by Bobby Cenoura
In the late 90s, Washington D.C., affectionately dubbed “Chocolate City”, was recovering from the crack epidemic and the label of “murder capital”. Interaction beyond the bulletproof glass that divides Black customers and Korean merchants is what drives SEOUL REVELATIONS. Race, culture and inner city survival are examined and revealed.
SEOUL REVELATIONS is a story of friendship and betrayal; one that analyzes the challenges of a budding interracial relationship between Marcus Richardson, a young Black community college student and aspiring four-year university enrollee, and Kim Han, a young Korean American college girl whose father runs Sunbeam Market, a liquor store/bodega in Marcus’ inner city neighborhood. Marcus, wanting to escape the snares of the inner city, has built a friendship of trust and fresh perspective with Kim.
Meanwhile his best friend Tyrell deals with issues of depression and self-esteem because he feels that he lives his life in Marcus’ shadow. Neighborhood thug Delonte Harris has no intentions of leaving the ‘hood, in fact, he intends on becoming a major player in the local drug game. He gets an opportunity from a regional kingpin Parnell “P-nutt” Jacobs.
Worlds collide when Delonte cheats P-Nutt and is given an ultimatum to recover the money plus interest or face execution. Delonte sets his sights on Sunbeam Market as a target for robbery which drastically impacts Marcus’ and Kim’s relationship.
Excerpt from Seoul Revelations
Ms. Thompson knelt down a little and talked to Marcus. “Honey, I am honored that a handsome young man like you would stand up for a lady like Ms. Thompson. Not many grown men would do such a thing, but what you have to understand, honeychild, is that it is your duty to get your education. I know you are a young man, and you have to stand up for what’s yours. I want you to use your head. Students like Jamal can take you places where you don’t want to go.”
The beef between Marcus and Jamal and had marinated, and the entire 7th grade was buzzing about and wanted to see a barbecue at 3:20 p.m.
After school, Marcus, Tyrell and Delonte walked to the football field. All Marcus was thinking about how he would fight Jamal. Pride drug him to the battlefield, and no matter what he would retain his honor.
It was amazing that at such a young age they have a concept of honor. One could hear about numerous shootings in the city, sometimes because someone stepped on someone’s shoe, or looked at them wrong. Where was the honor in such senseless violence?
In feudal Japan, a man would be killed for stepping over the sword of a samurai. These timeless shoguns, symbols of nobility and martial art, could arguably be the most senseless or the most honorable, depending on how you look at it. In those times, if you wanted to live, or you didn’t want to kill, you would not step over the sword of the samurai. They lived by a code—and people of the street, follow these codes to determine who is who.
The only people talking about “senseless” are those with something to lose. They don’t want to lose their lives, or limbs, or go to jail and lose time, or lose their job, or reputation. There is a fear behind loss.
Everyone cleared a circle for the two fighters as Marcus stood in the middle.
JR said, “Go on,” and hit Jamal on the back. Jamal walked with his fists balled toward Marcus. As he approached, Marcus recalled a story his mother told him about David and Goliath. Marc felt as if he was David and Jamal was Goliath, the giant uncircumcised Philistine. This was the battlefield of the Lord. His fear left him and he walked toward Jamal. They both came to each other’s presence and then Jamal moved in close, face-to-face with Marcus, again.
Since Marcus was shorter, Jamal craned his neck down to talk in his face. “Pop all that junk you was poppin’ earlier.”
Marcus inched down a little, and Delonte saw it and shouted, “Come on, Marc, don’t punk out! Hit him!”
Jamal continued to talk in Marcus’ face as he shrunk lower.
“Come on, you punk, talk that trash again, so I can steal you in your face.”
Marcus crouched a little lower.