Miyeon flipped over her notebook page.
“Have you ever referred to other actors when you learned acting?”
“Countless times. Since I didn’t know anything, the only thing I could do was imitate other people.”
“Everyone starts off with that. If that’s the case, who’s the actor or actress that influenced you the most? Is it one of the cast from Twilight Struggles?”
“In my heart, I have three teachers. Sir Yoon Moonjoong, senior Yang Ganghwan, and lastly senior Yang Miso. They are my teachers.”
“Sir Yoon Moonjoong is very renowned. He’s treated as a great senior by many actors.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Mr. Yang Ganghwan has also spread his name recently. Oh, now that I think about it, you participated in the recent street performance that became quite an issue, right?”
“I only helped out a little from the side.”
“Mr. Kim Seokjoon, who has gained popularity through that street performance, has expressed that he is indebted to you. Can I ask what happened?”
“It’s nothing amazing, really. Back then, I was just looking for people to participate in the performance, and he entered my eyes so I just led him to the stage. After that, it was his own skill that captured the hearts of the audience.”
“In one interview, Mr. Kim Seokjoon said that you were the one who persuaded him until the end when he continued to refuse. Did you know that he would cause quite an uproar if he stood on stage?”
“It was a pure coincidence.”
“Still, I think there’s a reason behind why you continued to persuade him despite his refusal. I’m a little curious about what made you want to help him.”
Maru grabbed his cup tightly and smiled slightly. He sipped the last bit of coffee as he spoke. The reason he dragged that man to the stage that day was definitely not out of goodwill. That man just looked like he had a story, and he thought that he should be able to heighten the effect of their street performance if they used him. As such, ‘help’ wasn’t really a fitting word here. After all, he didn’t consider what kind of circumstances the man could be in at all back then.
He put down his cup and started speaking,
“I wasn’t trying to help him. He just looked like he had a story, and I just led him to a place where he could talk about it. The reason I continued to persuade him despite his refusal was purely because of my own greed. I thought that he had something that might change the stage. That’s why there’s no need for that person to thank me.”
He didn’t feel the need for any censorship, so he just told everything he had. Of course, he also had made the calculation that a characteristic interview like this might be better than an ordinary one. It would be somewhat too ordinary if he just acted like a kind kid after all. After writing something down while nodding, Miyeon looked at Maru again.
“It’s rather fresh since you really are just as I’ve heard.”
“Just as you’ve heard? Oh, you said that you heard about me from Dongwook-hyungnim, right?”
“Yes. The reason I’m doing this interview is quite simple. I am a little indebted towards senior Dongwook, and this is my way of paying him back. He asked me to interview the promising youths of JA Production and mentioned your name, as well as Mr. Sooil’s.”
Miyeon spun around her pen once. At the same time, she pressed down on the record button on the voice recorder to stop it.
“Back then, senior told me that Mr. Sooil was someone well-rounded, so too well-rounded that he felt a little artificial, and that you were….”
Miyeon faintly smiled before continuing.
“A warm calculator.”
“That’s a rather weird expression. I’m not sure whether I should be happy or not.”
“I think he used it in a good way. From the way you were worried about your manager’s health, you should be the type that’s kind to people around you. Actually, I didn’t expect that much when I was preparing for the interview today. Interviewing young people can get really monotonous at times. Although they say that a good interview is the result of good questions, the help of the one answering those questions is really important at times. In that sense, Mr. Sooil’s interview was very impressive. It’s somewhat funny for me to say this, but I felt that he was being rather strategic. It felt like he had prepared for the interview. I wondered if JA Production taught their actors like that, but when I talk to you, Mr. Maru, I don’t feel like that’s the case.”
“Am I that different from Sooil?”
“You’re both similar in regards to the fact that you don’t get dragged around by the questions and mediate between your opinions and the question. However, if Mr. Sooil felt like he had readied several model answers and choose from them, you, Mr. Maru, feel like… a warm calculator. You calculate your gains and losses on the spot and give an answer that profits you rather than a model answer.”
“Can journalists tell that?”
“Just like how a mathematician can deduce an answer with a formula, journalists like us gain something like an instinct if we face people for a long time. Of course, I don’t entirely trust it. Journalists love gossip, but they don’t stake their lives on it. That’s why most of that is talked about personally and privately. It’s something that I must dismiss.”
Miyeon tapped on the voice recorder that had its light turned off.
Maru also shrugged.
“Being calculative isn’t something bad.”
“Of course. In fact, we live in a world where being calculative feels more reasonable. There are too many people who force their way through with the wrong things without picking up the calculator first.”
“You said you used to be a journalist for a newspaper company, right?”
“Can I also ask you a personal question?”
“Sure. The reason I’m chatting with you right now is because I have free time.”
“That’s good. Was it a major newspaper company?”
“It is one of the places you think of when you think about newspapers in the country.”
“If that’s the case, don’t they pay you more than magazine companies? There must be a larger variety of things you can do there as well.”
