The Land of The Thieves - Chapter 1
Episode 1: World Crisis (1)
The large airplane that I was in was leaving London. This would be a nonstop flight to Singapore.
The girl with a ponytail and a touchscreen gadget in her hand with some questions in it smiled nervously while sitting on the good leather seat next to me. I was not in the mood to smile, but I just grinned, staring at her flatly.
“Please,” I said.
“I’m sorry. This interview was delayed countless times. We tried our best to adjust your schedule. But, well, it’s not easy to catch up with your busy life.” She looked a little bit confident now. Her smile was a little bit better.
I nodded. I know, no need to explain. The first appointment in Jakarta yesterday morning was canceled because I had left for a conference. The senior editor of the weekly magazine specifically called me and apologized, saying the interview was very important, the time was urgent, and that their loyal readers wanted to know what was the best response to the turbulence in the world economy today. They would do anything to get the interview, including following me to London.
Well, I did give them an hour after the conference. However, their reporter arrived late at the conference hall and I was already in a taxi rushing toward the airport.
The editor hurriedly called me back saying they had tried to send the best reporter after me to Europe, but my following schedule was too dense. While he was laughing, he joked, “You know, Tom. Your schedule is denser than even the president’s. “
For the sake of politeness, I joined in with laughter and said simply, “Let’s do it now in the sky or forget it altogether.”
“As I might have mentioned in the email, this will be on the front page.” The girl in the white blouse and conservative knee-length black skirt still continued with the opening sentence. “You know, frankly speaking, I’m a little nervous. Not for the interview, but because I was so enthusiastic. Dear God, this is my first time in a large plane. This is awesome. Bigger than the first release photos. How big is it? The biggest in the world? Three times a normal plane. And I hitched a ride in the executive class. Friends of journalists would be jealous if they knew that our editor spent a lot of money to buy a ticket so that I could be on the same plane as you.”
I nodded, more absorbed in observing the appearance of the “best reporter” beside me. I muttered, hopefully the contents of her head were as beautiful as her looks. The girl was more suitable to be a television show host than an ink labourer, flirtatious by dressing up and sentences while the head was empty. What were her qualifications? The best graduate of business school? There were thousands of people who have that title—I even had two.
“When did you become a reporter?”
The girl’s cheerful smile folded, even though her best facial expression still hung.
“Yes, how long has it been since you became a reporter?”
“Two years,” she answered doubtfully.
“How old are you?”
“Uh, twenty-five. “
“How many reporters are there in your office?”
“Yes, let’s say I was interviewing you.” I stared at her faintly, ignoring the polite flight attendants who were wandering around offering caviar and the best wine.
“Interesting.” I flicked my index finger. “Out of thirty journalists in the weekly economic review office that claimed as the biggest magazine in Southeast Asia, your editor in chief apparently decided to send his twenty-five-year-old junior who has been working in only two years, to do an interview which he said is the most important, the most current hot topic, and the title that would be on the front page of the breaking news edition. Very interesting, right? “
The girl’s face turned red. It looked like I managed to offend her pride. She paused, squeezing her fingers, breathing hard. Perhaps, if she weren’t on the plane, she would have already left me, forgetting this damn interview. It might also be that if I were not the source of her interview and instead a nobody, I would have been pelted with her iPad or shoes. She seemed to have never been humiliated like this.
I developed a smile, casually waving my hand. ”Of course I am joking. You must be the best. Besides, I just wanted to prove whether my expectations when meeting you on this plane were true, it turns out that you are indeed much prettier when angry. Your name is Julia, right? Let’s start the interview. “