For the Bar
Note and Disclaimer: Yes, I know. It's annoying that I always say it – never mine.
Perhaps you've heard of this woman – conniving, cheap and comforting. She had held a bar for many years and intended to pass it to a daughter, once she managed to cheat her out of some of her inheritance. But she was also a woman of means and knew how to take advantage of anyone for a profit.
Rosie was her name and business was her game. For several decades, her grandmother had owned a bar. Originally, it was to keep the Japanese at happy. They invaded the empire years before Rosie was born. The idea behind it was to appease these people and be safe. The first Rosie was business smart and always cheated her waitresses and customers to make a profit.
Rosie was taught this on her grandmother's knee. With wide eyes, she watched her grandmother intoxicate and feed many. Then, she swindled them as much as she legally could and paid the bills. Rosie thought it was the best life could offer her. Korea was always at war, with each other and with others. Tending to a bar was the best way to survive. After all, everyone always wanted a bite to eat and a few drinks!
And that was all she lived for, even when she married and moved away. Rosie always worked at the bar, to give her purpose. After all, her husband was a no-good drunk. He could not lift a finger to support them. Rosie had to work for both of them.
Even so, Rosie saw a lot of tragedy. She lost five children – two before they were born, one in infancy and two when they were born. Towards the end of the Japanese occupation, her husband was killed. Her father became sick and quickly passed away. Then, Korea was liberated…and split into two countries. Rosie lost a lot of her family to the north.
The sorrow toughened her though. Her mother and grandmother taught her that business will always be there for her when husbands and countries could not be. All she had to do was focus on what was good in front of her. Business was still buzzing, even after the Japanese departed. Everyone wished nothing more than to forget that their identity had been stolen and given back to them in the form of two governments.
After Korea split and the new war began, Rosie's grandmother soon saw a bigger revenue. An American base settled some yards away from her establishment. Many GIs preferred to spent their free time drinking and forgetting. Rosie, as well as her grandmother and mother, saw the goldmine. They took advantage as many of these soldiers and medical personnel as much as they could. This was how Rosie soon became acquainted with the 4077th. She ended up servicing them for the rest of the war.
More tragedy came to Rosie before her passion became her strength. Her grandmother died soon after the beginning of the war. Rosie's mother, also named Rosie, took over the bar and continued the tradition. A year later, she too died and Rosie finally inherited what she knew was completely hers. And she had plans!
There were some troubles, of course. No business was without its woes. She had to con a few authorities to keep open and give free drinks for a blind eye. Military personnel sometimes didn't pay their tab. Waitresses stole food for their families. Black market and other illegal activities were conducted in her back rooms in order to supplement her income. MPs were always looking in and trying to arrest her.
For her, the war was horribly annoying and she had to move so many times with the 4077th because of the land grabs. But there was nothing more comforting than her bar. Every time she set up her establishment, the old gang would arrive and toast her…and they would bring new clients. Then, those people will more customers.
Rosie was annoyed a few times with these people. She saw some crazy incidents. The 4077th tried settling there one night. There were bar fights that destroyed her establishment, enough that she had to close down. The Black Market invaded her space and tried running her out of town. But nothing stopped her. She reopened her bar. It was what the war brought to her…and it will end with her. She will make sure of it.
Towards the end of the war, Rosie saw some difficult times. She was so close to the front lines and often saw action from yards away. However, the conclusion meant that she was viewing the most of the combat. Her bar was a refuge and the only thing that kept many people alive, her most of all. She knew that if she died, everything will fall apart. The bar had to be open…and she had to avoid death at all costs.
After her war, Rosie continued to run her bar. The Americans stayed in Korea and she served a few of them. Usually, she saw natives that were bitter. Nothing had been settled with the war. It only brought on the changing social, political and economic landscape of Korea. Rosie had to fight to keep afloat, more so than ever before.
I am Death though…and there is always a way to me. Rosie used her bar to sustain herself, especially during the war. She used the safety of business to survive, like the women before her. However, this is not always a peaceful existence. One of these days, she will see the wrong person and not have anyone left to protect her. Her bar will eventually be closed.