“What an amazing present.”
“His gifts are as grand as his wealth.”
Maru smiled looking at the container, he didn’t think he’d really get one, in just two days no less. Maru headed to the clubroom, leaving Taesik to revel at the container by himself.
Jiyoon and Bangjoo were waiting next to the clubroom.
“I’m sorry for calling you out during lunchtime.”
Jiyoon flinched a bit at Bangjoo’s energetic reply, the two of them were polar opposites. Can they work well together?
“Alright, we’ll start off with cleaning the container itself. It’s going to be our new clubroom, so take care.”
Daemyung appeared with a handful of cleaning supplies. For now, they prepared some floor cleaner and mops.
“Take this down with you. Mr. Taesik is waiting on the bottom.”
Daemyung left the clubroom with the freshmen, Maru took the ruler in the clubroom and started measuring the bigger props. “This should all fit nicely.”
As he made his way down the central staircase, he bumped into Geunseok coming up with his group of friends.
“Well, you guys look busy. Need help?”
Maru scanned the boy from top to bottom, the boy was smiling brightly at him. What was happening? When Maru frowned in confusion, Geunseok’s smile only deepened. The boy’s friends started muttering among each other nervously.
“Is he that acting club dude?”
Geunseok’s friends stared at Maru with a bit of hostility. Maru thought for a second. Did he ever get into a point of conflict with these people? Not at all. He has never even talked to them before. So what was this?
“If you want to, sure. We do need people.”
“I’ll head over in a bit then.”
A girl standing next to Geunseok poked him with an annoyed look.
“Hey, you really shouldn’t.”
She was whispering, but Maru heard everything. Well, this was odd. Maru tried looking deeply into Geunseok’s eyes.
[Confusing, isn’t it? Maru, I can fucking bury you if I just try a little.]
The word bubble above his head was a shade of bright pink, but the words inside were absolutely disgusting.
“He’s a friend, so of course I should. I may not be in the acting club anymore, but I’m still his friend.”
Maru couldn’t hold back his laughter after hearing that, to think that the boy would act in real life the way he would in a play... Geunseok looked at him a little oddly.
“No, don’t worry. What should I say… Trying hard, or just immature? Well, it was nice to see. Why don’t you try pushing forward a bit more with that character, now that you’re at it?”
“What are you talking about, Maru?”
“Hey, it’s seriously weird watching you acting friendly. More than that, you’re absolutely hilarious. God, what a show.”
Maru walked towards Geunseok and his friends, who were glaring at him. He put a hand over Geunseok’s shoulder with a smile.
“This isn’t how you start a party though.”
He continued down the stairs with that. The boy seemed to be trying to spread rumors about him, it was a novel idea accompanied by terrible execution.
“Geunseok, what a lad. Good job, man.”
Maru didn’t forget to give Geunseok a thumbs up before stepping further down. What little was left of the boy’s smile completely shattered. The boy’s friends were looking at him ridiculously, but whatever.
“W-what the, so annoying.”
“What’s he talking about?”
Maru headed down ignoring the group, he stepped into the container with a big smile on his face.
“What’s up with the smile?” Daemyung asked.
“Geunseok was being cute.”
“I thought he was smart, but apparently not.”
Daemyung refrained from asking more despite the confusion, he clearly didn’t want to hear any of it.
“How’s the inside?”
They took a look at the other side of the container, Taesik was looking inside with the two freshmen. As Daemyung said, the container was pretty clean with very little rust on it as well.
“It’s in good condition. We can use this. But can we fit everything inside...?” Taesik asked.
“It will. We just have to stack it with a path down the middle for people to move through. It’s twenty feet wide, so it’ll be enough space.”
Daemyung made a confused expression.
“How do you know that? What’s a feet?”
“Kids don’t have to know.”
Maru still retained some knowledge from when he still worked in the trading company, his memories of containers were pretty clear from the amount of time he worked with them. Maru took a look at it from the outside this time.
“Side panels look alright. We’ll just have to check the roof.”
Maru popped open the top hatch and climbed up, he could hear Jiyoon squeal quietly in confusion below him.
It was well kept for a used container.
“We’ll just have to tidy it up with a new coat of waterproof paint. There’s no need to do wiring on the inside, so I think sweeping is enough for cleaning.”
“You know this well. I was planning on helping out a bit, but clearly you know a lot about this.”
“You’ve helped plenty already. This is school property now by the way, right? Do you think you can get some of the school’s budget for fixing this up?”
“I don’t know about that.”
“Well, alright. I can buy the paint with my own money then. It’s cheap anyhow.”
It was a perfectly-sized container, so there wasn’t much to do. All they needed to do was to clean it up and move the props.
“You should leave first, Teacher. We’ll take care of the rest.”
Taesik bought them a few drinks before heading out.
“Alright, onto the cleaning.”
Jiyoon and Bangjoo both replied energetically with a mop in hand.
* * *
‘That son of a bitch.’
Geunseok grit his teeth, he didn’t get the response he wanted. He wanted to see Maru confused and angry, not smiling back at him. His original plans to crush Maru with kind words failed.
“Geunseok. I heard from the faculty that you just need club members. Ten people by the end of this week and a signature from your advisor.”
The vice president handed him a piece of paper. With this, Geunseok would be able to create a rival acting club.
He was a bit annoyed, but things were going well. Geunseok decided to gather a few people from his class first.
“Acting? I’m already in a club.”
“I heard it takes a lot of commitment though.”
