Life, Once Again! - Chapter 351
“We’re starting. Everyone, please come out,” a staff member peeked inside and spoke. Maru had waited an hour and twenty minutes by that point.
“Thanks. I calmed down a lot thanks to you,” the girl said as she handed him the earbud.
She definitely looked a lot more stable than before. Maru put the earbuds into his bag before standing up. When he left the room, he saw the staff handing out toques and cooking uniforms. They weren’t tailored, so they just had to find suitable sizes and adjust the shape using safety clips.
“Please check your clothes. The rehearsal is going to start immediately, so please get ready. Right now, the producers and the actors are not in a good mood so don’t make a mistake. No one wants to get into a fight, right? Well then, good luck.”
They followed the staff member onto the set.
“Please get out of the way!”
Someone shouted from a forklift. The staff that lead them told them to watch out for the cables beneath their feet and told them to move back. There was a wall on the forklift. It was literally a wall. The backside, which wouldn’t be caught on camera, was made of lumber and fiberboard, while the front side had white tiles laid out. They followed the forklift to the right side of the set.
“Set up the ceiling lights and get a ceiling block over here. We need to cover this part.”
The set, which seemed to be the cooking competition area, was there. Cooking facilities that could be seen in dramas were laid out in rows. On one of the walls were rows of double door refrigerators, and in front of them were piles of seasonal fruits. Maru found actors standing on one side of the set. Suyeon could be seen among them as well. She was wearing a black cooking uniform. She had thick makeup around her eyes, which made her look fierce. Even her lips were purple. It was stereotypical ‘bad girl’ makeup.
“Get the minor roles into position!”
A loud voice could be heard from afar. A man wearing a hoodie was shouting with a paper cup in hand. It seemed that he was the producer.
The one that ran to them was a youth that stood next to the presumed producer. He seemed to be in his late twenties.
“I’m the assistant director that will be working with you today. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the atmosphere is really not good so don’t make an NG if possible. I don’t like getting angry, but I might shout at you today, so keep that in mind. Everyone saw the script, right?”
“Those with lines, come to this side.”
Maru moved to the right as instructed. When he looked next to him, five others stood in line with him. The earphone girl and Mr. Number Four included.
“Wait for now. Those that don’t have lines, come here and stand in a line. I’m going to have to see how tall you are.”
The assistant director scanned the people once before assigning them a table.
“Over there, number three and number four switch places. And you at the back! Yes, the one that’s turning his head! Yes. You switch places with the one on your left. Let’s see. I think that should do.”
The assistant director quickly ran to the hooded man. The hooded man walked to them with slow steps.
“I think this should do.”
The assistant director, who could speak boldly in front of minor actors and background actors, very patiently waited for the hooded man’s words.
“Do you think this looks good? Huh? Didn’t I tell you that your eyes weren’t a decoration? Do you think you can even graduate from me like this? Do you think you’ll be able to have your own program one day? You’re frustrating. Do it again!”
The hooded man became angry. His loud voice filled the set. The assistant director kept saying ‘sorry’ and bowed his head.
“Do I really have to tell you all this? Even a dog would do better than you if it studied under me for as long as you did….”
Just at that moment, a woman called out to the hooded man. The middle-aged woman, who just came to the set, was wearing a black cooking uniform just like Suyeon’s.
Lee Miyoon. She was an actress that Maru knew of. She was a veteran actress that could be seen quite frequently in weekend dramas. Her roles were mostly the ‘kind mother of the main character’ or the ‘affectionate president’s wife’, so ‘kind’ roles than ‘vile’ roles. Her kind-looking eyes and wrinkles around the nose gave off a ‘good’ impression.
“When’s the standby?”
“We’ll be starting soon.”
“Are you kidding me? I am here.”
It was a baton touch. The producer who was getting angry at the assistant director was now subservient in front of the actress. Noticing that there were many eyes around, the actress called the producer away. Being dragged away, the producer frowned as he glared at the assistant director.
“Ah, this is just f.u.c.k.i.e.d up.”
The director angrily uttered before proceeding to shout at the background actors standing behind the tables.
