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JUST ANOTHER COG IN THE CAPITALIST MACHINE

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Jimin began his Monday shift by losing his keys.
“Fuck! How the hell am I gonna be able to access the safe now? My manager is going to be so fucking pissed at me!” At this point… God, he was gonna have to ask someone else for their keys. He gnawed at his fingernails in a fit of anxiety.
The last time Jimin checked, no one at work liked him. Well, actually, everyone loved him. But no one really liked him enough to lend him their keys. It was that kind of love that one would express for a random dog they meet on the street. Objectifiable and cute — nothing more. Little trust. Polite respect. He would be even more of a joke to his coworkers if he lost the keys to the safe.
While Jimin was ransacking every nook and cranny of the apartment, Jungkook looked from the kitchen with a smirk. “Aren’t you going to be late?”
Jimin stopped and looked back at him with venom in his eyes. “At this rate, probably. Not like you’re helping any.”
Jungkook crossed his arms and leaned against the wall with a smug look plastered all over his (very ratty) face. “Have you considered checking your backpack?”
“Why would I put my keys in there? No.” Jimin continued to look everywhere except his backpack.
Jungkook’s eyes flickered over the scattered mess of books, used-up water bottles, and the occasional condom. Eager to prove Jimin wrong, he unzipped his backpack with fervor. The very first thing that rolled out of it was a vibrator!
“Oh, scandalous!” He cooed.
“What? I’m a little busy.” Jimin didn’t even bother to pay attention to the extremely personal belonging that had just fallen out of his bag.
“Whatever, here are your keys. They were under the vibrator.” Jungkook tossed them at Jimin’s face. “I was right, once again.”
The keys hit Jimin in the face like a poorly-aimed ejaculation. “Fucking...thanks.”
“Who’re you using that for, by the way?”
“That’s literally none of your business.”
“We’re roommates. Everything is my business. Mi casa is tu casa or some shit like that.” He delivered this sentence with a shit-eating grin, knowing it was absolutely deplorable.
Jimin pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers and sighed exasperatingly. “Please, for the love of fucking God, don’t ever say that again. That sounds awful coming out of your mouth.”
Jungkook rubbed his chin, feeling the peach fuzz there, a foreign feeling. “Pretty ethnic. Aight. I’ll have to check that out soon.” Was this a response to Jimin, or was he just…?
Whatever. None of this mattered. At this point, he was going to be written up if he didn’t leave right then and there. “Let’s go already. I don’t want to endure anymore painful conversations with my boss than I need to.”
“More painful than that vibrator going up y-”
Jimin elbowed Jungkook in the mouth.

 

Did Jimin like the place he worked at? That’s a great question , he thought to himself as he drove up to the dingy ass hole-in-the-wall local bar that he forfeited a fourth of his adult life to.
Twenty-one years, and this is what his entire life led up to. At the ripe and typically flourishing age of twenty-one years, Jimin was serving his purpose as a cog in the capitalist machine in a place where he regularly saw the dried up and lonely old right-winged men that were regulars here attempt to seduce many decades younger girls into coming home with them. He could remember many situations where he took pity on the poor girls, stepped in, and essentially cockblocked the men. Perhaps the greatest joy of his entire career was being able to see their pouty faces when they were denied by both the girls and the bartender.
But oh God, was it awful to be hit on by those wrinkly white men themselves. A conveniently attractive and androgynous-looking Asian is serving them drinks? What an opportunity it’d be to throw aggressively flirtatious and creepy comments left and right at someone just trying to do his job.
At the very least, Jimin thought to himself, he could feel vague pity for the slums who, in drunken slurs, would vent about their mediocre lives and wives, their glazed-over eyes in the vague direction of the shot glasses he served.
Jungkook, on the other hand, loved Jimin’s job. He naturally tagged along with Jimin every day at work, and snuck free drinks out of it. Of course, he technically was not allowed to do this, but nobody could ever say no to Jungkook’s charm. Even Jimin. As an added bonus, Jungkook had the ability to cuss out any dickhead customer, especially the flirty ones. While Jimin was obligated by his job to be as polite as he possibly could to these jagoffs, Jungkook could absolutely tear into them and send them home with a few punches. “The customer is always right… but so is Jungkook,” was a common phrase Jimin heard from his annoying, but loyal, best friend.
