Fans of f(x) are always complaining about the group getting minimal comebacks and basically being neglected by SM in various ways compared to the label’s other flagship groups. Is it true? If so, what’s the reason for it? Could things be changed for the better? I thought it would be fun to explore the answers and possibilities in a fictional story about f(x) fans and their hopes and dreams.
You’re a thirteen year old Korean fangirl, and f(x) is your favourite group. Krystal is your favourite member, because she’s so pretty like her sister Jessica in SNSD, but she seems more “real” somehow. You don’t know how to explain it – she just is. You also like Amber because she’s kinda different and tomboy but it’s seemingly not a barrier to anything so she makes you feel good about not being that pretty yourself – if SHE can be a success, surely there’s hope for someone like you to also do well in life. You hate it when others bash her and call her ugly or a lesbian – she’s just different, like you. The others seem okay… well, people reckon Sulli’s a bit of a bitchy princess (also way too pretty, it’s not fair) but you can let it slide. You still love them. All your friends are mainly into boy groups like EXO and you don’t mind them too, but something about f(x) just makes them special.
You’re a devoted fan. Your bedroom is covered in f(x) posters and for the last few weeks you’ve been hanging out around the rear of the SM building after classes. The EXO saseangs are always at the front waiting in cars or standing around the entrance-way smoking cigarettes, sometimes they also drink, you try and stay away from those girls, the rear is a bit quieter. You haven’t seen any of f(x) yet, but it’s okay – just knowing that you’re close to them for a few hours is enough, somehow. One day someone came out the back and you thought it was Luna because she had the same hair, and you got so excited and you screamed… she turned around and it was just some office lady or something, she was about 45 years old. She looked at you with contempt – you were so embarrassed! It’s usually not exciting like that though, in fact it can be really boring sitting around so you spend a lot of time playing games on your phone, and interacting via SNS with other members of the f(x) fandom who still don’t have an official name yet (god that burns).
One evening, you’re out the back of the SM building after school and it’s boring as usual, not much is happening. The girls themselves are presumably in there somewhere… it’s hard to know, because they don’t have any schedules right now. Why the hell not? Damn SM. Anyway, it’s getting late so you’ve given up hope of them appearing. You look down the alleyway, and see some large rubbish skips by the rear wall. You think to yourself… “wow, that’s probably SM’s rubbish… I wonder what they throw away?”.
The combination of curiosity plus sorely needing something extra to do to pass the time waiting makes the temptation irresistible. You take out your house keys and puncture the side of a garbage bag gently. Instantly, a rancid methane smell fills the air… food scraps, ugh. You move over to the next skip and find a bag that feels a bit more solid. One of them feels like it’s got cardboard in it or something. You tear the side of it open with your keys, and a bunch of pink and white bits of cardboard fall out. Hey, wait a second, you recognise these…
It’s copies of the “Pink Tape” album! Why are SM throwing THESE out? Wow, they really don’t seem to care about the group whatsoever… how typical. You wish you could say you were surprised, but you’re not. You haul the entire bag out of the skip, and empty the contents onto the ground. There’s about 30 copies of “Pink Tape” there, you stack them up neatly and take a photo with your phone. They’re all complete editions with the CD inside and everything, you could probably donate these to the fandom, there’s probably a few people who don’t have this great album yet. There’s also a couple of large size posters here:
You’re upset that SM is throwing these out, but hey, at least they’ll look good in your bedroom, and posters are a big expense for you so some free ones are certainly welcome! You also notice something else:
A promotional aluminium water bottle, back from SNSD’s “Genie” days.. you know, back when the group sounded decent. Pretty pathetic that SNSD only get their junk thrown out years later, and it’s only one thing, whereas f(x) get dozens of copies of their album thrown out only a few months after it’s come out… pathetic SM and their typical preferential treatment, you think to yourself. You could use a water bottle though, so you pick it up… it feels unusually heavy, like, really heavy, it slips through your fingers and falls on the ground, and then something magical happens:
In a puff of blue smoke, Yuri appears! She ejects from the bottle with a loud hiss and falls on the ground.
“Oh my god, Yuri!” you scream. (Okay, it would be better if it was an f(x) member, but this is still pretty exciting for you.)
Yuri looks up at you with complete disdain, bordering on hatred. “Oh fuck, not another fangirl – please kill me.”
You look puzzled: “…Yuri?”
Yuri rolls her eyes and sighs heavily. “I’m NOT Yuri, okay? I’m just a genie. SM thought it would be a cool marketing gimmick if I looked like one of the SNSD girls, so that’s what THEY wished for. Can you believe I’m actually a guy? Do you know how annoying it is to be trapped inside a woman’s body…. AND trapped in a bottle?”