“Ah, dammit! Didn’t I tell you to switch, huh? So you’re fine as long as you get your pay for the day, huh? Are you kidding me? Is this a joke to you?”
The assistant producer reassigned the people while shouting. Seeing him so angry the background actors just moved according to his words without saying anything.
“We did just as he told us to. What the heck is his problem?”
The earphone girl asked. Maru replied to her since she seemed to be expecting an answer from him.
“The problem is that he was scolded.”
“He’s so c.o.c.ky, don’t you think?”
“Maybe, but I think we should stay quiet for now.”
Maru pointed at the assistant director with his chin. He was glaring at the two for a while now. The earphone girl closed her mouth as though she swallowed something bitter. She clearly looked dissatisfied.
“You two, are you here to loiter around?”
And so, the assistant director found a target. Maru just inwardly sighed.
“Hey, don’t you hear me? I’m asking you if you’re here to loiter around. Does it look like a playground to you? Why do kids nowadays have no respect?”
The assistant director glared and spewed out all of his piled up anger. Maru looked down and started singing in his head. Talking back to him right now would be akin to pouring oil into a fire. He would calm down after making a fuss if he just left the guy alone.
However, the girl next to him clearly didn’t seem to have any intentions of staying silent. Her clenched hands indicated that she was about to erupt. Maru turned his head slightly and looked at the girl’s face. Her twitching lips made him feel uneasy. She looked like she was about to pick a fight.
Fortunately, she just seemed so and didn’t actually get into a fight. Reacting to every single thing like this was very tiring. Unless one was going to advertise him or herself as a hero of justice, it was better to just make compromises. It wasn’t about right and wrong. It was a problem of efficiency. There was no need to get angry because of something petty. Getting angry had to be reserved for something necessary.
The girl suppressed her anger. Just as things were about to get quiet again, the assistant director looked at the girl with a disdainful smile and continued the fight.
“What, you got something to say to me? Huh? Are you someone really great? You’re an aspiring celebrity, aren’t you? Do you think you’ll make it with your face? I mean, if your face is lacking, you should be able to smile at least. Do you think you can have a social life with that? This is the society, you know?”
The assistant director stroked his own hair upwards before sighing.
“The world has gotten pretty good, huh? When I was your age, I wasn’t even able to put my teeth out. The discipline at TV stations has hit rock bottom. Are you going to quit after this? If you are, then you can do whatever you want. If you plan to never see me again, then you can cut all the corners. But if you plan to stay, then look at the ground. I don’t treat men and women differently. I’m very equal when it comes to things like that. I’m going to treat you like hell if you don’t do well. If you can’t endure it, then just quietly raise your hand and leave, alright? Don’t cry.”
The man’s index finger pressed on the earphone girl’s forehead. The girl took steps back. The assistant director chuckled before making a refreshed expression. It seemed that he had vented his frustration somewhat.
“Well then, get into positions again. Let’s do things well this time. If you just follow my instructions, there won’t be any problems,” he spoke as he walked up to a cooking table.
Only chilly air remained when he left. Maru sighed as he stretched his neck from side to side. It was good that he didn’t speak for a long time. The atmosphere was getting better. It should be fine as long as the shoot went well.
He heard a breath next to him. The girl was glaring at the assistant director’s back while biting her lips. If gazes could do harm, it would take eight weeks at the hospital for that man to recover.
The assistant director approached them again. It seemed that the camera would shoot where he was. He stood in the same spot as before and looked at the background actors before tilting his head.
“Is it done?”
After speaking to himself, the assistant director turned his head around. Maru was puzzled when he looked at him.
“How does it look to you? Does it look good now?”
“What do you mean?”
“The assignment of people. How is it, does it look good to you?”
“Well, I don’t know anything. If it’s to your liking, assistant director, then it must look good.”
“Can’t you even think for yourself?”
“I know nothing about scene composition or things like that.”
“Forget it. What am I expecting from a kid? Hey, how about you? Does it look good to you?” This time, the assistant director asked Mr. Number Four.
Mr. Number Four quickly nodded and replied that it looked perfect.
“Perfect? Good. You said it, okay? I think differently, but I’m going with this just because you said so, okay? If I get scolded again, you know what happens, don’t you?”
