After 9/11: A Korean Girl’s Sexual Journey by Younghee Cha©
Chapter Four…The DREAM Act Is Dying
After 9/11, America underwent major changes…as did K-town. First of all, the Korean Festival
was postponed; the American flag was everywhere; “God Bless America” stickers were
All over the streets, people were selling American flags. Everybody consoled themselves with the
American flag, and with God Bless America. All the media, as we know it, was filled with God
Bless America and Punish the Terrorists…twenty-four/seven. Governments, citizens…all spoke
in one voice: God Bless America and Punish the Terrorists. Except those weren’t mere words
At the same time, back on the streets, other terrors began. America’s entire Islam populace was
under suspicion as a collective terrorist, since the hijackers of 9/11 were Islamic.
It seemed like a witch hunt; there was panic. One American citizen who came from India was shot
and died in the shop where he worked, over a misunderstanding (he was Islam). In another
state, an Islamic family was shot by their own next-door neighbor.
That’s not somebody else’s story; it happened to me and Jose. Several days after 9/11, one
evening around eight o’clock…While he and I were walking down Westwood Boulevard after
visiting Borders Bookstore (this area was known as Persian Street), a convertible Jeep passed
us; the driver and three passengers—the passengers were standing up—shouted something to
us about “F—-ing Islam (blah-blah-blah)!” All four of them must have been twenty-something.
They seemed drunk, stoned, or maybe both.
Jose and I were shocked. We froze where we stood, in front of a Persian carpet store. We
looked around, but nobody was there except Latino Jose and my bleached-blonde Asian self.
We started off to Borders Bookstore, where we had parked our car, ignoring the red light at Ohio
Street. Panting, Jose told me we were lucky not to get shot.
The following day, Jose put the American flag on his car…and also mine. The irony of it all was
as follows: an illegal resident and an international student—Jose and myself, respectively—were
the first people to do so whom I knew intimately.
Here was an even greater irony: Hilary—an American citizen, at that—fretted about the American
flag. “Younghee, please take it off from your car. You are a foreigner, not even an American
citizen. In fact, the flag is a symbol of totalitarianism.”
“I don’t know much about that. Nevertheless, the flag on my car makes me feel safe somehow. At
least, it gives me the American look. That’s all I care about,” I said as we walked toward the
Gaam Coffee Shop.
“Everywhere we see the flag; everywhere people say God Bless America and speak of punishing
terrorism. We all are acting in perfect order. It resembles a giant group dance; whoever moves
differently—no matter how slight—is considered the enemy…” Hilary guzzled her coffee like
water, and then went on:
“One thing to remember: although three thousand people were dead, nobody assumed
responsibility for it. No head-of-state had resigned over it, either. Nor did people reprimand the
government about it. Isn’t that bizarre?” She asked me, a foreigner.
As a matter of fact, I was most curious about that myself. It was different from South Korea.
There, if something bad happened, people reprimanded the head-of-state about…say, why the
government hadn’t prevented this from happening…firing any related minister (or other official)
“I don’t know where my country is going. Nobody cares what the government did while the
terrorists prepared to attack. No one asks where our tax dollars went, although those were
supposedly being spent for our safety and security.” Hilary spoke with sarcasm in front of me,
while I ate M&Ms.
At the end of September, Jose began to curse terrorists; after 9/11, nobody wanted to talk about
the remission of illegal residents anymore. He wasn’t joking; he even got mad because his sole
hope was being repealed. That hope was the Development Relief and Education for Alien
Minors Act (DREAM Act).
According to Jose, the DREAM Act stated that any child like himself—who came illegally into the
US at the age of fifteen or under, and who had lived in this country for five years—could get
legal status and become a citizen later on.
Jose told me, if the DREAM Act passed, he could complete his studies at UCSD. When all of
America was filled with God Bless America from one ocean to the other, Jose couldn’t sleep
because he was too anxious. Whenever he felt insecure, he wanted to make love with me.
Whenever he tried to do this, I was looking for one excuse or another to avoid sex…because I
didn’t enjoy it at the time.
In fact, I was in the same boat because I had a student visa. After one of the hijackers was found
to have a student visa, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started looking at
international students with greater scrutiny.
Whenever I felt vulnerable, I e-mailed my childhood friend Dokdo. He had joined the South
Korean military in recent months.
In fact, I was shocked by terrorism. Moreover, I was surprised to find that America wasn’t the
strong country I’d imagined it to be. America was weak, crashing down with the same ease as
two big buildings. Everybody was puzzled, like a shopper who’d lost his car in the department-
store parking-lot during the Holiday Season.
