The impact of his actions was enormous.
’s actions were, of course, revealing himself to the public.
And he was currently experiencing how large the impact of his choice was, whether he liked it or not.
He should have been a little more patient this morning, but he didn’t do that.
The waves he created were even causing him to frown deeply.
“Can you please give me your autograph?!”
Riding in a subway to get to work was Kang Jin-Ho
’s mistake for today.
He would normally use his Golden Elephant or walk no matter how long that could take, but it was raining today, so he decided to ride in the subway for once.
And that was the beginning of everything.
Kang Jin-Ho could only drip in cold sweat while staring at a girl with sparkling eyes pushing forward her notebook at him.
”You ’re that guy from that TV show, right? I ’m a huuuge fan! ”
”Oh… ” Kang Jin-Ho tried to step back while being freshly reminded of what his original mistake was—starring in that damn TV show!
If only he knew how deeply that show would impact his life! He would have never chosen to appear in it.
Unfortunately, regret always came too late, no matter how quickly one felt it.
“…I, uh, don ’t have an autograph,” said Kang Jin-Ho.
“Really?” The girl looked disappointed as her notebook-holding hand drooped toward the ground, but then a bright grin formed on her face instead.
“In that case, can we take a selfie together? I heard you let customers at your store take one.”
The modern era could be quite indecipherable sometimes.
When Kang Jin-Ho was still a resident of Zhongyuan, rumors could spread so much faster than a person ’s walking speed, just as the old idiom of ’a legless horse can travel a thousand leagues ’ suggested.
However, even back then, those rumors could never spread to all corners of the world in the blink of an eye like in the modern era!
Kang Jin-Ho could very well be the only person in the world right now getting a fresh reminder of how social media had changed life in general.
“Of course, we can…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, proving that he had changed compared to the past.
“However, you must promise to stop by my store later and buy a pizza. ”
“Yes, I promise!”
Seeing how he still thought about the health of his business even in this dire situation, one could argue that Kang Jin-Ho had acclimatized to modern society commendably well.
That didn ’t mean he had perfectly adapted to the modern ways of living, though!
“Me, too! Me, too!”
“Me, too! Please take a selfie with me, toooo!”
“I ’ll go to your store! I ’ll go there twice in a row!”
Kang Jin-Ho could only squeeze his eyes shut while sensing his soul wanting to abandon him at the sight of the massive crowd rushing toward him.
The modern world was still a tough place for him to live, it seemed…
By now, the number of people flocking to the pizzeria should have decreased somewhat.
But that didn ’t happen yet.
Questioning why their store had so many customers was definitely not the correct mindset a business owner should have.
In that sense, Kang Jin-Ho would have scored zero points as a business owner.
“What does it matter? We
’re making a killing anyway!” Ju Yeong-Gi passing by exclaimed while lightly hitting Kang Jin-Ho
Kang Jin-Ho could only groan softly at that.
’Has Yeong-Gi mastered a mind-reading trick or something? ’
Kang Jin-Ho couldn
’t tell whether his friend had said those words while knowing what was on his mind…
or his words coincidentally countered his thoughts.
“Jin-Ho, two orders of bulgogi pizzas for this table!” Park Yu-Min yelled from the dining area.
Got it! ” Kang Jin-Ho focused when a new order came in and headed toward the oven.
Regardless of his current mood, he still had a duty to cook the best dishes he could create.
If he was going to do a sloppy job, he might as well not do it at all…
That was Kang Jin-Ho ’s mantra.
Kang Jin-Ho baked the pizzas and headed to the table to get the selfie business done, but he had to tilt his head in confusion.
The table ’s customers, two men, were staring back at him in their own confusion as well.
“…Uhm, aren ’t you gonna give us our pizzas?” one of the customers cautiously asked.
“N-no, of course not.” Kang Jin-Ho put the pizzas down in a daze, but he remained awkwardly standing near the table.
The two male customers blinked their eyes and asked suspiciously, ”Do you, uh, want us to give you a tip or something? ”
’m fine.” Kang Jin-Ho turned around to leave while making a sheepish face.
That was when he heard hushed whispers being exchanged behind him.
“By the way, why aren ’t they selling beer in this place?”
And it looks like a pub, too.
Why are there so many women in here anyway? ”
Women usually make up most of the customers in a joint like this.
Didn ’t you know that?”
”Even then! How can there be no men in here except us? I mean, shouldn ’t there be at least a couple out on a date or something? ”
Kang Jin-Ho silently closed his eyes.
’My sincerest apologies… ’
For the first time in what felt like ages,
’ customers had shown up at Kang Jin-Ho
However, it seemed they were having some difficulty getting used to the pizzeria ’s atmosphere.
What if all those customers brought here by the TV show no longer came to the pizzeria while things were like this? Even a blind could see the outcome of that.
Kang Jin-Ho glanced at Park Yu-Min.
“Have we found someone to handle the pasta side of things?”
Will start from tomorrow.”
That ’s good to hear.”
“But when I said we don ’t have anyone doing the pasta here, and it ’ll be new additions to our menu, our new hire asked if we at least have frying pans.”
