Chapter 10: Such a Niggard
Translator: Sissy That Walk
With the computer sponsored by Niu Junjie, He Bai went full-on retouching photographs mode.
The salary package offered by Saint Elephant Studio includes a basic salary plus commission from retouching photos. Since he was just a freshman in the company, and worked part-timely, so the basic salary he got was just 1200 Yuan, which might be deducted if he couldn’t reach the minimum number of retouching required by the company. But luckily the number required was not that much, so it would be easy to finish.
The commission for a retoucher varied widely. An experienced retoucher could get from a few hundreds at least to thousands at most with just one photo. But for a green-hand like him, a harsh photographic studio was justified to offer 1 Yuan for a photo, and nobody would argue about it. Luckily enough, Li Ru was quite generous with talents, so the base commission rate He Bai could get was 10 Yuan.
A retoucher who worked fast could retouch a few hundreds of photos in a single day. So, if you could handle it, the earnings you could get were quite considerable, but it was also tiring. He Bai didn’t intend to do the work for a long time, and once he could save enough money to cover his living expenses in summer holiday and to pay for his tuition for the next term, he would say good-bye to the monotonous assembly-line-like work.
The tasks assigned to him by Saint Elephant were portraits for most of the time, among which the portraits of babies occupied the majority, and scenery-oriented advertising photos made up a small part. The work didn’t require much skill, and he could easily finish dozens of photos in a day if there were few classes that day, so he could earn good money.
After packing the photos retouched today and uploading them to the mail-box, He Bai stretched himself. Noticing it was already past 11:30 p.m., he hurriedly turned off his computer, took a shower and went to sleep.
At the weekend, He Bai came to Saint Elephant Studio to handle the admission procedures he didn’t have time to deal with last week.
“Ah, Hi, Xiao He,” walking out from the office on the second floor, Li Ru, standing beside the handrail, waved at him with a smile, “Come on up, I have something to talk with you.”
Noticing the Destroy Nun of the Design Department came out from her office suddenly, and talked with a stranger in a friendly manner, employees coming and going cast curious looks to He Bai who had just walked out of the Personnel Department.
Having perceived the attention from the staff, He Bai greeted them with a shy smile, and went upstairs with the admission materials.
After he followed Li Ru to enter an office, one employee who was moving clothes asked with curiosity, “Who is the guy? He looks handsome, and even has dimples on his face. I noticed he took admission materials in hand. A new-coming trainee?”
“He is not a trainee, but a part-time retoucher hired last week.” A receptionist girl came out of the tea room, and said in a low voice.
“You guys went to work in the field last week, so you didn’t know. He was interviewed and hired by Chief Inspector Li in person, and his retouching skill is just like such.” While saying, the receptionist gave a thumbs-up, and then added, “Besides, he is a top student from Q University, so don’t boss him around the way you treat other trainees, or Chief Inspector Li will settle it with you.”
Thinking of Li Ru and her RBF, these employees trembled, and didn’t continue the topic any more tacitly.
“A new-coming retoucher he is! I have been wondering why the tasks assigned to me recently have been much lighter, and it turns out that somebody has helped me share the assignments.” A stubby young man with glasses interrupted with a smile, “That’s great! Ms. Li is so considerate. The photos from the TV station are much too sizable, and we all have been focusing on them. It is good to have someone share some odds and ends for us.”
Hearing what the young man said, the receptionist felt disdained in the heart, and thought “Share? The fact might be that you are too bad at your job, so Ms. Li has allocated all your tasks to others. Just a lickspittle! Don’t pretend to be generous! You must have hated the new-comer after being taken away the work. Pooh, You lackey.”
The office was not properly closed, so Li Ru could hear clearly about the jibber jabber in the hall of the first floor. Li frowned. She got up to close the door, and poured a cup of water for He Bai.
“Thanks, Ms Li.” He Bai took the cup, pretending not to have heard what they said on from the first floor.
“Never mind.” Sitting on the opposite side, Li Ru explained with a tender voice, “We trust your ability! The work had been carefully considered before given to you! You did it well, and our clients were quite satisfied.”
“That’s great.” Drinking a sip of water, He Bai responded with a smile.
Having been quite satisfied with him, Li Ru couldn’t help giving a smile too. She took out a document, and said, “Look! After one week’s investigation, we think it’s such a waste for your talent by just letting you retouch basic photos. So, we have decided to get you involved in working groups dealing with some commercial photos. This is a revised contract about you salary package. Have a look.”
Taking over the document, and turning it over, He Bai widened his eyes in surprise, “100 Yuan in commission from one photo?” That was as well-paid as an experienced employee. He just worked here temporarily, a high commission like this was simply unbelievable.
“Yes, 100 Yuan, and based on your ability, you are getting the short end of the stick to be honest.” Looking amusedly at his popped eyes, Li Ru felt the surprised look of the young man was just like a baby cat seeing a slice of dried fish. She explained, “The photos I sent to you before didn’t need to be refined bit by bit, so you could retouch them quickly. But the commercial photos are different, and you have to retouch them once again carefully after going through the first time of retouching. What’s more, it involves layout and other aspects. You have to redo your work if the customers are not satisfied. Your workload will be doubled, and you tend to get high pressure.”
