We faced each other for a moment. In the meantime, secretary Seo closed the door behind us.
I waved at a seat, saying, “Sit down, please.”
He tried to sit down. At that time, I added, “Mr. Kaiji.
At the word Kaiji, Director Lee Won-jae laughed. “You are the CEO of an investment company, aren’t you? Mr. Duros. Then you are good at stocks.”
I said, shaking my head, “It’s very awkward to be called that nickname, especially outside. Please call me by name.”
“That’s same for me, too. CEO Han Sang-hoon.”
“Yes, it’s nice to see you again anyway, Director Lee Won-jae.”
“It’s nice to meet you, too.”
After greeting, an awkward silence passed. After a while, we were going to be doing the same thing.
“What we know… ”
“In the Garden Envy…”
We opened our mouths and ran into the eyes of each other. It seemed we had the same thought.
I put it in order and said, “Let’s put aside what we know about each other in secret in real life or in Garden Envy.”
“Yes, I like that, too.”
It was now roughly arranged. I went over to work. “If you’re a member of the Daewon Daily News, Keystone Media is its subsidiary, right?”
“It was originally an affiliate of a sports newspaper. As you know, Internet news has been on the rise, and we changed the name and turned it into a professional company.”
‘The Daewon Daily News is one of the five major media outlets in Korea. He is 28. If he is a director there at this age, he should be considered a member of the management family. I’m sure the chairman of the Daewon Daily News is Mr. Lee, uh…’
I went to work. “So you’ve heard all about it. I’m going to ask you directly. Is it true or false?”
He smiled at me but didn’t tell me. However, he was here, and it must be true 99%. He deserved it, because he was the one who would buy and sell information. I couldn’t afford to not get an answer.
I started a conversation around, “I don’t know what you think, but I’m actually generous about homosexuality. Rather, I am fond of it.”
Lee Won-jae looked at me with his eyes wide open.
Like I was a homosexual, I continued to speak, “It’s good. If men like each other, there are women left. Instead, women shouldn’t have sex with each other. I’m against that.”
He laughed at my joke, but my face hardened. “Nevertheless, I can’t let anyone fool me, especially in business.”
Director Lee Won-jae nodded with his hard face, while laughing, “I understand.”
“This is our first acquisition since the establishment of an investment company. By the way, if we buy a company that has hidden bad news at a reasonable price and it turns out that it is true later, wouldn’t our company be a standing joke in the investment industry? They would make fun of us, buying it like a fool for the money.”
He nodded again, “Yes.”
“This is our first button. There should not be anything wrong. So I’d like to ask you how many people know that.”
I didn’t say what the fact was, but Director Lee Won-jae soon latched on.
“A lot. People in the entertainment industry know quite a lot.”
I thought of Kwon Oh Hyuk, who was lowering his head. I changed the question, “Then how many people can prove this? People who can destroy it in the media…”
“His lovers… I’m sure it’s like his boyfriends. But we are the only media company with proof. This is something I can say for sure.”
That meant, “Only we have the information, so make a deal with us.”
“Okay. Let’s fix the price. How much will it be?”
“$1,000,000 or $3,000,000.”
I tilted my head slightly, and he said, “I’m sure you’ve guessed, but we’ve made a deal with him. But the deal… we’re supposed to get some money, according to his income.”
I understood it the moment I heard it.
‘These people seem to have signed a contract in which Do Chan-ki gets paid, whether he performs concerts or plays on the night stage, so he can trust them. If he is destroyed, these people will be hurt, too.’
“So if you get the evidence and sign a contract with a condition that you will not release it to the media, it’s $1,000,000. If you get the evidence and you open it to the media, it’s $3,000,000. If you open it to the press, we’ll lose our income.”
‘They will not suffer any damages. That’s it.’
‘To be honest, $1,000,000 or $3,000,000 doesn’t make much difference. I’ll make that money soon. I only have his life and death pass.’
I spoke to him, “I’ll think about it for a moment.”
I patted my chin and thought hard about CEO Do Chan-ki. ‘If I pay $1,000,000, he’ll survive, if I pay $3,000,000, he’ll be ruined. What shall I do for him?’
‘Let’s see if you’re good at it.’ I remembered him laughing at me. ‘I’ve been in the entertainment world for almost thirty years, but it’s the first time I’ve been so shocked.’
I also remembered his acting to deceive me. My heart leaned slightly toward the “destruction” button. But at that time, I also felt like, “Why did he have to lie so much?”
He was active in the ’90s, a time when people couldn’t even get their hair dyed for a TV show. The perception of homosexuals was so bad that celebrities, especially ballad singers, were coming out like a declaration that they would retire from the entertainment industry. So he might have had to choose to deceive the public.
So he started lying and tried to cover it up. Though he didn’t want to marry, he had to do it, and thirty years had passed since he lied. Now the snowball became so big that he could not do anything.
That’s how I felt about survival again.
I told Director Lee, “I’m thinking about this. Why don’t I meet CEO Do Chan-ki again and decide? First of all, I have to pay $1,000,000 in advance. If I think I’m going to have to reveal it to the press, I’ll pay you $2,000,000 and announce it. How is that?”
Lee Won-jae put his hands together and said, “It’s okay. Just make sure you fill out the contract.”
