“You’re shooting a movie?”
“Like, a proper movie, not something with your friends from school?”
During breakfast, Maru told his family about his cast in the movie. His father, who was slowly scooping up his bowl of rice looked at him with surprise while his mother, who was scooping up the soup, made an expression of confusion.
“We’re going to read through the script this Saturday, and the filming begins next week. Thanks to that, I might come home late, or even stay the night out. It’s just one scene, so you don’t need to worry about it so much. Oh, the location is in Sokcho.”
His father put down his spoon and asked.
“When was this decided?”
“It’s only been a few days. I took the audition recently.”
“...You’ve grown my son. You’re already starting to take care of yourself.”
His father did not ask many things. He just encouraged Maru to do his best since he started it. With that, Maru was over a hurdle. However, there was still a lot to go.
As a happily married couple, his mother kissed his father goodbye as he went to work and turned around. At that moment, Maru had to smile nervously.
The fathers of South Korea really didn’t express their emotions much. They never asked honest questions to their children despite their curiosities. After all, the ‘image’ of a father was the one where they watched everyone’s back. Maru’s father was someone who also maintained that image. That could be seen from just how he didn’t ask many questions. Meanwhile, his mother also maintained the stereotypical ‘mother’ image in South Korea.
“Why did you not tell me about such an important matter until now!”
As he had expected, his father wasn’t even a proper hurdle. To calm down his mother, who had an intense glint in her eyes, Maru first led her to the dining table. It was his strategy to use his mother’s principles to ‘be quiet during a meal’ against her. When he had his mother sit down, he first gave her a cup of cold water.
“Mom. It’s nothing to be so surprised about. I’m just an extra. There are no problems, and there’s nothing dangerous either.”
“Do you think that’s what I’m worried about? You should have told us if you were involved in such an important matter! Maru, I know that you’ve matured. However, you’re still a high school student. You’re still too young to take care of all that by yourself.”
“Okay. I’ll report everything to you starting next time.”
He might as well be disowned if his mother found out that there was 300 million won in his account. They settled with giving a call before going to the filming location and sending a text message every hour, but his mother still looked worried. Well, it wasn’t a surprise. There weren’t that many people who were capable of saying “is that so?” when their child suddenly talked about shooting a proper commercial movie.
Maru also planned to tell his family up front, but decided otherwise because he felt that his family might oppose him. As such, he told them after the fact. He didn’t want to be a disrespectful child to his parents, but he also did not want to give up on the things he wanted to do because of family opposition. Since his mother took a step back as well, there were no more problems now.
Breakfast began again and only the sound of chopsticks hitting the ceramic bowls could be heard. From his usually chatty mother stayed quiet the entire time, it seemed that her worries hadn’t been entirely lifted. Maru wondered what he could do to console her as he picked up a soybean side dish. His mother had finished her meal first and asked after going to the kitchen sink.
“So… how much are they paying you?”
Maru smiled and lifted his head. His mother was hinting with her eyes not to lie. She was very strict when it came to things like this.
“A hundred thousand won.”
“So much? I thought it was just one day.”
“Do famous actors appear on it?”
“Sheesh… anyway, don’t make your mother worried, okay? You should say no if they ask you to do something strange. I heard on the news that people are scamming others out of money by enticing them to become celebrities. You should be careful as well.”
“Okay. I’ll be careful.”
Maru nodded his head.
* * *
It was nearing the end of May. Thanks to the early heat from the summer, the school permitted air conditioners to be turned on during the day. However, it was only ‘permitted’. The air conditioner didn’t actually run. The only things that were working hard were the electric fans.
One noisy student asked the teacher if they could turn on the air conditioner, but the teacher didn’t even pretend to have heard it. Right behind the notice about the permission to turn on air conditioning was probably an even more important one that said that the electrical bills had to be reduced.
“I want to go home quickly,” Dojin spoke in a dragged out voice in a dragged out state as though he was a dried squid.
“Don’t you have to help out at Iseul’s restaurant?”
“...That is my home.”
“...I guess it isn’t easy being the son-in-law that lives with the wife’s family.”
