Big Life - Chapter 32





[ The Winner]

A Dumb Woman – Se Gunwoo

Tejin looked at the name Se Gunwoo.

It was definitely not an unfamiliar name, and a name that, just by looking at it, made him shiver. He didn’t know that he would see that name on a Literary Contest that his son entered.

‘It’s not an uncommon name.’

Tejin, discomforted, turned away from the monitor. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and touched the mouse.

‘Maybe his son used his father’s pen name.’

Se Gunwoo had a son. He was an old writer but after he made a huge mistake, gave up writing.

The news had all the contestant’s pictures.

Tejin went to the Digital Literary Contest photo news and looked for Se Gunwoo’s name. He found a person in their 20s, with his family and friends.

‘No, yeah, there’s no way.’

Now, more relaxed, Tejin thought of contacting his son. When he called, Myunghoon answered quickly.

“Yes, father.”

“Good job.”

“…Yes?”

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier. If you told me, then the entire family could have gone and congratulated you.”

“But it’s not the grand prize…”

“Come home early, eat dinner.”

“Yes.”

As he cut off, Myungsuk came in with a knock. In his hands were samples from a SF writer that the company had planned.

“This is the samples that I told you in the morning.”

“Put it there. But did you know?”

“Yes? What did I know?”

“That Myunghoon entered the Digital Literary Contest or whatever.”

“No… I didn’t know.”

Myungsuk scratched his head and answered unconfidently. Tejin’s two eyes didn’t miss that.

“He won the runner up.”

“Runner up?”

“The name is Lonely Man of Seoul.”

“Ahah … yes.”

“You knew.”

Tejin’s two eyes glared.

Myungsuk, surprised, almost dropped the samples he was holding.

“I didn’t know that he was entering the Digital Literary Contest. But I knew that he was writing a story called Lonely Man of Seoul. He asked me to look over it, so I read it once.”

“Did you end it with just a read?”

“Yes?”

“Is this something that Myunghoon written on his own.”

“Ye-yes. Father.”

“You’re sure?”

Tejin didn’t back away and asked again. Myungsuk fixed his glasses, coughed, and nodded his head.

“It was Myunghoon’s solo piece. He won runner up, so we should congratulate him.”

“I get it, leave.”

Myungsuk left the office. Tejin stood, looking out the window with a complicated expression.

“It’s cold.”

“That’s because you wore a t-shirt, you idiot.”

“I didn’t know it would be this cold. Here, I’ll take it,”

“It’s not heavy.”

“Just give it.”

Jaegun took the basket from Jaeyn’s hands. It held today’s dinner ingredients. Today’s main course was bossam.

“But maybe we bought too much meat.”

“We can eat it.”

It was one week since the ceremony.

Jaegun and Jaeyn were walking through the road, colored with autumn.

“Have you decided the cover?”

“Yeah, I told them a general outline. Since they are pros, they’ll get it done.”

“When’s the paper book coming out?”

“Maybe about a month?”

It was about the ‘A Dumb Woman.’

Only the grand winner from the contest could get their book into a paper book. All the others were only made for electronic books in the online market.

“You got your wish, brother. You wanted to make a book into a paper book that much.”

Jaegun grinned instead of answering.

There were reasons why he looked for paper books, even though they were costly most of the time. But was the writer’s dream. A touchable, openable paper book is more intimate than a figureless electronic book.

But there was a bigger reason.

He wanted to show to his dad, who was an old person.

His dad who was far from computers and phones.

Even now, his dad went to bookstores and bought paper books.

He was dreaming of the day that he would find his son’s book in the new section and be moved.

“Wow, why did you buy so much meat? We’re only 4 people with your dad, who’s gonna eat this all?”

Myungja said the same thing when they went home. Jaegun answered as he put the basket down.

“You eat it today, you make other foods with it, you fry it, you make it into a stew. This will all disappear quickly.”

“But still, how much is this? You need to spend this where you need to…”

“Mom.”

Jaegun pushed his arm sleeves back and turned towards his mom.

“Don’t worry about money, your son got his place. This is only going shopping for food so why worry?”

“Ok, ok, wow, Acting strong because you won a grand prize. You’re gonna with the nobel prize next year?”

Myungja wrinkled her nose and Jaeyn laughed.

After they cleaned up the basket, Jaegun looked around the house and continued.

“Don’t renew the contract.”

“What?”

“Go buy a house and move.”

He was thinking for a long time.

If he had money left, he was going to buy a house for his family and move.

It wasn’t a house that needed fixing a few places. Suffering from noises from other thing, this family has lived in this old house for a very long time.

“From the 30,000 dollars from last time, with the runner up and the grand prize winnings that will be after taxes, 23,000 dollars. I’m not sure if there will be more money. But by just this much, you can get a pretty decent house in this neighborhood.

