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‘I might be buying too much.’
The truck was loaded with stuff and there was even an additional trailer for hauling more stuff. It was as if he were moving out.
“I think I’m addicted to shopping.”
The psychology of the human mind was indeed a weird thing. Joonbum was never a big spender when he was poor, but here he was, buying whatever he wanted to buy if he wanted it. He started buying more after he built the fortress to fill it with supplies. There was now a storage place dedicated to working tools.
Some of his purchases consisted of axes, jungle swords, small to large hammers, a sickle, pickaxes, grass cutters, and so forth. Some tools were stocked with twenty different sizes. Joonbum felt a sense of satisfaction at the sight of his collection. It was as if he was collecting some collectibles.
That was just the beginning. He started purchasing all kinds of food items that could be preserved for long periods of time such as canned foods, instant noodles, rice, and flour. The storage that was connected to the kitchen was filled with all kinds of pickled dishes. He also buried a huge jar and filled it with soy sauce, bean paste, and red chili paste. There was also a bag full of salt on the side.
He was spending lavishly. It wasn’t possible to do something like that before, but it was much more manageable now.
‘But I bought too much.’
He knew this and held off on buying, but he was already walking out with it without even realizing it. The truck was always full of stuff he bought without him fully making sense of it. It was so much that he needed an additional trailer to carry everything.
‘What in the world have I done?’
It was already dawn. The sky turned from red to yellow and brightened as the sun rose. The stuff he bought was already safely stored away. Joonbum moved his truck to the parking area and stepped out, drinking hot coffee.
“Let’s stay at home today.”
Joonbum took out a list of things to buy for the next time he came here.
“Hmm. I should go to a window-making shop for the window, stop by the closing restaurant, sign the new contract… too busy. Huh? Oh! Hey, Baekgu! Heukgu! Gumdong! Urlook! Come!”
Joonbum was stopped by his alarm and shouted at the cubs to haul them into the truck.
He went straight to pick up his window frames as soon as he arrived back to Earth.
“Oh, you’re finally here! Come on in.”
The owner, Kyungsoo Park, greeted Joonbum as he got out of the truck.
“Good morning. I’m sorry I came so early in the morning.”
“No problem at all. The product you ordered is ready. The quality is top notch. Please call me anytime if you have problems.”
Kyungsoo pointed to a corner as he smiled. There were window frames in various sizes, just like how Joonbum ordered them.
“So, you must be building a house?” Kyungsoo asked as Joonbum was looking at the frames.
“Yeah, I am. Some rural place out in the country.”
“Is that so? Do you need any hands to install it? I can get two to work for you if you need,” Kyungsoo quickly asked.
‘He did mention that there are no work opportunities these days.’
“Thank you for the offer, but I am planning to do it on my own slowly.”
“Oh, I see…”
Joonbum avoided eye contact as he heard the answer that was filled with disappointment. There were a lot of people that were out of jobs. It didn’t feel good to see those older men looking at him for some sort of opportunity.
‘Who am I to pity?’
“Can you help me load these?”
“Sure. Hey Jongsoo, Yonghee, load these on the truck outside.”
Two young men quickly moved to load the frames onto the truck. Joonbum finished paying for his purchase, got a cup of coffee from the owner, and left for his second destination.
After about an hour of driving, he was at the restaurant. The business was closing down so Joonbum managed to purchase a lot of various dishes at an affordable price. He then grabbed a quick lunch and drove to a café to sign a new contract.
After signing various new contracts and receiving sponsored goods, the day was already over. He remembered being excited at his first contract but now it was becoming dull. He also became more comfortable talking with older men.
After he signed five additional contracts, he now earned over 170 million won. There was a total of eight contracted companies, averaging twenty million won per contract.
‘I never imagined it was this easy to earn money.’
He would’ve been overjoyed at this, but he was not as excited. A sudden alarm sound broke out and Joonbum took out his phone. It was already dinner time.
‘I should go now.’
It was twilight when Joonbum arrived at a barbeque restaurant called Jangwon. He opened the truck’s window and eyed the restaurant before letting out a small sigh.