Jimin was busy watching a video on how to grow shrooms on his phone (not because of any interest in the concept, but simply because it popped up in his recommended feed on YouTube). It was a slow day.
“Hey. Hey. Jimin.” Jungkook swerved into the other’s direction and poked at his arm.
“Yeah?” Jimin finished the video on growing shrooms.
“Spell ICUP.” Jungkook said.
Jimin watched his phone apathetically as YouTube began to load the next video on autoplay. “Dude, I’m working.”
Jimin was definitely not working. Jimin was now watching an ASMR video from Japan on how to carve resin knives without headphones on. His eyes failed to move away from his Samsung Galaxy S8 screen.
“What’s that noise?”
“Can you shut up? I’m trying to, like, focus.”
In the midst of their bickering, Jimin heard the familiar sound of the bell indicating a customer walking in.
Jimin’s fight-or-flight kicked in when he heard that bell. His heart skipped a beat, almost instinctively. Fuck that stupid bell. He hated it. He would disable it if it didn’t mean his manager would skewer him and slowly rotate him over a flame until his skin was nicely browned and slightly crispy.
Ignoring his racing thoughts, he held a forced grin and made eye contact with the customers. It was a pair of young Asian—are they Korean?—men, the prime targets to sell some mad overpriced drinks. Also, they were pretty attractive, which is unusual compared to most people that came in here.
Jimin noted to himself their complete foreignity in juxtaposition to the rest of the typical crowd. Bowlcuts, of all hairstyles? Interesting. The same as me, actually. Boyish-looking, if you ignore their fashion. The tall one’s wearing a headband, oh God. Are they visiting from Korea? But why would tourists come here, of all places? He shook his head and focused.
The short one who vaguely resembled a depressed cat spoke in a low voice, brushing (very invisible) dust off the sleeves of his Off-White brand leather jacket. “We got some questions.”
Bro, I’m just a bartender. Don’t waltz down here like you’re the Mafia or something, Jimin thought to himself, already a bit annoyed with the pretentious vibe coming off of these two men. Definitely Korean. I recognize that accent anywhere.
“About your order? Well, I highly recommend the Moscow Mule— Happy Hour is in a couple of minutes or so.” Truthfully, Jimin didn’t particularly care for most of the drinks on the menu. He just randomly pulls one of the drink names out of his ass in hopes that it would satisfy.
Jimin noticed Jungkook looking at both of them from the corner of his eye. Jungkook had also grown up in Korea with Jimin, and was likely experiencing the same familiar vibes coming off of the two men.
“Hey, you guys aren’t from here, are you?” Jungkook blurted out with very little tact.
“...No, we’re visiting.” The kinda alien-looking one (at least, in Jimin’s opinion) muttered in an even deeper voice, taken back by the rather careless assumption made by Jungkook.
“That’s totally cool, by the way. I’m not from around here either.” Jungkook responded in Korean before switching back to English. “Wait, I don’t even know if you’re—”
“We are.” The catty one spoke this time. He shot a glare at Jimin, who strained his obvious customer service smile until his cheeks hurt. Oh God, Jungkook is going to get me fired eventually, I swear.
“As I was saying, would you like the Moscow Mule or the Twat Tequila, or…?”
“The… what?”
“Moscow Mule?”
“No, the other one.”
Shit. Jimin suddenly realized “Twat Tequila” wasn’t even on the menu. Whatever. He could just throw some vodka and orange juice into a martini glass and these whack-offs would probably believe it was real. “The Twat Tequila. What do you expect from a bar named Titty Typhoon?” Jimin jested, hoping they would not catch onto his hesitation.
Not a single smile was cracked in the face of Jimin’s poorly executed joke.
“The usage of alliterations in this bar is sickening. It needs more assonance.” Cat Man rolled his eyes before coming to some sort of epiphany, straightening his back and coughing into his fist. “But that’s besides the point.”
Admittedly, as annoying and stuck up as Cat Man was coming off, he felt an unusual attraction towards his chiseled and sexy features. His eyes were strikingly beautiful and, uh, cat-like, emitting an ethereal light that pierced Jimin right in the scrote. He was, at best, a 4/10. Then, the man looked Jimin in the eyes, and Jimin could feel an arrow pierce his heart.