“Jaegun…”

“No, not a villa actually. Just wait a year. In one year, let’s go to a house with a garden. Mom likes the garden, and since we’re living alone, there won’t be any noise.”

Jaegun was putting down words alone.

Myungja and Jaeyn was worried. It felt like Jaegun was inflicting damage to himself. He repeated the words as if he wanted to shove them into his brain.

“It’s the genre side that gets money, so I’ll release another series. Do you get it? Don’t renew the contract. We’re going out.”

The door opened with a beep sounds. It was his dad Ha Sukjae. Looking at his wife and his two sons and daughters, he blinked.

“Honey, Jaegun bought us meat for dinner today. Go clean up and come out quickly.”

“I already ate.”

Sukjae went to his room after he took off his coat.

Jaegun was looking at the kitchen’s microwave, smiling bitterly.

“Don’t worry, I’ll take him out.”

Myungja with her elbow hit Jaegun’s waist and whispered.

Jaeyn pulled out a table in the living room. There were so many dishes with a meat dish, vegetables, and other side dishes and beer. Sukjae was just coming out after cleaning up.

“Honey, come over here and eat something.

“You and the kids can eat.”

“Don’t be like that and sit down. The meat is really good?”

Sukjae ignored her. WIth a emotionless face, he opened the refrigerator and poured himself some tea. After he drank, he immediately turned to go to his room

Just them,

“What’s so displeasing?”

Jaegun said subduedly with his eyes pointed down.

Sukjae was slowly turning around.

“What is so displeasing. Do you hate your son that much that you would even avoid the dinner table?”

“I told you I ate.”

“No, your shift ended 30 minutes ago so where would you have eaten in that time while walking home? Just answer truthfully. Just say that you can’t stand your son’s face to the point that it would make you suffering from indigestion.

“This guy is…?”

“Ja, Jaegun, what are you doing?”

Jaeyn’s cries did nothing.

Jaegun stood up and looked at Sukjae.

“I won a Literary award for the first time. It’s not the biggest but I won the grand prize and the runner up. Couldn’t you congratulate me as your son? Can you not forgive me because I’m being a writer that you hate so much?”

“Sigh… ok, I get it. Congratulations.”

Sukjae waved his hand as if he was tired and turned around. Jaegun walked over and blocked his path and continued.

“Do you know how much I’ve earned so far. We can move away from this old house now. Do you still hate me because I’m a writer? I have began to earn as well. Father, your son is going to do well.”

With this, Sukjae’s face turned red. But he still managed to close his lips that were going to open many times. With no words, he went into his room and closed the door.

“Jaegun, come here.”

Jaeyn went over and took his arm. Myungja was sighing and looking at a pot on the veranda. He knew that they would collide like this.

“I’ve ate.”

Jaegun finished his dinner with no words. Myungja and Jaeyn both offered him drinks but he didn’t drink any. He couldn’t write if he did.

“I’ll go.”

“It’s only 9, sleep here.”

“No, I have things to write. I’ll come back. Sleep early mom, you too sister.”

“I’ll escort you for a little.”

Jaeyn put on a cardigan and followed.

In the dark, the many streetlights became evident. Jaeyn spoke as she took Jaegun’s arm and walked with him.

“Dad is worried.”

“For what?”

“I’ve heard him talk to your mom. Maybe it’s a good idea to learn publishing work for later.”

“Why work at a publishing company?”

“You need a place if something goes wrong. It’s best to have a constant salary. Your dad worked like that as a worker. You have to understand.”

“I know.”

Jaegun answered in a small voice. His dad still didn’t believe him as a writer. But the answer could only be…!

A taxi that was passing blew its horn.

Jaegun, coming out of his thoughts, caught the taxi and said to Jaeyn.

“I’ll take a taxi and take the subway.”

“Ok, be careful and call.”

“Ok.”

Jaegun called Jung Somii’s number after he got on the taxi. After a ring, Somii’s energetic voice came on.

“Ah, Hello, Writer HA.”

“Yes, Somii, did you leave work?”

“No, I have work left so I think I’ll have to work till 11 o’clock.”

“You’re busy, then I’ll call you later.”

“No! No! You can tell me right now!”

“I want to release a sequel because I relaxed for awhile.”

Jaegun spoke while looking out the window. Immediately, Somii’s voice answered.

“It’s so good, writer! I thought you would be tired after the Digital Literary Contest so I just waited anxiously without calling! Should we meet? I’ll call you after I talk with the editor.”

“Ok. Good work.”

“You too, sir!”

As he cut off, Jaegun threw away his dream for paper books. He thought he did enough for his dad now. Comfortably resting, Jaegun looked for the pros and cons of the biggest selling methods in recent genres.





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