According to Dokdo’s guess, Americans used to enter other countries which were not
accustomed to somebody else entering them. Maybe that was the reason America had lost its
rationality…especially since this was the first time it happened on the mainland.
Dokdo added that, in South Korea, people hear everyday about the Second Korean Civil War
coming soon to the peninsula. Thus, whenever the rumor circulated, nobody got surprised
anymore. Maybe, after those same people died in the Second Korean Civil War, they would be
flabbergasted in Heaven…realizing that the war had, in fact, happened.
Whenever anything happens for “the first time,” it makes a bigger impact than it ever will in the
future—as with one’s first true love, which remains tattooed in one’s memory for life—because it
was the first time such happened.
I easily agreed with Dokdo, because a huge and painful memory stuck with me of my first love.
Chapter Five…Hail Wifiers
October 2001…After the American military entered Afghanistan,
America began to prepare for possible biochemical warfare. All across the United States, people
were stricken with fear regarding anthrax, poison guns, etcetera. Many potential weapons for
attacking America showed up on TV.
All big buildings in downtown L.A. came under surveillance by the LAPD. Concerned about being
arrested, Jose quit both his jobs—café cook in the daytime, and office cleaner at night—
voluntarily. I thought he possessed a phobia of the LAPD, even though they didn’t start a
roundup of illegal residents…right away.
Meanwhile, I finished revising my screenplay and submitted it to various Screenplay Contests.
One Sunday morning, while we were preparing for church (as usual), Jose abruptly suggested
going to the Los Angeles Zoo instead. I knew the L.A. Zoo was a special place for Jose, because
of the following story from his childhood:
After Jose’s family came here from Mexico, Jose’s dad got his first day off. They decided on
going to the L.A. Zoo—but the night before they had planned to go, Jose’s dad failed to come
home from work.
About a month later, they found his father’s corpse in the hospital morgue. According to the
police, Jose’s father’s car had hit somebody else’s car; he had tried to flee, leaving his car
behind, but was hit and killed by another car coming from the opposite direction. The police didn’
t know his name, or who to contact about this; since Jose’s father had no driver’s license or
insurance, they kept him in the morgue.
Little Jose was very sad, not because of his father’s death, but because of not going to the Los
Angeles Zoo. They moved to San Diego; he had never been back to L.A. since then, until age
I was hesitant, but Jose talked me into it; he said that God wouldn’t punish me for skipping
church on just one Sunday.
I agreed with Jose because, after 9/11, he couldn’t sleep well. He needed entertainment, and so
While I started changing my makeup from Mass-Style to Animal Park-Style, I brought my wish: to
apply for and get a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)…implying an exchange of my wish for his.
“Why don’t we get DSL?” I said, glossing my lips dark-red.
“Applying for DSL? Just wait a little longer. Sooner or later, the City of Los Angeles will serve
free wireless internet to their residents…as do many cities, including the City of Fullerton;
remember their Hot Zone?” Jose explained, putting bananas and oranges in his backpack.
“Really? You mean all of Los Angeles?” I asked, locking the apartment door.
He vigorously nodded. “That is so we can improve our cutting-edge lifestyle…leading the future’
s so-called Information Society. That is the general tendency of the world…”
Whenever he talked about cutting-edge stuff, he was most excited. It was his sole source of self-
entertainment: obsessing about new technology.
I thought he probably got rid of stress regarding his status problems by: studying up on cutting-
edge technology; working very hard to follow his dream; and being zealous instead of
discouraged…as an illegal resident with no name, and with a car but no driver’s license. I always
let him enjoy it. He continued:
“…You know what? According to rumor, in the last L.A. Mayoral Election, one candidate
considered proposing that all of Los Angeles be given free wireless internet. But it was canceled
because said candidate learned he would easily win; therefore, he didn’t need another ticket to
run on. Had it happened that way, we would have thrown away our affiliation fees for whichever
cable-or-phone company we joined to get DSL…including our DSL affiliation fees. As a matter of
fact, nobody knows if they’re going bankrupt today or tomorrow.” Jose peeled a banana and ate
“Who’s going bankrupt? You mean the cable companies? Or wire phone companies?” I turned
my car onto the 10 Freeway East.
“Younghee, the world has entered the Wireless Era. If you have a Portable Multimedia Player,
you can listen to music, watch TV or access the internet…without any cables or wires. You can
do so in the park, on the beach, in the mountains, on the bus, even in the gym…just use your
TV iPod, TV Blackberry, LG TV cell-phone, etcetera. Wireless TV, wireless internet, wireless
phones…all of them come as a package-deal. Automatically and gradually, wire phones and
cable companies pass into history. Do we have a wire phone in our home?” Jose asked, offering
me a banana.
