Inside the storage room.
Jungwu was lost in thought while looking at the array of fireworks on the ground labeled ‘H Innovation’.
“Are you filming yet?”
He turned towards Soochan. Soochan was holding a rather expensive looking camera he somehow managed to borrow. Soochan waved back at him.
“Just a sec, the angle… got it.”
Soochan gave a bright smile once the camera was aimed at Jungwu’s face.
“Wow Jungwu is so~ handsome~”
“Ack stop it. Focus on filming mostly my hands.”
“It’s a 4k recording, so all of it shows up, don’t worry about it and start working.”
Jungwu, who was kneeling over the fireworks, asked,
“Where did you get that camera anyway?”
“I borrowed it from a professional cameraman I know. I had a lot of run-ins with him during events like these, and we got along pretty fast. Although, I did introduce him to a bunch of people whenever the opportunity arose.”
Soochan then focused on the image of Jungwu disassembling the fireworks and separating the parts and then muttered as if talking to himself.
“I still can’t believe you did the setup for these fireworks, Jungwu. It’s really amazing.”
“Well, I surprise myself these days as well. Have you walked on top of the Han River Railway before?”
Soochan took his eyes away from the camera to look at Jungwu directly.
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
“Never mind then.”
After boldly ripping the packaging for fountain fireworks, Jungwu calmly poured out the content onto a paper set on the floor.
“I said that I would teach you, but I won’t be explaining the theory behind it in detail.”
“Because you won’t understand even if I tell you. Just watch carefully, and memorize by repetition. Just memorize the location and the number of each and every grain of these gray firework powder.”
“…Do you really think that would be possible for me?”
Jungwu answered after arranging the powder into a “T” shape and rolling the paper up.
“I don’t know. This is going to be your source of income. If you won’t give it your all and tackle it with a ‘do or die’ attitude, what can I say?”
“You’re absolutely right. I’ll do my best to memorize it. But just in case, tell me the theory anyway. As long as it won’t interrupt your work.”
“I am planning on rewatching this couple dozen times. But simple terms only, please. I am a Liberal Arts Major.”
“So all you’ve got is enthusiasm…”
Jungwu pondered for a moment before continuing.
“Making letters appear in the air isn’t as simple as burning a letter shaped incendiary in the air. It uses a mixture of chemicals with varying burn times and trying to have them combust just once. Some chemicals finish their reaction in the launch pad, and some last just long enough to form letters due to being delayed by about 0.1 second.”
Jungwu ripped up another firework and picked up a clump of powdered copper.
“Try to imagine that this here contains an element and electron…no, think of it as having a star.”
“Use your imagination. Element star and a dust-like satellite orbiting around it. When energy is transferred in from the outside, these dust stars guys start to run amok. When that happens, one of these guys go ‘ugh so annoying’ and shoot a green light.”
“Focus. So when you burn these grains, you get a green light. And the rate the dust stars get annoyed, that timing determines when it gives off the bright light.”
“Wow, Jungwu were you always so well spoken? I didn’t understand all of it, but you were like a chemistry teacher just now.”
Jungwu let out a fake cough and continued to speak. And along with instructions, he continued to work on the fireworks.
Once 20 or so minutes passed, the launch pad for #1 was complete.
“So this is TOT’s.”
“It didn’t take too long.”
This kind of speed was only possible because Jungwu was able to watch the mini galaxy as he made his progress, but he still asked just in case;
“I know it looked simple, but the only reason why it looks so easy is because I am avoiding the condition in which it begins the combustion reaction.”
Jungwu checked the dust stars that he had pushed away to the corners of the room to prevent static discharge and continued.
“You can’t take this lightly. This is like…You’ve thrown a grenade in the army before, right? The Sergeant probably told you that if you screw up throwing it, then it’s over. You should treat this the same way. If something goes wrong, throw your body over a barricade immediately.”
“Should I be getting a dangerous material handling license or something?”
“What happens if the fireworks go off by mistake?”
“Ah…I’ll at least visit you in the hospital.”
“Hey! Wait. I am going to memorize this completely and get recognition. For now, I am following around the Director and learning, but in 10 years, I will make a name for myself.”
He didn’t know whether his friend would actually come to realize his dream, but Jungwu wished the best for him.
