“I told you to be quiet. You guys aren’t here because you did anything good. If you have any shame then just stay quiet. Silence - don’t you see that word on the wall?”
The policeman stomped on the ground. The people in the holding cell competed to see who had the most desperate life but had to shut up when the policeman shouted. However, that only lasted a moment and they started talking again.
“You know… I… I mean, I lived quite a pitiful life.”
The girl that stuttered revealed that she worked at a bar. Her stuttering made her look awkward. Someone interrupted her words midway through.
“Just shut up already! I can’t sleep because of all the noise, ” one of the youths, who was sleeping against the wall, suddenly shouted. His scary eyes scanned his surroundings. The other people in the cell whispered amongst each other so that the youth could not hear them.
“You’re in a place like this at your age. Don’t you pity your kids at home?”
When the youth shouted, the policeman, who was doing his work near the holding cell, frowned and stood up. He tapped on the bars of the cell with his file.
“Hey you, why don’t you stay quiet? Huh? You’re a frigging regular here. Why don’t you turn over a new leaf for your father and mother? Aren’t you tired of coming here every time? You’ll be going to the detention center at this rate, you know?”
“...I didn’t do anything that bad.”
“That’s even more of a problem then!”
The youth was a lion inside the holding cell, but was no more than a rabbit in front of the policeman. When the policeman left, the delinquent bared his fangs again, but the people inside only snorted at him. They realized the delinquent’s true nature.
“You lil’ bahstaaard!” Suddenly, someone spoke with a slurred tongue.
A man giving off the stench of soju was swaying as he approached the delinquent. The delinquent seemed afraid of the man whose eyes were out of focus and flinched back.
“When I was your age, huh! You know? Uh… huh!”
Perhaps he was too drunk to speak, or maybe he had other circumstances, but the drunk man kept repeating his ‘huh’s. After that continued for a while, the drunkard just collapsed onto the floor. His voice was loud, but his actions were no different from an actual drunkard.
The collapsed drunkard moved his hand around the floor before grabbing onto a thin ankle. The girl whose ankle was grabbed was a woman wearing a suit. She had darkened skin and was clearly annoyed as she tried to shake the hand off her ankle.
“I really shouldn’t be here. Hello, prosecutor? I’m a woman related to Daeyang Corp. If you keep me tied here, you will regret it. You know about Daeyang Corp. don’t you? It’s the indisputable top company in the country! Aren’t you scared of the consequences of keeping me here?”
The woman put emphasis on the words ‘Daeyang Corp’. The policeman approached the woman who made an arrogant face as she pushed up her glasses.
“Someone who tried to run after getting the commission fee is actually related to Daeyang Corp? Let me hear it then. Who from which department are you related to? The chairman? The president? One of the directors? Who is it?”
“Wh-who says I tried to run after getting the commission fee? I just had some business at the bank so I was getting it for them and I was caught just as I withdrew the money. It’s a misunderstanding!”
“Like hell it’s a misunderstanding.”
“But it is!”
“Geez, if you’re so unjustified, then you’ll see the victims tomorrow so talk to them.”
“I told you to let me out, not call those people!”
“Do you think what you’re saying makes any sense? If you keep being annoying, you’ll be moved to one of the inner cells. Don’t you see those people working over there? They’re working hard to take care of the complaints. Geez.”
The scammer puffed her cheeks at the policeman that just went away after clicking his tongue. The scammer called for the policeman several times after that, but the police didn’t even listen and focused on his work. The scammer became tired of her actions and just sat down.
“You should’ve aimed it big if you were trying to scam someone. What’s a meager commission fee gonna do?”
The man sitting opposite her spoke. The man wearing a neat suit looked at the scammer with a tired expression. The scammer then started blabbing again.
“Who the hell is a scammer? You’re a funny one. Hey, watch your words, alright? I don’t know who you are and where you work, but it won’t be fun if you treat me like this here. I really am not a person that should be here. Why doesn’t anyone understand?”
“Such a well-off woman is wearing such cheap clothes?”
“Cheap clothes? These are brand name ones! Well, not like a person like you would know anything about brands.”
“Brand name? You mean something like this?” Saying that, the man showed her the watch on his wrist.
The scammer widened her eyes and had a close look at the watch.
“That’s obviously fake, isn’t it?”
“You have bad eyes. Rather than that, tell me this Daeyang group guy you know.”
“Why? It won’t do you any good sucking up to me at this point, you know?”
The man shrugged and just stayed quiet. The scammer crossed her arms in victory. Just as she felt victorious, the policeman passed by next to her and approached the man.
“You’ll get to leave tomorrow at 9 when business hours start. People calling themselves your subordinates are here, do you want to meet them?”
“I’m good, thanks. Oh, rather than that, how was the guy with the swollen face?”
“We had a hard time turning him away since he was kneeling down and apologizing. And this is some food that he bought for you. Usually, it would be given out during meal time, but I’m giving it to you early because you’ll be leaving early tomorrow.”
