The Jimjillbang King
The First Chapter
When so many people have seen you naked, being nude amidst a herd of strange Korean men becomes hardly anything out of the ordinary. Sitting in the herbal sauna, naked of course, letting the steam circulate itself around my body I thought how good it felt to sit on the sauna ledge and let the hot air lick my balls. It’s hard to think about anything else really, the intense heat and humidity makes one’s mere existence quite painful. Koreans have this weird philosophy that one fights pain with pain, heat with heat. Which then prompts our people to submit our yellow bodies to the extreme temperatures of a Korean jimjillbang, cooking our bodies till their tender and scrubbing our skin of it’s hidden detritus until it’s stripped raw. Then and only then, will anyone walk through the gaping gates of heaven and experience the graciousness of the heavenly father and true peace that can only come with the spiritual submission to the korean grandpas yelling at you to take only one towel. A state of relaxation that welcomes even the sight of hairy Korean men slapping their butts and blow drying their clenched butt holes. I guess this is the perfect place to spend New Years.
I don’t know how I got here. I mean I drove, then paid my $20 to get in. I changed, I showered. I found my own little plot of space in the Red Clay room and buried my body in the little clay balls that filled the marble tubs that were laden across the room. The violent red light only made the heat seem angry, playing on some sadistic game of temperature and power. I enjoy being taken over for once, even if it is by hot air. It felt good, it felt good to just lay there and let something else do all the work. I haven’t sweat in a while and my body was glazing itself like a Krispy Kreme donut. Damn, those donuts are good, but I never thought being one would be equally as pleasurable. I reminiscence about the past year, a year that I thought would make me into a new person. And yet 2016 wizzed by and I’m still the same messed up korean boy that I was always destined to be. How pleasantly fake, my life has become.
Some younger kids come prancing into the room and awake an elderly woman who I’m assuming to be their mother and probably only friend. She stands up, shakes the clay pellets off of her body and exits the room with her piglets. The kids were reciting some bible verses, they must of learned it from Sunday school. I would know, I got kicked out of one. I was caught getting to close to one of the girls during an icebreaker game. It was a honest mistake, I tried to grab the tail of the caterpillar as our teams ran around each other and I ended grabbing something else instead. An honest mistake I assure you. We eventually both entered high school and managed to reconnect during a Friday large group, and fucked in the church bathroom. I would never forget what she said, “If you fuck with me, you fuck with Jesus.” She said she was married to the Lord and that nothing could come between her and her savior. Sure as hell didn’t stop her from thanking God when I pummeled the living daylights out of her. An honest request, on her behalf, honest. Christians are too much sometimes, saying things like “Hello, hi yes my day is good isn’t it obvious?” and “God is so good isn’t he?” to which people reply “Yes, all the time! God is good!” Well you know what, fuck God.
It’s funny, I mean, fucking God. I don’t mean screwing him (although I feel like I can cross that off my bucket list). I mean taking back what is rightfully ours. Taking revenge on the ultimate creator himself. The first time I tried to kill myself I was twelve. I was watching a lot of TV back then, and overdosing seem to be the trend, so I thought I’d give it a try. I guess Advil liquid gels aren’t the strongest, because I managed to poop those suckers out no problem. Talk about a disappointing shit. I spent so much of my energy collecting those fluorescent jewels and had the best of time swallowing them. One, two, ten, one hundred. I remember that afternoon, counting each pill as they slipped down my throat. It felt good, it was the first time I remembered being happy. Other than a stomachache I had for a couple of days, nothing really happened. I caught my mom talking to the doctor about depression, I laughed, I told her it was stomach issues. No matter how many times I tried to explain that the TV made me do it, she would always cautiously mutter things and I knew she thought I didn’t know anything. Moms are so stupid, they don’t know anything. I should go find those kids in the jimjillbang, slap them around a little, and tell them that their mom’s don’t know shit about the Bible and no matter how much she loves them, they’ll only turn out even more messed up. It’ll save everyone time.
There’s no point in doing anything these days. It’s new year’s eve and my friends are all at a party somewhere living it up. I’m here with sweat dripping down my butt crack wishing that the year would end. I’ve tried everything. Everything and anything, to make me want to live. It’s quite exhausting to mentally comb through your life, portioning the good from the bad. What’s bad? I’m fat and everyone thinks I’m ugly, I barely have any money to do anything fun, and even sex has become a chore. Now the hard part, what’s good? Even though I look like a cinnamon role there are still people who talk to me and even call me their friend, I have enough money to go to this sauna, and sex was never that great to begin with. What a paradoxical mindfuck is to be human. All I want is too simply want to be here, is that too much too ask? I wake up every day and every day is the same mundane numbness that makes it difficult for me to even breathe. Maybe it’s because I need to talk to people, but people can never fill that kind of void in your life. Then some people explain, it’s God who you need. But I’ve been praying, I’ve been reading the Bible, and my life is still so incomplete. Nothing I do can change the outcome of my life, nothing I can say will make people love me. I am a donut sweating in a korean sauna and this is sadly the pinnacle of my life.
At this point I am laying completely on my back and my clothes are drenched. I am completely alone, and even my thoughts try to escape the heat. It’s so hot. Every inhale becomes an act of torture and my body doesn’t know what to do. As my heart races and as I struggle to keep my eyes open, I feel a smile come across my face. It’s been a while since I last felt pain. No wonder I feel good, I am in pain. That’s what was missing, pain, it’s so simple. The heat pushes me to realize that I am still alive, and that my body is still capable of feeling, of experiencing, of picking up sensations in the world that I thought I was incapable of doing. If I hadn’t sweat all the water out of my body, I’m sure I would be crying, I don’t know how my body would react to this kind of emotion. I guess this is what heaven is like. A korean jimjillang full of naked korean men, escaping their paternal obligations and crying as they realize how broken they’ve let their families become. I hate to admit it, but it feels good to live again.
I decide to finally leave the room, take a shower to cleanse me of my filth, moisturize every crevice of my body and leave the jimjillbang. It’s late at night, past midnight, and I make my way into the new year. There is a slight sprinkle of rain in the air and my newly opened pores tingle. I take a breath of this fine mist and I wonder how I managed to miss this subtle pleasantry as I walked in. I check my phone, seven missed calls and ten text messages from none other but my mom. Normally I would get mad, but I realize she must be worried, she’s always nagging at how there are so many drunk drivers rampaging across the city on new year’s. I’m glad I spent the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 in a korean spa. I needed it, I really did. Damn, why does life have to be a paradoxical mindfuck, but I’m glad. A slight smirk and chuckle manages to escape as I climb into my car.