His mother was moving about the restaurant busily as the restaurant was packed with customers. Customers all around were asking her to come over to request something and she was moving back and forth continuously. It was heartbreaking.
Joonbum thought as customers of his age constantly ordered things from his mother. He knew there wasn’t anything wrong with that but he couldn’t bear to watch. He took out a cigarette and started puffing on it.
Joonbum got off the truck and walked into the store when the clock struck ten. There were only a few tables left.
“What happened? Why are you here?” his mother asked curiously as she knew Joonbum hated coming to her workplace.
“I came because I missed you. Let’s go home together.”
“Oh, Joonbum. Long time no see.”
“Hey, your son is here! Did you eat yet? Come here, have some beef soup.”
“Yes, go ahead and eat first. I’ll go and change clothes.”
The owner greeted Joonbum, pulled him in to take a seat, and smiled at him.
“So I heard you’ve been doing well lately? I’m a fan of yours too. Your videos are so popular now. I think you have over seven million subscribers now?”
“Oh, yes. I did somehow.”
“What do you mean, somehow. It’s your effort that did it. Your mother was so proud of you, you know?”
“Here, it’s all yours.”
She brought out a large bowl of soup filled with beef.
‘Wow. It has more meat than usual.’
The bowl was full of meat. It was mouthwatering.
“Go ahead, eat it before it gets cold.”
The strong taste of meat filled his mouth as he chewed on it. His spoon started moving quickly, emptying all of the meat. He then poured rice into his bowl that was full of broth. Joonbum chewed a mouthful of rice and radish kimchi together.
“Wow, that boy eats well. Can I get one bowl too?”
“I want a bowl also!”
Other customers who were drinking ordered the bowl as they saw Joonbum eating his food.
“You eat so well.”
‘She’s up to something,’ Joonbum thought to himself as the owner kept complimenting him. She wasn’t like this before.
‘Maybe she wants me to advertise the restaurant.’
She was way too nice now. The only thing changed between them was that Joonbum was now famous.
“Um, if you don’t mind.”
The owner spoke up as if she had made up her mind.
“I mean, if you really don’t mind, can you advertise our restaurant?”
‘I knew it. This was it.’
His video was gaining worldwide popularity. There were more and more viewers and mail coming from all around the world. Also, by having twelve screens, it allowed him to divide each of his sponsored products to be featured constantly over all the screens so companies were competing with each other to be featured. The effect of being featured also showed high increases in their sales. Joonbum was told that some had their sales increased by thirty percent. Those companies increased their contract amounts on their term agreements.
“Of course, I can do that.”
“C-can you do it?”
The owner, Jungmi Lee, brightened up at the sound of his approval.
“Yes, I can. Just with one condition…”
“Can you let my mother take a vacation for a week?”
Jungmi answered the unexpected request. It seemed like she was not happy about the request as she raised her eyebrow.
“I get at least five million won per day for advertisement contracts nowadays. I heard some of them increased their sales over twenty percent too,” Joonbum continued, pretending to not notice her unhappiness. Jungmi’s hesitation disappeared instantly.
“I’ll show your store address on camera for a full day and eat your food once. You don’t like it?”
“No, not at all. It’s great. Yeah, your mother needs a break. She can have a month off if she wants it.”
“What? What’s going on?”
Joonbum’s mother came out and Jungmi started to explain to her in detail. His mother looked troubled at the offer.
“But the store’s too busy for me to take a month off…”
“Hey, it’s okay! Your son wants you to take some rest. I can hire part-timers while you’re gone. Go ahead, get some rest.”
Jungmi was very hospitable.
‘Hah, she’s fast at counting,’ Joonbum thought, thinking he might do the same if he were in the same position.
‘There are more people looking for the job than the actual job itself.’
Joonbum asked for ten servings of uncooked beef rib meat and beef stew.
“What’s going on?” his mother asked him, puzzled from what just happened as they drove off. The truck was full of the requested food.
“You need to go somewhere with me tomorrow.”
“I’ll show you around.”
“But a month…”
“It’s okay. She can find another person. I’m the one at a loss.”
“I-is that so?”
“Yeah. Just think of it as a vacation. It’s on me.”
His mother smiled at his assurance. She seemed to be really happy.
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