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow.
“Mm? So? What did you say?”
“I said we don ’t have any,” said Park Yu-Min with an innocent smile.
Kang Jin-Ho smiled back at his friend.
We ’re screwed, then.”
“No need to worry, though.
We ’ll prepare all the necessary ingredients and cooking utensils tomorrow, you see?”
”Is that so?
” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
Whoever the new hire was, they would be able to help the pizzeria out as long as they were willing to do their job.
Park Yu-Min cautiously piped up, “That
’s that, but…
“It has been about a month since we opened, so I tried to balance the books and…”
“We, uh, made a crap load of money…”
’d be more correct to say customers started showing up around two weeks after we first opened our doors, so…
I ’m guessing we ’ll be making even more next month.
Probably around twice this month?”
” Kang Jin-Ho weightily nodded.
”We need to talk about something related to that later on. ”
“Ng, got it.”
Kang Jin-Ho became a little more serious when the topic of money was brought up.
This matter had to be dealt with concisely and accurately since his friends were involved.
“Say what? You wanna divide it equally?” Ju Yeong-Gi blinked his eyes in shock.
However, Kang Jin-Ho solemnly nodded back.
And it only made Ju Yeong-Gi and Park Yu-Min even more flabbergasted.
How does that even compute?”
Kang Jin-Ho tried to explain his thought process.
“After dealing with all the operating and sundry expenses for the month, and excluding the tax, we can divide the profit among ourselves, right?”
”Aigoo, Mister Kang Jin-Ho.
” Ju Yeong-Gi massaged his forehead as if a powerful migraine was assaulting him.
”Good sir, tax ain ’t as simple as you think.
Mister Kang Jin-Ho, you don ’t pay a fixed tax according to how much you earn.
The tax rate changes according to how much you make, don ’t you remember? Oh, Mister Kang Jin-Ho who attends the Business Management course at a famous university! ”
”Well, we can always deduct more when the tax rate rises later. ”
“And who will calculate that now?”
“Me, obviously.” Kang Jin-Ho pointed to himself.
“Aaah, you attend a prestigious university, am I right?” Ju Yeong-Gi sarcastically retorted.
This novel is available on bit.ly/3iBfjkV.
“My bad, my bad.
When I ’m with you, I sometimes forget that you can be a smart dude.
But that ’s not my fault, you know? Let ’s be honest here… ”
“…I didn ’t say anything, though.” Kang Jin-Ho sourly retorted.
Ju Yeong-Gi resolutely waved his head in opposition.
“I get what you ’re saying, Jin-Ho.
But I don ’t like it.”
“Why not?” Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes.
”You ’re the one investing your own money into this place, so why should I be getting an equal amount of profit as you? What the hell, do I look like some kinda pauper to you? ”
Kang Jin-Ho tried to defend his decision.
“Everything would have gone downhill without you two, that ’s why.”
Park Yu-Min resolutely shook his head.
That isn ’t right, no matter how you wanna slice it.
If we get paid like that, I don ’t think we ’ll feel comfortable while working here. ”
“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho frowned a little after running into an unexpected hurdle.
Who knew some people would be this opposed to getting paid well?
Ju Yeong-Gi tutted loudly.
”Besides all that, dude! Giving us a percentage of the earnings…
That ’s not a good idea, man.
No one knows how long this TV show buff would last, know what I mean? When the business gradually slows down later, are you implying that we might as well suck on our thumbs or something instead of getting proper food? ”
“Ah!” Kang Jin-Ho gasped in shock and became dazed after realizing that he hadn ’t thought about that.
Ju Yeong-Gi groaned and facepalmed.
“Seriously? A dude like this is attending a famous university, yet—I…
I should ’ve studied a little harder back in high school or something!”
Park Yu-Min butted in.
”But you were never good at studying back in school, weren ’t you? ”
“…Park Yu-Min, you have become too cheeky lately, you know that?” Ju Yeong-Gi tutted again.
“In any case! I don ’t wanna get paid that way.
I just want my wages to be according to the work I ’ve done.
I ain ’t interested in biting more than I can chew.”
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“Is that right? Then, how much should I give you?”
”Dude, just pay me the same as other employees, okay? Besides all that, just how long were you planning to make us work here? It ’s not like we can stick around here forever, right? Once everything settles down for you, I gotta go back to living my own life, and Yu-Min’s gotta start preparing for his pro gaming scene. ”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded heavily.
He had also been thinking about this.
“In a little while, I ’ll have to go back to university, so…”
“Mm? You want us to stick together until then?” Ju Yeong-Gi asked.
“Am I asking too much?”
“Let me think about it first.
You still have lots of time left before going back, after all.”
“Mm, got it.”
By the time their impromptu business conference ended, it was well past midnight.
Ju Yeong-Gi looked at his watch and got up to leave.
”Okay, we ’ll be on our way first, Jin-Ho. ”
Kang Jin-Ho got up along with his friends.
”Hey, want me to give you a ride? ” Ju Yeong-Gi gleefully asked once they got outside the pizzeria.