“I thought genies were supposed to live in lamps?”
“Give me a break, it’s the 21st century, bitch. Can we get to the wishes part already? I’m already sick of looking at your ugly face, you gross fangirls make me want to get to the vanishing part real quick.”
You think to yourself… wishes? So, this is a real genie? Does that mean you get three wishes, like in the fairytales? “Do I get three wishes?” you ask.
“Two. One was already taken by the CEO before they corked me in that fucking thing.” Yur… the genie is still lying on the ground, she moves her body around a bit to get comfortable. She seems to have no intention of standing up.
Thinking about genie stories that you used to read when you were younger, you start to feel cautious. Those stories always turned out terribly! There’s always something that the wisher never considers, or some horrible twist to each one. “There’s no catch, is there?”
The Yuri-lookalike genie sighs again. “You get what you wish for. The wish will last for your whole life if it’s a wish for some kind of ‘situation’, like world peace or whatever, or if it’s a ‘thing’ or ‘event’ you wish for, you WILL get that thing or event. It’s that simple. Just be careful what you wish for, because it WILL happen, exactly as you say it, and then you have to deal with it. You’ve only got two wishes, don’t waste them on some bullshit that you didn’t think through.”
You instantly reply: “My first wish – I want to meet Krystal from f(x)!”
The genie screams. “Oh FUCK YOU. You could have wished for anything and changed the world, and you pick meeting some fucking stupid bitch in a k-pop group? You’re pathetic! You fucking fangirls are hopeless!”
“B-but I’ve wanted to meet her like forever! What if I never get to meet her?”
“Hey no need to argue with me about it. It’s not up to me, I don’t exactly have a fucking choice. It’s granted. What’s the other wish? I’m sure it’s also some f(x) crap and I haven’t got all night for talking to ugly teenagers so just fucking get on with it.” The genie looks thoroughly bored.
“Okay, I want SM to prioritize f(x) more; I want f(x) to get more comebacks, a big concert, a proper fanclub name, and not get overshadowed by the other groups on SM all the time, so they can realise their true potential.”
Another heavy sigh from the genie: “Well, okay… technically that’s quite a few wishes squeezed into one you selfish cunt, but I’ll let it slide because nitpicking about it might mean I have to look at your phenomenally ugly face for a few more seconds. Granted. Give me until the end of the year. It’ll all happen.”
“I don’t get my wishes straight away?”
“For fuck’s sake! Look you ugly bitch – a comeback and a concert tour takes some time to organise. The girls gotta practice the new songs and the new dance routines for the comebacks too. Don’t worry, you’ll get your wish.” The Yuri-genie gives a faint smile as she vanishes into a puff of smoke, leaving behind the empty bottle, now light as a feather, which you pick up and stash in your backpack. The genie is gone.
Over the next few months, the genie is remarkably true to her word. Later in the year f(x) do come back with a new mini-album, and a new song, which is their best one yet – but this time, they do two full months of promotions, and during this time SM temporarily push back all their other groups’ activities! Not only that, but as soon as the TV promotions are finished, SM announce the first three-hour long f(x) concert in Seoul, a Asian showcase tour, another follow-up comeback MV, and that live on stage they will be announcing their official fanclub name! You’re so excited – it couldn’t have worked out better, apart from a few minor downsides: the new song and mini album oddly wasn’t the smash hit you were expecting, and the girls had a bit of trouble performing the routines on some of the stages, leading to the usual “lazy performers” controversy. You’re used to that though – it happens every single time they come back, and it’s just jealous Sones, you figure. It’s no big deal, nothing you and the newly solidified f(x) fanbase can’t handle. The only thing truly missing from the equation is that despite waiting diligently outside of the SM building every day after school you still haven’t met Krystal yet… but you’re sure that’s coming – it MUST be. Everything else came true, so it’s surely only a matter of time!
You decide to put pen to paper and write to Krystal. Maybe you have to take the initiative, after all how is she going to find you if she doesn’t know where you are?
Etc. You spend a good few pages spilling your guts about how horrible SM were before and how much preferential treatment other groups used to get in one massive run-on sentence. At the end you sign it with your name and address, then you post it and you cross your fingers.
You don’t have to wait long. A few days later, an envelope arrives from SM Entertainment. With trembling hands, you hastily open it and unfold the letter within – could this be it?
