by Miles H. Rost
Across the entirety of the port city of Stewartsport, it was said that when 5:15 came around, the only thing you could hear were the many whistles from each of the 20 terminals in the city. Like a choir opening a Sunday service with a loud start, the whistles blew simultaneously.
It was this signal that the day ended, the night began, and on a Friday night like this one, it would be one humdinger of a night.
Down at Terminal 10, Cha Yeong-Jin had just finished loading a skid of incandescent light bulbs. Affectionately known as CJ, he was someone who finished his job when he finished his job, not when the whistle blew. However, today, he was right on time and was able to leave quickly.
CJ grew up in South Korea, the son of a shipbuilder father. Growing up in the island town of Geoje, the seas were in his blood. However, he was also a traveller, and someone who wanted to see the world. Working as a stevedore, he worked in places like Luzon, Singapore, and Sydney before he ended up in Stewartsport. The longest he stayed was a couple of years, and he left only because he felt too comfortable.
He was in Stewartsport for only two months before this night. As he walked off the docks and out to his small truck, a hand landed on his shoulder. CJ immediately turned around and looked into the big mean eyes of his co-worker, Tarik “Evil Eye” Adadark. Eyes which immediately brightened up, and expressed relief and happiness.
“Ah, CJ. Isn’t it great that Friday night has come?” Tarik chuckled, slapping CJ on the back like an old pal. Which was to say that they were, as he and Tarik were friends since their time in Singapore, and travelled together on the same jobs.
“It is a great thing indeed. I just can’t wait to clean up and hit the town. Since it’s a three day weekend, I want to wake up tomorrow in an unfamiliar room,” CJ responded, his command of English impeccable for a kid who never had any academy training.
“Then I think I know the place to go. There’s a great place just off Chambers that has not only good quality drinks and good quality women. It may just be your lucky night!”
After an hour of cleaning up and getting things ready, CJ and Tarik were dressed up and on the way down to the bar on Chambers.
“You’re doing the blue jean thing, T?”
“Yeah, I’m feeling a bit lucky tonight, too. At least you have the chance to not only catch a woman, but land a good business deal at the same time. Taking tips from Barney Stinson?” he responded, making reference to a popular character on a show that they watched constantly while there.
“Dress to impress, dress for success, do not settle for anything less,” CJ responded, smiling, “My dad taught me that. Probably explains why he had three wives.”
They went to a grill and had something to eat, then proceeded to the bar that Tarik referenced.
Since it was payday, they had a good amount of money on their persons. Knowing how rough some ports could be, there was always a second set of documents on their person just in case they were robbed. Three wallets were the usual with stevedores and longshoremen. CJ knew this, and patted the side of his knee, acknowledging to himself that he still had his most important wallet with him.
They passed by two beautiful women as they made their way to the bar. One was a tall, black haired Chinese woman who looked like she walked out of a fashion magazine, and the other was a striking redhead who seemed have features found in Irish women. CJ looked at the redhead and he instantly turned on the charm as they passed.
“Oh, come on baby! Take a hold of my hand! The fire is burning!” he called out, just after they passed. The redhead turned around and smiled. She gave him a wink, turned around, and kept walking. CJ cursed his current luck.
The bar on Chambers was called “Underworld”, and the owner/bartender was a tall wiry fellow named David. A former Israeli Defense Force soldier, David may have looked like a pencil, but he was able to kill a foe with two clicks of his fingers.
“Oy, Daveed!” Tarik called out.
“What’ll it be, Evil Eye? Did you bring the Korean with ya?”
“Right here, ya nut.” CJ responded.
“Glad to see ya! Care for some Rumple Mintz?”
“Not tonight! Get me a Glen and Ginger Ale, and another shot of Glen 12 Year.”
David acknowledged and made up the drinks for CJ. CJ, in return, gave him a hundred dollar bill and hold him to keep a tab on his drinks.
“Don’t worry about me, let’s just get you a woman tonight. “