“Don’t forget my help in this.“
Jungwu made sure to remind others who to thank. Who knows what will happen in a few years.
After about an hour and a half later, all four sets of fireworks for the stage was complete.
“Good work Jungwu. Let’s relocate them and have our dinner.”
Soochan hoisted the camera onto his shoulder and lifted up one end of the launch pad. Jungwu picked up the other end and opened the doors to the storage room when he noticed a mob of people running through the halls.
“What are they doing?”
“Since they’re headed towards the standby room, I’d guess they are fans running to ask for autographs.”
As they moved towards the exit Soochan continued to explain.
“When they’re doing that, usually it’s after the managers have given their permission. It means that the makeup for the stage is complete and the stars are ready to receive the fan’s loving.”
“Hey, what about me? Yulhwi?”
Jungwu had forgotten about the autograph and photo and looked on as if he wanted to jump into the fray and join the mob.
“It would be difficult for now since there are a lot of people, so I’ll ask the Director later. He already recognized your skill so it should be simple.”
“Don’t flake out.”
After firmly reminding his friend, Jungwu and Soochan put down the launchpad before the stage.
Jungwu was watching Soochan connect the ignition system when he noticed an unfamiliar man approach them. He was thinking that the man might be heading in their direction, and then finally their eyes met.
The neatly dressed man in suit bowed and introduced himself.
“I am the Head of Starpiece, Sungjae Ji.”
The man immediately stated his business.
“I wished to ask you regarding the hotpack you gifted to one of our singers, Isul Yoon.”
The fact that the manager of Isul had come searching for Jungwu personally made Soochan’s eyes go wide with surprise.
Jungwu asked in response.
“What about the hotpack? Did something go wrong?”
“No, I was just amazed at the effectiveness of it. So I was just curious about where did you obtain it.”
When Jungwu was considering how to explain that it was a custom made product utilizing dust stars, Soochan who was listening snapped his fingers.
“You’re talking about the ones I bought two of earlier, right? I got it at the convenience store just across from here. Is it really that good?”
“It was a product they sold here? Thank you. Isul ssi was very grateful for it. I don’t know if you’ll need this but”
Head Manager Ji handed over an autographed CD of Isul to Jungwu.
It was the official 2nd album scheduled to be released in the upcoming fall. The cover image had a picture of Isul’s humble smile, but the image brought out the endearing quality befitting someone nicknamed ‘the National Younger Sister’.
Jungwu accepted it out of reflex.
“Then please take care.”
Once he expressed his gratitude, the Head Manager turned and quickly left, leaving Jungwu slightly panicking. It also didn’t feel right to chase down someone who was leaving only to try and explain the situation to him.
“Wow, Jungwu Han.”
Soochan gazed at Jungwu with an amazed look.
“You drank your coffee alone, and gave away your hotpack meanwhile? You didn’t seem all that interested, but you sure are good at networking.”
“Dude, why did you just say that to him?”
“The thing I gave them isn’t something you can buy. I modified it to increase the rate of corrosion. Making even one took a while.”
“Corrosion what? I mean, since you were hesitating you know? Since I was the one to buy it, I just told him the truth as is.”
He couldn’t really blame his friend on this one. The only problem was that the dust stars were more effective than he had anticipated.
Soochan put his arms around Jungwu.
“It was just a hotpack, but she sent her manager over to thank you. And you know… how did you manage to make a connection with a major star in one shot? I feel like if you asked her to take a picture with you after the show, she’d immediately accept.”
“What’s the point?”
“Who knows? Isul might develop an interest in you after this.”
Jungwu shook his head after gazing into the pretty face on the cover of the album.
“Don’t give me false hope. How can she take an interest in one ordinary man when she has the adoration of a country.”
Soochan sighed loudly, saying ‘oh you’.
“Jungwu, you always seem like such a realist when it comes to women. You were the same when Eunshil moved away.”
“Eunshil? Do you even realize how long ago that was? That was back in elementary school.”
“I rather live with my dreams. The Director’s wife was originally a Model. They met during an event.”
Soochan indicated the direction of the production room.
“Let’s report and eat first.”
While walking, Soochan asked another question.
“Don’t you have a girl you’re interested in at work?”
“Any pretty ones?”