I looked at my watch while drinking coffee. 2:50 p.m. I had ten minutes until the appointment. ‘It’s time for him to come… ‘
“How are you, Mr. Han?”
Sure enough. From afar, CEO Do Chan-ki appeared waving his hand. His voice and his face were very nice. He was an impressive specimen for a middle-aged singer.
“What brought you here? You seeing me in a place like this.”
This was a cafe in a hotel located in Gangnam, a strictly soundproofed cafe with the room divided.
I showed my true intentions right away. “Oh, it’s nothing. I think we’ll have to renegotiate this contract.”
CEO Do Chan-ki was surprised at what I said. “Renegotiate? We’ve been doing something… Are you going to change that?”
I said with a stiff face, “Yes.”
At my firm words, CEO Do Chan-ki also solidified his face. “That’s not possible. We made a lot of concessions, but… If you want to go further down the road, we’d rather look for another company.”
I said with my eyes flat, “Then look for another company.”
“No, then… Why have you been negotiating so far? Sure, then!” He tried to get up from his seat in anger.
I took a picture out of my jacket pocket. “But if it doesn’t spread until you find another company, it’s all fine.”
The picture was one of the pictures that were ‘decisive evidence’. It was one of several photos the Keystone Media had. CEO Do Chan-ki’s eyes grew bigger when he saw it.
I spoke to him, “Oh, you acted really well in front of me. You even made your voice tremble. If you were an actor and didn’t have an agency, it would have been a big hit. Is that right?”
“Huh… No… It’s… What the hell?” This time, he spoke with a really trembling voice. It was hard to say that it was an act to shake his hands like that.
“I didn’t know why other entertainment agencies did not step in, in particular, people of different agencies. They should love buying an agency at this price. Why would only our company want to buy it?”
He looked at the picture with trembling hands and said resignedly, “…what do you want?”
“I’ll be honest with you. I don’t intend to reveal Mr. Do Chan-ki’s dirty work to others. I don’t think homosexuality is a crime. But I hope that our company will always be considered a smart company with good deals. But if we buy this at the current price, it will turn up in a few months, and wouldn’t our company be a laughing stock?”
At my words, CEO Do Chan-ki also nodded. He also seemed to admit that he tried to cover up the bad news and turn over the stocks.
“So. I’d like it much cheaper than the original contract, to the extent that it is sold at an oddly low price. Then, we can say something later, like, ‘we already knew that CEO Do Chan-ki is gay. That’s why we bought it cheaply.'”
CEO Do Chan-ki licked his lips with his tongue. “How much… do you want?”
I told him the amount I had in mind, “$17,000,000. Please give me a discount of $5,000,000 from $22,000,000.”
“Yes?” CEO Do Chan-ki’s eyes grew bigger. He deserved it since the total amount was $20,800,0000 that he had already agreed on. But at this price, shouldn’t it be said that his true feelings were contained? True sincerity cost $3,800,000.
CEO Do Chan-ki thought for a while, but soon he said, “OK, then I’ll do that. Instead, this picture… I ask you…”
“Don’t worry, I don’t want to destroy you. Of course, you lied to me at the time, but…”
In my words, Do Chan-ki said with his head down, “I’m sorry, about that time.”
I was sorry to see an adult apologize like that. He might be destined to live like this all his life. I wished he’d come out at the right time.
‘Well, he’s got a fake marriage… It’s going to be hard to pull back now.’
It was his choice.
The next morning. Mr. Do appeared before us with a new contract. I wrote a new contract with the minimum number of people, secretary Seo and Vice President Jang.
After the contract was over, Mr. Do said, “I’d like you to take care of it.”
He greeted me and then disappeared. After he went out, secretary Seo, who saw the new contract terms, said with a wide-open eye. “No, it’s… What happened, boss?”
“What happened? That’s a good thing.”
Vice President Jang also looked at it and spoke with his tongue out, “No, I thought the price I told you last time was pretty cheap, but this was $3,800,000 cheaper. I mean, it’s the best deal ever. I’m sure other investment companies are going to be surprised.”
“That’s good, then. Please pay the balance and proceed with the contract.”
“Yes, I see, boss.” Vice-President Jang still had a look of incomprehension, but he followed my order.
After Vice President Jang left the president’s office, Secretary Seo asked me, “Boss, what kind of magic did you do? Can you just tell me?”
I said in a flat voice, “No.”
CEO Do Chan-ki paid enough for lying. For him, I decided to keep this story to myself for life. Secretary Seo had a sad look on his face, but he didn’t ask any questions.
“Then I’ll go.”
“Yes, go to work.”
Secretary Seo went out the door, and I looked out the window alone.
‘Well, that’s good. The process was complicated, but the result is good, and everything will be good. Now, once the takeover is done, the Diamond Class is mine. My new news…’
When I thought about the news, I had a sudden idea. I opened the drawer and saw the business card I received yesterday.
‘Lee Won-jae, director of Daewon Daily News.’ I thought, turning the business card round and round.
‘He’s a leading voice in the present media. He is the man who controls the current news. And I’m someone who knows the news of the future. I think it’ll be useful to get him under me. He is looking for other people’s weaknesses. So what’s his weakness? Who knows?’
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