Sometimes early in the morning, there can be noticed indisputable signs of the fact that nothing good will come out of this day. Chocolate bars end in the common cupboard, people start quarrelling about AC even before their first cup of coffee, an email comes about preparations for the OPEC Meeting. Although Bambam always insists that this list should include lack of scratches from stray cats from their group’s editor-in-chief Jaebum’s hands coinciding with his timely arrival at their workplace (which proves to especially attentive coworkers that Jaebum hasn’t met a single cat on his way to work). But no one supports Bambam in his theories, maybe Youngjae, but Youngjae is just that prone to panic.
"But I don’t know how to predict this", he wails to his coworkers, "don’t kno-ow. Do you know how much wti barrel costs?"
"How much?" asks Yugyeom. He certainly doesn’t know what WTI is, but he’s too kind and curious. Youngjae opens his mouth wide and blurts out:
"It has almost caught up with Brent, and what should I do about it? And how?"
"And what have you accomplished in your age?" smirks Jinyoung snatching away faded printouts with uneven scribbles on them from Youngjae’ hands (“Who used up all the cartridge again? Bambam, how many times I’ve told you, pictures belong to the internet and not on walls?”). "Listen, even I can’t predict this kind of thing when it's impossible to decipher. Have you forgotten about Venezuela?"
"I don’t know any Venezuela!" Youngjae clasps his hands to his ears, but Jackson catches them to himself and starts a whole speech about a country in South America. Really loudly. And in English. Just in the middle of this lively retelling of wikipedia comes in a placid remark from Jinyoung about a tanker turning over, and Youngjae better take it into account while Jaebum is still busy feeding a cat on the parking lot.
"It just doesn’t sell," Youngjae is still crying, even when Jaebum comes back. He is going to repeat it to everybody including every Presidential candidate so they can suffer together with him. Youngjae worries about oil as much as about his own family. Although when he just came here he tried hard to ditch Energy section in every way possible and spent all his time sending requests for the International information’s vacancy right from his desk. Mark has almost started teaching him English out of pity, but Jinyoung said that he would never part with Jackson and anyways he formed a nice department all by himself, and Jinyoung is the one who’s actually overloaded with work here.
"Why?" Jaebum asks a leading question.
"Chinese economy is, well," Youngjae swings a hand into the air and then sharply lowers it under the table, "slowed down."
Of course, everybody looks at Jackson then as if by command. Mark is glad his parents were smart enough to move to the US, or he wouldn’t survive this kind of attention.
"It’s not Jackson’s fault," says Jaebum and also looks at Jackson.
"Weeeeell. Jackson-hyung could like..." Bambam grips Jackson by the shoulder. Jinyoung hisses irritably that the economy is not his or even theirs or even their country’s while everybody else waits to hear what Jackson could do with the economy with great interest. After some time he asks the question himself:
Bambam is a little bit embarrassed:
"Could like… heat it up?"
"We’ve got another incoming inquiry," it looks like Jinyoung thinks that an attempt to sort through emails can give the room a business-like atmosphere. "An inquiry about… it says here that fashion department should only participate in discussions that have to do with fashion."
Mark gives his thumbs up to Jinyoung, but of course, Bambam sees it straight away and puffs his cheeks in sad betrayal.
"Well," Jaebum rubs his chin, "we can think about it…"
"This is discrimination," immediately pops in Yugyeom. "I bet Jinyoung-hyung sent this inquiry himself!"
Jinyoung adjusts his glasses and glares angrily above his laptop. Yugyeom can see only one of his eyes from his seat - instead of the other he sees a glowing bitten apple - but this sight is more than enough for him to lose the desire to pop in ever. From Jinyoung’s seat can be heard something disagreeable along the lines “you don’t count, every department has only one voice and yours is Mark”. But Jaebum touches Jinyoung’s shoulder and he immediately shuts up. Yugyeom chuckles, you have to be of a great mind to assume that Mark will speak up. They’ll be lucky if he whispers his thoughts to Yugyeom, or sometimes he will get by even without it. Culture leads its own life.
Youngjae hysterically begs for transfer anywhere else - even to North Korea, for example, at least everything is obvious and predictable there. Today you have a warhead, and you will have a warhead tomorrow too. And with oil, he will go mad pretty soon, because they’re lifting up sanctions from Libya and putting them on Nigeria, and Indonesia just got kicked out from OPEC and no one knows what they are going to do now.
"I won’t let you go anywhere," repeats Jinyoung in a dull voice, even if everybody knows that Youngjae won’t go anywhere himself. "All Korean departments are full."
"Too many Koreans," explains Bambam, "I’m the only one…"
"Pity, you’re not a zero," mumbles Mark in Chinese and Jackson immediately doubles up.
Through a corporate messenger, Jinyoung sends a sticker with a bear shooting himself in the head to Jaebum. Judging from Jaebum’s face he imagines the growth of KPI of their international group if they exchange all journalist present in this meeting for cats.
With great difficulty, Jaebum solves the biggest energetic problem - calms Youngjae down. He agrees with the collective brain of Bambam and Yugyeom and allows them to write down all oil predictions on pieces of paper and put them in somebody’s baseball cap since everybody has lots of them (“Thank God I don’t have any”, comments Jinyoung), and Bambam even has more hats from sponsors. They can draw a new prediction for every article. “It’s a weekly column”, reminds Jinyoung to the respected editor-in-chief of their group, while he smiles disarmingly causing Jackson to have a stroke.
"Well, you can draw it once a week… I forgot."