I just sit there speechless.
This man is now speaking to me in Koguryeon as if he were a native speaker. Is he also from Koguryeo like me? The last time I heard someone speak Koguryeon was back at the airport, and that was over a week ago. I do not reply immediately.
“Startled that I can speak your language?” the pale-skinned doctor asks while smiling. “Are you all right?”
“Yes. Yes, I’m fine.” I manage to answer back in Koguryeon while the ghost of the knight just watches with his arms crossed. “I came here for the job interview, and I’m actually a bit confused. Is this guy really a ghost?”
“He is one of my loyal servants.” the doctor says something in Simlish to the ghost with a tone of authority, and the ghost just nods. “You are applying for the position of art forger, yes?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“Very well then. Mister–”
“Park. Shin Park.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mister Park. I am Domingo de Guzman, owner of West End Textiles and Soap Incorporated.” Mr. Domingo speaks, and I start to notice the slight accent. “I also specialize in anesthesiology, so you might have noticed that my subordinate here has been calling me ‘Doctor.'”
He is the owner and also a doctor? But he doesn’t look like he’s over 30! Maybe he’s one of those really successful people I only read about in financial wealth magazines. His hair also looks pretty trendy; Asahinian hair-styling can be very expensive. I’ve seen my Asahinian friends back home sport a similar hairdo.
“Pleased to meet you, too, Doctor.” I reply in courtesy.
“Doc, I can’t understand a damn thing!” the ghost knight speaks in Simlish with frustration.
“My dear Preston.” The doctor says something to the ghost in Simlish. So the ghost is called Presto. “Your role in every interview to observe, listen, and shut up.” He stressed the last few words with a bit of irritation.
The doctor looks at me again and resumes speaking in Koguryeon. “Mr. Park. Tell me about yourself.”
“I am 25 years old and a fresh graduate of Koguryeo University, with a major in art studies. I also love admiring art, and I do painting as a hobby. I left my country to improve my Simlish and find a job here.”
“They don’t offer that many jobs back in Koguryeo?”
“Either I work at a company that offers a dead-end job or just become a bum at home.” I tell the doctor, remembering how difficult it was to be at home with your parents telling you each day to get a job.
“I see. I admire your adventurous spirit.” The doctor says. “Are you open to the idea of living here with us?”
I take a look around for a moment. There are leaks dripping everywhere, different kinds of old cardboard used as mats, and a kitchenette that has the scent of something fruity combined with the smell of raw sewage. Overall, a very uninhabitable place.
“Yes, sir.” I reply, knowing that I have seen worse.
The doctor crosses his arms and raises an eyebrow. “The job that I am offering will be challenging. Let me tell you what we do. We forge all kinds of artwork here to sell at a different price. The resemblance must be uncanny, so we require people with skill.” He stops speaking for a moment.
“Are you up to the task at hand?”
“I am ready for anything.” I say with confidence.
“Brilliant!” the doctor says with a smile. “Then you’re hired.”
My eyes widen for a bit. “R-really? That’s it? I can start working here?”
“That’s right, Mr. Park. I’ll have the contract ready soon. For the meantime, Preston here will be your looking after you. He will show you the ropes and help you adjust to our daily operations.” Mr. Domingo says something to Presto in rapid Simlish, and Presto suddenly shouts with joy.
“I have some business to attend to, so you will be helping Preston out with the chores for today.” The ghost behind the doctor suddenly looks more confident. “Welcome, and I hope you enjoy working with us.” Mr. Domingo offers a handshake as I stand up to receive the gesture, still unsure about what just happened.
“Thank you, Doctor.” I almost bow but extend my hand as I remember that I’m not in Koguryeo anymore. His hand was very cold. Almost like ice. Maybe it’s the air-conditioning? The doctor then goes back up the metal staircase.
After the doctor went up, the ghost called Presto then speaks to me in Simlish. “So! First job for the new recruit!” I only understood “first job” because of the ghost’s strange accent. He then beckons me to the refrigerator and brings out a bowl of strange fruits.
“These are called plasma fruits.” He explains as he holds up one of the fruits.
“Plusimma fruit?” I try to pronounce the unfamiliar word.
“No. Plasma. Puh-lass-muh.” the ghost emphasizes every syllable.
Presto just sighs impatiently.
“The doctor loves organic plasma fruit juice, so cut them up first. Then we’ll hand squeeze them together. Doc hates blenders.” The knight gets a chopping board from a cabinet, which made me get the general idea of what he was saying.
“Okay. Will cut fruits.” I reply in Simlish. “Thank you, Presto.”
“It’s Preston. PrestoN!” the ghost emphasizes the last letter as he goes to the nearby computer and plays a game. Isn’t he supposed to be helping me? I’d better tell the doctor later.
I get a knife and start cutting the strange fruits. They release an unfamiliar smell each time I cut them, so it was a first. Perhaps I can make a kimchi dish to eat out of these strange fruits and give a jar of it to the doctor as a thank-you gift for hiring me. He’ll probably like Koguryeon cuisine if he’s watching out for his health. Luckily, I find a jar and some red pepper paste in the refrigerator. I can use those for making kimchi.
“Do we have a garlic?” I ask Presto.
“Garlic? We don’t have any. Doc hates the stuff.” the ghost says as I hear him complete a level. It looks like I’ll have to make do without garlic. Presto stops playing his game for a moment and sees me bring out the red pepper paste from the refrigerator.
“Where did you get that?”
“From… behind fruit?”
Presto just shrugs. “Must belong to Tony, I guess. Just don’t use too much!”
I nod, somehow understanding what Presto said. As I cut the first piece of fruit, I hear someone laughing like a maniac upstairs. As if they were a villain from a cartoon who completed an evil scheme or something. Maybe the doctor is watching some kind of TV show upstairs.
A kind person like him cannot laugh like that.