Mr. Number Four’s gulping sound could be heard from all the way where Maru was. That man really couldn’t read the mood. The assistant director was clearly the stereotypical ‘blame everything on his subordinates’ type. To work with such a man, neither agreeing nor disagreeing would do any good. Only by replying ‘I don’t know’ like a parrot would leave behind no bad results.
When the assistant director walked towards the refrigerators, the girl, who had been staying quiet this whole time, spoke.
“Aren’t you pissed?” She suddenly asked.
“Why would I be?”
“Aren’t you angry? You had to listen to such a thing from that son of a… phew, that person. Don’t you have any pride?”
Her eyes were red as though she was about to cry. Of course, she wouldn’t start crying. Her eyes were probably red due to anger.
“My pride isn’t that cheap.”
“Uhm, just ignore a moderate amount of injustice. If you talk back to every single little thing, even an iron-willed man wouldn’t last, not to mention you.”
“You sound really pathetic, you know that?”
“Yeah. Problems persist precisely because people like you stay silent at times like this. How could you stay silent? You’re just….”
The girl looked at him as though she couldn’t understand. It was a really tiring day today. First, there was a man who had to have others confirm to him that he was someone good, and then, there was a girl full of half-assed justice.
“Then say it to him.”
“Should I call him here? If you can’t stand him, then I’ll call him here.”
Maru didn’t wait for the girl to answer and took the first step. At the same time, the girl grabbed his shoulder while spitting out a short breath.
“What are you doing?”
“I thought you couldn’t stand him.”
Maru lowered his voice and replied.
“Hey, if justice is something you take out just when it’s necessary, then don’t force it upon others. How does that make you any different from that man? You can’t say anything to people higher than you, so you start complaining to people around you. Does that make your life easier? Does that justify your actions? Is that what your conscience is about? Why don’t you just blatantly talk bad about him? I can do that with you. I’ll ask again. Do you have the confidence to say to that man to stop acting like that?”
When he asked, the girl became powerless. Her clenched fists became loose as well.
“Sorry, I wasn’t supposed to get angry at you.”
Since she accepted, he had nothing more to say. Maru also apologized.
“Yes, I should endure. That’s right.”
The girl spoke in a powerless voice. She didn’t get what he meant at all. It wasn’t about enduring. Enduring leaves residue inside people. The residue of emotions would eventually pile up and harm the mind. It wasn’t about enduring. It was about ignoring it outright.
“People don’t understand dogspeak. How are you supposed to endure anything when you don’t understand anything in the first place? If a ferocious dog is barking at you, do you go ‘I should endure’ right next to it? No. You either ignore it or take a detour.”
Hearing that, the girl stared at him for a while before chuckling.
“You should talk to people that actually speak human words. If a human wants to face a dog, then that human would have to speak dogspeak as well, but that harms a person’s dignity. Just ignore him. There’s no harm in getting sworn at by a dog.”
The girl nodded. Then, she seemed to have thought of something as she widened her eyes and asked,
“But what if the dog tries to bite?”
“If the dog is too big for you to face, then you should just get bitten obediently. What can you do about it? It wants to bite you, and you are helpless.”
“Then people like us will have to get bitten all the time?”
“Yes. Get bitten all you want. Then, keep that wound and go to the dog owner. When there’s a dog that you can’t beat up, you should find the owner of that dog, who you can talk humanspeak to.”
“Haha. Then what if it’s a dog I can hit?”
“What’s there to hesitate? You should kick it hard and tell it who’s boss.”
“Then in your opinion, what about that guy? Is he a big dog or a small dog?”
“How does he look to you?”
“A very big dog.”
“Then a big dog he is.”
“Then what about you?”
“I don’t know. I won’t get bitten anyway, so it doesn’t matter if he’s big or small.”
“But what if that dog tries to bite you?”
“At that time….”
Maru looked at the producer and the actress standing at the entrance of the set.
“I’ll have to use the owner of the dog, a kennel man, or whatever it is I have to use.”
“Bullshit” is a popular term to translate this into. But for the sake of conversation, the original will be kept here.