Bayan Na

Copyright © 2015-2018 by VeryWellAged

Back to Chapter 2

Author's note: These chapters are NOT stand-alones...The story starts here.

Chapter 3:

How did it go?

It is just after noon. I got about seven hours of sleep before showering again. I am drinking a cup of tea, Earl Grey, and a plate of spicy pancit canton with a semi soft boiled egg on top. It may not be the healthiest of meals but I love it. I feel rested and at ease. A warm breeze is telling me I do indeed live in the tropics, but leaves me comfortable in my light weight clothing and sandals.

Jana has an amused expression as she watches mine. I think she likes it when I am working. Well, I think it went OK. No one has code that will work here in the Philippines now, but all I spoke with are willing to consider making the adjustments.

You spoke with Jack?

Him first. Yeh, he asked about you and was pissing and moaning about how he misses me. They wanted to know if I would consider being their rep here.

Jack asked you that?

At the request of the VP of Sales Development, yeh.

And you said, no?

Of course.

Good. We don't need that sort of problem.

Yeh, I know. Anyway they are interested but no commitment. I may hear more tonight.

Ah, so it will be another late night?

Mumm-humm, sure will. Maybe a lot of them until we can work through the builds of the code, if we go that way. Anyway, after I spoke with Jack, I called Cynthia Ramos. You remember her from the Dallas convention a few years ago?

Yes! You were drooling over her! She gets her customers by being sexy. Yes I remember her!

OK, yes, well, you are correct, but that's not how she retains her customers. She's probably far brighter and better than Jack. Besides, it's hard to drool all the way from the Philippines. And the side benefit is that she doesn't call me Gordo!

So? You want to work with her?

Maybe. Her company has good code. But just like Jack, they have nothing built that works here. Same with the third company I called. All will have meetings on it and get back to me, probably tonight.

Did you get hungry last night?

Yeh, but maybe I can bring something with me.

Yes, I will put a meal together for you. Gordon, you will need to train someone, no? You don't want to run their system, so who will do that?

Yes I will have an assistant during the implementation and that person will be the manager once completed. I will start with the inventory module. That assistant can manage that. Then I will get a new assistant for the sales modules, both floor and outside sales. Later we will plug in the jobbing, ordering, shipping, and tracking modules. Each module needs a manager. I gather that they don't have a real server farm, data center or any room built for that. As you know, that's not my thing, so I will have to ask around.

I hear from one of my friends. There is an American here who knows this.

Who?

Not sure. I will find out. Gordon, are you sure the owners of Bayan Na will want to grow like you design? I know you. It will work. But sweetheart, this is a mom and pop... yes a big and wealthy mom and pop, but it really is that, and you are getting ready to make them into a big regional powerhouse. Do they have any idea?

No, they just know that what they have isn't working. But Jana, there is no band-aid I can apply. Their problems are compounded by the lack of third party vendors with whom they can depend on to fill in the gaps and keep the company as small as it is. Still it's one of the two largest in this city. So yes it's a mom and pop, in our estimation, but it is the biggest player here as well. To fix their problems, we are going to have to invent the entire environment, the infrastructure that would be there to naturally surround a company this size in the States. You know when Obama said, 'You didn't build this,' he was more right than any of those two-bit small business operators know. The business culture and infrastructure in the USA is truly more than world class. It is the very best in the world and all those idiots who benefit from it don't have a clue. They should try to run their business here and see what happens.

Well, Bayan Na had better be ready to contribute in a major way to our new home. They are going to owe you a lot!

We will see. It is too early. All the vendors may decide to take a pass on this.

Really? They would walk away from this?

They will lose money on our installation. They have to ask themselves if the market potential for further sales in the Philippines is sufficient and if they have a corporate structure to support such activities going forward. I have no idea how they will see this. I think there is strong potential, but only if we are successful with Bayan Na, and their story can be told. Otherwise, no one here will want to buy into the investment required to make it happen. It's too heavy a lift, if you don't know why you are lifting in the first place.

Well, you just relax, read your paper and watch some TV. I will do some shopping.

I arrive at the store at 8:00PM. There is a guard outside but the doors are locked. I let myself in, relocking once inside. Eve will do the same thing. I have a bag with a thermos of tea, a container of rice, another container of humba and one of some pinakbet. When I get to the second floor office, it is obvious that Eve is, or has, been here. She has a rice cooker set up, a cooler is on a side table. I put my offerings on a table and sit down at a desk, turning on my laptop. I had decided to not even look at any email until I came in tonight. I want to stay unplugged for as long as I can get away with it. There will come a time, in the not too distant future, when such a luxury is no longer possible.