The image of Boyoung and Doctor Moon appeared for a brief moment in Jungwu’s mind. Not only were they simply beautiful people, but they were also intelligent and charismatic.
“Your face says yes!”
“I don’t know. I am so busy at work I don’t really have the leisure to be thinking about that kind of stuff.”
“Leisure? What are you talking about? Being together during hard times and helping one another, that’s what it means to be in a relationship. Try proactively helping them pretty ladies at work, like you’ve helped me out. I bet they won’t be able to help but fall for you. It’s not like you have a hideous appearance. Although you’re not quite as…”
“I just had a thought. I don’t think this is a topic a lifelong single guy should be advising about.”
Being hit where it hurts, Soochan made a very tight fist.
“Yes, you bastard, I’ve only learned about dating through literature!”*
The Director who was undergoing a final sound check with the audio team turned his head when he saw Jungwu and Soochan walk up to him.
“Oh Soochan, is it done?”
“Yes sir, the setup is complete.”
“Good work both of you. Go take a break until the show.”
When Soochan realized that Jungwu was mouthing the name ‘Yulhwi’ to him, he nodded to show that he understood.
“You know the manager for Girlfriends, right? Could Jungwu get Yulhwi’s autograph later? And if possible, a photo as well.”
Director made a large grin as he turned to look at Jungwu.
“What, so you were Yulhwi’s fan?”
“That’s surprising, considering they’re still relatively new. Well, it’s definitely much better than Soochan who gets excited about every attractive star. I’ll make it happen.”
The Director nodded coolly after making a subtle but rather substantial diss against Soochan.
“I was planning on going to dine with the managers after the inspection anyway. We should just go together then.”
“You can just go follow Girlfriend’s manager after finishing your meal. I’ll have a word with him.”
Jungwu was surprised at how easily the Director agreed. Soochan gave a ‘I told you so look’ and smiled smugly with his eyes.
About 10 minutes passed since they began waiting to leave for dinner.
“Mr. Representative is heading in.”
Along with the voice, a middle-aged man entered the tent.
It was a tall man who wore an exquisite well fitted suit who didn’t give the impression of being as old as he was in spite of the graying hair and facial features placing the man’s age around the fifties.
The Director who was controlling the volume settings then had a sudden shift in his facial expression and ran up to greet him.
“Mr. Representative! What brings you to this place?”
It was a completely different tone of voice from the one used to address Jungwu and his friend earlier, so Jungwu gave a quizzical look to Soochan. Soochan answered in a whisper.
“He’s the sponsor of the event.”
“Wait, is he the Representative of the TS Mall?”
“Yeap. Chairman Daegil Yum. I’ve heard that he’s an influential man who runs major logistics company aside from the mall.”
Even his clothes seemed special. Perhaps due to finally seeing a fabulously wealthy man in person, Jungwu’s attention was naturally drawn to him.
“Director, I have something to ask. Do you have any device that can simulate snowfall?”
“Snow? Normally we use something called paper shower. We put a bunch of paper powder into a launch bin and shoot it up to give it the effect.”
“Ah. Exactly how does it look like?”
“Please wait a moment. Soochan! Go grab my tablet!”
Soochan ran out like a bullet the moment the Director issued an order.
“Excuse me sir, but why are you asking about the snow effect?”
“It’s because of an event happening at the TS Mall.”
The Representative pointed at the banner on one side of the plaza. Jungwu followed his gesture with his eyes and saw a familiar advertisement he could see during wintertime.
[If it snows in the month of December, Big sale! Lots of presents!]
“As you can see, that’s one of the events run by most of the malls during winter.”
When the Representative muttered ‘Vice President you idiot’, the Director turned away and pretended he didn’t hear anything. Most likely, the Vice President was the one to plan the event.
“I’m not sure if you’re aware, but in the month of December, there has not been a single day of snow. We’ve had that banner up for half a month and weren’t able to actually run the event.”**
“Is that so? But what’s the problem with that e…”
He looked as if he thought it was rather a good thing for the mall that there was no need to give discounts thanks to the fine weather.
The Representative made a knowing smile as he explained.
