Summary of the amusement
After landing at Changi airport in Singapore without a passport, with her friends Lanai and former Herbaline employee Ambi Michaels, teleoperator Clarity Nice is set aside by a woman dressed as a hostess from Singapore Airlines, Yi Ling, before reaching the customs and passport area of the airport. Yi Ling has connections with a Secret Society of warrior monks known as the Society of the Enlightened Jade Dragon, and she gets Clarity a passport with diplomatic status and a false name, Darcy Emmers, along with a badge confirming her credentials with the company which paid for her ticket, the diet and weight prevention herbal company, Herbaline.
Clarity trusts Yi Ling, who simply says she is a friend, and leads Clarity to an important Forum on health and longevity, at the Suntec Center, attended by Taoist Master Professor Chang, and Owens & Owell heiress Shalia Owell, who becomes infatuated with Clarity. Left on her own without Yi Ling, Clarity stays close to Shalia during the conference, befriending her, learning of the various insecurities of the wealthy socialite. The blond girl is reassured by the presence of Clarity, and simply wants to get her company board seat back from a stern father who disapproves of her marriage with good looking girlfriend and human sexuality university student, Jenny Owens.
Yi Ling gets in touch with Clarity after the conference, telling her that she must protect a chart which holds the mystery of immortality, known as Meridian 57, built by the monks of the Enlightened Jade Dragon Society after years of studying the Taoist Canons. Coveted by Singapore billionaire Dao Bin, and a White Tigress linked to Professor Chang, Madame Wa, the chart is part of a module inside the symbolic decryptor of Clarity, who is told by the monks that the esoteric knowledge inside the module is not ready to be revealed.
They finished dinner at eleven o'clock. Clarity insisted on paying her own bill, and she saw the balance of the card offered by Yi Ling drop a whopping four hundred dollars to a remaining cash amount of one hundred dollars. The mini bottles of Laurent Perrier and Moët et Chandon, and the luxury menu of Jaan, along with the beautiful view, added up quickly. Dao Bin invited them into his Rolls Royce.
"Care for a night stroll in my car? I have some drinks to offer and I'm going to pick up Professor Chang to speak with him. Maybe some business opportunities will arise out of that."
"Sure," said Shalia.
She would have done practically anything to keep talking with the Singapore wealthy businessman. They went down the seventy floors of the restaurant and reached the mogul's Rolls Royce, kept by moneytician Lim Li. The back of the car was split in two areas facing each other. A leather bench holding three people unfolded, and Clarity and Shalia sat down on it, turning their back to the driver. Across from her, Dao Bin sat down, letting Lim Li face Shalia. Clarity noticed an old candlestick phone hanging from the wall of the right rear door. Dao Bin was a collector of phones and the one in the car was an authentic one made by Western Electric. Dao Bin grabbed the candlestick phone attached to the passenger's rear door and began a conversation with a merchant, a prominent supplier of components for the flagship product of Hunan Enterprises, a one hundred dollar smartphone offered throughout Asia. Dao Bin pressed on a button and a smartphone popped up from a compartment near the ashtray of the car.
"I want the lanthanides, lanthanium, Terbium, Gadolinium, Dysprosium, Neodymium. We need that for sharpness of the screen colors and for the electronics, the magnets of the speaker and microphone."
Lim Li grabbed the device which had popped from the rear compartment, and he offered the Hunan smartphone to Shalia, who began playing with it. Shalia used the phone to get in touch with her girlfriend Jenny Owens, who was taking care of their essays on human sexuality at University of Arizona. The blond socialite had slept with their thesis advisor a few times, a young professor in his thirties with a liberal mind, and the professor accepted Shalia as an online student when Shalia said she would do her homework assignments from abroad and let her girlfriend Jenny print them, handing them in for her. Clarity watched Shalia and noticed that she was using whatsapp to get in touch with her friends. The teleoperator missed Lanai and not having a phone of her own, and she was looking forward to receiving her decryptor. Dao Bin continued speaking to his supplier.
"Yes, the regular amount of transition metals, gold, silver, nickel, all of that as well, same price."
After a few seconds in listening mode, Dao Bin rotated the receiver with this thumb and index, without saying much, a sign that things were not going the way he wanted them to go. The supplier was not providing the components, there was a problem with delivery because of a customer who had closed a deal before him twenty minutes earlier. Sitting across the mogul with Shalia, Clarity watched Lim Li, as the moneytician opened a spreadsheet which had a list of all the components included in Dao Bin's smartphone. The list also had their price and their location in one of the twelve manufacturing plants that the Singapore billionaire had in Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Dao Bin turned to the moneytician seating near him.
