Chapter 11 Suspicious Younger Brother (Part 1)


As always, Jin-i entered the house first and sprayed water from the showerhead.




With the increasingly hot weather, it was more comfortable to shower when her younger brother was not home.


“But what on earth is Geon up to?”


He used to be a well-behaved and obedient younger brother during middle school.


But now, he was different.


He showed extreme respect to Jin-i and their mother, using honorific speech.


Yet, his every action seemed stiff, like a businessman in a suit.


It felt as if he had drawn a long line between himself and Jin-i, even in everyday conversations.


In the past, they used to play lots of silly pranks together and have fun.


Was it just adolescence?


Jin-i felt a little scared of her suddenly changed younger brother.


Moreover, lately, their mother had been scolding him loudly more often.


He would come home late every night, and sometimes she saw him hanging out with some big, delinquent students in front of their house.


Had he joined a gang?


There was one big student she saw frequently hanging around the school, who used to play with Geon.


A freshman who attended the same school as her brother.


He was selling food at a street food cart.


Speaking of which, these days, her brother often brought home a lot of food called “tacos.”


At 500 won each, the price wasn't too expensive.


But it was still a burden to eat them every day.


She had saved her pocket money and shared the tacos with her friends a few times.


They tasted amazing.


However, the tacos Geon brought home were on a completely different level from those sold at the school.


That, too, was very suspicious.


“I wonder if Geon will be late again today?”


Jin-i's wet silhouette was beautifully curved beneath her wet hair, reflecting in the steamy mirror.




Taco Max Headquarters Kitchen.


“Victory! The CEO is here! The directors are here!” An employee with a determined expression greeted Yi Geon and his entourage with a military-style salute.


“Unity! You've been working hard, Deputy Manager Choi.”


“Yes, CEO.”


As Yi Geon returned the salute with the precision of a Korean-American joint military training participant, Deputy Manager Choi and the other employees thought his angle was spot on.


It was sharp enough to make one wonder if he was from a military family.


In fact, Yi Geon was the top special warrior of the Korean-American joint military training in his first life.


“So, are you all doing your jobs diligently? What's our company motto?”


“First is cleanliness, second is using Lax, third is separating and washing ingredients before disinfecting hands to prevent contamination, and fourth is disinfecting and washing ingredients according to the manual.”


Unlike ordinary kitchens, this place's motto was focused solely on cleanliness rather than taste.
It was a motto that incorporated Yi Geon's belief that standardized recipes and processes ensured consistent quality in taste.


The kitchen, as per the slogan, maintained a spotless state where not even a speck of dust could be seen.


“Right, you're well aware of that.
It might be a bit difficult, but from now on, we'll reduce outsourcing for minor cutting and food processing.
When you, Deputy Manager Choi, think that there's a risk of exceeding the workload, beep me.
I'll adjust the quantity immediately.
From now on, we'll focus our full efforts on baking tortilla dough.
A lot of new employees will be coming in for additional production as well.”


“Yes, CEO.”


“Oh, and can all our employees stop working and have just the cooking team members come to the non-smoking break room for a moment?”


“Yes, CEO.”


Yi Geon distributed envelopes to the employees.


this is…”


“This month's salary.
Part of the bonus goes to your bank account.
But I wanted to give the first month's salary directly.”


“Thank you.
We will serve you with utmost loyalty, CEO.”


“Hahaha, don't overdo it.
Our company will have a get-together during the holiday season.
Since I’m still a high school freshman, I can't drink alcohol at official gatherings.
We'll have a formal meal at a high-end restaurant during lunch with some wine.
I'll give you the corporate card, and Deputy Manager Choi will lead the second and third rounds with only the people he wants.
Plan for the third week of July, on Friday.”


“Thank you, CEO.”


“Then, thoroughly disinfect.
Especially, make sure that unsterilized eggshells don't get mixed with the ingredients and cause a salmonella food poisoning accident.
Pay attention to separating and disinfecting the eggs, especially if they are mixed with other ingredients, since the eggs are not processed sanitary eggs.
Once again, make sure you disinfect everything thoroughly.
First is cleanliness, second is disinfection.”






“Annihilate the enemy!”


“Mount Paektu!”


“White bones!”


Oddly enough, all the employees shouted military slogans.


It made sense because Yi Geon had recruited 100% of the cooking staff from veterans who had served as military cooks.



They weren't high-quality master chefs from fancy restaurants.


He wanted people who could follow orders without question and had experience in cooking for at least 250 people, with impressive speed in processing ingredients.


If he had only hired those with successful head chef careers, it would have been challenging to produce the desired quantity of tacos at the current pace due to on-site control issues.


