Chapter 568

“It has only been two years since you started acting?”

“It’s my third year, but if you only count the time I’ve properly gotten into acting, I don’t think it has even been a year.”

“Yet you can put on a delinquent act of that level. Are you good at punching at school or something? Did it feel that realistic because it was based on reality?”

“I’m on the side of getting hit, not the one doing the hitting.”

“Hey, hey. Guys like that scare me the most. You know, in movies, they’re always the ones that stab you in the back in the end.”

“No way.”

Jincheol giggled.

Maru took a bite out of the sandwich. Jincheol had brought back some sandwiches when he went to get some food. He made a joke that went like ‘I bought it from my wife’ or something, but Maru stayed expressionless thinking that there wouldn’t be an end to his jokes if he reacted. Of course, it was completely ineffective. Jincheol’s awful jokes continued regardless.

“Did you know? Cats live in cat-hedrals.”

The pun came out of nowhere, but Maru did not bat an eyelid. Jincheol kept signalling him to laugh.

“The sandwich is good.”

“And a cat’s favorite movie is The Sound of Mew-sic.”

“The madam’s cooking skills are really good. I would come here more often if this place wasn’t so far from where I live. What a pity.”

“Plus, looking at a cat makes you feel purr-fect.”

“I should buy some for myself when I leave. This bread with the black sesame seeds especially. I have similar tastes as my family, so I’m sure everyone will like it if I take some home. It’s really a pity that it’s so far away.”

He munched on the sandwich as he looked at Jincheol. After groaning while stroking his beard, he took off his glasses and stroked his face.

“Geunsoo. This guy is way too dry. He could laugh at least once.”

“Don’t you like him because he’s the lunatic you thought he is?”

“There are different levels to lunatics, and this one is on the higher side. Normally, people would laugh out of courtesy at least, but this kid is way too cold even though it hasn’t even been an hour since we have met.”

“Rather than cold, it looks like he understood how he should handle you.”

“He won’t talk about cats with me. What a disappointment.”

After grumbling, Jincheol picked up a cat that was rolling around on the floor. The cat purred for a while before falling asleep.

How interesting - Maru thought as he wiped his hands with some napkins. The cat in Jincheol’s arms looked extremely sensitive. It acted even more violently than the spotty one, so he didn’t even think about touching it, but that cat was sleeping like a baby in Jincheol’s arms. Do cats know their owners as well?

“It’s because cats are territorial animals. They are pretty generous to the things they got used to seeing in their territory. To this guy, I’m probably something like ‘human 1 that feeds me’. That’s why it doesn’t put up its guard around me. It doesn’t act cute, but that’s one of a cat’s charms. Bad kitty.”

After tickling the sleeping cat’s head, Jincheol said ouch before grimacing. The cat had woke up and bit him. The cat then jumped down from his arms before walking around the 2nd floor. Maru was reminded of a stereotypical businesswoman from how it acted.

Maru looked down at his knees. The spotty cat was sleeping in a weird posture. At first, he was sleeping docilely with his front paws together, but after twisting around for a while, he was now sleeping in a weird position that made Maru wonder if such a posture was possible. He wanted to tickle the cat’s belly since it was widely exposed, but he held back since it might cause some bad things to happen.

“Why don’t you take this opportunity to raise a companion cat?”

Companion cat[1]. Maru thought that he should not use the word pet in front of this person.

“I don’t think I can.”

“Why?”

“I don’t like them to the point that I want to take responsibility for one.”

“Just take it easy and raise one. A lot of people raise one these days.”

Maru raised his head when he heard Jincheol’s words. Was he serious? Maru looked around at the cats walking around the 2nd floor before speaking,

“I don’t think you can take anything easy when it comes to taking responsibility and raising something. Even raising a plant requires you to change out the soil and even the vase sometimes. On top of that, there is watering them and cutting off dead leaves. There’s no need to talk about animals like cats when they need so much freedom on top of that. They say babies grow up by themselves, but you know it isn’t like that. Seeing them born is a miracle, and it’s wonderful when they start talking. But it all ends there, doesn’t it? After that, you’re filled with worries. A little creature, who can’t even walk, crawls around everywhere, including dangerous places, and puts sharp objects near their mouth all the time. The day they have diarrhea or something, you won’t be getting any sleep. Furthermore, even when they fall asleep, you feel like your world is collapsing if you hear their breaths going faint.”