You spend a few minutes running around your room spazzing like the fangirl that you are. When you calm down, you quickly write back and get the ball rolling. It’s not long before you’re contacted on the phone by a male representative for SM Entertainment, who confirms that you are “that fan”. You offer to meet out the back of SM Entertainment offices, a location that by now you’re very familiar with, but instead they organise for a limousine to pick you up from your house.
You protest: “Is that really needed? I know my way there…”
“Krystal insists. She’s very grateful and she wants it to be a special occasion for you. But one thing…”
“Don’t tell anyone. We need you to keep what is happening a secret, otherwise your house will get mobbed by fans and we’ll have to call it off. You must understand this, it’s very important. No telling anybody, not even your parents are allowed to know who is in the limousine. If the limousine arrives and anybody else besides you is there waiting for it, it will just drive away. Oh, and bring the bottle with you, you still have it, yes?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Good. Bring it with you. SM recycling initiative. We’ll be in touch later with a time.”
You say goodbye, hang up the phone and spazz some more.
A few days later, there you are, around the corner from your house, waiting on a quiet street. You decided it was best not for the limo to pick you up right outside your front door. You monitor the time with your phone, and sure enough, right when the clock ticks over, a white limousine with tinted windows rounds the corner and parks on the other side of the street.
You walk over, and a man dressed in a suit opens the rear door and gets out. He beckons for you to come in. You poke your head inside, and freak out. There is Krystal… and Sulli, sitting on the seat opposite!
“Come on, get in! Don’t be shy!” Krystal beckons and smiles at you. Oh my god, she looks just like on TV. You get in nervously, and the man who opened the door for you gets in behind you. He is sitting next to you, Krystal and Sulli are on the opposite side. You’re speechless, you don’t know what to say. You become conscious of your jaw hanging open, so you shut it. You feel the limousine driving off.
Krystal yells to the driver in the front “central locking please!”.
Krystal and Sulli both start doing aegyo-style smiling faces at you, like this:
You hear a “click, click” throughout the whole vehicle. Central locking. Upon hearing this noise, the smiles vanish from Krystal and Sulli’s faces instantly.
Sulli takes a deep breath and looks at Krystal. “Thank fuck for that. I don’t know, aegyo just makes me want to bash a cunt in the face. How about you?”
You are shocked. Does she really talk like this? You go to open your mouth, Sulli stares you down immediately.
“Not you, cunt – don’t you even open your mouth if you know what’s good for you. I was talking to Krystal. You just shut the fuck up and say nothing.” She turns back to Krystal. “Well?”
Krystal thinks, and then replies: “Sulli, you have definitely always gotten the brunt of it, I must say. They don’t really expect as much of it from me. At least, not until recently.” Krystal turns her gaze to directly meet yours. “Lately things have changed a little around here, and not for the better.”
You look at Krystal and start to become really scared. She’s obviously very angry at you. In the meantime you just notice that the bag that contains your personal belongings has been taken by the guy sitting next to you. He takes out your mobile phone and the bottle that you brought with you and hands them to Krystal. Krystal instantly rolls down the tinted window on her side and flings your phone outside. You hear it shatter against something hard, then just as quickly Krystal rolls the window straight back up.
You protest: “Hey, that’s m….”
That’s the last thing you say as Krystal takes the bottle from the bag and thrusts the blunt end at you in a stabbing motion, dislocating your nose, while yelling at you: “Fucking shut up, bitch!”
Krystal turns to Sulli. “Sulli, I believe you were going to ask me something?”
Sulli responds with a question in an insincere fake-preppy voice. “Oh yes. Krystal, please tell – how have things changed for f(x) in the past few months?”
“Well Sulli, we used to have the good life, didn’t we. Only one video a year, only a week or two of performances, no annoying touring, no big shows… just lots of advertising and modelling work to pay the bills and bank up some money. And that was more or less it, wasn’t it? We’d actually get to sleep for 8 hours most nights.”
“You can thank me for that, Krystal. I’d always make sure I performed in a lazy manner so SM would shelve our live stages quickly out of embarrassment. I hate standing around all fucking day on those stupid TV shows waiting to shake hands with some cockhead, my back hurts after a while and my knees get sore.”
“Now it’s all fucking different. Thanks to this bitch.” Krystal glares at you, then reaches into her bag and pulls something out. It’s the letter you wrote to her. “Listen to this hilarity: ‘I want f(x) to have more videos for their songs, there should be more than one MV per album, and they should perform on shows longer’ – oh fuck I can barely go on… ‘why don’t you have an official fanclub name yet, or a concert, why is SM treating you so mean’ ….” Krystal looks up at you occasionally while reading this with a cold expression, seemingly completely unmoved by the fact that blood is now streaming down your face.
