TL by Myoni
Edited by Myoni & Yoni
I woke up with a start when my phone rang.
As soon as I was clear- headed, the first thought on my mind was that I was in trouble.
When did I fall asleep? What time was it now?
The sky outside still looked dark, but since it rained early in the morning, it could just be clouds. I clumsily searched for my watch.
Fortunately, it was exactly 7 a.m. Although I did fall asleep, it was only for 10 minutes.
As soon as I relaxed, I was overcome with drowsiness and exhaustion. I rubbed my face with both my hands before answering the phone.
“Thanks, brother. I had to get to work by 8 and if it wasn’t for you, I might have been late.”
-When did you get home?
-What? And you’re going to work again? But you’re probably really tired, what are you going to do?
“What do mean what am I going to do. I still have to go to work.”
Now… It was time for me to make an accurate assessment of the situation and quickly decide.
If I was to get a taxi, I probably didn’t have to get ready this instant. If I wanted to take the subway, I would have to get ready now. Wait. The traffic might be slow. If I grabbed a taxi and I had to get off to ride the subway halfway, it would be the worst situation. I chose the safe route and decided to take the subway.
I got up and went to my bathroom. I turned on the tap and I was troubled while I was waiting for the water to turn warm.
Should I wash my hair or not?
-How was it yesterday?
“…It was dynamic. But, yesterday, they complimented me, saying I did a good job.”
Since it was my second day, I decided to wash my hair. I chose not to use conditioner, just shampoo.
-That’s a relief. Try to end early today so we can go for a drink and talk about our work.
“I’d like that too. Let’s do that!”
-And call mother. She’s probably waiting.
“Yeah, I will.”
I was about to hang up, but I heard noisy voices on the other end.
-Dad, dad, is it uncle? Me too! Hand me the phone too! Hand it to me first! (Kids, your dad is talki…) I have something to ask him! Memememe!
He wasn’t able to hold on for long before the phone fell to the hands of the elementary schoolers. As I brushed my teeth, I waited for the victor of the fight to talk.
-Uncle! Did you see a lot of celebrities yesterday? Who did you see?
“I saw all the singers that appeared on KpopCon.”
-Oh my god! You must have been really happy! Uncle, you’re freaking cool! I’m freaking jealous!”
“Freaking co… You shouldn’t say…”
-Can you take me along with you next time?
“I can’t. Now hang up. Uncle has to go to work.”
I coolly refused the clinging girl and hung up. It would be disastrous if I lost my authority over my nieces and nephews. Seniority wasn’t only important in the entertainment world. It was important here as well. If my authority crumbled, they would all try to climb over me and I would eventually end up at the bottom.
That would be horrible…
I washed my hair incredibly quickly. Yesterday I paid attention to my hair as I wore a suit, but there was no need to today. I just dried it off with a towel. I recalled on my failure yesterday and dressed casually. A hoodie and jeans. Coat.
Was it too casual? There was a meeting today.
I troubled over the decision for 10 seconds before changing into slacks and a knit sweater. It took 8 minutes to walk to the subway station from my one-room. I didn’t know if it was because it was too early, but the subway was emptier than usual.
As I looked around, I saw office workers on their way to work and students on their way to school. Those wearing casual clothes over there were university students.
I felt weird. I thought there would be a big change once I graduated school and became an employee. I thought I would see a different world like a chick breaking out of its egg or a frog that had left the well…
But that really wasn’t the case. So this was why my brother laughed so hard when I told him.
While waiting for the subway train, I called home.
“Mom, it’s me. I got off work late yesterday so I couldn’t call you.”
-Actually, I ended up going to sleep after waiting. Was there a lot of work on your first day?
My mom’s voice was filled with concern.
My parents left our home in Seoul to my brother and went to the countryside as soon as I completed my mandatory military service. The cost of living in Seoul was too high and since my father’s health wasn’t very good, they decided to recuperate in the fresh air of the countryside.
His health has recovered a lot these days and they work on a small field and raise a dog.
My brother who was already in his forties was living well with his family and the quadruplets were already in their senior year of elementary school so they would grow quickly without constant supervision. I wasn’t sure if it was because of this, but my parents would spend more attention on me nowadays.
“Nah, I was late because of the welcoming party. Don’t worry. Anything happening at home? How’s father’s health?”
-We are doing well. How was work? Was it okay? You always said you wanted to do it, but do you really enjoy it?
“It’s really fun. The people I work with are all good too.”
-Yesterday, your aunts came and we ate dinner together. When we discussed that you were working with actors, all the kids were in a frenzy. They kept asking for autographs.
“…Really? But, I wasn’t assigned to an actor, but a singer. A girl group.”