"There is a problem with the order."
"Put him on speaker phone," said Lim Li. The merchant's voice vibrated loudly inside the car.
"We have run out of components, I'll get in touch with you when the lanthanides are available." Dao Bin and Lim Li remained speechless a few seconds.
Clarity saw a television screen on the ceiling of the Rolls Royce, showing a feed with the stock price of Hunan Enterprises at the Shanghai stock exchange and the Singapore Exchange, abbreviated as SGX. Lim Li gave earphones to Clarity and Shalia so they could hear the official presentation of Hunan Enterprises. A feminine voice explained the history of the company in Chinese, its modest beginnings and its fabulous growth. Dao Bin had begun his career as a factory worker in Malaysia and Taiwan, working for Fairchild Semiconductor, glass display maker Corning, and touchscreen controller manufacturer Broadcom. With some saved money, he set up his own distribution shop in Singapore, Hunan Phoneshop, that he'd turned into a franchise with the help of Lim Li, a shrewd cell phone salesman.
Clarity saw a photo of the original Hunan Phoneshop store appear onscreen. Over several years, Dao Bin had gone from being a modest store owner, to an assembler of smartphone casings, displays, and camera lenses, for well known sellers like Apple, Huawei, and Samsung, to building his own communications brand employing thousands of workers located in Taiwan and South East Asia, all working in a complex web of suppliers and providers of components and assembled blocks. His Taiwanese merchant traded Lanthanides, rare earth metals, which came mostly from China, and which were necessary to build any smartphone.
"If you want the lanthanides, you'll have to pay fifty percent premium, I'll have to tell the other customer he has to wait," said the merchant. Lim Li glanced at Dao Bin with a look saying the merchant was talking nonsense. The moneytician shook his head, giving Dao Bin his answer.
"No deal, fifty percent is crazy, send in the transition metals, and the silicon, nickel, tin, lead, gallium, that way we'll be able to work on the microphone, the chip, and we'll also be able to solder the electronics on the new K-talker phone model."
The King Talker seven was the latest phone assembled by Hunan that Dao Bin was putting out in the market. Dao Bin followed the indications of his moneytician and only half the deal was closed. The businessman made a call to China, speaking Chinese a few minutes, and then turned off his smartphone completely.
At eleven forty five in the evening, the Rolls Royce picked up Professor Chang at the Institute for Long Health. The Taoist master was living in a two room apartment owned by the institute, right above it. The authority on longevity stepped in the backseat-unfolded gray leather bench of the car, facing Dao Bin, sitting beside Clarity.
"Professor, these are some of my business connections, Ms. Shalia Owell and Ms. Darcy Emmers, specialist from Herbaline."
Chang bowed his head to Shalia, looking intently at Clarity. Dao Bin had invited Chang to turn the Grandmaster into his business associate, or at the very least, to know more about what the taoist master knew about yin and yang, and internal energy circulation.
"I have to be back in my apartment for the two hour Tao Yin and internal breathing exercises. Let us ride around the area."
Chang picked up a pistachio from a tray in the backseat. Dao Bin spoke to the driver of his electrical Rolls Royce and the car began to move at five miles an hour around the block of the Institute of Long Health. Dao Bin offered a drink to everyone which came out of the bar compartment, and he began speaking to Chang.
"Professor Chang, what is the price of your sacred knowledge on longevity?" Asked Dao Bin. Chang smiled mysteriously.
"Tao knowledge takes time to learn. There are three levels to my courses that provide the fundamentals of longevity, for both men and women. A core level which provides an introduction to the microcosmic orbit, a class known as Loving Sense which is an introduction to seminal Kung Fu for men and ovarian kung fu for women, and a third level, known as Union and Merging of the Five Energies, which relates emotions to the internal breathing knowledge learned in the previous two courses. This knowledge has never been revealed up to now. I am the first Grandmaster to reveal this knowledge. I want one million dollars to provide one to one instruction, for each person who receives it."
Clarity placed her drink on a glass holder attached to the driver seat. She was surprised to see how material spiritual knowledge could get. Spiritual knowledge had a price and Chang was not doing a bad job at valuing it, knowing he had a billionaire across from him. Shalia threw in a word for Clarity, to justify her own presence in the car and say something related to the conversation.
"My friend Darcy is a specialist on emotion, we may be able to help on this."
"What emotion is your specialty?" Asked Chang, turning to Clarity. Clarity answered with the logic of her friend Ambi Michaels, the woman held for two years at Herbaline.