My computer login screen gives way to my desktop as I coax the system into giving me the contents of my inbox.

Buried in the email, I have a note from Jonathan that we will have a shower and a cot very soon. That is good news.

Among the spam, email from friends, and general detritus, there are seven emails from the three companies I contacted. Of those only one is from the last last of the three. I open that one first. It is a thank you, but we will take a pass on this. I am not surprised. I have no real history with these folks. I put the response in a folder for inactive contacts and move on. Jack has sent two emails. The first tells me, it's a go. They want to proceed. The second contains language that I don't like. They insist I rep them to do the job and that I agree to a non-disclosure commitment along with a five year sunset with which I cannot talk to any other vendors.

I would have no reason to talk with other vendors, if it all worked out, but there is no assurance that it will, and, like I told Jack, yesterday, I am not interested in repping for them. And five years? Shit, I refuse to be hooked up with any company until I am 71! Maybe I can push back on this. I decide, to not decide, until I read what Cynthia has to say.

But before I do, Eve has walked into the room. I have her read the first three emails without comment from me. By the end of the last one, she looks at me and says, Not good.

I agree, and nod. I tell Eve to stay where she is and we will read the rest together.

Four emails from San Jose, but not all from Cynthia herself. The first is from her and that's where I start.

Gordon,

We want you to work with us. Those on the sixth floor are having a party just thinking about the possibility of rolling out code in your market. I guess I am behind the curve. The number-crunchers up there tell me that yours is the fastest growing market in all Southeast Asia, and English is a national language – making our work far easier! My manager and I gave them info on your background which made them even happier. If you say yes, you are mine! Ha! I will finally reel you in. They tell me here that you are going to get emails from the powers that be. Please, please, no matter what they say, don't say, no. If there is a problem, give me a chance to make it right.

Hoping and crossing my fingers,

Cynthia Ramos

So that is nice, and Eve is smiling, giggling and saying, She is wrong, you are mine!, but there are three other emails. And besides, when I show this particular email to Jana, she will tell me that I am hers and not Cynthia's. Let's see what the following emails say.

Dear Mr. Jameson,

We are more than pleased you contacted us, in your search for a solution to the problems at Bayan Na. By the way, I asked a Filipino friend the meaning of Bayan Na. It's a perfect name for the type of merchandise they carry. We love it here.

Our team knows your reputation and we have strong examples of what you can do. We also know how important the Philippines will be to us, if we can break into that market.

Sir, allow me to be frank with you. Our legal team has advised me that there are rules about business ownership there that make it hard to get going on the ground. Evidently that has been an impediment for us. Our legal department will contact you under a separate cover to discuss it and find a way forward. However please know, we want this to happen. If you find any impediment to dealing with us, please let me know. I will do all I can to resolve the problem.

Yours,

Rodger Anderson

Well, that is unexpected. Two more to go.

Dear Mr. Jameson,

I have been informed that our sales and software development groups want to work with you to assist us in breaking into the Philippines market. Legally that is a problem as we cannot own a business in the Philippines. So we can't staff there. I am told that you do not seek employment with our company and work as an independent. Are you legally able to work in the Philippines? My research suggests you are probably not. Nor can we get you a work visa as we are not based there. So while we would like to work with you, I am doubtful that we can make it happen without some other third party hiring you as an employee under a work visa.

I am sorry to rain on your parade, but my job is to keep our company out of legal problems, in spite of the enthusiasm of others here.

Respectfully,

Thomas Belmonte

Actually Thomas has little to worry about. I have a 13A visa and am allowed to work here. So no third party company is needed. Long term, so long as they have a call center somewhere to support the +8 timezone, we are good. Short term, they can work with me and no call center is needed.

The last email is from Cynthia's manager and he has CC'ed her in his email to me.

Dear Gordon,

I have read a copy of the mail from our legal eagle. Cynthia called Thomas on the phone and proceeded to use very unprofessional language, telling him that you would have never even called if you didn't have everything nailed down legally. She told him, he was playing way out of his league. What he should have done is to ask you what your legal status is in the Philippines.

So, would you please be so kind as to tell me, what's up? Is my overpaid, highly excitable sales representative correct? Or does she need to go and eat some cold crow with Thomas Belmonte?

Yours,

Bob Packer.

I think I am going to like working with Cynthia. But before I deal with that, it's time to email Jack.

Hi Jack,

I got the emails and based on your company's response I have decided to pass and work with another group. As I told you, I am unwilling to be an employee. Further the exclusivity clause is frankly repulsive.

Best of luck,

Gordon

I compose a fresh email, not a reply, to Ramos, Anderson, Belmonte and Packer.