Maru patted Dojin’s back.
“Iseul’s mother told me not to get a job after graduation and continue the store instead.”
“That’s good. You already have a job in this high unemployment rate era. Congratulations.”
“Is this something to be congratulated about?”
“Don’t get distracted. That kind of life isn’t entirely bad.”
Dojin made a powerless smile.
Their homeroom teacher entered with sleepy eyes. He just ended homeroom with a ‘do a thorough job on cleaning’ before leaving. The students rejoiced and got ready to leave.
“Maru, let’s go,” Daemyung and Dowook spoke as they got their bags. From today onwards, the acting club would get busy. They had to remake the props and the costumes from scratch.
“How do we go about making the scene?”
“It’s a holding cell so don’t we need to put up metal bars?”
“And where do we get that?”
“We can nick a few from a construction site.”
“That’s a bit…”
That was the conversation between Daemyung and Dowook as they walked up front. Thanks to the participation of Dowook who was unexpectedly good with his hands, it seemed that the props could be made quite easily. Well, it wasn’t actually that surprising since his sister was good crafting things as well. This was why genes were scary. Maru thought about getting him to make some theatrical masks later when he then came to the conclusion that it might actually not be the genes.
When they arrived on the fifth floor, the first years greeted them. It seemed that they were doing a read-through as there was a script in each of their hands.
“Let’s do some stretching before the instructor arrives,” Daemyung spoke as he stood in front of everyone. Ever since he took the role of the club president, he became more and more like a leader. As he wasn’t the type to order people around but the type to lead everyone by taking action himself, so none of the first years had a complaint about him. If he was someone that just told his juniors what to do, then they would have followed, but would not have liked him at all. He was the ideal type of leader.
Maru thought that it was good to have yielded him the role. He followed Daemyung’s actions by twisting his waist to stretch his body. Next came the facial muscles. This was where one used all the muscles in the face to create a variety of expressions. This was a crucial step to increase the variety of expressions one could make.
“Don’t look at me.”
Maru chuckled when he heard those words from Dowook who said the words with a scary smile. A perfectly symmetrical smile that showed the upper teeth was difficult to make. Just lifting the corner of the lips didn’t make a smile. It was only a smile after an innumerous number of practices in front of the mirror to relax the tense muscles around the lips. A stewardess’ smile was not something created in just one day.
Maru also stood in front of the mirror and did some facial expression acting. In a play, facial expressions actually weren’t that important. Although it was important in small scale theaters since the audience is right in front of the stage, there was quite a distance between the actors and the audience in large scale theaters so the actors’ facial expressions couldn’t easily be seen by the audience. All actors were aware of this fact. This was the reason they exaggerated their actions on the stage. Expressions were the same. Small movements of the facial features meant nothing to a faraway audience.
This was why seemingly exaggerated emotions didn’t look that out of place on a stage. Maru frowned in front of the mirror before widening both his mouth and his eyes to express glee. As different expressions used different facial muscles, he had to practice as many expressions as possible to develop his facial muscles.
“Seonbae. I can practically hear your mouth ripping,” Aram called out from behind. When he slightly turned his head, he saw Bangjoo, Aram and Jiyoon standing behind the mirror.
“You should do it as well. You should practice early to not make any mistakes on the real deal.”
“Like this?” Aram frowned as she spoke. It wasn’t that easy for a girl to make an expression like she was doing now. Jiyoon hesitated for a moment out of embarrassment, but eventually started doing what Aram was doing. If Aram was a fully-fledged criminal that could rob a bank at any moment, Jiyoon looked like a stereotypical girl trying to act cute in front of her boyfriend. Bangjoo seemed to have taken after his sister and his eyes were different from the rest.
“Bangjoo, you practice with these two. They’re both quite spectacular, in a bad way.”
When they finished their vocal exercises as well, Suyeon entered through the door. She took off the sunglasses she always wore before sitting down.
“It’s so hot. I’m not getting any motivation to teach you guys.”