’ll take a rain check.” Kang Jin-Ho slowly shook his head while staring at Ju Yeong-Gi
That thing always made him wonder how it was still allowed on the road.
Park Yu-Min gladly riding along in that thing sure was made out of stern stuff, wasn ’t he? He used to be rather spineless back in the day, but hanging out with Kang Jin-Ho all the time seemed to have finally desensitized him to an extent.
“Okay, we ’re on our way now.”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho wryly smiled as Ju Yeong-Gi ’s car drove off in a cloud of choking smoke.
’I want to get him a new car, but… ’
’s pride meant he would never accept a car as a gift.
Besides, Ju Yeong-Gi was a hundred times more right than Kang Jin-Ho when looking at this matter through the eyes of common sense.
So, he couldn ’t even pressure his friend into accepting it.
Just as Kang Jin-Ho began submerging in his thoughts, he was woken up by a car
He turned his head toward the origin of the noise and spotted a familiar sedan getting closer to him.
“Please get in,” said Jo Gyu-Min while peeking his head out of the open window.
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled, then headed to the passenger side to climb inside.
“What brings you here this late, Chief Jo?”
”I had a few things to discuss with you, you see.
And I also wanted to catch up with you while we ’re at it.
But, uh, why did you close your store so late today? ”
”Well, we ’ve been having a lot of customers lately, you see… ”
“Oh…” Jo Gyu-Min blankly stared at Kang Jin-Ho.
’Hang on, was the boost from the TV show supposed to last this long? ’
Jo Gyu-Min was reminded of how unpredictable things could be for self-employed folks.
Who could have guessed that a reason as weird as a TV show cameo could lead to an influx of customers of this scale? At this rate, it would be impossible to evaluate Kang Jin-Ho ’s business acumen.
’Maybe this is what the Chairman was alluding to? ’
The whole idea of
’ was a mere illusion, said Hwang Jeong-Hu.
One only needed the…
ability to achieve the desired result.
That was the only thing that mattered.
Finally, Jo Gyu-Min was beginning to understand what the chairman was trying to say on that day.
If this continued, Jo Gyu-Min would have to write ’Kang Jin-Ho ’s business acumen is unknown, but his store is a huge success! ’ on his report pretty soon!
“Chief Jo? What did you want to talk about?”
” Jo Gyu-Min quickly sobered up from his daydreaming after Kang Jin-Ho woke him up, then pressed the accelerator.
”I ’m guessing things are mighty inconvenient for you without a car, yes? ”
“A little bit, yes,” Kang Jin-Ho replied grimly.
Up until last night, he was prepared to say he had gotten more or less used to being a carless person despite some minor inconvenience.
However, this morning ’s shenanigans on the subway had changed his mind.
People needed their personal space.
Especially for someone like Kang Jin-Ho…
Without a car, he had to be extra careful when stepping outside his house.
Things were already this insane for someone like him, so how bad could it be for top-tier talents? Kang Jin-Ho thought that he could finally understand, just a little, whenever those stars expressed their desire to murder the paparazzi and had a psychotic breakdown when the public paid too much attention to them.
Jo Gyu-Min continued.
”I ’ve picked out suitable candidates for you, Mister Jin-Ho.
Why don ’t we go and check them out personally? ”
“Okay.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded without saying anything else.
In the past, he would have said, “You don
’t have to go so far; I can deal with it myself.” These days, though? Kang Jin-Ho came to understand that Jo Gyu-Min never did things without a good reason.
Anyway, he was like that most of the time.
The car leisurely traveled toward Jaegyeong ’s HQ.
“Would you like a smoke?” Jo Gyu-Min asked.
“Yes, I would.” Kang Jin-Ho mouthed a cigarette without saying anything else.
Jo Gyu-Min followed suit and mouthed one himself.
After lighting it, he asked cautiously in a hushed tone, ”Mister Jin-Ho, by any chance, are you getting involved with the group called the Korean Martial Assembly? ”
So, here was the main topic.
Kang Jin-Ho quietly smiled after thinking that the thing with the new car was merely an excuse to get him to this position.
Jo Gyu-Min wasn ’t trying to hide his real intentions in other matters, of course.
It was just that he found it a bit difficult to ask that question from the get-go, so he decided to sneak it in within the pretext of sorting out the new car.
Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
“Yes, I ’m in the middle of getting involved.”
“Mister Jin-Ho…” Jo Gyu-Min gazed at Kang Jin-Ho with withdrawn eyes before parking the car in a deserted corner of the road.
Although it was sudden, Kang Jin-Ho didn
’t rebuke Jo Gyu-Min.
After all, he had earned the right to do things like this a long time ago.
”May I be allowed to be frank about this matter? ”
The idiom ’A legless horse can travel a thousand leagues ’ means words/rumors can spread really quickly.
In Korean, the word for ’horse ’ is the same as ’word/speech ’.
’Bulgogi '(literally means ’fire meat ’) is a grilled dish made out of thin, marinated slices of meat, most commonly beef, grilled on a barbeque or on a stove-top griddle.
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