“That’s definitely true. I heard that becoming a senior journalist that can write the headlines regularly or the head editor for a department will allow you to encounter a lot of unimaginable and interesting things. Of course, a bigger salary as well.”
Miyeon stretched out her fingers as she spoke.
“You look like you’re wondering why I switched my job.”
“Well, I’m not sure. When I left, I could come up with numerous reasons and circumstances for me to leave, but right now, I don’t know why I left.”
“Do you regret that decision?”
Hearing his words, Miyeon leaned back in her chair and made a relaxed smile. Maru nodded. That was enough of an answer.
“I came here to do an interview, but I was questioned instead.”
“Only by doing this would I leave behind an impression on you. I also heard that I should stay close with people who make their living with a pen.”
“I really look forward to what you will become in the future. I guess that kind of nonchalance is the secret to your rapid increase in acting skills. If you do become a popular actor, don’t ignore me and at least reply to me when I say hello.”
Miyeon turned on the voice recorder again.
“Then shall we finish things up?”
* * *
“Thank you for your work.”
“Thank you too.”
Maru stretched his arms out as he stood up. Unintentionally, he dragged things out. It seemed that Miyeon was really free as she talked about various things throughout the interview. As Maru was also free, he gladly chatted with her.
“Oh, it’s snowing.”
Leaving the café, Maru reached out. He thought that it was a raindrop that hit his face, but when he looked at the sky, he saw snow. The news did talk about an early snow, but he didn’t know that it would start snowing at the end of November. He saw documentaries about how global warming was a serious issue, but it seemed that Earth wasn’t that hot yet.
“I don’t think it’ll pile up,” Miyeon said after leaving the café much later than him.
She was holding her coat, her bag, and her notebook in her hands. She was looking at the small car in front of the café, and it seemed that it was hers.
“Then see you next time.”
“Yes, watch out on your way home.”
Miyeon nodded before walking off. Just then, it seemed as though her coat had been caught by her legs as she stopped for a while to look. At that moment, the backpack’s opening widened and a few notebooks fell on the ground. Maru quickly approached her and helped her pick them up.
“I forgot to close it.”
Miyeon smiled and closed the bag after putting the notebooks inside. Just as Maru stood up after thinking that it was done, a piece of paper caught Maru’s eyes. It was a cutout from a newspaper. He stared at Miyeon, who was opening the car, before picking it up.
The newspaper snippet was an article that Maru knew very well. The Five’s slave contract issue. It had caused quite an uproar during its time, but it was now a cold potato that no one talked about. There was another article cutout below that article, stuck with tape. That was about celebrity sexual bribery.
Next to a photo of a woman that had her head lowered, there were the names ‘Lee Miyoon’ and ‘Hong Janghae’ written in a red marker. The two rather unwelcome names reflected on Maru’s pupils.
At that moment, a hand suddenly appeared in his vision.
“I can take that off you, okay?”
She was smiling, but her eyes seemed to be panicking. Maru stared at Miyeon who was probably clearing up a bunch of thoughts inside her head. Was this woman chasing something? Was there something between Lee Miyoon and Hong Janghae?”
“What incident is this?”
If it was someone unrelated to him, he wouldn’t have asked that question. After all, it might provoke displeasure within them. As an unrelated person, interfering with someone’s personal life, especially when it was related to their work, was something incredibly rude. However, the name Lee Miyoon caught his eye. He could ignore Hong Janghae, but Lee Miyoon was working on the same shooting set as the person that meant everything to him.
And that person said that she hated Lee Miyoon.
He was aware that Lee Miyoon’s usual attitude and actions weren’t that good through experience. He was also aware, thanks to Suyeon, that Miyoon was called the ‘madam’ in the entertainment industry. Of course, in a bad way. A woman that calls out male idols to her private space and asks them to sleep with her.
However, the article that Miyeon dropped on the floor just now seemed to indicate that there was something else when it came to this Miyoon.
“You don’t need to know,” said Miyeon as she stiffened her expression.
Maru did not hesitate to ask further.
“Is the madam involved in something dirty? Such as sexual bribery of actresses?”
“How do you know about the madam?”
She seemed startled as she changed her way of calling Maru.
Maru narrowed his eyes.
“I’ll have to apologize in advance, but I think I need to ask the questions this time. Do you have some time?”
 She called her ‘Mr. Maru’ until now, and treated him politely, but she forgot to call him that and simply said ‘you’. The translator has put the word ‘you’ as well as ‘Mr. Maru’ in her previous lines to make it flow better.
"A warm calculator"
What an expression....
Btw, if it wasn't clear already, a 'calculator' is someone who 'calculates' their gains and losses consequent of their actions and act accordingly. A 'strategist' might be a good alternative. But the word used here is literally the same as the calculator machine used in mathematics, sciences and engineering.
Oooh, Maru found out that Hong Janghae (big bad Hong) might be involved in this whole deal. Now that's the kind of stuff I want to see.
Plot!!!!!!!!!! More calculative Maru plz.