“I have to study.”
To his surprise, not a single person agreed to join. Geunseok quickly calmed down though and started thinking.
‘I’ll go to the first years again. I just have to emphasize that it won’t take too much work.’
Geunseok was whisked into a feeling of nervousness as he headed down, Junmin was the one who suggested that he make a new club. All the preparation was done already, but can he even make one in the first place?
He decided to head into a mechanical engineering class first, most of the students were sleeping inside since it was nearing the end of the day. He steeled himself to walk up to the front of the class.
“Um, hey, guys? I’m sorry, but mind if I spoke for a second?”
A few of the kids raised their heads, Geunseok quickly started talking about the new club. Something wrong happened with the original one, so he was trying to make a new one. The new one emphasized personal freedom, Geunseok took a look at the freshmen after finishing his speech. Some were looking at him with annoyance, but most were fast asleep. Geunseok bit his lips. Sleeping? In front of a senior?
“Guys, listen to me!”
He punched the lecture stand below him, he could feel eyes gather to him in an instant. They all looked annoyed, Geunseok tensed up a little bit. He forgot that this was a school full of delinquents. Geunseok wasn’t a fan of these gazes, he feared violence, he feared getting hit.
Right then, one of the freshmen spoke out loudly. It was a kid with very short hair, he’s seen this kid somewhere…
“I’m in the acting club. If my memory serves right, didn’t you leave of your own volition? Senior Maru told me that you got bored of acting.”
“Is that not the case? I’m sorry. I’m a bit stupid.”
The kids in the classroom started muttering, after waking up from the boy’s shout.
“Bangjoo, quiet down a bit.”
The class was clearly uninterested in the acting club, Geunseok nearly fled from the first year’s class.
* * *
“That really was an unexpected gift. I didn’t think you’d send over something this big just like that.”
- I just happened to have a spare one lying around.
“Do you happen to have some more? I’d like them if you do.”
- Very funny. Ah, did you only call to thank me?
“That’s one of the reasons.”
- One of them?
Maru leaned on the back of the wall.
“I heard Geunseok was trying to make his own acting club.”
“But no matter how much I think about it, he’s not the type to do something like that. He’s not someone who would step out to do something all by himself after all. Thinking about it, I had a feeling you put him up to this.”
- Yes, I gave him some motivation.
“Can I know why?”
- He’s too good a card to lose. I already invested a bit into him as well and Suyeon is quite the expensive tutor.
“Ah, so she was his coach. In any case, why didn’t you just give him a different method? He won’t be able to make a club anyway.”
- Why not?
“We already ran a circle around the whole school. At this point, no one else is willing to join our club.
- Fair point.
“I was just curious why you put Geunseok up to this. Especially when you’re such a busy man.”
- I wanted to see a reaction.
- I thought about two things. I spoke with the school to ensure that two acting clubs can exist. If Geunseok has talent, he’d be able to create a nice rival club in the school.
“You’re too much, we’re lacking in people as is,” Maru responded with a smile. He could hear laughter from the other side.
- It would’ve been fun if one really did get made. Well, if that’s not possible, I have no choice but to wait for the second reaction.
- The breaking of his pride.
“Aha, so that’s what you were going for?”
- Ugh, and here I was just planning on watching. You’re making me feel quite troublesome with your words.
“I hate having to go through trouble. I’m just going to say this now. No matter what Geunseok does, I’m not going to take him back into the club.”
- You talk as if the club’s yours.
“I’m the representative for now, so yes.”
- If I try to force you?
“I don’t think you’d do that.”
- Why not?
“Because you have expectations for me. Isn’t that reason enough?”
Maru put an index finger over his lips towards Dowook, Dojin, and Daemyung, the three of them were staring at him.
- I dislike smart people because of this. They just do what they want.
“I thought you actually liked them? Senior Geunsoo, Coach Ganghwan, Instructor Miso, and Ms. Suyeon on top of that… Oh my, what a roster you have there.”
- Bahaha, you’re right. I dislike people who only know how to obey. That’s why I made Geunseok do this, I want the boy to break out of his shell. He has talent. He’s smart. He’s also pretty stubborn, but he has no motivation. He doesn’t know what to do. He’ll do well if I just tell him what to do, but he won’t do any more than that. I’m not looking for slaves here.
“He’s trying to do something in front of me. What should I do? I understand your intentions, but I’m no fan of letting mosquitos do what they want.”
- Do what you want. I gave Geunseok a choice. He can either try to carve out his own path, or he can just learn to swallow his pride. He’ll become interesting if he learns how meaningless pride is. If he doesn’t… well, that’s just his fault.
- Working people isn’t child’s play, so I have to be cold. I’m an investor. If something I invest in doesn’t show results, I need to move onto better things.
“Could you tell me why you’re so set on finding new rookies?”
Junmin became quiet for a second, Maru watched the clock in the classroom slowly tick away. After about fifteen seconds, Junmin finally opened his mouth.
- I want to see perfect acting. That’s all.
The man’s voice seemed to be colored with nostalgia.
“I understand. I’ll take care of it on my end then.”
- Sure. I hope you can lead him, but… I see what you’re thinking now, so I won’t expect much.
“It’ll depend on how he acts.”
- Sure. Whatever you want.
Junmin hung up.
“What was that? That sounded pretty scary,” Dojin asked. Dowook was watching curiously as well.
“A debate on what to do with a lost lamb?”
Maru smiled.Previous Chapter Next Chapter