Damn, he was sexy. Like, that kind of sexy where you’re kind of confused as to how they are that sexy, because they’re actually kind of ugly, but like, everyone is too scared to admit it, because they emit that, like, sexy aura, you know?
Also, Cat Man appeared to be Jimin’s height. That’s a bonus, since he’s sick of most people being taller than him, although he wouldn’t admit that out loud.
“We have questions about y—”
“—Hang, hang on. I have to activate my homosexuality.” Jungkook shot down another glass of vodka and leaned over to Alien Man with a dreamy look in his eyes. “Whaz your name?” He licked his lips.
Is he really fucking flirting with my customers already? They just got here! What the hell does activating my homosexuality even mean?
“Taehyu… um, Taeyoongi.” Alien Man stuttered.
Did Jimin spot some sweat dripping down that dude’s face? Also, what kind of name was that? He observed Cat Man shooting Taeyoongi a primitively raging glare of bullets and daggers.
“Taeyoongi? Like, Tae Yoongi? Or Taeyoon Gi? Three syllables? I only needed your first name, y’know.” Jungkook batted his eyelashes.
“Taeyoon Gi, actually. Yes. My name is Taeyoon.
What kind of surname even is that?
Jimin was so close to beating the absolute shit out of Jungkook. Unfortunately, he needed a way to pay his bills, and getting fired wasn’t one of them. Aiming to smooth out the situation, he turned his attention to Cat Man, and said, ”I apologize for my friend. Ignore him, he doesn’t work here. What were you planning on asking me?”
Cat Man made eye contact once again, making Jimin’s heart race a bit. He cleared his throat in a calm and professional manner, and said,”...Taeyoon and I work for a, um, culinary review magazine.” He brushed more dust off his disgustingly authentic brand name leather jacket, cladded with spikes on his shoulder pads and all. Besides him, Taeyoon stuck his hands in his Comme des Garçons acetate bomber’s pockets.
Weird. Jimin would have never pegged these obviously rich dudes for people working for a magazine . Something didn’t add up here, but all Jimin could really care about right now was making enough money to get by and maybe flirting with the Cat Man, just to piss Jungkook off. “I see, so you want to review Titty Typhoon?” He added on, “What’s your name, by the way?”
“Yes, both of us are going to write a review. Just call me Moto-Moto.”
Okay, yeah, this dude was definitely fucking weird. “....Alright. Well, you never decided on what drink you want, Mr. Moto-Moto.”
“I’ll take the Twat Tequila.”
God dammit. If these guys really are culinary review writers, he’s definitely fucked. Maybe they’ll think it’s a quirky hipster thing. Jimin nervously reached over to the soda (God, I hate this) fountain and began filling a glass with Dr. Pepper before brewing it with white wine. God, this was going to taste like absolute shit.
Moto-Moto eyed the drink with apprehension. Jimin tried his best to ignore the obvious scorn coming from Moto-Moto and slid it over to him. “It’s on the secret menu, so you’re a very special guest to be getting this.” Jimin winked to hide the obvious turmoil going on in the gears of his brain.
“Yeah. Sure I am.” Moto-Moto held the… Dr. Pepper-white wine hybrid up to his lips and took a sip. He cringed.
Moto-Moto’s face was contorted with disgust and Jimin felt his heart sink. Oh God, his managers were going to get him. “I take it that you didn’t enjoy it. But, that’s okay! It’s an acquired taste! Maybe take a few more sips?” Jimin said, each word getting higher in pitch as he tried to suppress his own laughter and anxiety. Sweet baby Jesus fuck.
“... I’ll pass. I, uh, think I had enough. As you know, being a culinary reviewer means that I can… taste and judge things pretty quickly.” Another cough into his sparklingly expensive sleeve. More of a wheeze, actually.
Oh my god, Jimin was going through a range of emotions. This review is definitely bombed, he nearly fucking poisoned an extremely hot Korean man, and he couldn’t help but think about how goddamn funny it was he tried to serve Dr. Pepper mixed with white wine to a reviewer .
