It was lunch time. Maru grabbed the mouse attached to the class computer. Although a computer was installed in every classroom to be used during class, the teachers did not use them. The teachers were fine with using chalk and chalkboard, and computers were a hassle for them. The students were given permission to use the computer during lesson breaks, and most of the time, they played games. Although they would get scolded if the teachers found out, no one seemed to mind.
Maru opened an internet browser. When he did, someone else turned on the TV connected to the computer. This class usually visited comedy and humor sites during lesson breaks. Sometimes, they had people stand guard at the door and look for sites with lewd pictures. Other times, it was mostly used for battle games.
“Maru, playing a game?”
People started gathering. Maru clicked on the ticketing page. He was planning to buy the tickets for his sister early on. If she actually entered the top 5 in her class, he would give them to her right away, and if she didn’t, he would eventually give them to her after some hassle. Since she was smart, it would be likely that she would enter the top 5. TTO tickets were on the line, so she would probably try harder as well.
“A concert to TTO?”
“Why are you trying to get them?”
The others were curious about his actions and asked.
“I have a use for them.”
“A use for TTO? Those guys aren’t even that good at singing or dancing.”
“Those same guys that aren’t good at singing and dancing are earning much more than you. Did you know that?”
“Dammit,” this guy then just started sleeping on his desk.
Maru clicked around to buy tickets for TTO’s concert in June. He made an account and then clicked on the reserve button. However, he was given a notification window stating that all the tickets were sold out.
“The concert is in June, and it’s already sold out?”
Maru laughed. There were still about 3 weeks until the concert, and the tickets had already been sold out. Perhaps idol concerts were all like this. He looked for other websites just in case to look for remaining tickets, but the other websites did not sell the tickets at all. This meant that the first website had an exclusive contract.
“You want concert tickets?” Another classmate of his, who was eating ice cream, spoke. Maru nodded.
“Then you should have tried on the day the ticketing began. It’s almost impossible to get them after a week. You’ll have a hard time getting any unless you buy them off resellers or scalpers.”
This guy seemed very knowledgeable. Maru asked if there was a way.
“Wait a minute,” saying that, he took over the keyboard and went to one website.
“If there are any in stock, they should appear on this website.”
“You’re quite knowledgeable.”
“My sister is a hardcore fan. She had me refresh the website so many times the night before the ticketing began. She’s a total maniac who goes to PC bang because the internet is faster there,” saying that, he shook his head several times. It seemed that he didn’t even want to think about it.
“But you’ll have a really hard time getting tickets for TTO, you know? There aren’t just one or two people like my sister so even the resale tickets might be bought out the moment they’re out.”
Maru said ‘hmm’ before clicking the refresh button several times. It took around ten seconds for him to find something pop up on the webpage.
“It’s selling. That wasn’t that hard.”
Maru clicked on the post, thinking that this might go easier than he had expected.
It hadn’t even been five seconds since it was posted, yet there were five comments saying that they wanted to buy the tickets.
“It’s not that hard? I’ve tried doing that several times, and I can tell you, it is REALLY hard,” the classmate replied with a strange smile. Maru, for some reason, felt geared up instead. He refreshed the page several times. After seeing a new article, he clicked on it as fast as possible, but there were comments on it already. Things that can’t be bought with money are called ‘invaluable’, and it seemed that by that logic, TTO concert tickets could be considered invaluable as well.
“Don’t you care about the cost?”
Maru looked up the price of the tickets on the ticketing site. The tickets to the concert that was held in the Olympic gymnastics stadium was 80,000 won.
“It’s 80 thousand won. What about it?” Maru didn’t think that it was that expensive. However, the others in his class thought that he was crazy.
“Is your house a gold mine? It’s 80 thousand won!”
“How many hours of PC bang is that?”
“With that much money, you can play a round of billiards, go to PC bang for a few hours and even stay the night out at a sauna. Han Maru, are you rich? No wait, why are you buying tickets to a male idol group in the first place?” His friends were very curious. Indeed, 80,000 won was a lot for a student.
“And TTO’s tickets are expensive because they’re doing well. Other idols only take around 40 to 50,” this classmate was very knowledgeable thanks to his older sister.
“Rather than that,” saying those words, his classmate pulled up the website again. Another article regarding TTO had just popped up. He clicked on that post.
“Look at this. Resell tickets like these are almost twice the original price. It’s twice the price right now but you might see it go for 3 times the original price later.”
150 thousand. It was almost twice the original price, and yet there were comments begging the seller to sell the ticket to them.
‘...Should I quit acting and start this business?’ Maru felt as though he just saw a golden egg-laying goose. He felt empty seeing that marketing logic was being applied here as well.
“Double the original price, huh.”
150 thousand was not a small amount of money for Maru. Moreover, he couldn’t send his sister alone to the concert, so he was originally planning to buy some tickets for Bada’s friends as well. He was planning to buy 7 just in case, and if he bought resell tickets, then it would be over 1 million won.
The ownership rights of having bought the tickets just a few seconds earlier was getting people almost double the investment. Were the companies aware of this? If they did, then they would be able to make some immense profits off this. They could use magic to stamp 80 thousand on the receipt and actually earn 160 thousand in cash. Of course, there was no way they would do that kind of thing to earn that small amount of money. However, it was very profitable on an individual level. After all, just a few clicks was worth a few dozen thousand won.