Dear All,

I have never been any more flattered than I feel now. Your emails of solicitation and encouragement are very easy on my old eyes. I thank you for your confidence.

In reference to Mr. Belmonte's caution, allow me to set his concerns aside as they are without adequate foundation. I hold a 13A Philippine visa which permits me to live and work here for the rest of my natural life, should I be foolish enough to want to work that long. I am a 'permanent immigrant' and while I cannot own a corporation, I can work as an independent contractor. So no, I can't be your employee, but then I don't want to be. I want to be independent. Still I would be happy to act as an independent consultant, assisting local businesses who purchase a license to use your code, which is completely legal.

If there ever comes a time when you need a legal foothold here, there are work arounds and I can assist you in such efforts. However, I caution you that I will not be involved in any such entity.

I gather that Ms Ramos will be my primary contact, although there will be others with whom I will interact. I believe that this is acceptable, though timezones will cause a bit of frustration for all.

Further please be advised that you may also hear from my assistant Everly Cruz on occasion. When Ms Cruz communicates, it is to be understood that such communication is coming from me.

As there is no DID service here, and we have just one phone in this office, when you call, Ms Cruz is as likely to answer as am I.

Let us proceed to work through the details of how to move forward.

Yours,

Gordon Jameson

Following a bit of proofreading I click on send. Eve has patiently watched all this. She twists my chair around, jumps on my lap and kisses me. It's a nice kiss. I like her small frame snuggled in to me. I put my arm around her and just hold her. Thank you, Gordon.

For what?

What you say to them.

Well, it means we have just signed on to a few years' worth of very hard work. There is nothing easy about doing this. The easy comes, once we have successfully made it all work. It should be easy to use when we are done, not for us.

Good, then we are together for a long time. And now we can make love and no problem!

Huh?

I get an IUD today! Also we have a small problem. My tita, she smell me and say, you are a bad man. I tell her no, not true. She say, 'You want this to happen child?' I tell her, I do. She say I need to find somewhere else to live.

OK I will talk to Jonathan about paying you at a level where you can afford your own apartment.

Thank you. I wish I live with you.

Yes I know you do, but that is not possible.

Eve has her hands in my hair and telling me that I really should reconsider that decision when the phone rings. I look at Eve and ask, Jack or Cynthia? Which do you think?

Cynthia, of course, silly.

I press the button on the speakerphone, Jameson here.

Gordon! You beast! Who is this Ms Cruz? Please tell me she is seventy years old with great-grandkids and no teeth!

Cynthia allow me to introduce Everly, Eve say hello to Cynthia.

Eve gives me a playful look before leaning toward the speakerphone. Good morning, Madam.

Madam? Dammit Gordon, she called me madam! How old is this assistant of yours.

I nod to Eve, to answer. Twenty madam.

Gordon, this one's hardly an assistant. She's a child!

Cynthia, get your claws back. Eve speaks five languages and has a Bachelors in Business.

No!

Yes. So apologize.

Eve?

Yes Madam?

Is what that old fool said really true?

Well, we don't call them languages. We call them dialects but it is true they have different words and for you they would be languages.

Five?

Yes Madam, if you include English.

And you really have a college degree?

University degree.

Damn, OK. But Eve tell me, is Gordon mine, or have you already claimed him?

Madam?

Oh, don't you madam me. You know what I am asking.

Eve is giggling. Gordon is mine, madam.

Are you an employee of Bayan Na, or do you work for Gordon?

It is complicated. Bayan Na pays me, but I work for Gordon and if he tells me we work for someone else, then that will be what happens.

Gordon, do you have Skype there?

Yes.

Do it! Use my email address to search for me. And with that Cynthia hangs up. I press the button on the speakerphone to kill off the dialtone.

Skype autoloads when I start my laptop, so I bring it up and stick in Cynthia's email address. I have Eve sit in front of the computer. In no time, Cynthia's face appears, along with a cup of coffee she is holding. At first her face just looks like she is waiting and curious and then her eyes flash open wide, her mouth gapes open. She closes her mouth and shouts Gordon! You bastard! How do I compete with this child?

Eve is confused and a bit terrified. I speak, though Cynthia can't see me. Cynthia, dearest, I am working with you because, one, you are smarter than Jack, two, I suspect that because of that, it will be easier to work through problems as they pop up, and you know they will, three I trust you, because even when things were not going your way, you were honest and decent, and four, while I honestly lusted after your body, that has nothing to do with my business decision making. You should know, it never did.