“Winter sale also serves the purpose of cheaply reducing the inventory that piled up over the course of the year. Furthermore, if we can make customers happier during their visit to the mall, then it can increase the rate of their return visit. If it ends up snowing the entire month, it could potentially lead to some losses, but that’s also not a bad thing since it will lead to an increase in potential customers. But now…”
“Here it is!”
Soochan arrived out of breath and handed the tablet over to the Director. Director immediately searched for a video of a show and showed it to the Representative.
“Oh, so that’s what it looks like. Not bad.”
“It can only appear like snow thanks to the lighting. It is greatly different from how real snow actually is. Especially since the paper has a rough texture to touch whereas snow is cold and soft.”
As if to confirm his suspicions the Director asked,
“Were you hoping to fire paper snow to try and run the event?”
“That is the case.”
“The longest you can sustain a paper snow effect is about 30 seconds. Although it can be used for a surprise effect for the stage, it won’t be easy to try and replicate snow with it. And cleanup is a whole different matter entirely.”
“Is there anything we can do?”
After taking a glance through the Plaza, the escalator, and the stairway, the Director muttered,
“Using paper shower as a basis, we could try spraying sugar powder to try and emulate snowfall, and then use styrofoam granules to simulate accumulation? And then also apply snow spray periodically…”
“So that will work, right? That’s excellent. The event today is quite large. If we were to decorate the plaza as if it had snowed and prepared a surprise event, wouldn’t it raise interest in the show? Having customers find snow on a day it didn’t snow; it would be great for marketing purposes.”
“No sir, this would require a minimum of a day of preparation to pull it off. The event begins at 7 pm. It would be impossible to do it in just two hours.”
“…Is that so?”
Representative looked disappointed.
“As a stage performance professional, at least you tried to answer me. Vice President keeps giving me meek answers like ‘wouldn’t it snow at least a day this month’.”
The Director was forced to make a bitter smile.
“I’ll keep an eye out for the weather forecast this week, and if it doesn’t snow, I’ll have to go ahead and launch the event. I’ll cover the expenses. Please make it as realistic as possible. I’ll leave it to you to alleviate my worry about the mall so I can enjoy my time with the family on the weekend.”
“I will make the preparations.”
“Secretary, please enter this into the calendar.”
“Yes, Mr. Representative.”
The assistant standing at the back of the production office answered right away. As soon as he gave instructions, the Representative let out a large sigh.
“We planned a ‘When it Snows on Christmas’ event last year and it did not end up snowing. The year before that, we planned a White Christmas event and saw no snow either. This year we planned for the entire month of December. If this one goes poorly as well, the customer forums will go wild. Of course, the Vice President will…”
Representative Yum motioned his finger across his neck.
While listening to the dilemma of a CEO that wasn’t really a dilemma, Jungwu looked out of the gigantic glass wall. It was sunset, but there was not a puff of cloud. Just as he had observed this morning, there was no chance it would snow in this weather.
Perhaps it was due to wishing to see it? He noticed that the sky through the window suddenly expanded in size as if it was being zoomed in.
A single cold reaction passed before Jungwu like a hallucination.
It was a cold looking Ice Star. And around it, water molecules began to stick and freeze around it.
The Ice star grew larger and larger until it created six winglike structures and grew into a transparent crystal. And it fluttered through the air until it landed on his cheeks.
‘Ooh col…oh wait it’s not cold.’
After he reacted to the artificial snowflake and let out a chuckle, a chemical reaction formula suddenly passed through Jungwu’s mind.
‘Should…should I be telling them?’
Determining that there was nothing to lose from informing them, Jungwu made up his mind.
Once Jungwu opened his mouth, both the Director and the Representative turned to look at him.
“Oh right, you guys were waiting, right? Since we’re not done with Mr. Representative here, go ahead first.”
“It’s just. I have something to add to this conversation.”
Soochan grabbed Jungwu’s arm with a worrying look, but Jungwu patted his friend’s hands to reassure him and faced the other two men.
The Director asked,
“So what is it?”
“What do you think, if we were to spread real snow around here?”
“Learn X through Literature” = All theory, no practical knowledge
Snow in December – Claiming there was no snow is hard for me to believe in. Korea has Siberian winter, making Korean winter one of the coldest in the same latitude. I vividly recall one meter of snow accumulation in Seoul every winter in my childhood. So this is an author created situation.
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