Something was buzzing underneath the pair of boxers on the floor. I rolled out of bed and picked it up. It was Mark, the Bostonian.
"We going to Busan or what?"
"I dunno," I said.
"Flip a coin."
It was noon. We were supposed to be in Busan already. I sifted through the loose change under my bed.
"Yeah, 10 Won."
"Okay. Heads, we’re heading to Busan."
"Tails, we’re going back to bed. With our fucking tails between our legs."
There is a moment of inertia at the start of any expedition when the hardened explorer can duck his head into the wind and trudge forth towards lands unseen and probably expensive, or just roll back over in bed and maybe wake up in time for BBC’s Hardtalk with Stephen Sackur. I had been clamoring to go to Busan all week, but I was quietly hoping to roll back over and maybe wake up in time for BBC’s Hardtalk with Stephen Sackur.
I tossed the coin. It glanced off the side of a sleeping Coke can and skittered across the floor, spiraled and whirred until it died and ... tails.
"Alright, man," said Mark, "goodnight."
I set my phone back under the boxers on the floor, pulled the covers up around my neck and rolled over, warm and content. If the coin had come up heads, Mark and I would have gestured our way onto the cheapest train to Busan, hocked Anglo-Saxon loogeys into the Sea of Japan, played quarters with dusty Russian whores in the pubs on the port, catnapped in a karaoke room ... but fate came up tails. This meant I would sleep, maybe wake up in time for BBC’s Hardtalk with Stephen Sackur, go out afterwards and hunt down a gory box of potato pizza from the Pizza Bingo down the street ... The whole course of events had been decided by the thickness, density, and upward velocity of a nearly worthless Korean coin, the springiness of my woodgrain-papered floor, the mass of any toenails, dust bunnies, or bits of rice chancing to lie in the way; all of these had some incalculably small effect on the coin's turning up tails, which determined that we would not go to Busan, which would of course determine the height and relative hairiness of my unborn children, how I would vote in 2012, the winning percentage of the 2017 Montreal Expos, and an infinity of other things, among them perhaps the destruction or slightly delayed destruction of humanity, which (depending on the vastness and emptiness of the universe) might or might not have any effect whatsoever on anything.
I couldn’t sleep.
Then, something buzzed underneath the pair of boxers on the floor. I rolled out of bed and picked it up. It was Mark.
"I’m not going to lie to you," Mark said, “but right now, I feel like a real pussy."
"So. Let’s go."