George Black is a very dear friend of my father’s. He has no phone and no address, and is able to teleport. My father has an extreme intolerance to really bad smells like decaying food. George is his special friend for times when he is confronted with domestic rot. Taking out the trash days. Their friendship is a huge source of enjoyment for me. Let me explain how it works. My father opens the lid of the bin, stares blankly at the blooming petals of the black trash bag, as it omits its ripe odour, my father’s eyes well up with tears, he holds his breath and starts to fold the bag shut while trying not to face it. With the first poof of air and the first burst of fresh rotting left-over chicken or wilting cucumber, my father drops the black bag back in he bin and starts calling “George Black”.  Let me explain that I have never seen George, so I assume that he doesn’t teleport very well. After my father has taken  a deep breath outside, wiped his eyes and taken a drag from his cigarette to calm the nerves, he re-assumes his position next to the bin. This time he means business. He quickly tugs at either sides of the bag, holding his breath, ties opposite ends into a not-so-neat knot, and with quick little steps and an outstretched arm, he transports the bag outside. My father disappears, but before long can be heard calling George, which by this time has been shortened to just Black, or Blegh. I run outside, half stumbling over the overturned mat by the door as I try to suffocate my laughter. My father is standing next to the pool. Teary-eyed, cigarette clenched uncoolly between index and middle finger as he leans on his knees red-faced.

I am not a sadist. I have offered countless times to put out the trash for him, I have also offered to at least tie the bag… but like the Camel man Dad is, he has refused every time.

Yesterday I sat on the ferry on my way to Ulleungdo. The ferry got cancelled on Monday due to high winds…and I knew…not even in the back of my mind, that Tuesday’s ferry would be an interesting ride. So it was, but this time I was sitting on the lowest level, where I suspect everything must have felt a couple of times worse than they were.  I make my deduction based on a calculation whereby I add the reduced ticket price to how ruddy aweful it was. I am very fortunate not to suffer from sea-sickness, but I was so surprised to hear that many of my fellow passengers also knew my father’s friend, George. I suspect he has disappointed many of them, just as he has disappointed my father so many many times. I really do hope that George fixes his teleportation device. I miss my dad.


Photo sourced from the World Wide Web on 3 March 2010: