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“Cheerful Maid Marisa” by Cheon Myeong-kwan

#Books on Demand l 2022-08-09

Books on Demand

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The closer I got toward the truth hiding behind the burning fire, the more excited I became. People would have thought me crazy if they knew that I felt ecstatic from trying to figure out who my husband’s mistress was. But it was true more or less.

Before long I looked at the only name left on the list, and I was so shocked that I thought my heart would stop. Do you know who that was, Thomas? It was none other than Nadia. 

경찰이 나를 살인범으로 모는 건 아닐까?

게다가 동기도 충분하잖아.

그런데 요한나는 우리가 바람 피운 걸 어떻게 알아냈지?

점성술이라도 쓴 건가?

Will the police think I’m the killer? I have plenty of motives. But how did Johanna find out I was cheating on her? Did she use the astrology charts? What is the process of elimination and who is Agrippina? What the heck was running through her head? Maybe she intended to frame me for her death. It’s totally possible for a woman with weird ideas like Johanna. 

그나저나 나디아가 이 사실을 알면 얼마나 놀랄까?

어쩌면 잘 됐다고 생각할지도 몰라.

그녀는 자신의 언니가 너무 멍청하다고, 

차라리 죽어버렸으면 좋겠다고 말했잖아.

Anyway, Nadia would be shocked to hear about this. No, maybe she would think it’s better this way. She said that her sister was too stupid, and she had wished Johanna dead. 

그런데 심장이 너무 빨리 뛰는 것 같군.

와인 한 병을 혼자서 다 마신데다

이런 끔찍한 상황이 닥쳤으니 그럴만도 하지.

이럴 때일수록 정신을 바짝 차려야 돼.

자칫하면 살인범으로 몰릴 수도 있다고.

그래, 차라리 마리사를 부르는 게 낫겠어.

그녀라면 일을 잘 해결할 수 있을 거야.

I think my heart is beating too fast. It’s not strange since I finished a whole bottle of wine by myself and went through such an awful experience. I should pull myself together at a time like this. I could be framed as a killer. I better call Marisa. She can probably take care of this.

# Interview 3 (Jeon)

You would have thought that Marisa was the main character given the story’s title. Maybe you were waiting for Marisa to show up. But the lead characters in this story were Johanna and Thomas, and Marisa was just a side character. In the last scene, we find out that Marisa switched the couple’s fates. Such a surprise makes the ending more satisfying. But did Marisa switch the bottles unintentionally? Nothing much is known about her, but Johanna did say that Marisa reported her son-in-law for attempted murder. Behind her cheerful and loud façade lies a driven woman who doesn’t keep quiet about injustice. Perhaps the cheerful maid Marisa was behind the poisoning, although nobody can be certain.

그런데 맙소사! 손에 들고 있는 건 술병 아녜요?

대체 무슨 일이 있기에 아침부터 그렇게 술을 마셨어요?

그렇게 속살을 드러내놓고 술병을 들고 있으니

영락없이 그 로마의 악녀....이름이 뭐라고 그랬죠?

마님의 전생 말예요, 독살했다는.

어쨌든 지금 마님이 바로 그 꼴이라고요.

Oh, my goodness! Is that a wine bottle in your hand? What made you drink in the morning? Seeing you half-naked and holding a wine bottle reminds me of that awful woman in Rome… what was her name? Your past life, the one who poisoned people? Anyway, you look like her right now.

그리고 코르크 마개를 딴 채 와인을 밖에 그냥 뇌두는 법이 어디 있어요?

내가 마개를 잘 막아서 냉장고에 있던 것과 바꿔치긴 했지만 말예요.

And why would you leave out an open bottle of wine? I capped it again and switched it with the one in the fridge.

어머! 그러고 보니 주인님이 돌아와 계신지도 모르고 떠들고 있었네.

여행은 즐거우셨....에구머니나! 주인님 코에서 피가 흘러요.

아무래도 비행기를 너무 오래 탄 모양이예요.

Oh, I see that master has returned. How silly of me to keep prattling on.  Did you have a nice tr… Oh, my! Master is bleeding from the nose! I think he must have been on the plane for too long.

여보세요, 병원이죠? 네? 오토씨네 생선가게라고요?

어이쿠, 하나님.  전화가 또 잘못 간 모양이네.

도대체 이게 무슨 난리람!

Hello, is this the hospital? No? It’s Mr. Otto’s fish store? Oh, God! I must have dialed the wrong number. What a mess!

Cheon Myeong-kwan (Born in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do Prov., 1964~ )

Debuted by publishing short story “Frank and Me” in 2003

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