-A girl group?
“They’re called Neptune; you probably haven’t heard of them. Next time I go home; I’ll bring you a picture.”
-Okay. If you have any troubles at work, tell your brother. Okay?
He had already been of great help to me this morning. When I was about to tell her my brother’s morning call, the subway train arrived.
“Okay. The subway’s here. I’ll call you later.”
I quickly hung up the phone and sat on the subway. It was 7:30 right now… since the company wasn’t far from the subway station, I probably wouldn’t be late. To not fall asleep and miss my stop, I tried to keep my eyes open.
Should I listen to some songs? As I was looking for my earphones, the two girls wearing school uniforms sitting next to me were making a fuss.
“Hey hey hey, big news! Lee Yoolam of Lemon Girls got in trouble. She’s the most trending right now.”
“What is it? What kind of trouble?”
The two stuck their heads together and looked at the phone screen.
“It says it’s a DUI. Oh my god. It says she was with her non-celebrity boyfriend. Wasn’t she the one who kept promoting that she never had a boyfriend? Her male fans probably crumbled like cookies.”
“Yeah, they were really promoting how hard they were preparing for Next K-Star…”
“They were dropped out from that. It says that Neptune will replace them?”
“Never heard of them before. I guess the staff was really in a hurry.”
I quickly checked the internet. Looking at the community site, I saw that everything related to this issue was trending.
Lemon Girls Lee Yoolam. Lee Yoolam DUI. Lee Yoolam’s Boyfriend. Next K-Star was 4th in ranking. I didn’t find Neptune though.
Celebrity News articles only had provocative headlines.
[Lemon Girls Lee Yoolam charged without detention, a date during the day with her civilian boyfriend?] [Claimed Forever Single Lee Yoolam’s Secret Boyfriend and DUI? ‘Shocking’] [Lee Yoolam charged with DUI, fans ‘shocked’, Dropped out of Next K-Star]
As I read starting from the last page, the flow of articles was quite amusing.
At first, the articles were focused on Yoolam’s charges. There were a bunch of articles that seemed to be copy-pasted that were posted afterwards.
Cold water has been poured on Lemon Girls’ Lee Yoolam, who was recently rising in popularity in the entertainment scene and was set to appear on this year’s huge public weekend entertainment program. Yesterday afternoon, Lee Yoolam was charged without detention when she was exposed driving under influence with her civilian boyfriend. Her alcohol blood level was 0.107 and her driver’s license was revoked…
The main article had thousands of comments and a large number of people agreed with the insults and cynical remarks criticizing her. She had already become the focus of public mockery and branded as a wretch.
Sparks even flew to Next K-Star.
Netizens shot comments like ‘Did Next K-Star promote worldwide popularity by signing this kind of girl,’ ‘I guess we know the standard of cable TV,’ ‘Did you think a criminal like her was going to be a worldwide Korean star?’ at the staff.
The reporters reacted to these comments of criticism by quickly writing more articles catering to that audience.
[Lemon Girls’ Lee Yoolam Charged, Trouble before the broadcast of ‘Next K-Star’] [‘DUI’ Lee Yoolam, Will she continue to appear on Next K-Star?]
After these articles covered on the front page for a while, articles of Lemon Girls dropping out of the program appeared. Those articles started the same as the previous articles.
However, the nuance changed in the middle.
Meanwhile, Knet’s new program, ’Next K-Star’, which Lemon Girls dropped out of, is a program that tests 8 new rising idol groups with great potential on various themes, such as songs, dance and entertainment, to find the group who will become the next generation Kpop Star…
The article began with a provocative story focused on Lee Yoolam, however, it suddenly changed and promoted the program. The PR team of Knet had started to make their move.
I could tell that their intentions were to quickly pull out of Lemon Girls’ Lee Yoolam’s DUI Scandal and to use the trending topic to promote their program aggressively. At the end, there even was an interview with Producer Go Joontae.
And I finally found Neptune’s name on there.
Next K-Star’s Producer Go Joontae expressed his deep regrets about Lemon Girls dropping out of the program under such scandalous circumstances. He shed new light on the topic by saying, “After holding an emergency meeting with staff last night, we have decided to fill the empty seat with a 4-member group known as Neptune,” and “Neptune was a group that was sadly cut from the final line-up. They have a lot of potential and appeal, so we believe that they are a group that fits well with the objective of Next K-Star.”
Also, Producer Go Joontae requested, “We sincerely apologize for the public criticism of the program before its broadcast. To make good out of this unfortunate event, we promise that we will create a program with a high degree of perfection to meet our viewers’ expectations. We hope that you will watch over this with interest.”