Name: Kim Bo Myung. Age thirty-three. He was living just outside the edge of mediocrity.
He didn’t start off wanting to live like this. He didn’t know anything when he was born, and around the time he became capable of thought, he, as everyone did, began to have big dreams.
Wanting to become president, a scientist, or a doctor was tiring, and once he started watching TV, he also considered becoming a celebrity.
That dream became bigger and he decided to become a singer. His looks were ordinary, but he was pretty good at singing so who knew what could happen in the future? It wasn’t a completely absurd dream.
But the reality is…
Bo Myung is an office worker who barely got the title of Deputy Section Chief last year.
It’s been 5 years since he had been working in Q Entertainment’s PR team. He couldn’t become a singer and the life of taking care of singers was tiring and boring, but at least he was employed.
“Mr. Bo Myung, Mr. Bo Myung! What are you doing there?!”
“Please help me move these boxes. You’re spacing out again.”
Trending topics frantically passing by. Articles with similar titles and content incessantly filling the monitor. Bo Myung was staring blankly at the monitor.
At the beckoning of his coworker Ye Jin, Bo Myung quickly got up and went to Ye Jin’s side. Ye Jin was in the middle of moving promotional materials for one of the company’s singers she produced a while back.
The box full of promotional material was larger than Ye Jin’s body, but she effortlessly put the boxes that arrived from the printing company in their rightful place.
This kind of manual labor was nothing for an employee of the agency’s PR team. It just happened to be when the Department Head called the interns and new employees over, so Ye Jin was just annoyed that she had to do the work herself.
Bo Myung brought the remaining two boxes to Ye Jin’s seat.
“Thank you. What were you staring at so intensely?”
“Just some internet articles…”
His daily task was monitoring internet articles. It was nothing new, so Ye Jin nodded her head and started to remove the packaging on the box.
Bo Myung was leaning over next to Ye Jin, listening to the sound of tape being torn. Ye Jin was frustrated by Bo Myung hovering next to her, looking like he had something to say.
Even within the PR team, Kim Bo Myung was known for being timid and having a passive personality. His personality wasn’t a good fit for a PR job where you frequently had to meet with people, but he was able to stay with the company because his unique tenacity and diligence was acknowledged.
Anyways, an organization needed a person like Bo Myung for it to run. Someone who was perfect for taking care of the dirty work. The PR team unanimously thought that.
Honestly, it wasn’t like he was bad at his job. Bo Myung’s silent personality frustrated some people, like Ye Jin, but there were also some people who liked it.
“Is there something you want to say to me?”
“Well…it’s about Seo Kang Jun.”
“Seo Kang Jun?”
“I heard he’s expanding into Hollywood…do you think that’s true?”
Seo Kang Jun was, incomparably, Korea’s top, top, top star. His every move was historical, a miraculous being.
He debuted as an idol and became an award winning singer, and released hit solo albums one after another. His attempt at becoming an actor was successful too. These days, “actor” was a more accurate title for him.
Furthermore, there was an article stating plans for his expansion into Hollywood. That was the article Bo Myung was reading.
Ye Jin’s eyes got a little bigger, then promptly returned back to her normal indifferent expression. Considering Seo Kang Jun’s recent rise, it wasn’t anything to be surprised about.
The reason for all these achievements was, of course, 65% Seo Kang Jun’s talent, and 34% was due to Seo Kang Jun’s agency, the planning skills and tremendous push from the huge Ara Entertainment.
It was an open fact in the industry that Seo Kang Jun was the son of Ara Entertainment’s Director. His son had talent and popularity, so there was no reason not to push him more. Word was getting around that Ara Entertainment was expanding its business overseas, and it looked like the rumors were true.
“It’s not even our agency so how would I know?”
“I’m sorry. It seemed like you know a lot of people at Ara Entertainment so…”
“It’s probably true since they even released a big article about it. What kind of movie is it?”
“It’s a Christopher Noolan movie.”
“Wow, they’re determined. I wonder how far he’ll climb.”
Christopher Noolan is a well known director even in Hollywood. It wasn’t even important whether he had the main role or a supporting role. His appearance in itself would be a sensation. Ye Jin admired it while letting out a fake laugh as if saying it surpassed her expectations.
Bo Myung quietly turned around. Riiip― The sound of packages being opened behind his back was deafening.
‘Seo Kang Jun…he made it all the way to Hollywood.’
It was a life anyone would envy.
If it wasn’t for his bad relationship with Seo Kang Jun, Bo Myung would have been jealous of Seo Kang Jun like everyone else without knowing anything.
Bo Myung’s body hunched even more at the sound of the door closing. Bo Myung was thrown next to the toilet in the corner stall of the bathroom. The bathroom at the end of the hallway on the 5th floor of Gu Jeon Middle School’s main building was closed due to the old age of the building.
The unused bathroom became the territory of a group of bullies. The floor was unkempt with piles of scattered cigarette buds here and there. The stench of urine that was splattered everywhere hit his nose, and the blow to his stomach just now made it even harder to breathe.
“Hey, Bo Myung~ Pretend that’s your house and rest there~!
