It was the day that Gun-Ho was supposed to go to work in Jiksan Town.
When Gun-Ho got into the car, he said to Chan-Ho, "Hey, Chan-Ho, let's go to Seonghwan Town."
"To see land?"
Gun-Ho stopped by several realtor's offices in Seonghwan Town. It was not hard to find a realtor's office that was selling land. The huge sign saying "Land" was found everywhere they went. Chan-Ho said,
"Land, land, land It's everywhere."
"I know. I wonder if all these realtors make enough money for a living."
When Gun-Ho saw a sign of a realtor's office that said that they specialized in land for a factory, he decided to give them a call. The number was written on the sign. It was not a cell phone number but it was a landlinean office's phone number. Gun-Ho wrote down the number.
"Before we enter into a realtor's office, let's make a call to them first. Why don't you park the car over there so I can make a call?"
Gun-Ho dialed the number. A man with a deep voice answered the phone.
"Is this a realtor's office?"
"Yes, it is."
"I'm looking for land to build a factory."
"We do have a lot of those for sale. Why don't you come and visit our office?"
"I want a land that is about 2,000 pyung large. And it has to be on the main road."
"What kind of factory are you going to build?"
"Well, it's just a small manufacturing factory."
"I need to know more than that in order to find one that fits your needs. Some areas are not open for a certain manufacturing activity."
"What sort of factory is prohibited?"
"If the factory will create a loud noise or toxic gas, then you won't find any land for it around here. The city won't give you a permit to build it and the residents in the area will file a complaint. There are certain areas where you can open those sorts of factories."
Gun-Ho thought about what he should tell the realtor about his business, and he said, "It's just a repair shop."
"A repair shop? You mean an automobile repair shop?"
"Yes, it is."
"There is one repair shop for sale but it's only 980 pyung large. Does it have to be 2,000 pyung?"
"Yes, I really like to have at least 2,000 pyung"
"You don't need 2,000 pyung to run an auto repair shop, sir. You will just have to waste your money to pay a lot of taxes for the part of your land that is not being used."
While Gun-Ho headed to Cheonan City from Seonghwan Town, he called another realtor's office. Their business sign had a number to call as well.
"Land for a factory? Why don't you visit our office? How large are you looking for?"
"Around 2,000 pyung."
"I have one that is 3,500 pyung large. It's on a four-meter wide road. An eighteen-wheeler will be able to pass on it. I have other lands at a very reasonable price too."
"Did you say the land is on a four-meter wide road? I will come by your office."
Chan-Ho Eum who was listening to Gun-Ho's phone conversation said, "Sir, I don't think a four-meter wide road is enough. It only gives one-way for a truck to pass at a time. A car from the opposite direction has to stop and wait until the truck passes on it. And usually, the area with a four-meter wide road is a bit far from the main road and you have to drive a winding road to reach it."
"The repair shop on the market that the first realtor told me about sounds perfect except its only 980 pyung. It's too small."
"Why? 980 pyung is large."
"If there is a building on the land, the yard would be small. Let's go take a look at that land."
"Do you want me to go back there now?"
"Yes, let's turn around."
Gun-Ho entered the first realtor's office which he called earlier.
The realtor stood up from his desk when he saw Gun-Ho coming into his office. The realtor looked like he was in his 50s.
"Hello. I called the office earlier."
"Ummm, what call?"
"I was told that there is land for a factory for sale."
"Oh, oh, you are the one who was looking for land for an auto repair shop. Please have a seat. Would you like to have some tea?"
"I've had one already. Thank you."
The realtor pointed at an area on the map with a stick and said, "This is the one I was talking about. The auto repair shop is located about 300 meters from this crossroad. It's not on the main road but it's on a two-lane road. So, there is no problem for an eighteen-wheeler to pass on it. It was a first-class auto repair shop. All the inspections were done there too. As I mentioned before, 980 pyung is not small at all for an auto shop."
"Did they close the business?"
"Auto shops are not doing well these days. Auto manufacturing companies are doing their job too well. Cars these days don't easily break down. Only the cars involved in a car accident used to be sent to that shop."
"How much is it?"
"It's 2 million won per pyung in this area."
"Hmm. Then it would make the land almost 2 billion won."
"That area is expected to be developed, so we anticipate the land value there to go up significantly in the near future. Once Samsung Electronics' Godeok industrial complex is completed, the price of that land could go up too."
"Come on. Godeok industrial complex is far from here. How can it possibly affect the price of the land in this location?"
"Sir, it's not that far. This distance is considered close enough. I will show you the shop. It's not far from here."
The realtor picked up his car key and went outside the office. He then called for the person who was playing Korean chess at the restaurant next to the realtor's office,
"Chan-Ho, I will be out of office. Can you keep an eye on it while I'm away?"
The man who was playing Korean chess said without even taking his eyes off the chess.
Chan-Ho Eum looked at Gun-Ho and laughed.
"Haha. He has the same name as me."
The realtor pulled out his car from a parking stall and said, "Please follow me. Whoa, you have a very nice car, sir."
The realtor seemed to be frightened when he saw Gun-Ho's Bentley.
The auto repair shop was not very distant from the realtor's office.
On the left side of the shop, there were some buildings that looked like factories. On its right side, there was a farm. There was some trash like plastic containers and oily stuff on the farm. The auto shop was locked with a padlock. It was a combination padlock and the realtor was trying to unlock it.
"Do you have the code?"
"Yes, I do."
However, the realtor kept failing to unlock it even though he tried the code he had for multiple times.
"F*ck, what's wrong with it? Who would enter the old auto repair shop to steal something? They didn't have to lock the door like this. Sons of bi*ches!"
The relator kept trying while grumbling.
Chan-Ho eventually stepped in. He said, "Let me try it."
The padlock was finally and easily opened once Chan-Ho tried it with the exact same code that the realtor had been trying with.
"Huh? How come it didn't work when I tried it?"
Gun-Ho and Chan-Ho followed the realtor inside the auto repair shop.