His entire mind was overflowing with despair as he muttered sheepishly, ”Please, please don’t write a terrible review. I really don’t want to lose my job and I’m so bloody poor. Oh my god, I literally have no other means to support myself than this measly fucking job. If I had the choice, I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. This job is the bane of my very existence and it ‘s all I have here to support myself in Sydney. The very last thing I need right now when I’m doing this fucking awfully is to get fired over something I did on impulse because I’m a huge goddamn dumbass. Please, Mr. Moto-Moto, I will literally do anything to not get my ass handed to me by my managers.”
Jimin was bawling at this point, clutching Moto-Moto’s extremely expensive, rare, authentic leather jacket from over the table. “I’m being 100% serious. I’m at your mercy,” Jimin added, hoping this sounded the least bit seductive. Most of this was very desperate acting, to be honest. He had to do anything to garner this man’s sympathy.
As it turns out, wailing on a rich man while getting tears and snot all over his jacket was not the best angle to go for. Moto-Moto peered down at Jimin’s tearful face with utter derision.
“Please, I can’t thank you enough for your hospitality and service.” He said, his voice coming off as anything but thankful. He untangled Jimin’s grasp from his jacket. “Now, if you excuse me, my friend Taeyoon and I will be leaving.”
No. No. No. Fuck no. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No no no no no no no no —
A crumpled up dollar bill is smashed into the palms of Moto-Moto’s hands. “Sir, sir, please ! Hear me out. I’ll satisfy any need you have. You don’t understand how much I need this.” Jimin couldn’t hold himself back. The very idea of ever losing his job was going to ruin his life. He would have to go back to Korea and live with his dad. He would spiral even further down into the depths of depression. He could not let that happen, ever.
“Do you really expect to convince me with a dollar bill?” Moto-Moto’s eyes narrowed at him and his forehead creased.
Jimin kept an iron tight grip on Moto-Moto’s hands (which, in digression, were incredibly smooth) and held his head down as he pleaded, ”I know, I know. That was dumb. I just have no other options. Like I said, I will literally do anything for you, sir. ” Jimin wished the message’s subtext would finally click in this dude’s head. There was no way he was this oblivious.
“Anything?” Moto-Moto struggled for release from Jimin’s sweaty, pudgy fingers. “Then get off me.” Eyes averted, the very-genuine culinary reviewer seemed to search for…
Oh. Right. He came with someone, didn’t he? And that someone was last talking to…
Jimin’s eyes widened, and he loosened his grip for a split second. In that moment, Moto-Moto slipped from his grasp and shoved his hands into his jacket. He huffed and searched for, presumably, Taeyoon.
Well. So much for bawling his heart out to Mr. Moto-Moto. That dude was as slippery as an eel.
Well. He wouldn’t have any luck finding Taeyoon. Jimin narrowed his eyes. And I won’t have any luck finding Jungkook either, if he’s doing what I think he’s doing.
Jimin wiped tears from his eyes and straightened up. After clearing his throat, he said offhandedly to the man, ”I think your associate is shagging my friend.” That could’ve been us…
Ew. Why would I even genuinely think about that with this prick?
“Great. That’s. Great to hear. Thank you for coming to that conclusion and saying that out loud to me, by the way. Your service is fucking impeccable.” Moto-Moto’s eyes seemed to stare off into nowhere as he spoke.
“I promise you, I’m much more impeccable in bed.” Ah, Jimin’s impulsive nature was out to get him. He immediately regretted those words once they left his mouth. For good measure, the bartender winked. And sheepishly grinned.
Yikes.
“I’m sure you are. But, no thanks.” Moto-Moto swiveled a complete 180-degree in his chair and promptly stood up… stiffly. With another brush to his authentic Off-White leather jacket (and his equally expensive skinny jeans!), the small, cat-like man, standing erect, began to head towards the bar entrance.
Jimin watched him exit, noticing how careful his steps were and the position of his hands towards his waistline. Ah. Interesting.
The chimes of the bell rang into Jimins’ ears, indicating the loss of yet another body in the room. Mr. Moto-Moto was gone.
Jimin rested his head on his hands and tried to sulk in peace as he thought about Jungkook. How in the hell did that idiot manage to get lucky tonight, and Jimin didn’t?
Goddamn it. His shift wasn’t even nearly over yet.