Chapter 5: Preparing for tomorrow
‘Hell, it’s useless if I can’t use it.’
It was always center of attention whenever he went to a local spa with friends. He definitely had something extraordinary and worthy of envy since none of his friends wanted to go to the spa anymore. A few even told him that it looked like he had come out from a porn movie. But good tool meant nothing if it wasn’t being used.
“Hey, it’s only a trip to a bar for you to become a king. No? Why don’t we go now? Remember Yeonhee? She was searching for you ever since that one night, remember? She totally changed once you spent the night with her right? It’s not much man, don’t be too business-like.”
Joonbum walked into the store, casually nodding to what Jinchul was saying but not really paying any real attention. There were many items that caught his attention. Guns were displayed at the back of the counter and there were few more guns and ammunition in front. On the left were safety tools for hunting and navigation systems for hunting dogs.
‘I will need guns, a crossbow, a bow, and… everything. I need some safety equipment too. That vest should be a good start. I’m sure that can block an arrow?’
Joonbum eyed the weapons and then moved to the safety equipment. Jinchul silently watched him scan through his goods and asked, “Whoa, you are on fire man. Gun, bow, crossbow, and vests also? Are you going to war or something?”
Jinchul closed in on Joonbum as his expression showed he was trying to hide something.
“Hey hey, what’s going on? Charging in the middle of a night, looking for a gun and a vest… What are you up to?”
“N- no, it’s nothing.”
“Did you get dumped? Is it a revenge? Trying to ambush on an affair? That is it, isn’t it? C’mon, tell me now!”
“No no, it’s nothing like that! Sergeant Cha, stop. I don’t have time for this.”
Joonbum cut him off and Jinchul seemed disappointed to be stopped from his wild speculations.
“Nothing really? Oh well. You’re such a boring guy. You could’ve spiced it up a bit you know.”
Jinchul rambled and stopped making fun of Joonbum. He then raised his chin at him with the notion of asking what business he had.
“I’m just trying to add some flare to the content. Trying to add hunting to the wild eating broadcast.”
“Oh, the one you’ve been talking about? I guess it’s about time to start?”
“Yeah, I already got a hunting license so that will do.”
“It’s finally on then?”
“Yeah. The viewer increase started to slow down so…”
“Sure sure. What should it be then? Hmm…”
Jinchul started glancing at his display of guns, fully believing what Joonbum had just said.
“I guess you would need some stronger ones? Don’t say you just plan to hunt some wild birds. It’s wild boars nowadays. It’ll surely grab some attention. Oh and don’t forget to mention they’re a heck of a headache too.”
‘Well, it’s a gigantic wolf that I need to deal with, not boars.’
He couldn’t voice out his thoughts, but there was part of him that wanted to share the unbelievable experience he had in the other world.
Joonbum softly asked, “How strong should it be?”
Jinchul nodded and started explaining. “Well, boars are one heck of a beast these days. Those animal rights bastards went all the way to stop boar hunting and now we are left with huge overgrown ones. Big ones weigh over a thousand pounds! That’s half of what your truck weighs you know? Those are the ones in the mountains. If anyone encounters an angry one, he’s a dead man.”
While he was energetically explaining, he reached out for his cabinet, took out a big claw, and put it on the table.
“This is the molar tooth of the boar.”
“Molar? I didn’t know molars were sharp like that?”
“Right? Old man Choi hunted this one. Over 1,300 pounds, a predator. It even could have killed a tiger back in the day! Look. It’s godly.”
“Wow… this is crazy.”
“One bite and you’re finished!”
It definitely was a big tooth. It was almost six inches long and its root was really thick. It was also shaped like a claw, so it was easy to imagine what the boar’s mouth would look like.
“Oh, I’ll give you some meat the old man gave me. If you use it for your eating broadcast, it’ll be great. Hold on, I’ll bring it out.”
“Sure, thank you so much!”
Jinchul walked to the back of the store and Joonbum went back to surveying the weapons on display. There were crossbows, composite bows, and many kinds of swords used for hunting.
‘Business seems to be slow.’
Business was, in fact, really slow. It was a ragged gun store at the border of the city where no one would really visit.
‘I’m sure he said he inherited this place.’
Joonbum remembered Jinchul mention that when they were drinking. There was nothing special about it really. When Jinchul was employed at a company, he couldn’t fit into the lifestyle. A few rinse-and-repeat cycles later, he ended up inheriting the store.
‘That’s almost an artifact,’ Joonbum thought while looking at various weapons piled away at the corner. There were broken guns, crossbows, bows, and all sorts of stuff there.
“This one looks promising.”
Shifting his gaze away from the old pile back to the display, he caught sight of the best gun on there.
‘Will this be enough?’
Most dangerous beast in Korea was a boar. The gun in front of him probably meant death for those boars.
‘Three clean shots will do the trick, he said…’
Joonbum imagined the gigantic wolf that he tried not to think about for a while. Covered in black and gray fur with eyeballs as big as the fists of an adult, it had also had a mouth big enough to gobble a grown human in one bite. Its teeth looked so big that even the boar’s tooth that Jinchul showed him looked like a toy in comparison.
‘Gives me the chills to even think about it. One more encounter and I won’t be able to survive.’
Just thinking of those monsters made his wound throb in pain. The most horrifying thing was that they could easily jump twenty feet high in a single jump. If there were no branches and twigs blocking the way, Joonbum would not have survived the attack.
‘It might work for sure, but it will take more than three shot unless I hit the eyeball or something.’
“Did you look around?”
