Mr. Won entered the CEO’s office. He saw HardcoreBLINK sitting at the table and writing in a notebook.
“Uhm… Mister Blink…”
He still did not react.
“Mr.Blink, people are already gathered in the conference room. Please, allow me to escort you.”
“Very well. Thank you Mister Won.”
He closed the notebook and Mr. Won could see a cover on it. There was a pink rose with spikes on a curved stem, painted on a black background. HardcoreBLINK confidently came out from a cabinet. He turned on the flashlight on his phone and began to talk along the way.
“Mr. Won, who has come to the meeting?”
“Department heads and chairmen of subsidiary labels, sir. Ms. Way should have a full list. Didn’t you ask her?”
“Emmm… no, I did not. By the way I noticed she is acting weird.”
“Is Ms. Way not doing her job well?”
“Don’t get me wrong, I am just on my first day here. Dunno how to explain… Way looks too happy every time she sees me. I have a suspicion that she may use drugs.”
Both got into the elevator.
“Sir, she holds corporate ethics to be polite.”
“Polite? Rather, she fraternizing with me.”
“Mr.Blink, how can I help you? Do you want to fire Ms. Way?”
“Of course not. There is no reason to. I want you to find evidence as to whether she uses drugs.”
“Sir, I understand your order clearly. We will check her activity in the YG building and send you a detailed report.”
“Thank you, Mr. Won.”
Finally they stopped at the wood door with a sign “Conference Room”. There were sounds of people talking from within. HardcoreBLINK felt his own heartbeat. It was not a dream. A week ago, would he have believed he was about to manage one of the biggest entertainment companies?
– he thought.
Mr. Won opened the door and entered first, and the people became silent.
There were nearly 20 people in the room, mostly males. Many of them were dressed up in strict business suits except for a few people who had a fashionable look. Everyone got up from their seats and respectfully bowed while saying:
“Anyoung hashimnikka, Mister Blink! We proud to serve YG company under your guidance!”
“Good afternoon! Nice to meet you,” he answered.
However they continue to stay bowed low which made HardcoreBLINK feel uncomfortable.
“Ermmm… thank you. Sit down please.”
After everybody took a seat, Mr. Won announced:
“As you know, Mr.Blink arrived from the United States of America. Therefore please use English on all conferences inside the company whenever the CEO participates. Now with all respects I yield the floor to him.”
HardcoreBLINK opened his notebook and spent a few seconds looking through it. Then, he coughed and loaded air into his lungs.
“I’m eternally grateful to Mr. Yang Hyun-suk and the shareholders who trusted me with this responsible mission. I hope together we will make K-Pop bright and dominate the whole world,my homeland included. As this is my first day here, I want to hear what is the situation concerning Blackpink now.”
“Mr. Blink, let me be the first. My name is Kang Choi Lee, Head of Marketing department.”
He displayed a poster of Jennie in sunglasses.
“We have released a special collection of Jennie’s sunglasses. Sales are doing quite well. The plan is to sell
100,000 sunglasses by the end of the quarter.” Mr. Kang went through a pair of graphs, then ended his report.
HardcoreBLINK did not comment; his eyes were focused on his notebook. The next speaker was a woman in her late 20’s, with an ultra-fashionable brown costume. Her facial expression was unusually sullen.
“I am Sora Choi, CEO of Moonshot cosmetics, a subsidiary of YG Entertainment. We prepared a collection of new lipsticks which will sell under the “Kill This Love” brand. It contains a unique purple-rose color…”
The next was Mr.Chung, the head of YG Fitness.
“Mr. Blink, our specialists are working on the development of four new golf club models: “Lisa”, “Jennie”, “Rose”, “Jisoo”. Every model will reflect the character of each Blackpink member.”
Suddenly HardcoreBLINK interrupted his report.
“I want to ask you all: what will be the first event featuring Blackpink participation?”
“A presentation of collectible dolls, sir – Mr. Kang answered. – We have already ordered for the production of dolls from a toy factory. We should start the advertising campaign. The idols will personally represent…”
“Stop, please. That’s enough,” HardcoreBLINK didn’t let him continue.
He got up from his seat and began to pace around the conference room.
“Dolls, sunglasses, lipstick… even golf clubs. What’s wrong with you?” He pointed his index finger. “You all forgot why we are here! You forgot about MUSIC!”
“Blackpink – the most powerful girl group in K-Pop history. Their fandom is bigger than the population of some European countries. Do you think Blinks in China, America or Japan need fucking dolls? What a mess! Nobody here mentioned that our girls have been sitting around for 1 year in a stupid hiatus, without a plan for a comeback!”
Furious whispering emerged around the room.
“Now, please listen to my first order as the CEO. We will cancel dolls and golf clubs. Lipstick is a good idea, but only after the comeback. We should give Blinks a mini-album and a music video as soon as possible. After a few months our company should prepare a full album.”
Kang: “Mr.Blink, dolls are almost ready for sale. It’s unwise to cancel them now; we’ll have losses.”
Chief Accountant Yuri Kishima added to the discussion. She was a Japanese woman in her 50’s, dressed in a warm sweater and a long skirt. Her voice was low and slightly hoarse.