Leaving Suyeon, who was grumbling like a child, aside, the club members started thinking about the props. They were used to Suyeon now. They were all aware that Suyeon would soon return to her normal self and start teaching them.
“Having something like a pistol should be good right?”
“There are toy guns for that. I believe there are holsters for them as well.”
“Then let’s use that. What do we need to do about the hostess?”
Daemyung looked at Jiyoon with a complicated expression. Maru was worried about that as well. Being a hostess meant that she had to wear a sexy outfit and wear thick makeup, but he wondered if Jiyoon was capable of digesting all that. A hostess didn’t suit this girl with a squirrel face at all. Someone working in the adult entertainment industry had to have a seductive gaze, but Jiyoon was too naive for that.
While Jiyoon smiled back at everyone, Suyeon, who was far away, walked up behind Jiyoon and hugged her.
“Don’t worry. This big sister will tell you all sorts of things.”
“Just trust me.”
Suyeon winked. It seemed that she had dealt with the heat. She was someone who was serious about her job so Maru thought that he should just leave Jiyoon up to her. After all, it was easier for a woman to tell her about these kinds of things.
“A scammer needs a suit, right?” Aram asked while locking her fingers together. She looked full of expectation.
“I’m going to wear a mini skirt, a white blouse and heels!”
“Do you have a place you can get them from?” Daemyung asked. Aram confidently replied ‘no’. She was clearly implying that the club should prepare the clothing. Daemyung looked at Maru since he was at a loss on what to do.
“Instructor, do you have a suit?” Maru asked Suyeon. Suyeon made a circle with her thumb and her index fingers.
“Aram has a similar body figure to mine, so it should fit if I tighten the waist a little more with a band.”
“Instructor, do you have high heels as well? I’ve always wanted to wear them.”
“I do. Since it’s like this, let’s go to my house. You too, Jiyoon. We should get you a set of clothes that suit you from my dress room.”
Suyeon looked like she was having fun. Perhaps she was thinking of it like dressing up dolls. Well, Maru didn’t mind as long as she did her job properly, but he did think that Jiyoon was a little pitiful when he thought about the things she was about to go through. He thought that he should tell Aram to take care of Jiyoon later.
“We got the scammer and the hostess down. We have a police uniform, as well as a delinquent uniform. So there’s only the drunkard and me left?”
Maru looked at the checklist as he spoke. Thanks to Daemyung bringing the clothes upstairs, they did not worry about having to prepare a new uniform. As for a drunkard, just casual clothes were fine. A white shirt and black suit pants. As for the tie, he could just use the one she gifted him. He smiled when he thought about having to wear a suit again after all this time.
“Now we need to create the scene. It would be strange to use rebars, right?”
“They’re too thin, so the audience won’t even be able to see it. And considering the sheer weight and that we have to move them on the stage… Getting some bamboo or wood and spray painting them should be our best option.”
“That sounds good,” Daemyung nodded and started writing down a list of props. Only when this list was finished could they go buy things without wasting time.
“Bamboo sounds good. Where do we get them?” At Daemyung’s question, Dowook replied that they should get them from the nearby apartment complex since they were used for landscaping. Daemyung shook his head.
“We should look into wood workshops or landscaping specialists. Let’s try asking Mintae-hyung. He’s a stage director so he should know a few places.”
“Oh, yeah, we can do that.”
Things were taking shape. What remained was preparing the small props
‘The acting club is going well without a hitch, and there are no problems on the movie side, so I guess everything’s good?’
It would have been better if all the minor problems were fixed as well. Maru took out his phone. His phone was on silent and it hadn’t gotten any messages. Perhaps nothing had happened yet?
Well, Geunsoo was someone trustworthy, so he could be counted on. Since he told Geunsoo about the matter, it was up to him to decide what to do. After all, there was nothing more tiring than getting involved with the matters of someone else’s family.
“Maru, about this…,” Daemyung spoke as he pointed at the list he made with a pen. Maru stopped thinking about Geunseok and focused on the matter at hand.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Lol, I thought people would bash Jiseok and his 'shounen manga protagonist' mindset. But it turns out he's not that unlikable after all?