Jinchul came back with a big plastic bag loaded with boar meat.
“Ah, that one’s good, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s great.”
Jinchul proudly smiled at the gun Joonbum was looking at. He was eager to show it off.
“That’s the Beretta 1301 Comp 24-inch-long semi-automatic shotgun. It’s foolproof. The black shows off its strength. The one next to it is the Benelli 828U 12-gauge, 28-inch. It’s a good model too. The one next to it is the Arabesque. The Benelli is a looker, right?”
As he said, it looked very charming. Unlike the Beretta, the Benelli was decorated heavily with its flashy color design.
“Beretta… um, how much is it?” Joonbum hesitated and asked for a price of the used gun. Jinchul flashed a smile.
“Hmm. How much can you pay?”
“You know I don’t have much. The cheaper the better.”
Excited, Jinchul asked, “So you really want to buy it then? Do you know how to use it?”
“No, teach me. Disassembling, cleaning, and all that. I only know how to use the K2 from the army.”
“In the middle of the night?”
“Oh and I need that helmet, the vest, the shoulder protector, the ankle and knee protector… and also some hiking boots, a jungle machete, a dagger, whetstone…”
Joonbum started listing things from the display and Jinchul stopped him hurriedly.
“Whoa, hold up, hold up. So you’re gonna buy all of that? Of course I can teach you right now. Pick out what you need and put it on the counter. Then come to the table. I’ll prepare for the disassembly and cleaning.”
Jinchul went back to the display and opened the lock to take out the used Beretta. After Joonbum picked out what he needed, he came to the table where Jinchul was holding the gun.
“The previous owner took really good care of her. I tested it a few times and it was in good shape. So the way to use this..”
Jinchul explained every detail Joonbum needed to learn. By repeating it a few times and testing it out himself, Joonbum managed to learn exactly how to use it fairly quickly.
“Okay, so that will finish the cleaning. It’s easy right?”
“Yeah, it is.”
Joonbum tried finishing the assembly and Jinchul nodded. He was satisfied by how quickly Joonbum learned to use the gun.
“So how much is it total?”
Jinchul looked at the stuff that Joonbum picked out and asked, “Hmm. Hey, tell me. Why do you need a crossbow and a bow? I don’t think you would actually need both of those?”
If it was just a regular store, they might have just sold it without asking twice.
“Well, I was thinking about showing the audience different weapons so they don’t get bored. I need variations.”
“You know you shouldn’t be hunting something you shouldn’t, right?”
Jinchul carefully warned him and Joonbum nodded, acknowledging what he was implying.
“Yeah, I know. It’s on the Internet. I will be careful.”
“Right. It’s two million won total.”
Joonbum loaded everything up on the truck and started the car. He looked out the window.
“Thanks for the boar meat!”
“Sure! It might be a bit tough to chew so make it softer before cooking.”
Joonbum drove out of the lot with his heart was pounding in excitement.
‘I bought it!’
He had some doubts and many thoughts came through his mind, but he was now determined. There were still some concerns though. He mainly wasn’t sure if he would be able to come back.
‘If the shift doesn’t happen while I’m in the other world… Mom will…’
While deep in thought, he was still able to drive to a market.
‘I need a lot of water, instant noodles, other food items, and first aid kits.’
“Water, rice, preserved foods….”
He first filled the cart with just drinking water and then came back again. This time it was twenty pounds of rice and a bunch of preserved stuff like canned food. It was bizarre for a man to buy so much stuff at once so even cashier was eyeing him curiously.
“Oops, was this too much?”
Joonbum asked himself but quickly disregarded it. It was a challenge of a lifetime and he could not shy away from preparing for it. When he was done purchasing all the essentials, he quickly drove to his third destination.
‘I’m running out of time,’ he thought, checking the time on his cell phone. He wasn’t even done yet.
“The air isn’t that clean even at this time.”
What shocked him about the other world was how clean air could be. Even if his residence wasn’t close to a metropolis, the air was not the same this early in the day.
‘It was amazingly clean… That freshness…’
It was more like coldness at first, but as time passed, he realized it was really clean. When he returned, he realized how dirty the air in his world was.
It was 3 AM when he finally got home. He carefully opened the door and checked his mother’s bedroom. He could hear her faint snoring coming from the room.
-Mom, I won’t be coming home for a few days for the video shooting. Don’t worry about me. I put some boar meat I got from a friend in the fridge. It’s bit tough so you should soften it before cooking it.-
Joonbum’s eyes welled with tears as he wrote down the memo. He couldn’t stop the tears from falling down.
‘I’m bit scared, but I want to go. I’m sorry, Mom.’
Joonbum quickly walked out and hopped on his truck. His tears started falling again. As sad as he was, he moved onto his destination. It was an old hardware store, but it wasn’t just an ordinary local store. Joonbum parked his car and lit up a cigarette while he waited outside the store since it was not open yet. Pretty soon, bustling noises came from the inside and the door was opened.
“Wow, surprising. What is it so early?”
Although he didn’t look as surprised, the old man scanned Joonbum as he walked closer.
“Sir, do you remember me?”
“Who are you? I don’t remember.”
Joonbum, unexpected of this, replied confusingly. The old man burst into a smile at the sight.
“Haha! You look like a toad! I remember you. You’re the guy who shoots videos or something from before, eh? I was just joking. So, what is it this early?”
Joonbum was not amused.
‘He told me that I look like a toad last time too. Ugh.’
He was a bit irritated, but it was not time for that. He needed this old man.
“Sir, do you mind…”
The old man focused on him curiously.