“I also earned some pocket money with this in the past, but I gave up since it was so hard to get the tickets. The server goes down on the slightest whim, and if I click on the seat to reserve it, it says it’s already reserved. What’s funny is that they never do offline ticketing. I swear there are scalpers that are profiting off this.”
Maru smiled at that remark. They say the sparrow near a school sings the primer. It seemed that this fellow had a deep insight regarding this matter thanks to his sister.
“I don’t want to buy them at this price. If these are individual sellers, the seats must be far apart, right?”
“Isn’t there a way to get five to six continuous seats?”
“There is,” the classmate said with a suspicious smile.
“But you’d have to be close to the company’s president.”
“That’s the best method.”
Maru tapped on the classmate’s shoulders and took hold of the mouse again. He had to get the tickets through some method or the other. If Bada started grumbling at him, his everyday life would become a pain.
After looking at the screen with a serious face for a while, Maru suddenly raised his head. When he thought about it, he did have someone he could ask. He could’ve asked earlier as well. Maru put down the mouse and picked up his phone. The best skill in this world was connections. Since it would be rude of him to call so suddenly, he left a message. Actually, it was impolite of him to ask such a thing in the first place, but he had no other places to ask.
“I guess that is that, then?”
Maru sighed in relief after sending the next message.
* * *
Junmin chuckled when he read the text message he received from Maru. He never imagined that Maru would ask him something like this.
‘Idols, out of all things, huh.’
And it was a male idol as well. Was this where Maru’s preferences lay? There were aspiring idols who wanted to admire the actual idols that are doing well, but…
Junmin felt absurd when he uttered those words out loud. There was no way that was the case. He might suit the stage, but there was no way his smile was the same as an idol’s.
While he was thinking, another message arrived. The message mentioned the reason why Maru wanted those tickets - his sister.
“I guess I’ll let him be the nice big brother.”
Junmin had a look at the contract paper on his desk. It seemed that there was a need for him to call Maru here for both his and Maru’s matters. He texted back that Maru should visit before closing his phone.
* * *
“Yes, yes. Understood.”
Dongwook hung up on the call before spitting on the ground. The other party was a sly old fox. Park Narim, the owner of NL Company that stood behind TTO. This woman was someone who seemed as though she was prepared to give up everything when he first met her as a TV station journalist, yet she treated him harshly as soon as she found out that he was just a no-name journalist now. Well, that was probably why she was able to climb to the top as a woman.
It seemed that he had to give up on the movie matter. If the president went as far as to say that ‘they want to maintain a good relationship in the future’, it meant that it wasn’t something he could do something about. If a journalist didn’t have a concrete source, then that journalist wouldn’t be able to do anything.
And these days, companies behind idol groups were no longer powerless existences like it was before. There was an incident where one journalist was sued for writing a rumor-like article regarding an idol group, and that journalist ended up being called to many places. Although the law stated that an exemption existed for journalism that was written for public interest, it was hard to prove that for an article about celebrities. Moreover, the contents of the article were mostly rumors, not facts.
Before, entertainment companies usually did not go as far as to sue journalists in order to maintain a good relationship with them, but nowadays, they were ruthless. Of course, the majority of the journalists belonged to the KRF(Korea Reporters Federation), so they didn’t drive the journalists to the brink, but these days they did not just sit idly.
Of course, they were still kind people to the three major news companies and TV stations. They only acted coldy to the internet journalists. Dongwook spoke as he looked at the setting sun.
“Dammit. I quit for nothing.”
* * *
“There’s no practice today?”
“But there’s revision.”
“Haa,” Dowook, Dojin and Daemyung all sighed. Tomorrow was the start of midterms. Midterms of the second year of high school. The sad truth of Korean education where everyone aimed to get into a college was applied to engineering schools as well. Most of the students in class aimed for universities even if it had to be outside Seoul. Nay, some even aimed for one of SKY through special selection entrance exams, and were studying really hard.
“Han Maru, where are you going?”
“I have some business.”
After parting ways with his three friends, Maru took a bus. Junmin told him to come up to Seoul. It seemed that there was something important as Jumin would usually have mentioned the business over the phone. His phone suddenly started vibrating. It was a text message notification. He opened it thinking it was Junmin, but it wasn’t.
-I heard you’re on midterms. Are you studying?
It was from her.
-I’ll be starting soon. How did yours go?
-I said don’t ask.
-Not being clever is not a sin.
-It looks like you should have some time since your midterms finished. Shall we meet on the weekend?
-Let’s meet once you’re done with your tests. I won’t forgive you if your scores are lower than mine.
Maru shrugged his shoulders and closed his phone. In his first year, his scores were good enough to get him into the top half. Ever since he decided that his future career would be an actor, he gave up on grades, but his scores were unexpectedly not that bad. However, he felt that his grades wouldn’t improve, so he was taking some slack on studying. They say a married couple are alike, and she wasn’t that talented in studying either.
‘Now that I think about it, did my daughter do well in studying?’ He suddenly felt sorry for his still unborn daughter because he couldn’t give her the good genes.
“...I should give her some good prenatal care, I guess.”
Another plan he must not forget was formed in his mind.
 The ‘In-Seoul’ universities are usually considered ‘more prestigious’ than those outside. There are exceptions, though.
 S-Seoul National University, K-Korea university, Y-Yonsei university. These three are considered like the ‘top 3’ even in Seoul.
*cough cough* GPU prices *cough cough* New consoles *cough cough*