“So why didn’t you listen? Think about it again while you’re resting there.”
He could hear them each saying something to him then leaving the bathroom while snickering. After he didn’t listen to the group telling him to harass the female student teacher, the group pulled Bo Myung out during break time and dragged him to the bathroom after beating him up.
With the back of his hand, Bo Myung wiped the tears subconsciously dripping from his eyes from the physical and mental anguish. The back of his hand that was mangled by lit cigarettes was trembling.
A dark and dirty bathroom. He shuddered at the sensation of insects crawling all over his body.
The bullying has already been going on for one year, and Bo Myung was getting sick from the abuse.
There was nothing that could save Bo Myung from this darkness. His parents were both busy working, and he couldn’t make his parents, who were struggling so hard to raise him, worry more. The teachers had no interest in Bo Myung, who had nothing special about him.
‘I wish this was all a dream.’
He hoped he would go home and not wake up tomorrow. His only comfort was the lyrics from the quiet song that he listens to to fall asleep.
It was lyrics about breaking up with a lover but, paradoxically, it fit Bo Myung’s situation too and dug into his mind.
‘I wish this were all a dream.’
Bo Myung was dazed all day and was eventually reprimanded by the team leader. He heard, “Bo Myung, what’s wrong with you?” many times.
Even Bo Myung couldn’t understand himself.
There was nothing surprising about Seo Kang Jun expanding to Hollywood at this point.
When Seo Kang Jun’s face first appeared on the screen, when he appeared as a singer on stage like Bo Myung once dreamed of becoming. When he saw that, Bo Myung’s misery was indescribable.
The sky is falling? It was different from that kind of shock.
There was no such thing as ‘sky ‘ for Kim Bo Myung. It wasn’t there when he was going through that dark and long tunnel of pain that felt never ending, and it wasn’t there today either.
First year of middle school, besides being a little good at singing and a little bad at soccer, Bo Myung, who was no different from the other kids, happened to catch the eye of Seo Kang Jun, who had transferred in, and was exposed to indiscriminate violence and lost his liveliness during that time. Bo Myung asked the heavens why this happened to him many times, but the heavens did not answer.
There was no reason to begin with. Bo Myung just happened to be on the street that Seo Kang Jun was passing by. And Bo Myung just happened to not have the strength nor ability to overcome Seo Kang Jun and his group.
“Mr. Bo Myung!!!”
Huff huff, Ye Jin who had followed him grabbed Bo Myung’s shoulder.
“Seriously, why are you like this today? You could have been in big trouble!!!”
In front of Q Entertainment building, Bo Myung was heading to the bus stop after getting off work. Without thinking, Bo Myung was about to mindlessly move his legs to cross the street when Ye Jin grabbed him.
Bo Myung’s life had changed. Bo Myung’s dream was no longer becoming a singer. It was to live a normal life. That was Bo Myung’s dream. He just wanted to be like everybody else, living a normal life instead of trembling in fear and looking around scared that a fist might come flying out of nowhere.
Still, he did not blame Seo Kang Jun or the bullying for not becoming a singer. Just because he dreamed of becoming a singer didn’t guarantee that he will 100% become a singer.
But, to see Seo Kang Jun again who became a singer…it felt like hell had started again.
Ye Jin sighed at the dazed Bo Myung and pointed to the traffic light.
“It’s a red light!”
Bo Myung gasped at the signal. It was definitely a green light but the light must have changed while he was lost in thought.
“Oh? Be careful, seriously!”
Bo Myung thanked Ye Jin with a bow. Ye Jin, who was previously yelling at him, looked at Bo Myung’s complexion with a worried look.
“Are you ok? Is something wrong?”
Seo Kang Jun is expanding to Hollywood. The Seo Kang Jun who threw my life into the gutter. He couldn’t tell her that. Bo Myung smiled awkwardly and shook his head.
He’ll be okay again. He has to be okay. Because he has to live on.
While Seo Kang Jun was on the fast track to success and was regularly on the screen, Bo Myung also pushed on with his life in his own way. He studied very hard, and got accepted to a decent university in Seoul.
Anyways, he even got a job at a famous agency. Q Entertainment was also the agency for the singer whose song used to comfort Bo Myung.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes. I’ll be going now.”
“Okay, get home safe!”
The green light came on again. Bo Myung started crossing the street while reciprocating Ye Jin’s goodbye.
‘Am I trapped again?’
It was completely dark.
‘Ah, I wish this were all a dream.’
Bo Myung slowly closed his eyes.
1% is, of course, luck.
And that luck came to Bo Myung as well… probably?
Hello, I’m lilgochujang and I will be translating Superstar.
Doing translation work is very special to me. I immigrated from Korea at a very young age so I’m happy for an opportunity to feel more connected to my roots.
I am incredibly excited to go on this journey with you guys! I’ve been a translator for conversations but have never translated a novel before. Thank you for bearing with me and I sincerely hope you enjoy Superstar!
Chapter 1 is available on the website now! The current release rate is 1 chapter a week every Thursday at 10pm PST with chapter 2 coming on June 9th!