'Still, I need to order custom-made processing machines soon.
To cater to 300,000 people a day.'


With these complicated thoughts, Yi Geon left the company building.


After Yi Geon and his entourage left, the employees secretly opened their envelopes.


“How much is all this?”


“Wow, there are 16 checks for 100,000 won each.”


They thought the pay wouldn't be that high since they only worked five days a week.


They never expected it to contain 1.6 million won.


For reference, during this period, the monthly salary of an entry-level employee at a top-tier corporation, including bonuses, barely reached 1.4 million won.


However, at Taco Max, they received additional overtime pay and various allowances every week, which meant that even the lowest-ranking employees had a monthly salary that nearly approached 1.9 million won in the early 1990s.


Considering that it was 1993, this was an incredible amount that would make even the manager of a large corporation envious.


“Wow, the salary is insane.


“It's really crazy.
The master chef at Shinseong Hotel barely makes a pre-tax annual salary of 28 million won.
Our combined salary and bonuses are almost close to a pre-tax annual salary of 27 million.”


“Right, it's insane.
And our pay is after-tax, not pre-tax.”


“Right, wow.
At first, I thought the president was joking when he said he was a high school freshman.
But this is no joke.”


Our president is a real monster.
He pays us so much, yet the company is still thriving.”


I wonder how much our president makes?”


The six kitchen staff members felt an immense admiration for the president's ability to deliver such extraordinary salaries.


This was due to the incredible action and brainpower Yi Geon had demonstrated up until now.


Yi Geon's command of the company and his business skills were so overwhelming that it was hard to believe he was human.


Leaving the company, Yi Geon and his group sat down at a dessert cafe with Manager Han.


Unlike the 2030s, which were filled with franchise coffee shops, in 1993, there were many diverse and charming cafes like these near schools.


As an interim outside director, Manager Han, who looked like a middle-aged man among high school students, had to endure the humiliation of being mistaken for a teacher by the surrounding students.


“Hey, open your mouths.”




“Your salary is coming.”


Yi Geon used a phrase that was popular in the 2020s in 1993.


“Ah, can't we just take it by hand?”


Lacking some sense, Dong-pal instead offered his hand instead of opening his mouth.


“Ah, really Dong-pal, you have no sense.”


“Why? Alright, I'll open my mouth.”


Seeing the naive Dong-pal open his mouth, Sang-du, Sang-il, and the others couldn't help but laugh.


“Hehe, Dong-pal is so funny.
Alright, everyone take it.
Min-seok, you too.”


Dong-pal caught the envelope with a dumbfounded expression.


“If you’re going to give it by hand, why are you asking me to open my mouth unnecessarily? I appreciate it, though.”


“Really, Dong-pal lacks any sense.”


Dong-pal and Min-seok widened their eyes as they saw the astronomical sum inside the envelope.


“How much is this? 100…
300! 400..”


“I'm not sure, but it seems to be over 400.”


“How many portions of beef can we get with this?”


Dong-pal calculated everything in terms of beef.


“I put in 5 million won.
It's pre-tax, so we'll deduct this month's income tax next month.”


“Got it.
But this is really incredible.
5 million won a month? That's 80 million won a year? We could even buy a house.”


With 100 million won, we could buy a really nice house.”


In 1993, 100 million won could indeed buy a house in Seoul, as Sang-il had mentioned.
Of course, it would be an impossible dream in 2030, when housing prices in Gangnam reached 5 billion won.
Nonetheless, housing prices had skyrocketed crazily since the 2000s.


“What are you going to do with that money, Min-seok?”


“Me? Uh…
First, I want to buy suits and wallets for my parents.”


“What, are you buying some Italian luxury brand?”


“No, not to that extent.
I'll buy the gifts and entrust the rest to my parents for savings, especially if I want to go to college later.”


“What about Sang-du?”


“I want to buy two pairs of Mariette French jeans and some T-shirts and bags.
And some summer tees, too – the ones from Bercina Armani are killer.”


“What about you, Sang-il?”


“I want to buy some clothes like Sang-du and also get a VF125 motorcycle.”


“Really? It's not a bad means of transportation.
I won't interfere with how you spend your money.
But I'd still recommend everyone get a cell phone this month.”


“Cell phones are incredibly expensive.
A good one would cost over 2 million won.”


“Yeah, cell phones are extremely expensive.”


Even a 50,000-won beeper with a contract discount would suffice, but cell phones were too much of a burden for them.
Of course, they had received a whopping 5 million won.
However, Yi Geon's thoughts were different.

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