Maru subconsciously stroked the spotty cat’s chin.

“When they reach an age where they can bow to others, that’s when the real troubles start. Even if you tell them not to run, they will never listen to you, and even if you tell them not to go to high places because it’s dangerous, they always end up there, making you feel worried sick. If you want to feed them a carrot, you gotta suck up to them with all sorts of actions. And once they get sick or something, you hope that you were the one sick instead.”

The spotty cat turned around. Maru smiled bitterly. There was no memory of anything. He just ‘knew’ that ‘something’ had happened, but anything other than that was pitch black. There was definitely something between him and her, which he poured all of his love into, and sometimes treated more preciously than his own life, but he couldn’t remember what that was. It was probably a child. Maru could only guess. Perhaps there was never a baby between him and her. Perhaps they lived with some cute dogs or some cats.

However, that small voice which was his motivation in life, as well as the reason he appreciated life, was definitely similar to his. That, no, that child’s trace definitely remained inside him despite his memories becoming fuzzy like a burned up ash. Was it a boy? Or was it a girl? Perhaps he had twins.

He tried not to forget. He thought that there was no way he would be able to forget. He thought that it would be engraved in his soul as something eternal and that he would be able to see that child’s smile in the flashbacks even if he died once again. However, the pitch black memories cruelly painted over the figure of his child as well. His own figure, uneasily trembling outside the delivery room, no longer felt realistic as it felt like it was a scene from a movie. What happened after that? What was the child’s face like? What was his or her favorite clothes? Or food? Or name, even?

“Raising a baby requires an unspeakable amount of responsibility.”

Meow - the spotty cat cried. Maru looked down at his hand. His hand was shaking endlessly as though he was someone who drenched his life with alcohol. That trembling seemed to have affected the cat. He tensed his hand before sighing.

“...is what I heard from my mom before. Looks like I caused her a lot of trouble. I went to places she precisely told me not to, I was picky with food, I had a weak body, and… you know. Things like that.”

Maru said that as he looked at the two men who were staring holes into him.

“That’s why I don’t think I can raise something like this one. Moreover, these ones can’t even talk. It means that I would have to pay that much more attention to them, and for now, at least, I’m not prepared to do such a thing.”

The spotty one stretched its front paws out and did a body stretch. Maru looked into the cat’s two eyes. When he focused, some speech bubbles appeared on top of the cat. Meow, meow, meow. It was filled with incomprehensible cries. After stretching, the spotty cat jumped down. He licked his paws as he looked at him, and he seemed to be saying ‘you did well for looking after me’, or something. He felt proud because he felt like he fulfilled his role as a chair(?). Leaving aside the dignity of humans or the superiority between species, Maru decided to obediently get praised by the spotty cat. Maru smiled as he looked at the cat that rubbed his legs.

“Geunsoo, what do I do?”

“What?”

“I think I really like this guy?”

Geunsoo laughed. Maru looked at Jincheol.

“Do you know what one of the best ways to find out what people are thinking is?”

Maru replied that he didn’t. Jincheol pointed at the cats.

“You just have to see how that person treats animals. It’s been proven many times that there aren’t bad people among the ones that like cats.”

He told his bad jokes about cats whenever he had the opportunity. Jincheol took a breath before continuing to speak. It looked like he felt quite depressed because Maru didn’t laugh.

“There are a lot of people who want to raise dogs or cats. That’s especially the case when I ask people around your age. Animals are cute and adorable. Even on TV, they’re described as creatures that only look at you.”

When Jincheol tapped on the table, some cats approached him.

