a mouse?

DB is not herself. Even though I am going after DB, since I’m not going after DB who’s in her right mind, I’m not sure if I should say I am going after her or not. In any case, to put it simply, I’m chasing after DB’s staggering, sleepwalking body.

In no time DB arrives at the nest resembling an evening primrose. She lingers by the outer wall of the nest emitting a green beam of light. In the distance, watchmen could be seen pacing in front of the nest afflicted with a lingering illness. I block DB’s way, whispering that we should turn back. DB lunges at me. I grab her. DB swings her fist at me.

Dad’s calling me. He says to come home, DB mumbles.

I am dying in this place.
Here, there are bonfires, bonfires, bonfires.
Five pains, three joys.
I want to be born as a wheel and a wheel

From DB’s throat comes the voice of a middle-aged man. It’s DB’s father. DB staggers. She sinks to the ground. She begins to cry. She’d stop crying and start smiling right away if you danced for her. 

Do you want a hamburger? 

These are the only words I know how to say.

After I started writing in the notebook you gave me, dad came back. When I write, I remember everything. I even hear dad’s voice in my dreams. That son of a bitch was talking nonstop. DB mumbles.

Flamingos in the ballet-dancing next tilt their heads toward us. As soon as I turn my eyes to them, they rise up into the air and disappear.


Alter Ego

Most of the writers I reference in my writing are flamingos. And if they’re not flamingos, they’re either in the middle of turning into one or close to it. They all want to hide themselves. I commune with them. We even exchange letters, either short or long. Sometimes we even meet up and talk in person. I’d just finished writing in detail about our meeting but then erased it thinking they wouldn’t like that.

Wausan Mountain
Water splash

I’ll only reveal that the evening after I met them, I wrote these two fragments. 

The reason I’m revealing they’re flamingos now is simple. The moment I make that fact known to the public, the readers of my writing may fool themselves into thinking that flamingos are a mere metaphor. 

There are no allegories or metaphors or irony in this piece of writing. To stress once again, this writing is simply the word of flamingos, written down and printed out verbatim to the best of my ability.



I cannot forget the day you came to see me with that small human. I saw a cute little human child. I remembered the children who throw snacks and trash at me; the children who hurl insults at me. At first I was bewildered because those children came to mind. And I was jealous when I saw you being friends with the child. But once I listened to what you had to say, I quickly realized I had misunderstood.

I am walking into the lake that the humans made, missing you. As soon as I woke up, I ate my feed. I do not notice what I eat. I put in my mouth whatever is given to me. I usually eat five meals a day. I can even eat eight meals a day if that’s what the zookeeper feeds me. Who knows, I can probably even eat ten meals a day. If I’m told to eat until my stomach bursts, I would do so obediently. I know. If my stomach bursts open, the zookeeper will sew it back up. That is the state in which I walk into the manmade lake. Missing you.

From where do you keep talking to me? Why do you keep sending me signals? The more you do this, the more agonizing it is for me. You know just as well as I. I cannot fly to where you are. I cannot fly to the nest that can be seen from your house. I cannot appear before your eyes. I am locked up. I cannot fly freely. The humans have clipped my wings so I cannot escape this place. My wings are frail.

Every time I hear your voice, I look for you, but you aren’t there. Every single day, I look for you among all the people who come to see me. But nothing. You aren’t there. I want to touch you.

It’s better if you don’t come looking for me. It’s more painful whenever you come here looking for me. Do you know how frightening and hopeless I feel when you’re right in front of me but I can’t touch you? I know. I know that it makes you sad too.

I know that you are a flamingo. I knew from the day I first saw you. I fell in love. But you’re not a full flamingo. The other animals would never be able to guess that you’re flamingo. I’ve said it already a number of times, but you’re something different from me. The second, third, and fourth dimensions are probably more alike than you and I. Your genitalia wouldn’t fit my body. I would not be able to lay an egg with you. This isn’t the time yet. Perhaps it never will be. You have been cursed. I have been cursed. I quite believe in superstition.

Ever since you and the child came by, I’ve been ill. I have depression. That is what the veterinarian said. That I miss the birthplace that I’ve never even been to. That it’s because of a parasite. That it’s because I am in heat. That’s why the others are avoiding me. I am a nuisance. That is what they whisper about me. I know. That I am sick because I cannot touch you.    

After I met you, I started to hate myself. I started to hate the dried shrimp that the zookeeper would give me. I grew embarrassed of my pink body. I want to talk with you for a long time. I want to become the same color as your flesh. 

I avoid the zookeeper. I pretend that something is bothering me. I stick my head in the manmade lake and hold my breath. I stick my head through the wire fencing and startle the humans. I fight with the others and bite them. Sometimes the zookeeper tranquilizes me and I fall asleep. I loathe the zookeeper. That is why they hate me. 

