Life, Once Again! - Chapter 396
“It sure is.”
Just sitting in the shade was not cool enough. Although the beginning of autumn was behind them, there was no autumn to be seen. Feeling fooled by the small words printed on the calendar, Maru wiped the sweat off his forehead.
“I wonder when this will end.”
A minor actor younger than him asked in a tired voice. After they shot the crowd scene after lunch, they’ve been waiting ever since. Even the ones that were excited about seeing actors in real life calmed down and just watched the shoot in a daze after around an hour or so.
“Hyung, do we always have long waiting times like this?”
A boy with a big nose asked. Maru nodded.
“If you’re unlucky, you might not do anything for three hours and just go home.”
“I was overjoyed that I was supposed to be a minor actor, but like this, we’re no different from background actors.”
“That’s because we’re minor roles without much significance. But we still do get to appear on camera a lot, right? Unless they cut it out during editing, you’ll appear on TV. Take consolation from that.”
“There’s all this stuff on my face. Would anyone even recognize me?”
He sighed as he slightly smudged the black makeup on his face.
“At least it’s better than the passersby who go by unnoticed.”
“That’s true, but still. Ah, the wait is too long. We are actors too.”
The boy that grumbled took some others to the bathroom. The shade became quiet. Maru fanned himself with the fan that the staff left with him. The soft wind brushed past his sweat. For a brief moment, he felt better.
“Aren’t you hot?” Maru asked Bitna, who sat next to him.
She could have waited in her mom’s car with air conditioning, but she did not leave the rest of the group during breaks. Her mom couldn’t be seen around. It seemed that she only watched when Bitna was on camera.
“I’m okay,” Bitna replied.
Despite being so young, she was very calm and composed. She looked cute and looked like she would act like a child, but she waited very calmly without making a single complaint. Maru faintly smiled and started fanning her. When he fanned her, Bitna thanked him with a bow.
“Isn’t it hard?”
“I’ll do it even if it’s hard.”
“Haha, I’m not telling you to not do it.”
Bitna stared at him.
“What is it?”
“Is it hard for you, ahjussi?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Then do your best.”
“Okay, I’ll do my best.”
He was trying to cheer her up, but he was encouraged instead. Bitna looked around the set with a serious expression. Maru wondered what her upbringing was like.
“Grab tight from both sides! Don’t loosen your hand! If you feel like you can’t endure, just shout!”
Six large men surrounded a palanquin. When the six lifted it up at the same time, they all said that they were okay.
“I’ll try going on it.”
Even after a staff member got in it, the palanquin was stable. After checking various things, the staff seemed to be convinced of its safety as he brought one person.
“Step on this to go in.”
The one that got on the palanquin was an elderly man who had a big build. He was probably the actor playing Han Sang-jil, the grandfather of Han Myung-hoe.
‘Park Moosung. He’s quite popular on historical dramas.’
From what Maru heard, he was appearing as a cameo. It was likely that the producer or the writer asked him to feature in the shoot. He would be portrayed as the cruel man who tells his family to abandon Han Myung-hoe after finding out that he was born prematurely.
The palanquin was raised according to the staff’s signal. Although it slightly tilted towards the right at first, it soon gained balance. Park Moosung laughed heartily and apologized to everyone for being so heavy.
“We’ll do this quickly!” Changsung shouted.
The people lifting the palanquin up slowly moved forward. Moosung, who was inside, quickly became composed. He laid back on the backrest and watched the people outside doing business with a bored expression. His posture indicated his status.
When the palanquin passed in front of a hanok surrounded by a stone fence, Moosung said ‘stop’. The low voice reached even where Maru was resting. He definitely sounded different to when he was speaking to the staff members just now. It was heavy yet spread far. The sound was vivid until the very end.
They got a satisfying cut in one go. Moosung got off the palanquin and took off his gat. A woman that seemed to be his stylist quickly approached him and received the jacket and the hat from him.
Producer Changsung disappeared from the set along with Moosung. Producer Jinhyuk was in control of the set now.
“Everyone please gather round!”
The background actors, as well as the minor actors for the beggars, all gathered round. Producer Jinhyuk scanned their faces and body figures before picking a few people and telling them to stand to the side.
“The ones standing to my right, please get ready for the street scene, and as for the rest of you, I’ll have you become corpses.”
Maru was one of the corpses. Ten men of various heights left the streets and moved to the road where there were straw-roofed houses around. This was where the convenience store was, so there were a lot of tourists.
“I think they’re shooting a drama here.”
People flocked after seeing cameras and lights and asked the staff which actors were appearing. The staff replied to them that they were just extras in a tired manner.
Those words worked wonders. The flock of people scattered like it couldn't be a lie. The word ‘extras’ was magical. Maru laughed in a low voice before walking.
“Please lie down and cover yourselves with this.”
They lied down under the roof hanging off the side of the straw-roofed house in a line. The cold sensation from the ground made his body scream in joy. He felt that he might be able to fall asleep here. The others looked the same. Some of them almost fell asleep.
When they waited like that, Uljin and Giwoo arrived. This was the scene where Giwoo was scared out of his wits when he saw Uljin rummaging through the dead bodies.
Uljin approached and stepped on the hand of someone here. He was the man right next to Maru. Uljin flinched in surprise, but the man didn’t even groan. If Uljin continued acting, he would be portrayed as the one who boldly started rummaging through dead bodies, but still had his childish side. Unfortunately, though, Uljin could not continue his act.
“Cut. Are you okay?”
Producer Jinhyuk asked. As the alleyway was narrow, he couldn’t come in and he just stood in front of the camera.
“Yes. I’m fine. You can continue.”
