Straightening my posture, I slid my hands into the pockets of my suit slacks. It had already been twenty minutes since my arrival had been announced, and I wondered what the delay portended. It wasn’t like my host to put on such a display of irritation.
I didn’t like it at all.
It’s not as if I didn’t already have a lot to think about. The last week had been quite the upset. While I expected some aftermath and a few hitches here and there, in my apathy and force of will I had failed to understand the weight of a few deceptively important details within my agency. The fallout, resultantly, had been relatively catastrophic.
And instead of running damage control, I was here – halfway across the world, held captive by the passive-aggression of a powerful man – a man who controlled my future, and that of all my employees.
Out of the corner of my eye, the receptionist finally moved. Pressing her hand to her earpiece for a moment, she listened intently to an instruction, nodding once quickly. Quietly whispering something back into the earpiece, she then turned her attention to me.
“He will see you now.”
* * *
Alphonse Robinson Megami greeted me at the door of his magnificent office. He welcomed me inside, and I took the opportunity to admire his office once more. It was a strange place to find an elderly black man like Alphonse, but he had always been a little different.
Megami’s private office was a long, spacious display of contemporary power. Along the left wall stretched a series of traditional Japanese tapestries, pottery, and decorum, lining recessed shelving and cubicles. Breaking the flow were occasional bookcases, displaying additional pieces of exquisite art and references to the great history of Japan. The right wall, on the other hand, was a series of large, wide floor-to-ceiling panels of glass, separated by strips of wall only as broad as my shoulders. It cast an interesting array of shadows over the room as I graciously followed the man to his sweeping executive desk at the far end.
Before sitting, we customarily bowed our heads and shoulders to one another, and then took our chairs in opposition.
“Welcome to Toyko, Mister Andrews,” Alphonse told me. “How was your flight?”
“Enlightening,” I told him, stroking his ego somewhat. “I took the time to reflect on some things.”
“Did you find your meditations to be informative?” He asked politely.
“To an extent, yes.”
Alphonse, I’ve mentioned before, is a traditional man. This is true in some ways. However, there’s a certain something to be said about a powerful, rich businessman who overcame racial inequality first-hand. Since the civil rights days, he’d become a Shinto religious convert, spending the next four decades in Japan and embracing its culture and history. His success transcended race or country or creed.
I admired him, I’ll admit.
For one, he was one of the sincerest men I’d ever met – his religion filled him with reverence for all things living and inanimate, and reinforced improving the current world over preparing for the afterlife. To that extent, he routinely made large donations and invested heavily in the education and wellbeing of Japanese youth.
Additionally, he had evolved as a person. In his younger days he had been a cutthroat businessman, working his way up the corporate ladder and finally setting out on his own – eventually heading a powerful conglomerate corporation. The Megami Corporation had its tendrils in everything from home appliances to oil interests and mobile phones, and its handful of divisions were headed by powerful, savvy, somewhat unpredictable individual presidents. Each of them, in turn, answered to this single man. To reduce the stress of responsibility, Mr. Megami began dividing the company into these sectors, embracing a calmer, more collected reputation as a deeply reverent and compassionate human being who just happened to rule one of the largest entities in Japan.
The Fingers of Megami, his rivals called the presidential structure of his subsidiaries. Each one digging into a different pie with various reputations, but each one a highly competent businessman with incredible power. Soon, my company and all the secrets within would help catapult Megami Corp from a Japanese powerhouse to a global phenomenon. I had similar goals once, back before life decided to throw me the ultimate curve-ball. Now, I just wanted to take a walk in the park, happy in the knowledge that I’d created some small mark on the world.