When Dean James helps out at his uncle Jun’s store, he usually shelves stock and rings up sales. Today he’s using stock to fortify the store into a bunker and brandishing guns to keep customers at bay.
It’s 30 April 1992, the day after a jury returned not guilty verdicts for four police officers in the beating of Rodney King. Protests in Los Angeles have spread into a city-wide riot. People are being killed. Businesses are being looted and burned, especially Korean-owned businesses like Jun’s store.
Though half-Korean, Dean doesn’t care about the politics of the riots. He wants to leave law enforcement to the police, but they are nowhere to be seen. When Jun refuses to leave, Dean stays to help him defend the store against rioters working their way up from South-Central LA. Neither of them know about the gangbanger using cover of the riots to take over Koreatown businesses, like Jun’s, by any means necessary.
For three days, Dean has to keep rioters from destroying the store, keep his uncle from killing anybody, and fight to stay alive in the center of one of the the deadliest civil disturbances in US history.
Will Kill for Food was one of three winners in Black Hill Press’s 2014 Summer Writing Project.