Whenever I think of you, I scream at the humans looking at me. Hold me please. Will I be able to wear shoes? I have never eaten omurice. Have you been to another country? No one answers me. They only see me as another spectacle.

You told me that you write. You told me that you dedicate all of your writing to me. You told me that no one acknowledges your work. I asked you: So then why do you write? You said to me: When I write I forget that I am alive. I am curious about your writing.
I think I understand you a little better now. I have experienced something similar. When I dance, I forget that I am alive. When I dance, I forget that I am a flamingo. The fact that I am breathing is not important. I am an actress. I am on a stage. I perform for the humans. I dance to the rhythm of human music. I was born for this. We’re born with the instinct to follow one another. It doesn’t bother me that humans use this peculiarity of ours to put on a show. Because when I get on stage, people clap for me. And it feels so good. I dance on and on. I am a born dancer.
These days, even dancing doesn’t make me happy. No matter how much the humans clap for me, it doesn’t cheer me up. In the past, when I danced, I used to think of nothing at all. I only enjoyed the pleasure of that moment. But these days, I think of you even when I’m dancing. And because I think of you, I stumble and lose the rhythm. I get in the way of the others. I hate being like this. The zookeeper scolds me. Once I even bit the zookeeper’s neck. The zookeeper started bleeding and the others clucked their tongues at me. I am an outcast.

I only want to dance in front of you. All of this is because of you. Because you found out about me. And because I then found out about you. I want to become like you. I want to break free of this tiresome body.
I will invite you.

To my last performance.

I pray ardently that after this performance, I will be able to embrace you.

I am history.

I am a body and sunlight.



The throng of flamingos turns into a red wave. The red wave swells. Contagion. The churning of the water. The red wave floods the zoo’s amphitheater. Diver.

Grief paid for with money
Freezing and chirping

The red wave flows left and right, following the zookeeper’s hand gestures. The red wave flaps giant wings and turns its neck to look in one direction. The red wave is moving as though of one body, walking in step with one another, and the humans are ecstatic.

In the middle of the red wave, I see you. I know it’s you at once. In the midst of that lilting music, there you are. There you are, moving your body to the music with the rest of your species.

DB and the others of her species are watching all of you. Seated next to me, DB asks where you are. I point you out. DB says that all the flamingos look the same to her and marvels that I can spot you right away. I can recognize you at once no matter where you are. Standing out in sharp relief amidst the red wave. Seeing you, I become tongue-tied.

It’s been a while, I whisper.

You don’t stop moving but your gaze stays fixed on me. DB asks me to tell you hello in a whisper.

She says hello, I murmur.

You nod. The zookeeper blows a whistle. All of you turn your heads one way and then the other. The people whistle and clap. 

You look exhausted. You are smiling and crying at the same time. Tuna. A scarlet circle.

Do you want to ask the Chinese guests about cubes?

It’s strange. At some point, you stopped moving. When the red wave moved to the left side of a stage, you stood still. Even when it moved to the right, you stood still in the center of the stage. Even when it flew up, you stayed in place. You are not part of the red wave. You are the prima donna. 

The zookeeper approaches you. He sends you a hand signal. He nudges you and whispers in your ear. You stare fixedly at me, standing straight. You show no reaction to the zookeeper. You stand as though asleep. You are asleep. You are dreaming. White horses galloping. Across a steep hill.

What’s wrong? I ask.

Perhaps my voice is too loud because DB stares bemusedly at me. I hear you say that it hurts to think of me while you’re dancing. 

I want to run to you.
I want us to escape this place.
Coward, I whisper.

And then, you start to make a strange sound. A surreal, desolate sound.

Airplane birthed by demons. Indiscriminate hostility. Solomon.

The audience starts murmuring. Babies start crying. Even DB says she’s afraid. They broadcast an apology to the spectators. The zookeeper sends in the rest of the flamingos. The red wave disappears. Handshake and marathoner.

The zookeeper comes toward you. He looks angry and roughly handles you. You flap your wings and leap away, avoiding the zookeeper. You begin wailing even louder. The frightened spectators quickly clear out of the amphitheater. The zookeeper speaks into his walkie-talkie with a serious expression on his face. I imagine you violently pecking all the people leaving the amphitheater. At that moment, a zookeeper carrying a fishing net appears. I see the terror in your face. The zookeeper walks quickly over to you. 

The plane has evaporated!
Serpent. Trapezius muscles. The water bottle in-between them.

I get up. I push people out of the way and run toward the stage. You get closer and closer. You are looking at me with desperation on your face. Just wait a little bit more. I can save you now. 

