Life, Once Again!-After Story 81

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After Story 81

Dance. It didn’t matter if that line was in the script or not. What mattered was whether the flow of the play could accept that line or not. Dancing was an ad-lib that he could accept.

Maru took his eyes off the script. He realized that numerous actors in front of him were looking at him. They probably weren’t paying attention to him while expecting something amazing. What they were looking for was just a moment of laughter commonly seen throughout read-through sessions.

He didn’t care, it was good anyway. For a brief moment, the actors were paying attention to him. If not at a time like this, when else would a minor actor in the corner get attention?

“I can be a douche and quite the dancer.”𝑓𝙧𝚎𝑒𝔀𝙚𝑏𝑛𝑜vel. c૦m

Once, when he was shooting a historical drama, there was a scene where he had to dance while reciting a poem during a ball. He started off gently like a high-class man and became rougher and rougher as it went on.

He held the script like he would a fan and stretched his hand out. He thought about the famous lines from back then and started moving around on the spot.

“Should we put on some music for you?” said the team leader of team 2 with a laugh.

Maru stood upright. Dragging this out would make this less fun. He had to do a quick one when he was given the opportunity to. If he dragged things out, he would make things worse as well.

“I’ll show you one properly on the day I get promoted!”

“Alright, see you on the day of the promotion, if you can, anyway.”

Maru quietly sat down. The other actors also went back to looking at their scripts as though they never looked at him in the first place.

“Gosh, that startled me,” Seungah said, bumping his shoulder. She looked embarrassed to death.

“Don’t you feel embarrassed?”

“They set a stage for me, so I needed to do something.”

“I’m envious of that thick face of yours. Give me some too.”

Seungah clicked her tongue and looked at the script. Maru also flipped over the page to catch up to the flow of the story. It was a series of scenes where Jichan was investigating the cases, believing it to be a serial killer case.

“You reported Miss Kim Jihye as missing after three days, right?”

“Yes. She’s such a good and earnest girl, but she missed work for three days, so I ended up reporting it.”

“What is your relationship with her?”

“Close friends, I guess. Jihye lives by herself. Apparently, she was raised in an orphanage. I looked after her because she grew up to be such a good girl despite having a harsh life. But….”

Director Cha said the line that was supposed to be done by a minor actor and then the writer read the narration. Sinseo hurriedly spoke when he heard that there was a phone call,


“Where are you now?”

“Where could I be? I’m out to get evidence. I’m in Incheon right now.”

“Wrap it up and come back immediately.”

“Why? Did you find something out?”

“An abandoned corpse was discovered in Doram park. A red cloth tied the wrists, duct tape bound the legs together, and underwear strangled the neck.”

“That’s fucking crazy. When was it? The rot’s pretty bad, right? It’s been long, hasn’t it?”

“No, I’ll have to go there to be sure, but according to a senior who’s there, the corpse hasn’t rotted that badly. At least, it’s not a state someone in prison could have done.”

Sinseo clenched his left hand and spoke in a deep voice. He was an actor who transmitted nervousness quite well. He was only saying his lines, but he brought out the tension of the drama well.

The other actors leaned forward to get absorbed in the script. Everyone other than those that had lines waited with their breaths abated. The story started gaining a sense of speed. The speed at which people exchanged conversations became a lot more tight-knitted.

Just like a live-action stage where no mistakes were acceptable, the actors passionately acted without any flaws. All of their movements became exaggerated, as though they could no longer just move their mouths. They sometimes waved their hands in the air or jerked their bodies while shouting.

“Hey, punk! Watch your mouth, will you?”

Some shouted ear-piercingly loudly in scenes where emotions were at their peak. Jichan, who was like an outsider at first, was also getting deeply absorbed into the pool of emotions created by the actors present.

The story went on without a creak. It was like a train on a smooth rail.

The first episode ended after throwing a question. Although this was the time to take a break, the actors looked like they wanted to continue.

“Should we take a break after we go up to the 4th scene?” said director Cha.

No one objected. The read-through of the 2nd episode started with Lee Haena, who played an investigator from team 1.

“These were found among the belongings of the victim found in Doram park.”

When Haena gestured to hand over something, Sinseo, who was on the outside, acted as though he accepted it. Even though they were both just looking at the script, they were quite in sync.

“It’s a photo of a ballpoint pen. What does this mean?”

“Just that by itself, nothing. But look at this. These are the belongings of one of the people who went missing that Seok-oh was looking into. Do you see that ballpoint pen in the holder?”

“You mean they’re the same?”

“I can’t say for sure because all we have are photos, but to my eyes, they’re the same.”

“A common ground between victims, huh.”

Maru, who had been watching the two actors doing the read-through, jumped in after taking a beat to rest.

“Senior. You were here?”

“Who’s this kid and why does he call you senior?” Haena asked.

“He’s our new blood. He’s the guy who came in dancing to the violent crimes section that everyone avoids.”

“Wow, team 2 finally has some new blood, huh? I was working outside, so I hadn’t seen you. Nice to meet you, I’m Park Sunam from team 1. I’ll say this upfront, but you better stay quiet if you want to say something about my name.”

“Sunam is a pretty name, I think. I’m Park Uijung, please take care of me from now on.”

Haena chuckled in absurdity. “Hey, this dude has a weird character. He looks like he’s in for a beating from senior Jung.”

“You know what, though, senior Jung, our team leader, actually took a liking to him. Seok-oh does the opposite of what he’s told, but this guy is obedient, despite looking mischievous.”


Maru flipped over the page. The two actors had dissolved the glee that they could resolve this case into their lines. Maru’s role was to let that continue on.