“Who uses them nowadays? Even three-year-old babies have their own cell phones.” I took a
bite of banana.
“See? Wire phones are disappearing and people are using wireless phones instead. That’s why
they’re called ‘Wifiers,’ for Wireless fidelity users. People prefer wireless stuff: wireless
Playstations…wireless laptops…wireless desktops…wireless printers…wireless fax
machines…wireless home theater systems with wireless speakers…even wireless rice-cookers.
Everything is going to be wireless; no more cables or wires.” He was roller-coasting into the
future. On the way, he leaned over to me and whispered, “You know what? Even the cable TV
and wire phone companies know they’re going to pass into history soon.” He started peeling an
“So if they go bankrupt or disappear, who’s going to get rid of all those cables and wires they set
up everywhere?” I wondered.
“That is worse news for them. Congress is legislating a Wire-Takedown Fund Act, involving
environmentalists who are working together to help it pass. Then, one of these mornings, the
cable and wire phone companies will be gone. Nevertheless, their bankruptcy is earlier than the
Act passed. So we have to pay for taking down the cables, via our taxes,” he emphasized.
As we approached downtown LA, I saw the Hollywood sign in the distance. There was my dream.
“Jose, have you touched the Hollywood sign?”
“Why would I do that?”
“If I touched one of the letters now, I feel I could achieve my Hollywood dream just like That.” I
snapped my fingers.
“Younghee, we are going to the L.A. Zoo for my dream. Don’t you remember?”
“I can’t wait to make love with you behind the first ‘O’, to hear you make an ‘O’ sound,” I rubbed
“Wow! Let’s do it, then, for your dream.” He smiled and winked.
Therefore, I took the 101 Freeway North from the 110. We parked at the end of Beachwood
Boulevard. After hiking for a while, we arrived behind the Hollywood sign. There was a fence. It
seemed so unfair, since the Hollywood sign practically winked with temptation for all those who
dreamed of hitting it big worldwide. Nonetheless, it didn’t want to be kissed by those same
people. Maybe that was the reason not everybody achieved their Hollywood dream.
“I hate fences,” I said, shaking this one.
“Don’t hate obstacles; just enjoy them, if they’re inevitable.” Jose gave me a look. “Do you really
want to achieve your Hollywood dream? Then hang on!” He started climbing the fence; I followed
step by step, on shaky legs, toward my dream. It wasn’t that difficult.
I ran down toward the letters, following Jose. We hugged and kissed the letter Y for a while.
Then I looked up at the other letters H-O-L-L…W-O-O-D, at the bushes and hills and skies.
The California sunshine was dazzling, but the feeling was strange; something about it made me
uneasy. Something about it seemed unfamiliar. I felt like I’d gone to another country, or perhaps
another planet, somewhere that I’d never been before.
At that time, Jose hugged me and kissed me on the ears. But I pushed him away.
“What’s wrong with you?” He tried to kiss me again.
“I’m sorry; I’m not in the mood.”
“What? Are you crazy? This is not an everyday opportunity. Let’s make love here, as you
promised.” He tried to hug me again, “I’m not leaving until you and I have sex here.”
“I’m so sorry…but do you understand everything that’s happening in your life? I don’t either, why
my vagina tells me not to do this.” I kissed him deeply; his tongue tasted bitter.
While we were coming down from the mountain, he was in a bad mood…complaining that I hadn’t
kept my promise.
“Why don’t you just give me a five-minute-suck in the car?”
Jose ate an orange.
He really loved being sucked…especially in the parking lot, which I never liked. He wanted me to
do that whenever the opportunity presented itself, mentioning that a five-minute-suck was the
best, refreshing our bodies and keeping us awake while we drove back home.
Nevertheless, whenever he suggested I do that, I decided I could try something to stop his
Anyhow, there were people in the parking lot. We drove back down and stopped in Thai Town
for a late lunch. As we arrived at the parking lot, Jose wanted me to give him the five-minute-
suck before we ate. I promised him a blow job as a dessert.
In the restaurant, I got curious: if I ate hot and spicy foods, what would happen to his member? I
believed it could stop his habit, so I ordered Fried Rice with Mint Leaves. Moreover, I purposely
coated my lips with Tabasco Sauce.