When I reach the stage, two burly zookeepers block my way. I shove them. They grab my collar and throw me aside. You’re right in front of me but I cannot go to you. I reach a hand toward you. They block my hand.

Who are you? one of them asks me.
I’m a flamingo, I shout.
I am a flamingo, I shout even louder.

The zookeepers exchange puzzled looks.

I am a flamingo, I wail.

The zookeepers take a step back, confused. I spring at them. I tear at them with a beak I hadn’t even realized I had grown. I shred them with my claws. A red wave flows out of the bodies of the zookeepers.

I call out to you. I call your name. You call my name, too. I don’t remember what I called you. I don’t remember what you called me. We do not have names. 

The zookeepers recede from my vision and all of a sudden vanish. I climb onto the stage. You come to me. You hold out your hand. I hold out my hand, too. But you cannot take it. You are slowly fading away. You disappear completely and I am alone in this world. This is where my imagination ends.

In reality, I am just standing on the stage, not doing anything. You are being dragged away in the fishnet. I go toward you.

What are you doing? 

The zookeepers block me. I shove the zookeepers. They seize my collar. I hold my breath. It is realistic. 


Manmade Lake

Moonlight dips into the manmade lake. A white campfire flickers and burns. This place is hell as well as reality. Reality as well as freedom. I wait for you in the midst of this freedom. I feel like I’ve fully become a flamingo.

I see flamingos sauntering into the manmade lake without a care in the world. I approach them carefully. They scowl at me and preen their feathers or look for fish in the lake. I try to act like them. Once in a while, they move their beaks up and down in greeting. I too follow suit and greet the others. They are not wary of me. I was right. They are treating me like a flamingo.

I have wings. When I flap my wings, my body soars into the air and then sinks back down. Impulsiveness. Stone.

I have a beak. It is heavy and feels strange. Boys tossing a boomerang back and forth.

I swallow some of the lake water. The sound of my body absorbing the water sounds much louder now than when I was a human. My urine flows out naturally. Thick horns. Rainstorm. I’m not sure myself. Are they talking about stars? Plankton? ID bands? Brown bears?

The flamingos are conversing among themselves. They are talking about the night. They are talking about feathers. They are speaking about loneliness. They’re exchanging views on their limitations. They’re debating the difference between manmade lakes and the lakes that are imprinted on their genes. I steal furtively into their midst.

Apricot, honey
Cannibals and starlight

They also talk about what happened today. They talk about you, about your brashness, and about whose fault it is. They talk about their position on this issue. I look around. You are nowhere to be seen.

I interrupt their conversation and ask warily about your whereabouts. Most of them say they do not know. A few say they thought they saw you at some point. I ask them where they saw you. Near the sack of feed. By the zookeeper’s night duty station. At the waste disposal site. There are a lot of different answers. When I keep asking, they stare suspiciously at me and ask me why I am looking for that troublemaker.

Suddenly, I hear the sound of human footsteps. The zookeeper is approaching us. He is using a big stick to fish out all the rubbish floating on the surface of the lake. It is the zookeeper who trapped you in the fishing net.

As the zookeeper comes closer, the flamingos stop talking and begin to disperse. I start to feel frantic. I keep asking where you are. The flamingos pretend not to hear me and move further away.

If you want to live, just keep still, someone whispers in my ear and retreats into the distance.

The zookeeper comes even closer. He looks around, inspecting the surroundings. My heart drums from somewhere lower than it did when I was human.

Where are you?
What happened to you? I shout.

But a human voice does not emerge from my throat. A wail like the one I heard you make in the amphitheater emerges instead. The zookeeper cocks his head and comes toward me. I glare at him. The zookeeper too stares disapprovingly at me and raps the floor of the manmade lake with his stick. My feathers feel like they’re standing on end. A primal terror oozes out of my organs and permeates my blood. I stand docilely. The zookeeper studies me and, after rapping his stick, turns and leaves. I also go back to the flamingos. They have all fallen asleep. I, too, close my eyes. When the sun rises, it is day and when the sun sets, it is night. In the middle, it is dawn. 


DB’s Notebook

Dad hanged himself from the ceiling
I left the house by myself
I went to the zoo
No one was there
Tell me, Dad
What went wrong?
The words, “if you skip breakfast, the sun rises”
The words, “if you walk staring at the ground, you’ll fall asleep”
I tried to stick out my tongue
I knelt on the ground like you and swallowed some candy, blocking my ears
It’s not your fault, Dad
I wanted to untie the knot, but only time passed
An army of ants covered the lake
Dad was on a swing



DB is sleeping. I am lying down next to her. She is tossing and turning. I breathe shallowly so I do not wake her up. 