The police pushed half a block of tofu between the gaps of the cell. Seeing that, the hostess spoke,
“He just came in, what’s up with the tofu?”
Her voice was much clearer than before. The policeman ignored the hostess and turned around. The salaryman smiled in disdain.
“It’s quite funny, you know? I’m the one who hit him, and he’s the one giving me presents and apologizing. Do you know the saying, money turns crime into innocence and the lack of money turns innocence into crime?” The salaryman spoke as he looked around with the bowl of tofu in hand.
The people in the cell looked at the salaryman with dejected eyes. It wasn’t a surprise since they just heard from the policeman that a subordinate of his was kneeling in front of the police station. It was likely that he was in a high position, and nothing good would come out of getting on his bad side. Although they were people who were put in cells because of violating the law, they were capable of common sense.
“It’s quite funny when you think about it. That subordinate said the right thing. Meaning, he used forthright words. Isn’t there a saying that you should keep a man that speaks bitter words nearby? That he is the most loyal subordinate? But you know? There’s a limit to being bitter. Can’t it be a little sweeter? Who the hell is he to tell me what to do? You don’t live in society with your mouth. This world is all about power, authority, and lastly, politics. You should know how to suck up to people, and mix lies within your words so that you can survive in this jungle like company. The young ones are only full of spirit. They only know about justice! Does justice give you food?”
The salaryman ate the tofu after laughing.
“Looks like he knows his stuff now. How good is that? He gets to enjoy life by giving up just a little. I do feel relieved since he kneeled down in front of the police station… but I can’t forgive him that easily since he’s the one who put me here.”
The salaryman’s face clearly had ‘obstinate’ written all over it as he ate the tofu. While everyone stayed quiet, the hostess approached the salaryman.
“You look like you’re someone good, oppa.”
The salaryman glanced at the hostess that had a smile on her face and spoke.
“I do work at Daeyang Corp. Though, I’m not in any position high. I’m just in the right position for my age.”
“Oh my god, you’re so cool, oppa! I work near here. Come around some time. I’ll give you some free service.”
The hostess licked her lips as she said that. At the same time, people around them started laughing. Why were they laughing? She didn’t know. It was quite a peculiar scene, but everyone returned to their bitter faces again.
“Who the hell is an ahjumma?”
“Then what, should I call you a scammer?”
“Who the hell is a scammer? Aren’t you the one lying? Of course, I’m not saying I had a bone to pick with that, but just saying. You get what I’m saying, don’t you? Let’s just leave it on a good note, alright?”
The arrogant scammer avoided the salaryman’s gaze. The salaryman also shut up as he didn’t want to get involved anymore. The hostess kept trying to seduce the salaryman but returned to her corner of the cell after seeing that there was no reaction.
“Dammit. It’s because of old people like you that there are pitiful youths like me. You know that?” The delinquent, who had been staying quiet this whole time, suddenly spoke.
He looked as though he had nothing to fear other than governmental authority.
“If you had made a fairer world, then… yeah? It’s because people like you don’t do their jobs properly that there’s no point in putting the effort in!”
Hearing those words, the drunk man, who was lying down in a weird position, abruptly stood up and raised his right hand into the air.
“That’s right! You have your way with words. That’s what I wanted to say. What did I do wrong, huh? I haven’t done anything wrong. I just commuted to my company and retired at the right age. I was just trying to open a small store and was going to live an ordinary life. But! I can’t get any sales! It’s fucking damned. I’m not drunk because I want to be. I didn’t drink because I wanted to drink! The world made me drink!”
The drunk man started his sermon.
“What the heck? You have no right to say that, old man. If you came here after drinking under the bright sun, then just go sleep. You have no right to complain about the world when your life is in a dumpster.”
“You little bastard! How dare you talk back to your elders?”
“What the heck? You’re fucking senile.”
The two of them grabbed each other by the collar and roared at each other. The policeman, who was sitting at his desk, stood up and came to the cell.
“ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!”
Hearing the police shout at them, the two people let go of each other.
“You’re so badly worried about the world, and you come here because of stealing cigarettes? Why don’t you take care of yourself before worrying about the world?”
“And also, mister. What the hell do you mean, ‘you don’t get any sales’? You screwed up a perfectly good store because of your stock trading and you came here because of your debt. I know everything about you and you keep saying lies.”
“...I screwed my stocks because the world is….”
“Stop complaining about the world. I’m busy as it is.”
The police gave him a warning before turning back. The scammer then spoke.
“Actually, I didn’t become like this because I wanted to. I was an orphan when I was young. I don’t even know the faces of my parents. I was raised up while getting beaten up. I… really had it hard.”
The scammer spoke in a pitiful voice. She even wiped away her tears. However, for some reason, she didn’t look that sad.