My Uncle’s Diary: 4/19/1985
There was a big student-demonstration on campus, and the whole University was filled with tear
gas. Even though most students left the library due to the gas, I was there until late at night, for
Later, while I was walking toward the bus stop, the police stopped me. They took my backpack
and inspected it. I told them I hadn’t done anything, but they hit me cruelly…very cruelly. I didn’t
Chapter Six…Manhood With Tabasco Sauce
“Oh, stop…Stop…My dick is burning…My dick is burning!” Jose shouted. He pushed away my
face. I smiled, wiping the saliva from my lips. He jumped out from the driver’s seat into the
parking lot. He bounced around in the air and his member did the same. It was so funny.
“Ohmigod…Oh, my dick!” His member was dancing in the air, freestyle. Then it fell down with its
owner. All of a sudden, Jose fainted onto the asphalt.
I jumped out from the passenger seat. I called Jose, who was leaning on the front wheel,
moaning, his member hanging halfway out of his jeans. Half-consciously, I crouched in front of
him. His breath was powerless; he seemed to be dying. I was in chaos.
I called 911 and the operator asked what kind of accident it was. I couldn’t explain the truth: that
somebody wanted me to suck his member; that I had done so after coating my lips with Tabasco
Sauce at the parking lot.
It could be criminal. Instinctively, I pretended not to be English-fluent. I simply said, “Ambulance,
ambulance! Hollywood and Kingsley parking lot!” The operator didn’t ask any more questions,
I started to wipe the sweat from Jose’s face and put his member back into his underwear, hoping
nothing would happen to him. I waited, praying for the ambulance to get there quicker.
Seconds dragged out like years. A minute later, I heard a siren in the distance. As it got louder,
my heart beat faster. After 9/11, the siren wasn’t just a siren; it was bigger than thunder and
lighting. It shook the whole world. When an ambulance entered the small parking lot, Jose
started blinking his eyes. Now sitting straight up, he looked at me.
When the ambulance crew approached Jose, he smiled slightly and mentioned that he was okay.
Then he thanked them for coming. After asking Jose a few questions, they left.
As soon as we were in the car, I asked Jose whether his member still hurt. Without responding,
Jose unzipped his jeans and brought his member out. He started fanning his crotch with both
“Who told you to call an ambulance?” he yelled at me suddenly. “Don’t call an ambulance! Don’t
call the police! Don’t call security!” He wagged his finger in my face.
“What’s wrong with you? I thought you were dying!”
“Even if I AM dying, just call my mother, no one else! Remember, I’m an illegal resident. No
police, no ambulance, nothing. Whether we call them or not, they might jump on us at anytime.
So please don’t.” Jose scared me.
I up-shifted my car and turned off toward my apartment. When I got on Hollywood Boulevard
from the parking lot, there was thick silence…in the car, on the street, and beyond the sky. The
morning started cheerfully, but the afternoon fell into sadness.
That Sunday was the only time I ever skipped Mass. It was also the first day I’d ever called 911. I
felt sorry for Jose about my Tabasco-prank. When I turned onto the 101 Freeway South, I
recalled how our relationship started a year before.
At that time, he worked as a cook at Nara’s mother-in-law’s 24-hour restaurant. I worked there as
a waitress, for a month.
Early one evening, when I walked toward the restaurant, I saw Jose, the cook, being questioned
by the cops. Wearing a backpack, he looked scared. Instinctively, I felt like I had to do something
for him. I interfered with their conversation.
The police were seeking a decent Korean restaurant for their co-workers, at which to have
dinner, so I simply recommended Soot Bull Zeep on 8th Street and Catalina Avenue. The police
thanked us and left.
Even after they left, Jose’s eyes remained loaded with fear. Yes, so his uncertain eyes did
remind me of my late uncle’s eyes.
I saw my uncle through Jose’s eyes. I kissed Jose deeply on the lips. It was only the second time
in my entire life that I’d kissed a man. Jose seemed surprised; so did I.
In early November 2001, while the American troops were looking for terrorists in Afghanistan,
Jose was looking for a new job…very desperately. Unfortunately, Jose always came back home
On the bright side, he had his own time. We spent one whole day as a vacation…going to the
Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica—where we hadn’t been for some time—and enjoying
an afternoon of entertainment. We window-shopped, having coffee from Starbucks; reading
books at Barnes & Noble. Then we went to the Santa Monica Pier, where we watched the sunset
That night, on the way back home, we went to Macarthur Park to buy a fake ID for Jose. Jose
negotiated with several ID-sellers on the street-corner. It looked like those ID-peddlers were old
friends of his. It seemed perfectly natural, like a wild animal instinctively picking up rules of
survival in the wilderness.
The more time passed, the more anxious Jose became. One day, after he visited some group for
the DREAM Act, he let out a deep sigh while drinking. He mentioned that the situation regarding
the DREAM Act was getting worse, and began guzzling soju.