Yuri: “Both the comeback campaign and the dolls project will cost too much. The company already spent a lot of money for Winner and IKON promotions. Sales did not perform to the amount we projected.”
HB: “Do you hear that, Mr. Kang? What is your offer?”
Kang: “Mr. Blink, I propose… please don’t be angry. I propose… to postpone Blackpink’s comeback.”
HB: “What ?!”
Kang: “I think we need to promote the dolls first, then to start comeback preparations after few months.”
HB: “We don’t have a few months, Mr. Kang. Blinks should receive a comeback in the shortest possible time.”
Kang: “I am sorry. If we cancel the partnership with the toy factory, they will sue us.”
Sora: “Because we signed an unfair contract with them. I told Kang, but he tricked our previous CEO, Mr.Yang, to sign it.”
Kang: “Contract is normal, we have duties as every responsible side.”
Kang’s face and armpits begin sweating.
Yuri: “Kang, why did we take the duty to pay for 30% of the pre-ordered dolls? The factory won’t return money if we cancel the contract.”
Kang “That’s a common practice.”
Sora: “I manage a cosmetics company and I have never observed this practice.”
Yuri: “The pricing was two times higher than other factories.”
HB: “Stop! Silence please.”
Kang: “Mr. Blink, I am being falsely accused. Please believe me. They are jealous of my position in the company. Yuri and Sora are trying to manipulate you.”
Yuri: “Kang, you are crossing a red line with your words.”
Kang: “We cannot cancel the dolls production. This will result in huge losses and financial forfeit. Yuri and Sora conspired against me. Due to personal ambitions, they don’t care about the consequences for the company.”
Sora: “Are you crazy? By the way, Mr. Blink, it was Kang who suggested to Mr.Yang to postpone Blackpink’s comeback the last two times.”
HB: “What? Mr.Kang, is it true?”
Kang: “Emmm, there were various reasons, sir. It’s not related to current issues.”
HardcoreBLINK approached Kang and bent down to his face.
HB: “Mister Kang, may I ask for your phone number?”
Kang: “My phone number? Yes, of course, Mr.Blink. You can call me at any time of the day or night.”
HB: “I want to call you now.”
Kang: “Now? Honestly, I can’t understand your intentions, sir. Why do you need to call me if I am here with you?”
HB: “I want to confirm something.”
Kang: “How can my number help with that?”
HB: “Just give it to me please.”
Kang: “Ok-ok. Here is my business card, sir.”
HB: “Put your phone on the table please. Here, near the microphone.”
An eerie silence fell across the conference room. HardcoreBLINK pulled out his smartphone from his pocket and dialed Kang’s telephone number. Everybody hear a familiar tune on Kang’s phone: TWICE’s Feel Special.
HB: “I knew it! I knew it!”
Kang: “Knew what, sir?”
HB: “Stand up, now!”
After Mr. Kang slowly got up, HardcoreBLINK immediately ripped the buttons on Kang’s shirt. Everybody saw that under the outer shirt, Kang wore a white t-shirt with TWICE’s logo.
The others in the room suddenly became excited.
HB: “Mr. Won, call the security guards immediately!”
Won: “Yes, sir.”
Mr. Won left the conference, then shortly returned with two guards.
HB: “This guy, Mr. Kang, is a traitor. Place him in the dungeon.”
Won: “Mr. Blink, we don’t have a dungeon.”
HB: “Eh- I mean, in a basement.”
Won: “Do you want to feed Mr. Kang in our basement cafe?”
Won: “Should we escort him to Blackpink’s dance hall?”
HB: “What the fuck, no!”
Won: “So what will we do with him in the basement?”
HB: “You know what, never mind. Just fire him. Add him to the blacklist of persons who are not allowed to visit YG building.”
Won: “It will be done, sir. Sorry for the inconvenience. Mr. Kang, you are fired due to a violation of corporate ethics standards. Please follow me.”
Mr.Won along with security escorted Kang out of the conference room. All the people in the room observed it with silent shock. HardcoreBLINK returned to his seat.
While people went out of the room HardcoreBLINK remained on his seat, because without Mr. Won he didn’t know how to come back in office through the dark YG corridors. Sora Choi was the last one who stayed in the room with him.
“Brilliant job, Mister HardcoreBlink.”
“Honestly, I underestimated you. Kang’s cousin works in the toy factory which should have released Blackpink dolls. According to some rumors, Kang made a deal with the factory management. He promised them a huge contract with YG. In return, the management had to appoint Kang’s cousin a Vice-President of the factory.
“Kang’s “slave contract” will be easily appealed by YG lawyers. The entertainment is going to save millions of dollars. I wonder how you cracked this case on your very first day.”
“Uhm… it’s nothing special. I try to do my best.”
“Because you knew what happened, but had no evidence to accuse Kang, you made the whole spectacle with TWICE. Impressive play, Mr.Blink. I’m sure we’ll connect very nicely.”
Sora slid her business card on a table, winked at HardcoreBLINK, and left the conference room. Then his phone rang. It was Way, his secretary.
“Mr. Blink, did you forget about your meeting with Rosie?”
“No. What happened?”
“She has been waiting for fifteen minutes.”
HardcoreBLINK looked up at the clock and realized how much time already passed by.
“Oh, shit! I must hurry!”