“But er, the things you two were looking at,” Maru said after some hesitation.

“Leave it. You’re still assigned to the office. No matter how much we lack manpower, we don’t plan to give fieldwork to a newbie who just entered. Hey, have you seen the documents I told you to look at?”

“I’ve seen all of them. That’s why I’m here to find you.”

“If you’ve seen those, then go through the arson case file next to it and remember how that works. Once you’re done with that, go through the other cases. If you still have time after that, there’s a gym on the 2nd floor, so get some sweat out there.”

“No way, senior. I can totally see that you’re lacking manpower, so you should make use of a newbie like me.”

“Make what use of you? You don’t even know anything because you just got here.”

“Of course, when it comes to the hunch of a detective or the investigation methods, I’m far from catching up to you seniors. But if it’s something that ordinary people can do…”

Maru rolled up his sleeves. The narration said that he snatched the photos that Haena was looking at. While he was a new recruit in the violent crimes section, there should be something he could do. If there wasn’t, he could just make something. That was Park Uijung’s train of thought; it was enthusiastic and reckless.

He would sometimes hear that he couldn’t read the mood, but he would never cross the line. He was also a new chick that still had his dreams about justice and defeating crimes.

“Let’s see, this one. I think you’re looking into this one. Don’t you think I can look into that?”

“This one?”

“Yes! I can totally see that you seniors are busy, so investigating miscellaneous stuff like this should be done by the newest member, don’t you think? It’s not like looking into this will get me into trouble, much less danger. I know that it’s a huge pain for the seniors if a newbie screws up. So why don’t I take care of simple checklists like this? I have good stamina. Don’t you think it’s a waste of manpower to have someone with good stamina working in the office?”

Haena licked her lips. “Hey, let him do it. The entire crime investigation department will have a hot potato in their hands once it’s confirmed that it’s a serial case, and people from the Wide Area Investigation Department will come down and order us around, so just consider it as educating your newbie. From what he said, he doesn’t look like he’ll cause trouble.”

“I knew you looked like a good person when I first saw you. Detective Park Sunam, please take care of me once again.”

“Look at him talk. He’s pretty cute.”

Maru spat out a short breath and rotated his wrist. He had a series of long lines. There were quite a lot, considering that it was just a minor character. There was a big probability that it might get edited out during the shoot, but with this many lines, he would be standing in the middle of the camera for about 3 minutes. It wasn’t a common opportunity for sure.

“Hey, who are you? You were far away from me, so I didn’t catch your name last time.”

While the actors were taking a breather before starting the next scene, Jisook lowered her glasses and looked at Maru. He responded as soon as he was asked,

“It’s Han Maru.”

“Yes. Han Maru. You have a good attitude. Yep, you’re full of energy. That’s how you should be when you’re young. It’s great, isn’t it? It’s realistic and immersive.”

Sinseo, who was next to her, followed up.

“But you’re young too, senior.”

“That’s why I’m quite passionate too, so that I don’t get pushed around by the passion of the young ones. So, then, Maru, yes, Han Maru. Your name’s pretty easy to say too. Hope you do well in the future, though, you’re good even now.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t be. If you still feel grateful, then buy me coffee later.”

“I definitely will.”

“I have a good memory. Everyone got that, right? The young actor over there said he’ll buy me coffee. There are many witnesses here. Buy me one when there’s an opportunity.” Jisook giggled.

“We’ll continue now.” Director Cha set the mood again.

Maru could see the elder, who was drinking tea, sit upright. The next scene started off with his line.

“No matter who it is, lock them up. If there’s none, then make one up. I’m sure all of you are aware that the masses are paying attention to this. If you can’t deal with that, some of the people here will get into big trouble, so better keep that in mind.”

The tips of his lips, which were usually curved upwards, had fallen down toward the ground. His narrowed eyes and his powerless voice switched the atmosphere in the reading room in an instant. It went from a busy violent-crimes section office to the cozy office space of the superiors.

For the first time today, he felt dissatisfied with the layout. It would be great if he could see that act from upfront. From where he was, he could barely see the side of the elder’s face.

The elder’s voice massaged the air. The actors participating in the conversation also added weight to their words. Each and every syllable had a texture to it. It might be a cliché scene, but the actor leading it removed any sort of elements that might be boring.

At this point, the acting stood above the storyline.

Maru had a look at the writer’s expression. She looked satisfied, but her hands were still moving busily. It seemed that she was inspired to bring out more of the story, not just the actors. This was why read-throughs were important events not just for the actors, but for the writer as well.

Another page was flipped. Seungah appeared for a brief moment and talked to Sinseo. After that part, Maru had a glance at Seungah. She looked calm on the surface, but her cheeks were flushed. She was probably happy to have exchanged lines with an actor she admired. Perhaps she was cheering on the inside.

“Senior. Isn’t this that ballpoint pen that the orphanage handed out?” Maru said his line to Jichan.

“It is. It was this. This was the common ground. Na Changsoo, Kim Jihye.”

“If Mr. Oh Junghyuk, the person we’re looking for in this disappearance case, is also from the orphanage….”

“We’ll have our lead to the culprit.”

Jichan brought out the line pretty well. As long as he could decide on a clear character, he would probably become quite good among the idols-turned-actors.

After saying his line, Jichan gave him a glance. He was smiling while also nodding. He seemed to have taken a liking to how he said his line just now.

Maru also smiled back at him. The ecstasy of having said a great line was one of the many pleasures that actors could experience. Of course, that sensation was short. An actor’s assignment was to overcome the stuffy feeling that followed.

“It’s already getting late. Let’s stop here today. Some people have a schedule after this too,” director Cha said as he folded the script.