The night was late but I hadn’t slept. I can’t sleep because my body is itchy from hives. I resist the urge to scratch myself. If you aren’t in this world, I have no reason to turn into a flamingo anymore.

I sit on the window sill. The dawn light soft. The dawn tenderly embraces the nest that doesn’t read books, only accumulates them. 

What my eyes see is different from what DB sees. My eyes see flamingos flying above the nest that has a migraine. Our eyes meet. Even from so far away, I can feel the piercing gaze of those flamingos staring at me. I ask them where you are. As though annoyed by my question, they turn around and quickly fly away.

Peacefully, tremblingly—Well, I like these kinds of words.
Voila, spotted a Sartre-like person!
I dislike myself. Because I dislike myself.

The cows start to mutter. I sit down on the bed and soothe DB. Not long after, she falls back into a deep sleep. I turn my eyes back to the nest that never dreams. The flamingos have disappeared. What my eyes see and what DB’s eyes see is the same now.


DB, who had been still for some time, suddenly sits up. Startled, I look at DB. DB lies back down. She becomes quiet. It’s okay. We are getting used to the quiet. DB is fast asleep. I think about you. And suddenly, I become unbearably itchy.

What’s in danger, DB? I ask in a soft voice.

I get up from the bed and stand in front of the mirror. The mirror reflects my face. I take off my clothes. I am nude. Human. A man in his thirties. I don’t have a beak. I have two arms. I have two legs. I have human genitals, a human anus. I’ve become human again. I am not red anymore, I am flesh-colored. I am not at the zoo anymore, I am in my uncle’s cottage. I don’t sleep while standing up, I sleep lying down. I am not a part of that flock of flamingos anymore, I am next to DB. I am a human that dreams and fantasizes as he pleases.

Did we plant a tree? But we didn’t have a sapling in our hands.

The flamingo that’s floating next to you. I imitate DB’s voice.
Let’s punish that lazy flamingo. I imitate the zookeeper’s voice and start scratching my body.

Soon, my body becomes red and inflamed. I walk around the room, taking light steps, as though I’m walking the surface of the manmade lake. I recall your dancing and stretch my body like you. I try to make crying sounds like you.

Infectious little bitch. Call me dad! I imitate the Osprey’s voice.

I know the mass graves. I buried Baldy and Mackintosh.


The cows were making a great fuss. A rustling sounds comes from the bed. I see DB fast asleep in the mirror. Someone is standing by her side. Startled, I whirl around. I see a dark shadow. The shadow swells and shrinks, twists and surges. After the darkness of the shadow lifts, I see a red body. It is you.

Poor souls, there is only one dead sloth in this neighborhood.

What took you so long? I ask. 

A human voice, choked with tears. Raincloud and long-horned beetle. Underlay mat and jeering.

Without answering, you slowly come closer. You stand in front of me. A dim smile stains your expression. A faint, fishy smell emanates from you. As well as the scent of death.

Where were you? I ask.

You move your mouth. I hear nothing. I move my ear close to your beak and repeat my question. Your mouth moves more. From your throat emerges a splitting cry. Notepad. Parasol.

I slowly caress your head. You blankly look at me. Your eyes are tinged with sadness. You spread your wings. You flap your wings gradually. Along the wingbeat, a cool and fragrant breeze blows.

An old lady was living in Lee Jung-seob’s place of birth.
A huge moth sits on the clothes hanger.

I am drawn into your embrace as though possessed. You close your wings around me and hold me. Our red bodies begin to coalesce into one.

The deep sea is probably dark and has monsters.
What about the sunlight?
The old lady was enjoying a breeze, a dull expression on her face.

Danger, DB shouted at that moment.

Startled, you flinch away from me. Gazing blankly at me, you go to the window.

Where are you going? I ask. You unfurl your wings. 

I spread my arms out like I too am unfurling my wings. You move your wings. I do the same. You fly into the air but I do not.

You cross the window sill like that. You fly toward the desperately pleading nest. Once in a while, you turn your head and look back at me.

The flamingo you love is in danger, DB says.

I look at DB.

Dad says to come home, DB murmurs.

Then she gets out of bed and goes outside. I follow DB.

I thought about people who love and people who are loved.
I haven’t decided anything.
Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant.

DB is walking toward the nest that was born on December 17, 1986. I go after DB. You are circling the nest that recites the Bible. You are mingling with a few other flamingos. They drift like kites in the air and then disappear from sight. 

The house shakes. Let us all go safely into death.



Smell the scent of death.
Look through the sight and aim.
Place your finger over the trigger.
Think only of death. 


Continue to “The Man Who Became a Flamingo (5)”

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