Between the jet lag, the caffeine withdrawal, and the light sparkling off of the $20,000 platinum-plated phone, I am feeling a bit woozy. Not being entirely certain how to handle this device, I hold the phone as I once saw an old lady do with produce in a grocery store - scrutinizing the produce to find the ONE tomato without any blemishes.
Caroline: "Where would the gem be placed?"
Hideo: "Um...here!" I point pretty much at random.
Caroline: "Interesting - we have not had anyone wanting to customize the...screen...before."
Hideo: "(realizing error) No, I meant that this is a beautiful screen. Minimal glare. Much like the face of a Breitling - functional yet attractive. But I digress. Sylvia would like to use her own 1.03 carat, purple Alexandrite on the face plate here."
Caroline: "A 1.03 carat gem, here?"
Caroline's tone is incredulous. It was as though I mentioned that I had deep-fried arachnids for lunch, and found them crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside (this is actually a dish in rural Cambodia, apparently. It was on the Discover channel. That's where I got the gooey quote.)
Hideo: "Ha ha. I must apologize for joking with you. Having held the device in my hand, it is quite apparent that a gem of that size would detract from the refined lines of this device. In fact, that would be garish...rude even. Sylvia is not fixated on this particular 1.03 carat gem, but she does want an Alexandrite to be part of the overall look. Perhaps you can suggest some designs?" (Phew!)
Caroline: "Oh but of course! We'll try to arrange some designs from our London design department by the time Sylvia arrives on her… next Singapore visit (gives Hideo conspiring look)."
Hideo: "(returns look of deep conspiracy) Remember, you didn't hear it from me!"
By this time, I had already spent close to one hour in this office, and I wanted to leave. But I also wanted the coffee she poured for me earlier. I had not reached for it, fearing that I would spill it onto the $20,000 phones and thus be their proud owners. I glanced forlornly at the coffee cup, but was frozen in indecision.
Catching my expression, Caroline hastily exclaims, "Oh Hideo, my deepest apologies. Your drink has gotten cold! I will get another sent out immediately!" With that, Caroline pressed a hidden button under her desk. 45 seconds later, a black-clad man appeared with my fresh cup. Although I longed to slug it down, I merely took one small sip. I suddenly had a vision of being held hostage here until the enigmatic Ms. Sylvia ponied up a check for this communication device. I had to get out of here!
Hideo: "Oh my! I must beg your pardon. My next meeting at the Capitol Tower (the only address outside the hotel that I know) beckons"
Caroline presses another secret button under her desk and Samantha and an older black-clad man appear at the door. I feel nervous for a moment, but they all shake my hand enthusiastically and give me their business cards.
"We look forward to seeing you again soon! Please give our regards to Ms. Sylvia! We can meet anytime - just let us know her schedule and we will accommodate!"
[To be continued in person by Ms. Sylvia]