“Then, we’ll leave.”
I looked out the window in the back of the car. The outside landscape moved back from the country office to the country road. I was silently reminded of that line. ‘Oh, that’s weird.’
Well, then, Secretary Seo in front of me opened his mouth.
Secretary Seo glanced at me in the rearview mirror and hesitated and told me, “Please talk to me. How was it? What was the luxury villa where the rich got together like?”
I looked at my wrist. Now it was half past eleven. Secretary Seo had waited here for more than four hours. It must have been boring. “First, it was not a luxurious villa.”
“Is that so?”
“It was a luxury cruise floating on the Bukhan River.”
“It was good. The drinks were expensive, the food was delicious, and there were many famous people.”
Secretary Park, who had been silent at the time, added, “Lee Na-yeon was there.”
Secretary Seo exclaimed in astonishment, “Really?”
Lee Na-yeon was not affiliated with our company, but she was one of the top stars, comparable to Oh Hyun-joo. I asked in amazement, “Really? I didn’t see her.”
“Yes, boss. When you went inside that cabin, I was on standby outside… a beautiful woman was coming by, and I turned around and saw it was Lee Na-yeon.”
The top actress must have been aboard the luxury ship. ‘Why was the actress there…’
As I was thinking that, Secretary Seo said, “Wow, I envy you, boss. Please take me next time, not Secretary Park.”
Secretary Seo seemed to be serious. ‘I took Secretary Park for a reason…’
I said with my arms crossed, “Well… I don’t know if I’ll come back here.”
“Why? Didn’t you like anything?”
“No. It’s not that I don’t like it. It’s just… It’s just that I don’t fit in there.”
“Well, in terms of money, you’re as good as them, aren’t you?”
“That’s right, but…”
That was all I had to say, and I said nothing more. When I closed my mouth, Seo didn’t ask any more questions. I didn’t need to explain any more. Secretary Park would tell him everything he wanted to hear when I was away. I thought again about the meeting that had just happened. ‘It was very unusual.’
At the meeting where I was introduced, I was greeted with surprise.
“Ah, this is Han Sang-hoon, the main character of the storm, right?”
“Does every company you touch succeed so well?”
“That’s what our people say. A genius has appeared in the market.”
“That’s right, genius. That’s what my men say. He’s a genius.”
They didn’t recognize my face, but they knew my name and my company’s name. They knew our company’s recent rapid growth and it seemed they had an informant that brought them their information.
Chairman Ko Jin-hee of JISUNG Fashion, who was in her forties but had the twenty-year-old skin, asked Jang Han-sul, “How did you know Chairman Han Sang-hoon and invite him?”
Jang Han-sul answered with a sly smile, “I was curious when I heard the news about him. Have a seat, please.” He offered me a seat.
As I sat there, I saw Tak Mun-su sitting on the opposite side. He would be the one who had told everyone else the news. But he sat indifferently, as if he didn’t need to look at me.
‘Well… it must have been him who wanted me here…’
I sat down and asked them, what I was most curious about. “You often get together like this, don’t you?”
In my words, President Kim Shin of Susung Planning, answered shortly, “About once a year.”
“Aha. So are you all acquainted, except for me?”
He nodded, “Yes, but I didn’t meet them here at first.”
At my words, Vice Chairman Jung Sung-soo of Mirae Motors asked, “Didn’t everyone meet here and there?”
Everyone nodded at that. Lee Won-jae used to say that before. I didn’t know how it happened, but they were entangled by marriages. Each of the seven had a different family name and company, but whether they were cognate or married, they were all close or distant relatives.
‘I’m the only outsider…’ If I thought about it, it was natural. There were only a few who had made a billion dollars by their own efforts in our country. So these chairmen showed interest in me.
President Ha Ji-yeon of Hotel Baekje asked me, “Where did you study?”
“I graduated from Sungkyunkwan University with a degree in information and communication engineering.”
“Oh, I see. But you set up an investment company?”
“I’ve been dreaming of starting a business since my school days, though it’s a little bit different.”
President Huh Joon-ik of LC Construction got involved. “Oh, you majored in science. Even if I had other kids run my account, the graduates of Harvard or Seoul National University economics are the worst, and there’s someone else who’s better at stocks.”
Jang Han-sul nodded, “Yes, it is true.”
