An American Ex-Pat makes an offer
The Ambassador accepted the device and inserted it into a port on the laptop on his desk. "Thank you. How soon do you think you can finish the economic report?"
"I have the rest of the week off, so maybe early next week."
"Yes, of course." Harman remembered.
Would that be all, sir?"
"Have a good weekend. I'll see you Monday." Only a few days into the job and Harman was already getting used to the idea of doing much of his own office work. Denise worked only half-days two days a week. He was going to reconsider her contract. If he could find it. He turned to study the spreadsheet on his computer screen as she left.
A bald man burst into the room. He wore an unbutton flowered shirt with a purple t-shirt underneath, Bermuda shorts, bright yellow sport socks, and sandals. Harman leaned back in his chair when the man reached across the desk to grasp Harman's hand in a firm shake. "Hi, hi, hi! I'm Gerald Crawford! It's good to meet you, Ambassador Harman."
"Good to meet you, too, Mr. Crawford." He released the man's hand as quickly as possible.
Crawford glanced around the office. "Haven't done much decorating yet, I see."
"Well, we've only been here a few days." Harman noted. "My wife has a few ideas."
"Very good, very good." Crawford plopped himself down in a chair in front of the desk and pulled a cigarette from the pocket on his t-shirt and lifted a lighter to the tip.
"Sorry. No smoking." Harman admonished.
"Of course, of course." The garishly dressed man held the cigarette in his hand but did not put it back in the pocket. "I would like to welcome you on behalf of the Ex-Pat community in Dennado."
The Ambassador leaned forward in his chair again. "Thank you, Mr. Crawford. I hope to meet more of the U.S. community living here soon."
"I'm sure you will." Crawford promised. "We get together once a month. You and your family are welcome to come."
"I'll be sure to put that on my calendar." He said as he scribbled a note on his tablet. Crawford was apparently making himself available as an entry into the community. "What brings you to Oslea?"
The man waved the hand with the unlit cigarette as he spoke. "I won a lottery. 53 Mil. I got tired of people I didn't know me asking for money, so I came here."
"I see." Harman said, understanding.
"Now I mostly lay on the beach and drink drinks with umbrellas in them." He explained. "But that's getting pretty boring now, too."
"Looking for the next big thing." The Ambassador agreed.
There was a knock on the door and Lt. Ballencek poked his head inside. "Hiya, Ambassador Harman!"
"Come on in, Larry." He motioned for his Chief of Staff to enter. "This is Mr. Crawford."
"Oh, yeah!" Ballencek beamed. "Hiya, Gerald! Good to see you again."
“How’s the spy business going?” Crawford asked.
Ballencek rubbed his chin thoughtfully for a moment. “I can’t say. It’s a secret.”
"It's really warm in here." Harman observed.
The Chief of Staff, who was also the Security Officer for the U.S. Embassy, walked to the digital thermostat.
"We're still having trouble with this thing." He said. "Wow! It's set to 90 degrees!" Ballencek tapped the screen thermostat and reset the temperature to 72. "It'll take a while to cool off."
Crawford nodded in appreciation. "Thank you."
"I've been meaning to talking to you, Lt." Harman said. "It's about your attire."
Today Ballencek was wearing a blue flowered shirt with green slacks. It was his favorite outfit. His weapon was holstered on his waist. The shoulder holster just wasn't working out. "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"
"Maybe something a little more Official." Harman said.
"I like this, but I'll see what I can find."
"I appreciate it," Harman said.
Bill Harman Jr. walked into the room unannounced. "School's out for the day, already."
“The kids here have fairly short school days,” Crawford explained.
Bill added “My classmates are pretty friendly, but they seem a little thin on technology.”
“The school district doesn’t have a lot of money, so much of their tech needs to be upgraded,” Ballencek said.
“That’s not in the report,” the Ambassador said.
“Denise and I haven’t updated that Education section yet,” Ballencek admitted.
Harman leaned back in his chair again and looked at Crawford, “Maybe there’s something we can do to help the education system here.”
“Hmmm,” The Ex-Pat looked up at the ceiling for inspiration. “Hmmm,” he repeated. “I have a couple million dollars laying idle.” He pulled a cellphone from his shirt pocket and started tapping on the screen.
“How about some classes on economic theory to go with some new toys?”
Harman nodded, “Very good. I’ll see if we can loosen up some money from the State Department as well.”
“If there’s anyone who can convince them, it’ll be you.” Crawford said. “The author of A Universally-Composable, Indifferentiable Oblivious Macroeconomic Transfer Protocol should be able to convince anyone of anything.”
Harman rolled his eyes, “You’ve read that, too?”
Crawford waved his hands expansively, “Hasn’t everyone? It’s the most important economic study in the last five years.”