The man who seemed to be over forty just laughed and told them not to worry about it before lying back down.
At that moment, Maru saw that the man frowned as he grabbed the hand that was stepped on.
There was no way it didn’t hurt. Uljin might be quite skinny for a teen, but a boy in his late teens stepped on the man’s hand with all of his body weight. It wouldn’t be strange even if the man’s bones broke.
Feeling Maru’s gaze, the man put his index finger against his mouth and shook his head. He was telling Maru not to say it. Seeing the hurried movement, Maru made a bitter expression and could only nod back.
“Are you okay?” Uljin asked.
The man said that there were no problems with a cheerful voice. Though, his words trembled at the end. Uljin apologized before returning to his starting point.
“It hurts, doesn’t it?”
“Nah, I’m fine.”
“You look like you’re in pain though.”
“I’m fine, I’m fine.”
“But still, you should visit the information center after the shoot. They should have some first-aid kits.”
“I was planning to do that. Thanks for worrying about me, kid.”
The sweat on the man’s forehead was probably not entirely due to the heat of the weather.
When Uljin started rummaging through the corpses, Giwoo entered and tried to stop him. Maru couldn’t open his eyes, so he didn’t know what kind of an act they were putting on, but they sounded a little awkward to him, since he had just heard a powerful deep voice from Moosung.
“Cut. Thanks for your work.”
The shoot finished in three shoots. Standing up with the tattered rag, Maru looked at the face of the man who lied down next to him. He was sweating cold sweat.
“I’ll return it for you.”
The man covered up his right finger, which was stepped on, with his left hand and stood up. Maru narrowed his eyes and approached the staff with the two rags.
“Uhm, I think I sprained my fingers a little when I lied down. Can I get some pain relief patches?”
“Patches? Are you hurt?”
“No. It just stings a little.”
The staff scratched his head before telling him to wait and turned around with the rags. Maru returned to the alley and sat next to the man.
“Did you go?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. But they didn’t have any.”
The man frowned.
“I asked a staff member to get some patches.”
“What? You shouldn’t have.”
“I said that I was the one injured. I also said that it was just a slight sprain, so it won’t enter the ears of anyone important.”
“Let me have a look at your hand.”
The man slowly extended his hand. Thankfully, it was just a bit swollen. With enough rest after applying the patches, it looked like he would be okay in two days.
He received spray-type pain relief from the staff and gave it to the man. Tssssh. The spray gave off a refreshing smell. The man, who was spraying it on himself, fanned his hands to get rid of the smell. At the same time, he peeked outside. He looked very uneasy.
“There’s no one outside.”
“Yeah. I checked before coming. So you can be at ease.”
“Thanks for being so considerate.”
Although he smiled and said that he was okay, he was very careful with applying the pain relief.
Maru sighed a little and blocked him so that no one could see him. Even if a staff member came by, they wouldn’t notice the man.
Seeing him look after his wound in the corner, Maru felt bitter. It was likely that this was his job. A job that didn’t require specific skills meant that it was just as easy to replace someone like him. The moment the leader found out about his injury, he would tell the man to ‘get some rest’, and as someone whose everyday expenses depended on the job, those words would be cruel and merciless.
When he saw the man who had to swallow the pain and protect himself with his words, Maru was reminded of his father, who was forced to rest due to an accident at the factory he was working at in his later years. He had barely any memory of what happened ‘back’ then, but the frustration and the sorry feelings he had when watching his father’s dejected shoulders as the eldest son in the house still remained in a corner of his heart.
“Boy. I’m really okay.”
The man smiled for a while before cringing again. Maru nodded before standing up.
“Please be careful.”
Maru took the pain relief spray and left the alley. He looked for the man who gave him the spray to return it, but he couldn’t be seen anywhere. He couldn’t shoot with the spray in hand, and the props vehicle wasn’t that far, so he decided to go there and return it.
When he walked on the streets, people around him looked at him with curiosity. It wasn’t a surprise since he was dressed up like a beggar. On his way back from returning the spray, he met the man again. However, the leader was standing right next to him. The leader waved at the man to go, who bowed with an apologetic expression.
Maru watched as the leader turned around and the man stood still. Then, he met eyes with the man. The man stretched his fingers out and smiled as though to show that he was fine. Maru felt that there was a thousand tons of weight on the man’s shoulders as the man turned around.
Was he found out? Or did he report himself since he thought that it was serious? In any case, the leader would henceforth remember the man’s name. In the field, the one that caused the accident would be remembered in a bad way. What was funny was that the one that was caught in the accident would also be remembered in a bad way.
After watching the man for a while, he started walking again. Although there was a bitter taste in his mouth, he had to do what he had to. He visited the bathroom before he went back to the set. After washing his hands, he looked in the mirror. His face, which was drenched in heat and sweat, looked like a real beggar.
Just as he was about to leave after shaking the water off his hands, he heard a voice outside.
“I told you. But man, he really couldn’t say a word like you said. I really stepped on it like I meant it, but he smiled back and said he was fine. Hey, I even pitied him a little. Would he really want to live like that at his age? If I was him, I would’ve quit a long time ago. Anyway, it was interesting just like you said.”
That voice was familiar to him. It also described a very familiar situation.
 The way east Asians count the seasons is slightly different from the west. In the west, ‘autumn’ apparently begins at the same time as the autumn equinox. However, the eastern countries consider it as the ‘middle’ of autumn, meaning, the ‘beginning’ of autumn is half-way between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. Wikipedia for more details. (the term in the story corresponds to the 135° solar term)
 Traditional Korean housing. In this case, for people of high social status. Wikipedia for details.