"Stability," said Clarity, "I think there's way too much emotional instability in the world today. I think the environment plays a role in making emotion surface, and that factory workers are more prone to being emotional than someone working in an office, job precariousness is a factor. The notion of flow and dealing with the complexities of a task at work, is what leads to stability, and job stability is also what leads to emotional stability. And all of that leads to a sustainable community."
"Interesting theory, flow is not part of my specialties." Dao Bin interrupted.
"I want to lengthen the span of human life to one hundred and fifty years of age, Professor, using technology. How can you help us do that?"
"There are missing links in traditional Chinese medicine, holistic links relating the various layers of fluids in the body to the twelve organ meridian system."
While Dao Bin spoke with professor Chang about how these links could be found, Clarity began talking with Shalia.
"There is a chart that may cover these links." The eyes of Shalia lit up, bringing a mixture of envy, ambition, and desire to impress Dao Bin, to her conversation with the Malibu teleoperator.
"Really, where is this chart, what is it?" Asked Shalia.
"It's called Meridian 57, some kind of code name for the chart. I learned of this through Herbaline. A group of monks is working on it. I'm trying to get in touch with them, but they are not easy to find. When I get my decryptor it will be easier."
"My symbolic decryptor, it has a software that talks about the monks I just mentioned. But I'm not sure how to use the software to get in touch with them."
Lim Li had overheard Clarity and blended in the conversation.
"Meridian 57 is a codename for longevity?"
"I think the number refers to the twelve organ meridian system," said Clarity. "Five and seven adds up to twelve."
Across from Clarity, Dao Bin struck his cane on the carpet of his car. For the second time that day, he could not agree on a price to buy the Neidan know-how, the internal energy knowledge of Chang. He was not that interested in paying for a lesson, or three courses, but wanted to buy the rights to using the knowledge in any context, including a smartphone or a lab. But Chang was refusing a 'bundled' deal, prefering to charge for each module taught as teacher, without giving up rights to his knowledge, learned in part from a hermit.
"We can reach agreement Professor Chang, let us stay in touch. I will send two of my masseuses to your office, they are most pleasant and I am sure you will treat them well."
Chang did not answer, but nodded a polite thank you smile. The Rolls Royce stopped in front of the Institute of Long Health and Lim Li opened the door to Chang. Dao Bin turned to Shalia Owell, indicating their night was coming to an end.
"We'll take a taxi back to my hotel," said Shalia, "drop us off at the Suntec convention center."
Lim Li smiled to Clarity politely and stepped out with both girls. He gave one last suggestion to Shalia, when Dao Bin could not hear him.
"Keep us informed on that chart," said Lim Li, "right now, it is really the only reason we're going to do business with you."
Shalia nodded and said goodbye, stepping out of the Rolls Royce. Half an hour later, they were back at Shalia's hotel. Again, Shalia had her hands all over Clarity. She gently pushed Clarity into the bed, landing the teleoperator into the white quilt.
"You have to tell me about that chart in more detail. I think Professor Chang got interested by your talk on emotion, and Dao Bin wants Chang. There's a business opportunity for Owens & Owell, I know it."
"There's not much more to say, I don't know much more about that chart," said Clarity.
She took off the sweater of Shalia, smelling the pleasant perfume emanating from it. The perfume made her think about the group of women tied to the Privilege Club, the flamboyant harem known as the Skyline of Kuala Lumpur. Maybe they would know the chart or how to get in touch with the monks. The only problem was that she knew no one inside the harem. She stopped the overt advances of Shalia and stepped into the bathroom, grabbing a comb to disentangle her auburn shoulder-length hair. Now that Shalia knew of the monks, she had to follow up on the location and nature of the chart. The face of Shalia peeked inside the bathroom.
"I want to hire you as an assistant, we need to work on a budget for this project, this issue of human longevity and the aging-well market can get me back on the board of Owens & Owell, but I need to work out some numbers before I present this to the Executive Committee. Do you want to stay another week with me?" Asked Shalia.
Clarity blushed slightly and instinctively nodded. Having expenses paid for a week was certainly a boon at that point.
"We'll talk about all this tomorrow."
She pulled Clarity by the hand to the bed and sat astride her, kissing her on the lips, smelling of Chanel number five. Clarity returned the kiss, charmed and delighted by the perfume and smell of the blond girl. She made love with Shalia eagerly, and fell asleep two hours later, her hand landed on the waist and hip of the wealthy socialite, enjoying the sweet, clean smell of the white quilt surrounding her.
TO BE CONTINUED, HERE, MERIDIAN 57
All characters over 21
BANANA HUMOR for Adults previously released:
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