“If I was raised in a loving environment, I would’ve never done something like that. That’s right, I am a good person, but the environment I was raised in made me who I am. I wanted to lead a good life, you know? If I was just given the chance…,” saying that, she glanced at the salaryman.
The salaryman clearly seemed disinterested, though.
“Aah, I wonder what my father and my mother, who I don’t even know the faces of, are doing. I wonder if they even remember the pitiful child that they abandoned….”
At that moment, the police walked toward the cell before speaking.
“Oh, by the way, your father is coming to see you tomorrow so keep that in mind.”
After the police walked away, the scammer lied down on the spot after clicking her tongue.
“She’s a strange woman, isn’t she, oppa?”
The hostess grabbed the opportunity to say that. At the same time, the delinquent said, ‘see? Adults are the problem,’ and blamed everything on others.
“It’s the world’s fault, dammit!” The drunk man shouted.
“Just shut up if you’re poor! Poor people always had loud voices, urgh,” the salaryman shouted as well.
The holding cell became noisy again. Everyone was pointing at each other. Just then, the police became angry.
“I told you to shut up already! You guys are no better than each other. Don’t you think that you were in the wrong? Everyone’s blaming each other. That’s a good life you have there. Nothing’s your fault. Why don’t you have a look at yourselves? I mean that you should reflect on yourselves a little. Aren’t you embarrassed in front of all the people that live forthright lives?”
The police shook his head as he sighed. The holding cell became quiet again. Everyone mumbled and just looked at the policeman. At that moment, the police pickled up his phone.
“Yes, senior. What? The report?” The policeman seemed flustered. He immediately started rummaging through his desk before picking out a piece of paper. The paper said ‘report’ on it.
“I-I don’t have it with me. I told our new one to send it to you. Eh? No way. Aha, it looks like that new recruit forgot about it. Sheesh, he’s no good, is he? He makes so many mistakes? Eh? You’re asking me if I’m blaming our new blood again? Senior. Who do you take me for? I never blame others for my mistakes. Of course. You know better than I do that there’s nothing on me if you take my justice and faith away from me. Yes, yes. I’ll educate the new recruit and have him give you the report immediately. Yes, thank you for all your work, senior.”
The police fumbled after hanging up.
“Dammit, I made a mistake because of you all. Geez, those that blame other people are the worst.”
The people inside the holding cell glared at the police.
* * *
Miso glanced at Ganghwan. Ganghwan nodded his head as though he had read what was on her mind.
“They’re quite good, aren’t they?”
“This… is well, their teamwork is really good.”
“The insufficient parts just make them look cuter. If the one in the lead is that good, then I guess even the insufficient parts look charming.”
“If everyone was making mistakes, the mistakes in speech or bursting out laughing might seem like a flaw, but it didn’t feel like a flaw since it continued so smoothly.”
“I was honestly surprised. Since when did they become so good?”
“There are some parts I want to give advice on, but that’s it. Just advice. Whether they listen to it or not is up to them. Wow, looks like he learned quite a few things from sir Moonjoong.”
Miso crossed her arms and looked at Daemyung. Daemyung’s personality shifted dramatically once he went up on stage. His shy personality seemed like an act and he got into his character very deeply. Right now, his intonation and action have levelled up and had become even more natural that it surprised Miso. Last year, there were more people, and as such, there was more variety, but compared to this year, last year’s people lacked unity. The former club president, Yoonjung, was the mood maker of the club, but she lacked the skills to lead everyone. On the other hand, Daemyung had a full grasp on the job.
Miso had a look at Maru. The play had a depth to it thanks to that child supporting everyone from the middle. The awkward hostess, the delinquent who only knew how to shout, the drunkard that didn’t even pronounce his words properly, the scammer that didn’t look intellectual at all. All the other characters had something off about them, but Maru’s character seemed to make everyone look realistic. Maru’s concentration was affecting others around them. The characters that conversed with Maru came to life, and as a result, the play didn’t become a mess, though it wasn’t perfect either.
If he was better than them by just a little bit, everyone else would negatively affect his performance, but thanks to his overwhelming skills, he positively affected everyone else’s performance. Daemyung’s leadership and Maru’s charisma. The two were the perfect combo.
“Gather round,” Daemyung spoke.
The club members gathered around. Miso kept watching. They say silence was golden. It seemed that her advice wasn’t needed here.
 When people get released from prison/jail, they are given a block of tofu to start ‘fresh’, because tofu is white… So Jiyoon is asking why he’s gonna be released already.
 有錢無罪 無錢有罪. Fun fact, this saying was actually coined by a minor-criminal-turned-terrorist in the 80s… Basically it means that with enough money, you can bribe everyone (lawyer, judge, etc) so that your crime is erased. But if you’re poor, the most minute of crimes will have you serve for multiple years.
I'm liking Daemyung more and more. He gets some nice character development. Now, if you could only start going out with Jiyoon, it'd be perfect...