“But when they’re given the opportunity to, most of them refuse. The reason is simple. It’s because they treated animals as accessories. Looking at them through pictures or videos makes them look endlessly adorable. They speak as though they are ready to do anything if they could raise one. However, when dreams become a reality, people start seeing what they couldn’t see before. They make noise, bite, scratch… and there’s the matter with fur too. Plus, once you mistrain them when potty training, there’s nothing worse than that. You have to feed them, play with them, take them to the hospital if they become sick, and… that's when they find out. Oh hey, this is actually much more bothersome than I expected. And boom.”

When Jincheol shouted, the cats jumped before running away.

“They end up abandoning them. Of course, they might feel sorry. I don’t think humans are that evil. There shouldn’t be anyone who abandons animals with a smile on their face.”

For a while after that, Jincheol was unable to speak because all the cats tried to bite him. Maru thought that he was really a peculiar person after all. After begging for forgiveness from them, Jincheol spoke again.

“In that sense, I’ve taken a liking to you. People like you, who are much more cautious towards them from the beginning, end up loving animals to the end. They aren’t like the ones that say they love animals and start raising them recklessly. They start things knowing the difficulties, so they take responsibility and look after them until the end. In that sense….”

Jincheol picked up a small cat before pushing it onto him.

“You need to raise a cat. If you don’t become a cat lover now, your president might come up to you one day giving you a puppy to raise. I can’t miss such a talented candidate like you. Here, take it. That one’s called Han Maru II from now on.”

Meow - the little kitten cried sadly. It definitely did not like the name. Maru shook his head and refused.

“Are you telling me that you’re going to pick dogs over c….”

“Animals are forbidden where I live.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes.”

“What a pity. If you ever have the opportunity to raise one, definitely come to me. I’ll make you a cat person.”

This person, if he didn’t become a film director, might have become a cat’s rights activist instead of a human rights activist. Just then, Maru was reminded of the only dogs in this store.

“It looks like you like bulldogs though.”

“Bulldogs? Why do you say that?”

“Because I saw a photo with three bulldogs on my way up. Some lady was holding three bulldog pups.”

“Oh, that photo. That’s not there because of the dogs. It’s there because of the fella that’s smiling like an idiot.”

Jincheol’s smile disappeared. The cats in his arms looked at him.

“She was someone who really liked dogs. She always tried to spread her love for dogs to other people. It was pretty much a religion for her at that point.”

“Sounds like she’s similar to you.”

Jincheol faintly smiled. Only then did the cats become calm.

“Your president was one of them.”

“What?”

“He’s one of the people who the dog evangelist managed to persuade. I’m pretty sure your president still raises them now. Those ugly bulldogs in the photos. Their names should match their faces too.”

Jincheol had a rather vague expression as he said those words. Maru didn’t know whether he was feeling happy or sad.


[1] There are two terms in Korea that refer to ‘animals that live with people at home’, and both of them are usually translated to ‘pets’, but while one fits perfectly with that term, there isn’t a preferred translation of the other one, which puts accompanying animals to a higher level. Hence a companion animal, in this case a cat, was used here.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Man, where do I start.

The cat puns in the raws are much worse (I tried my best to translate)

The originals went like this:
1: "Did you know? A cat's (Goyang-i) hometown is (Goyang-si, a place in Korea)"
2; "And a cat's favorite story is a strange("myo-han"/can be interpreted as cat-like) story."
3. "And looking a cat makes you feel heightened (goyang-doen)"

I think I did a pretty decent job of translating it....

Next, man, that escalated quickly from talking about raising cats then to babies...

And lastly, I'm pretty sure everyone has an idea who the lady with the three buldog pups is. She's someone who managed to influence Junmin, someone who smiles all the time, and has a photo of her holding dogs in a place filled with cats (why could that possibly be? wink wink).

Oh, and lol 'ugly bulldogs' + 'names that match their faces'. I remember one of the dogs being named Mint? Looks like this dude hates mint.


Editor's Note:
I always find Maru's attempts to pass off him being strange so funny. His excuses are just so not believable.