JC sighed and confirmed, “Yes, Juan, I have all of that information. Robert is doing his piece to confirm maintenance potential and ground movement personnel who can be trusted. So who are we trying to meet with? I thought we had everything.”
“We need someone to accept what we are transporting, and I have to be sure that we can trust them. We need to meet face to face, and I want to talk to him before we do our first test run. If I don’t like what I see and hear, we move on to Panama and write off the Cayman Islands for money laundering. We might do that anyway if this clown doesn’t show up pretty soon,” Juan informed JC.
JC stood next to Juan and ordered a drink. Neither of them spoke to each other, since both were lost in their own thoughts. Patience was not a strong suit for either of these men, and Juan was about finished waiting.
A deep timber voice behind him said, “Mr. Juan, I presume?”
JC and Juan turned around to greet the individual but lowered their gaze in order to actually see the man’s face.
“My name is Phillip Johnston. I’m sorry I’m late. My boss, Denali, dropped his cell phone over board while fishing, and I had to deal with getting the replacement and reprogramming it for him. So what are we drinking, gentlemen?” Johnston enquired.
Johnston suffered from what is known as the small man complex, and yet he did everything possible to try and enhance his deficiency.
Juan instinctively grabbed JC’s massive arm to get his attention and without a spoken word sent JC off to a table. Then Juan indicated for Mr. Johnston to join him at an empty table in the corner. Juan took the seat in the corner with Johnston facing him.
Juan gathered his usual charm and offered, “No worries about the timing. I was just relaxing here. What would you like, sir?”
Johnston clapped his hands together and with a grin that would only have endeared him to a cockroach said, “How about my favorite local adult beverage, Jamaican Rum?”
Juan could already tell that this was going to be a long, trying evening with this person. He started off the conversation asking about Johnston’s past history once the drink was served.
“You seem like a bright lad, but you have no accent that I can place. I can tell you are not from around here.”
Johnston was obviously pleased with the impression that Juan had received. He launched into a monologue using Spanish, English, French, and Portuguese to cover his diverse background. Johnston ended up trying to explain his reason for moving to the Caymans by using a joke requiring a play on words and a certain amount of classical art education on the part of the audience.
Johnston said, “So after my classical art business went under, I was baroque and out of Monet.”
The humor fell so flat as to be pathetic. Johnston laughed at his own joke so hard that he spilled his drink. Juan looked at Johnston, and then JC who had heard the attempted humor as well, and then back to Johnston. After Johnston regained his composure and another drink, Juan decided enough history had been learned. Moving on to his objective for the meeting, Juan figured if they didn’t get to the business at hand to discover if this clown could help them they might as well go on to Panama tonight.
Juan verified, “Of course. So now you work in a banking institution here on the island, correct? I am told you have certain knowledge and skills in handling large inheritances. Is that true?”
At the question, Johnston went from rodeo clown to serious business man capable of in-depth financial discussions in sub-millisecond time. He could smell the sweet odor of success close at hand.
Johnston reassured, “Of course I can help you with managing your inheritance. What type of transactions do you need assistance with? Are they electronic transfers or physical deposits in cash, or gold, or diamonds? What level of funding, frequency, and availability will you require? Also, what kind of investment risk do you favor for your portfolio? I am well versed in handling large inheritances and being most discreet for my clientele.”
Juan was quietly stunned at the complete change in Johnston. He was also impressed at the range of questions being asked. This was the type of information Carlos wanted to know about.
Juan nodded and stated, “Now we have something to talk about. So tell me just how much record keeping and intrusive reporting do we need to endure here at your bank if we in fact wanted you to manage our inheritance? I must tell you we are a close family who takes our privacy very seriously. So seriously in fact, we are in the process of moving our inheritance from our native country to a more understanding and sympathetic financial institution. So far, I like some of what I am hearing. So please tell me more about your services, customary banking fees, and most importantly your discreetness, sir.”
The next two hours passed very quickly. Juan had the information requested by Carlos and additional details that were in the category of nice-to-have information. Finally Johnston made his farewells but not before inflicting another joke on Juan with again the same effect. Juan tried to smile as if it totally made sense. After Johnston left, JC rejoined Juan.
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