But this one, this Eve, don't tell me that you are not having your way with her. Sorry Eve, but I just don't believe that you are working with this guy you claim is yours, without bedding him.

Cynthia, I chose her because of her credentials. Yes, Eve and I are very close. The rest is none of your business.

OK, but Gordon, according to your rap sheet, you know we have one on you, you will be making this one the manager of an entire division of the company. Does she know this?

She didn't until you just spilled the beans dearest. Eve swings around and just looks at me. I smile at her and swivel her chair back to the screen.

Eve, child, let me explain something to you. Gordon here is going to work with me to get the inventory control system working through you. When we are done, you will know how to use everything you have from us, he will not. His job is to make sure you can do what you need to do and to make sure your module will interface with the other modules he needs to deploy. If he has selected correctly and if Bayan Na can grow like Gordon thinks it will, you will be managing one of the largest and most complex organizations in your country. Make no mistake, Eve. Gordon does this for a living and has been doing it for years. In the years to come, people will be offering you huge sums of money to do for them what you do for Bayan Na. I can see by your face that you are not sure you believe me. He is right there. Ask him.

Eve does turn back to me with a simple question. Gordon, this true?

If we are completely successful, yes.

Of course, Cynthia has heard the question and my answer. From the speaker comes, Eve, ask him if he has ever failed at doing this? Ask him.

Eve is still looking at me. Gordon, you ever fail?

Not yet. But there is always a first time Eve and I have never done this in the Philippines.

But I am your mistress, Gordon. I will not be apart from you.

Gordon!

Stay out of this Cynthia! It's OK Eve. It will all be OK.

I not let you go Gordon. We will do this, but I not let you go. And she turns back to the screen.

Cynthia has a smile on her face. You love him sweety?

Yes Madam.

Eve, please, please no more madam! Call me Cynthia. Now girl, please tell me he has been honest with you. You know he is married?

Yes. He is married to Ma'am Jana.

OK. Well, you and I are going to get to know each other very well. In the end, when it comes to this module, it will be you and me, not Gordon. You know Eve, Gordon has just screwed up my entire way of working.

How?

First I get the boss to 'want' me and then he appoints some young guy who I can tease and flatter and flirt with enough to hold on to the account for ever and ever. Now, I can't do either. I bet Gordon figured all this out right from the beginning.

Maybe, but he also contacted others.

Yes but Jack would have lusted after you, same deal. Your Gordon is known as a man who thinks five moves ahead before he moves a chess piece.

I see. So maybe he manipulated me?

Oh no, that's not his style. Whatever you think he is, well that's right. It's just that he would not have been willing to care for you unless he decided it was the right thing to do.

I think I see.

I have had enough of the touchy feely crap and I move next to Eve and in the area of the camera. If you females are done with this we need to talk about moving forward with a plan.

Cynthia nods and takes control. Eve I am sending you right now, via Gordon's email account, some pages of questions related to weights, measures, monetary matters, quantities, processes, forms, taxes, VAT right?, tariffs and other customs duties. Just work through them. If something doesn't make sense, ask Gordon first. When you get done, email the answers back to me. Gordon, legal is going to send you a contract as a third party consultant and paperwork for Bayan Na to read and sign. Keep me informed and give me a heads up of any problems before you communicate with anyone else. And Gordon, damn, she's beautiful. How did you ever con her?

None of your business Cynthia. Are we done for now?

Yes. Let's use Skype. I will see you two tomorrow.

The session ends. My email displays something new from Cynthia with an attachment. I open it. It is the file for Eve. I copy the attachment to a USB drive and give it to Eve. She can copy it on to her computer. Eve is looking at me.

Why me?

You fit the profile I needed for this job.

Yes the job requirements, but your mistress?

That wasn't a requirement I gave to Jonathan. I didn't ask for a girl. I didn't specify the sex of the assistant and assumed he would give me a guy. But when I meet you, yes. You needed to be my mistress.

So Cynthia is right. You look many moves ahead.

I guess so, though this was not a matter of moves ahead. It was all at the same time. If I am going to spend time throughout the night with someone for many months, maybe years, I want to make sure I like who that is. With you, that part was easy.

Is Cynthia right? Will I be an important person?

Assuming we can make this work, yes.

So you have changed my life.

We will see.

Cynthia say she use her sex?, beauty?, to keep her customers. That true?

Oh, a little bit, but if her company's offerings were not good or she wasn't good in assisting her customers, it would not help her for long. Maybe it makes her feel more confident. Maybe it makes the initial contact easier, but she really keeps her customers because she is good at her job.

Yes I can see that. Gordon, I think it is time for a meal! We both bring food. I also bring some towels!

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Chapter 4