“Sulun, I heard that you were promoted to a position in Washington DC. Are you going to come back from time to time?” Pammy says.
Sulun was Pammy’s college friend and he’s a dinner guest at Pammy’s place with Pammy and her husband Pan.
“Promotion? It’s more like a demotion in the disguise of a promotion. You know for a diplomat like me, New York area is the best. Who wants to get stuck in Washington DC? There aren’t even decent Southeast Asian food there. The Asian restaurants in DC are either super expensive that I can’t afford, or super low quality that I don’t want to go. Tell you what, our ambassador and his wife visit New York City almost every weekend, on the pretense of this or that event so that they can use the official vehicle.”
Sulun is the attache at the embassy of Islandesia, a fictional Southeast Asian country. By the end of the dinner, it becomes clear that Sulun hasn’t dropped by just for a casual chat. He’s trying to get Pammy and Pan involved in his little side project–collecting Asian antiques in North America and shipping them back to Hong Kong to be sold in auctions.
“You know how badly I am paid as an attache and the expense in America is much higher than back home. I need some side projects to make up for the shortfall.” Sulun says.
“Are you sure there are a lot of Asian antiques in North America?” Pammy asks, a little puzzled.
“Of course. Soldiers and businessmen brought back ivory decorations, porcelains, statues for more than a hundred years. And these items can fetch a great price in Hong Kong.” Sulun says.
When Sulun finally leaves for the night, Pammy asks Pan, “Why did you exaggerate your pay and position? We don’t have much money to spare. You make it sound like we can afford to jump in a risky project like this.”
“I didn’t know at first he’s coming for the antique business. I can’t help it. He’s your ex-boyfriend and I want to show off how good I am. Now I see what he’s doing. He nagged me on to show off myself first; then he started to talk about this antique thing… These diplomats are so clever–they can talk you into anything.”