Zombies by Kim Junghyuk

At that time, I was living out of my car. I went around with all my belongings packed in the backseat and the cargo space of the van that the company gave me for work. “All my belongings” consisted of two boxes of clothes and three boxes of sundry items. After loading the fifty vinyl records in the car, I felt like I had suddenly become wealthier. The backseat became more crowded and one of the boxes had to be placed in the passenger seat. It felt somewhat idiotic to carry around records that I couldn’t even listen to, but there was no other way. Fifty records represented the minimum space needed to hold the memory of my brother.


While eating at a diner, I saw a TV commercial about a turntable that could be installed in the trunk of your car. I could not believe it. The sales pitch, “You can create a vintage life in your car,” didn’t seem trustworthy, and the voice of the host, claiming that I could enjoy my records without a single skip, sounded somewhat fraudulent. Nevertheless, I went straight to an authorized shop the very next day. After an hour of test driving, I found out that the advertisement was not a big lie. Even while driving over bumpy gravel roads, the records did not skip.


“How about if I introduce it as a product that opened a new era of shock absorption? It’s all true, not an exaggeration. The moment any shock is applied, the system in the trunk absorbs all of the shock completely. I don’t know how this will sound to you, but it’s like the system embraces the shock with its entire being. You know, something like a shock, depending on your attitude at the receiving end, can become nothing at all. A tiny shock can accompany a huge explosion, but an enormous shock can also become feather-light. We have not invented a new product, but instead have developed an attitude for accepting the shock,” the salesman, whose eyeglasses looked bigger than they were because his eyes were too close together, said while thumping on the trunk. It was as if he wanted to say, “To this system, a shock like this is no different from the air touching it.” It was an unusual way for a salesman to speak. While his face didn’t give much confidence, I kind of liked him for his unusual way of speaking. I liked his explanation that the shock was embraced by the whole body. I also liked the name of the product “Shock Hugger.” I installed the Shock Hugger in the cargo space of the van and, along with it, I also installed speakers and a record rack big enough for fifty records. I ended up spending a third of my monthly wage, but the fact that I would be able to work while listening to the records my brother left behind was a pleasure with no equal.



The Shock Hugger changed ...

Kim Junghyuk is a writer, film critic, music columnist, and cartoonist. He has received the Dongin Literary Award and Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award. French editions of his books include Your Shadow Is a Monday (Les ombres du lundi), Zombies (Zombies, la descente aux enfers), Wandering Bus (Bus errant), and The Library of Musical Instruments (La bibliothèque des instruments de musique) published by Decrescenzo éditeurs. English editions of his books include The Library of Musical Instruments published by Dalkey Archive Press.