29 (Mon) May 2017
-One Serendra, BGC-
with the Family
When I was in college, Koryo BBQ was my go-to Korean restaurant. (Not Koryo Bunsik, a smaller casual place located in Berkeley near campus, but the bigger establishment just over the border into Oakland.) Located a few blocks from my girlfriend’s apartment and open 24 hours, we ate there breakfast, lunch, dinner, late nite snack – back then, any hour of the day seemed appropriate for a full Korean spread.
On one such occasion, maybe around 11pm, in the middle of an otherwise ordinary meal, GF and I were startled by a crash of dishes and yelling from the kitchen. A guy in a ski mask emerged, waving a gun. “GET DOWN ON THE FUCKING FLOOR!!” We obeyed, a handful of other customers, GF and I. GF started crying, whispering frantically, half to herself, half in prayer perhaps. “oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god.” I couldn’t help but notice with a dangerous degree of disdain that the gunman (Dumbass 1) was holding the gun sideways, how inner city gangstas are portrayed to do it in movies of the day (mid-1990s). Soon, Dumbass 1 was joined in the dining hall by his partner (Dumbass 2), both struggling comically to open the cash register. “HOW THE FUCK DO YOU OPEN THIS THING?!” Failing at this, Dumbass 2 had a flash of inspiration, pointing at us on the floor: “Hey, we should take their wallets!” Dumbass 1: “Yeah!” Hearing this, rolling my eyes at the pain-in-the-ass prospect of having to replace my driver’s license, ATM card, Blockbuster card, etc., still lying on the floor, I took out the wallet from my back pocket and removed everything and transferred it all to my front pocket, including most of the cash. Just then, through the glass entry doors, I could see police officers approaching from the outside, guns drawn. Dumbasses see them too. “OH SHIT, COPS!” They ran back into the kitchen. On our side, the cops entered. “Everybody, please stay down, hands where we can see them. Relax. This will all be over soon.”
When the Dumbasses had made a ruckus upon entry, a busboy who’d been cleaning up in a separate dining section in the back escaped through a fire exit, ran next door to the karoake bar, and asked them to call 911. The call went out to patrol cars hanging out at the convenience store a couple blocks down, who put down their donuts and arrived promptly on the scene. The whole thing was over within minutes.
Turned out that the Dumbasses were acquaintances of the son of the owners.
Anyway, on that occasion, we were eating pan-fried flounder/sole – in Korean = gajami. I remember because, following the would-be robbery, the place was shut down to take photos and get statements from everyone, and I regretted having to leave the fish behind, nearly untouched. I can’t recall whether we were charged for the meal.