“You know what? Every year 65 thousand undocumented students graduate from American high
schools. Due to their lack of papers, they’re faced with astronomical out-of-state tuition fees. So
they can’t get into the colleges they’d like to attend. Undocumented students also cannot get a
job legally, since they lack the right paperwork. Technically, high schools across America
produce 65 thousand illegal residents per year…legally.” He was getting drunk; leaning in close
to me, he whispered: “Could you please give me a blow job with Tabasco Sauce?”
“What…? No!” I shook my head and smiled.
“Just give me a blow job with one shot of Tabasco Sauce.”
“Are you kidding? You fell face-down!”
“I saw Heaven before I fell down the first time. So I want you to show me Heaven again. Coat
your lips with it.”
“What, are you crazy? You almost died! Now you want me to do it again!?” I shouted.
“Okay, let’s go straight: Why did you do it to me the first time? You tell me.” He looked at me
I was speechless, which let him know I’d done it on purpose. So I brought the bottle, and
smeared a coat of it all over my lips. He squeezed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth as if he
were being eaten by hyenas.
I put his member in my mouth, and went back and forth with it, and he stood up with a shout. He
started bouncing around the living room as if he were on the moon, with his manhood flying in
the air before him.
“Are you walking through Heaven?” I asked still holding the bottle in my hand. He sat heavily on
the sofa, and lifted his manhood toward me again. I told him I couldn’t do it anymore; visiting
Heaven once was enough. He kept asking; finally, he told me that if I did it again he’d tell me his
Yes, the word “secret” made me do it again. I promised that would be the last time I’d give him a
blow job with the sauce. After I coated my lips again, I held his manhood and squeezed it with my
“I am a fugitive,” Jose said, groaning heavily.
I bit his manhood accidentally, because I was shocked when he mentioned the word “fugitive.”
After I apologized for biting him, I looked up at him and mouthed, “What’s going on?”
He explained that, several months ago, the USCIS told him that he would be forced to leave
America within a month…due to the discovery of his undocumented status.
“Why not just return to your mother country and apply for a working visa?” I asked.
“America IS my mother country; I’ve lived here since I was five years old. The most important
thing is that I came here illegally. So if I leave here, the government will not allow me back for ten
years. That’s the law. Can you imagine spending a whole decade without family…friends…?”
I didn’t want to hear his sorrow anymore; I felt my heart explode. So I put more Tabasco Sauce
on my lips and started to suck his manhood like crazy.
He made heavy groans again; I didn’t care if he was happy or in pain. I just sucked, and sucked.
He shook his upper body back and forth, right and left, twisting left and right, opening his eyes
wide and making strange animal sounds. His manhood was harder than ever before, enveloped
by my Tabasco-covered lips.
He tapped his feet in a frenzied pattern and pumped his manhood inside me. His whole body was
trembling. Then he pushed me away, hard, and stood up…making a beastly sound:
“…Aaaoooohhh…” It seemed that, somehow, somebody was choking him. He collapsed to the
floor with a tremendous Thud. I stood up quickly, rushing to the fridge for ice cubes. After I came
back from the kitchen—unbelievably—he was sitting on the sofa again with a half-Heaven-half-
hell look on his face.
“Younghee, could you please suck my dick again? Please show me Heaven again.” His voice
was wet with sorrow.
“Jose, you’ve been there enough already.” From the beginning, I regretted my thoughtless
behavior toward him. “Do you want me to call your mom, or the ambulance, again?”
“…I’m begging you…I’m tired of living like this. I’m fucking tired of being an illegal resident.
Please do it again.” He started sobbing loudly, “I didn’t choose to come here. I just…My parents
brought me here. And suddenly…one day…” By now, he was almost screaming. “I found out for
myself that I’m a fugitive…I Wasn’t Born For Illegal Residency!”
I knelt before him. “Stop, Jose. Please stop. I’m so sorry… ’m so…”
He started wailing. I started to rub whatever parts of his body I could reach. His grief and lament
began spreading out all over the living room.
Two days later, Saturday night, he didn’t come back home.
He just disappeared. No phone, no e-mail, nothing. I called his mother, but the phone was
There were only rumors: of his being arrested by the police, via irregular checking of passersby
on the streets; of his running away, following a hit-and-run accident.
Jose just went, like the wind. He had come to America like a brave German Shepherd, lived like a
scared Chihuahua, and run away like homeless Benji.
My first concern was that I would be charged double my current rent. Jose and I had been
sharing the apartment 50/50. Previous chapters
© 2006 Younghee Cha
Thank you for reading this fiction, published January 2006. If you want to know more about this
novel, please visit http://www.youngheecha.com
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