Sulli laughs while looking out the window at passing traffic, equally disinterested in your predicament. “Treating us mean? Christ, this bitch is so dumb. We were treated like queens before SM actually started making us work for a living. Don’t tell me all our fans are this fucking stupid.”
Krystal drops the letter on the floor and steps on it. Then she looks at you. “You know how long it takes to shoot a fucking music video? We work on that shit 24 hours around the clock until it’s done, no sleep. Then there’s the dance practice which takes months to get right and we’re up late at night, every night, working on that. We get two or three hours of sleep, every night, from when we start practicing a routine months before it comes out, right up until after it’s released and all the promotions are done. And you and your fucking genie multiplied that so we’re now doing this shit back to back, all the fucking time like motherfucking slaves, and not even making any extra money out of it, and you actually think you’re doing us a favour? We were one of the only big groups who actually got regular breaks between work! Now it’s just like being in fucking SNSD! Do you know how jealous Jessica was of me?”
You go to say something, but you don’t know what to say. You never thought about it like this.
Krystal continues. “Don’t even fucking get me started about that fucking concert we have to do. How long is it going to be like this for? Did the genie say to you anything about that?”
Scared, you don’t say anything. Krystal raises the metal bottle as if she’s about to attack you again. Frightened, you stammer out “the wish will last for m…my whole life. That’s what she said.”
Krystal puts the bottle down. She looks over at Sulli.
Sulli stares nonchalantly out the window at the traffic. “We have to kill her. It’s the only way.”
Krystal repeats “we have to kill her”, seemingly making it definite in her mind. You try to struggle but there’s nowhere to go; the man sitting next to you pins your arms to your sides as soon as you make a move.
Sulli looks over at Krystal. “I’m not putting up with any of this shit for the rest of this little cunt’s life if she’s going to live beyond next week, that’s for sure. I told our CEO that the genie was a fucking bad idea and it would cause some shit. I told him. But does he ever listen to me?”
Krystal laughs. “Hey, at least it wasn’t one of those EXO kids who found it. Can you imagine? Speaking of which, let’s go and pick Kai up.”
Sulli nods. “Good thinking, I’ll let him know”.
Tears start running down your cheeks as you realise that your short life as a f(x) fangirl is about to come to a swift end. Maybe it’s fitting that this is happening at the hands of f(x) themselves, after all you did say on forums not long ago that you would die for f(x). Sulli takes a photo of you with her phone and then starts texting. You start crying.
Minutes go by of sobbing and tears and then the limo pulls up somewhere. Sulli gets out, Kai from EXO gets in, then Sulli re-enters and the limo starts driving again. Kai looks you over, seemingly paying close attention to every inch of your bruised, bloodied face.
Krystal asks “what do you think? Bom?”
Kai replies. “No. Bom’s done for now, she won’t need anything for another 6 months at least. Boram might want the cheeks though, I know she’s been looking. You didn’t bust her in the cheekbone, did you?”
“No. I just hit her in the nose.”
“You need to be careful. We could have used that.”
“Trust me, if you saw the ugly nose on this one you’d realise it wouldn’t have been useful.”
Kai shrugs: “I guess I have to believe you, don’t I.”
You wonder how much longer you have left. You figure if there’s anything you want to know before you die, now’s probably a good time to ask. You speak quietly: “Can I ask something?”
Sulli reaches into her purse, and takes out a small handgun with a silencer attached. She stares at you – “what is it, cao ni ma?”
“Since I probably don’t have much longer left to live… can I ask… why f(x) never had an official fanclub name?”
Sulli, then Krystal, then Kai, all start laughing together.
“What… what’s so funny?” you ask.
“You’re a dumb bitch, and you’re about to die soon – that’s what’s funny.” Sulli retorts, chuckling while aiming the gun at your head.
Krystal takes a deep breath and looks at you. “Do you know what “f(x)” means? It’s a mathematical formula; variable function, depending on input – ‘f’ is function, ‘x’ is the unknown, symbolizing that each member, with our unique and valuable talents, brings something different to the group. Without this input, x has no meaning, it’s just empty. So if the group name is an unknown function because it’s subject to variation depending on input from the group, wouldn’t the fanclub name also be subject to variation on the same principle, but from fan input? So why should the company decide the name?”
Sulli takes a deep breath, pushing the silencer barrel hard against your temple. “She’ll be gone in five seconds. Why are you even telling her this?”
Krystal smiles and stares at you. “I like to see the light go on behind their eyes just before they die.”