They exchanged questions with me for a while in that way. They asked me this and that, as if this was a hearing. However, it was mostly about investment and company management, because they were all CEOs.
I tried to tell them as much as I knew by the present information. It was because I’d been watching the future news every day, and I had a lot of future information in my head. So when I was talking, I had to add maybe’s to everything.
“I think the retaliation against THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) will be completely lifted as of this year. Maybe.” I told them what I really thought. “I think Trump will win re-election. That’s what I assume when I run a company. It would go before and after the U.S. presidential election without any drastic changes.”
“Oh, I see.”
The funny thing was, these people took my words quite seriously, perhaps because of the achievements I had.
“CEO Han Sang-hoon thinks so. It’s a little different from our staff. I’ll have to think about it again.”
‘I’m just saying what comes to mind…’ It would be a little funny if my words changed the strategy of Mirae Motors. As I talked to them, I continued to be conscious of Tak Mun-su. He only clapped at other people’s stories, but he didn’t talk to me in person.
‘Well… he really wanted to see me once. Is this it?’
But it finally happened. “You have such great insight. CEO Han Sang-hoon,” he said to me.
I naturally turned my head to him and replied, “That’s too much praise. Vice Chairman Tak Mun-su.”
Tak Mun-su smiled and spoke to me.
‘So what did he say…’ I rubbed my chin and looked back at my conversation with him. No matter how much I thought about it, there had been nothing unusual. He had just talked to me about investment and management, nothing else.
I had been trying to figure out when a nuclear bomb would hit in the middle of the conversation, if I could. There had been no such thing at all, possibly since other company representatives were watching. Therefore, he might not have brought up something sensitive first. I had only had a very normal conversation with him.
What was amazing was that as I had been talking to him, I had felt it. ‘This man… is really a good man.’ He had had some kind of charisma. He had had the charm of leading people. If I had not seen him hitting his wrist in the dream, I would have thought of him as a good man. But I couldn’t put a good man and an abettor of murder on the same line, no matter how evil Tak Joon-gi was.
‘It was weird… really…’
But now that I thought about it, all six other CEOs had something that attracted people’s attention. I could feel their natural leisure. They had been born in a rich family and had lived running toward the top, without any ups and downs of life. It was a little different from me.
At the end of the meeting, Jang Han-sul, the host, handed me his business card, ‘Chairman Jang Han-sul of KJ Shopping.’ He said, “Nice to meet you today, CEO Han Sang-hoon. I’ll call you directly next time.’
To be honest, I didn’t think this was a suitable place for me, either. I wouldn’t be able to get along with these people after all. But it was worth attending. It was such a high-level gathering place that Crow could gather some information. That was what it was today.
‘The constitutional amendment for two four-year terms… The next presidential candidates are Joo Sung-won for the ruling party, and Han Sang-hoon, Lee Soo-won, and Jung Kyung-wha for the opposition party.’
I picked up my cell phone, went to the portal site, and searched for ‘the constitutional amendment.’ Some news came up soon.
[Discussion over the power structure of the National Assembly on the constitutional amendment has been slow to make a difference.]
[The people are behind the debate on the constitutional amendment, and it turned into a pie fight for lawmakers.]
[Two four-year terms? The parliamentary government system? What will happen to the presidential system?]
The constitutional amendment had been making little progress since last year. I had forgotten, but they must have been talking. I went on to the future news. I hadn’t seen the second one today. At 8:55, as the news had arrived, I had been in the cruiser.
I entered the future news of 12 Months After and put ‘Park Hyung-joon, the name of the incumbent president’ in it. These last few days, I had stopped tracking the names of the president for the search of other CEOs and celebrities. There was news coming up.
[Lame-duck phenomenon with one year left in President Park Hyung-joon’s term?]
I clicked on it. The article was news of July 2020, after nine months. The last presidential election was 2017. If it properly worked, it should be done by 2022, but it said only one year left in the president’s term. It was just as the people who had been talking on board the ship had said.
‘Certainly, inside the political world, it’s been talked about.’
Soon, the Korean constitution would be amended to limit a president to two four-year terms. Then, two years later, we would have a presidential election. Depending on who would become president, it would affect me for four or eight years.
‘This is definitely… I need to get my hands on it.’ I closed my cell phone, thinking about it.
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