He Bai was quite clear about what Ms. Li had said, but he couldn’t reveal his thought. So, he just behaved as if he had been a young man completely knowing nothing about all the knowhow in this industry. Looking as if he was suddenly enlightened, He Bai said, “I see! But Ms. Li, pardon me, I don’t know much about layout……”
“It doesn’t matter. Your primary job is still retouching. Concerning the layout part, there will be other colleagues coordinating with you.” To pacify He Bai, Li continued, “Our major tasks recently come from the TV Station, most of which are portraits, so they don’t involve much layout work. Don’t be nervous.”
Expressing he had understood it at once, He Bai felt ecstatic in the heart.
100 Yuan for one photo! Although retouching photos carefully took efforts, he was efficient. He could retouch 10 photos a day, so he could earn enough money to cover his tuition next term within a month! When summer holiday came, he would have more time to retouch photos, then he would get more money…… Fantastic! He would treat himself to eat meat to celebrate!
After walking out from Saint Elephant Studio happily, he ran to a roast duck restaurant which he had longed for a long time. A bread winner now he was, so, he wouldn’t even blink spending as much as 180 Yuan on a duck!
Di Qiuhe withdrew his eyesight fixated downstairs, and now he looked gloom.
“You don’t study the script at home, but come here every day. What’s the matter?” Jiang Xiuwen got even more confused about this good friend of his. He had taken off his mask, but the bad temper he had hidden for many years got more severe.
Casting a glance coldly at Jiang, Di took out a photo from his backpack, and put it beside his face. He asked Jiang seriously, “Who is more handsome? He or I?”
Here we came again.
Putting down his coffee cup, Jiang took a glimpse at the photo taken on a street which would surely attract one yet again no matter how many times one had seen. Jiang pocketed his conscience and said, “You.”
“Liar! Putting down the photo, Di looked even more gloom, “The guy on the photo is me. How could I be more handsome than myself?”
Jiang cast a contemptuous glance at him, and said disdainfully, “The first time you asked me about this question, I replied this way. But what’s the result? You said I was perfunctory since you thought how can the real you as handsome as the you in the photo. Can you go to see a doctor? Where did you get the photo? The man who took this photo was really good at it. It just showed well your temperament of deserving a beat. I’ll employ him to come to Red Guests Studio, and offer him the salary package of a chief photographer!”
Di Qiuhe took out another photo, and said without expression, “Here is the original one.”
Getting stupefied, Jiang picked up the original photo, had a look at it, and then looked at the photo in his hand. He looked surprised, “That photo was retouched? My God! Till now I’ve known the effect of retouching on a photo. The retouching guy seemed to have known you well, and he must have been blind to beautify you 200%.”
“The jealous look of a man is just too terrible.” Having pulled the corners of his mouth, Di rested himself in the sofa looking like a master. Raising his chin, Di’s affection to himself swelled crazily. “The retouching guy is a huge fan of me, one of the die-hard fans, who is obsessed with me, crazy, loyal, and he even stalks me for photos.”
“Uh, isn’t that a pervert.”
Di Qiuhe looked at him with his eyebrows up.
Jiang Xiuwen couldn’t stand it anymore. Getting up to take Di’s backpack, and put it into his arms, Jiang began to drive Di outside. “If you are suffering PMS, please go back and lie on your bed. Since you’re young, don’t give up treatment. My dad is still waiting for you to shoot a movie. Just cheer yourself up.”
“You’re just jealous!” After showing himself off, Di Qiuhe felt good in the heart. Putting away the photo carefully, he stood up to grab his backpack, and said, “Now you want to employ my true-love fan to come to your studio. Hum, it is too late.” Having said this, he threw his backpack casually onto his back, and left handsomely.
Watching him leave with astonishment, Jinag Xiuwen pressed his hands on the chest feeling suffocated. What spell was the guy cast on? How could he relapse into what he was in his teenager years when he behaved like an idiot?
“Don’t forget the image labels you’ve given to yourself! Be gentle and upright!” Jiang couldn’t hold back the feeling of suffocation in the heart, and he shouted loudly towards the stairs, “Remember to take some medicine! Never come here without eating medicine!”
The only response was the solicitous voice coming from the staff downstairs who led Di out shyly.
……That brat did piss Jiang off!
There was a long queue for roast ducks. Having said in his dormitory WeChat group there would be an extra meal in the evening, He Bai went to buy a cup of milk tea, and stood at the end of the line while drinking the milk tea.
“I’m going to star in a film.”
A familiar voice coming from behind, He Bai stopped sucking the straw.
“The roast ducks here are not as delicious as those of SuXiangYuan in the southern city.
He Bai spat the straw out silently.
“The signature I signed for you last time was too casual. Give it back to me, and I’ll sign a new one for you.”
His hands holding the cup of milk tea trembled slightly. Thinking of the meal a few days ago, He Bai turned around timidly and smiled at the man behind, “What a coincidence! I meet you again! Are you here to buy roast ducks too?”
Looking at the dimple on his left face, Di Qiuhe squinted his eyes, and said, “You have lost the signature I gave to you, right?”
He Bai turned around in an instant with his eyes rolled wildly. “How…How could it be? As for the signature of a Film Emperor, such a precious item, I must have put it away well. Hah, hah…”
“Sure enough, you have lost it.” Thinking of the dust and folding mark of the signature card, Di reached out his hand, “Give it back to me.”
Staring at his pretty and long fingers, He Bai got speechless in the heart. To his surprise, there was such kind of Film Emperor who would take back the signature he had given out! Di Qiuhe was described as gentle, and generous to his fans in those news reports. Was it true or not? Then who was the niggard standing behind and arguing with him about a signature.