Luk Thep: Chapter 7

At long last, the review of the data was done. Both women exhaled audibly when the task was finally complete.

“Are you ready for some rest now?” Khajee asked, playfully.

Jane checked her watch, which she had set to local time upon her arrival in Bangkok. It was a little past 9 o’clock p.m.

“Yeah, I’d say I am. Thank you for staying so late tonight to help me get this all done. I really appreciate it. I couldn’t have done any of this without your help.”

“Oh, don’t mention it,” Khajee said.

This was a good moment, Jane thought—one of those relatively rare occasions when corporate platitudes about “teamwork” actually take on a semblance of reality. Today Ram had been as obstructionist as Jane had expected; but there was no denying that Khajee had gone out of her way to help.

Yes, a bed sounds inviting right now—after a quick dinner, perhaps.

Just then she had a moderately disturbing vision: She saw an image of herself walking out of the plant with the luk thep doll tucked under her arm. That was crazy, of course. There was absolutely no way she would want the damn thing. (Needless to say!) And besides, little “Lawan” belonged to Khajee.

And Khajee could have her.

Jane decided that she had given the doll more than enough thought, thank you very much. There were far more important things to think about: a mission accomplished, a job well done. Once again, Jane had stretched herself, and she had been surprised to discover a deep internal well of untapped energy and resolve.

Although she had left Michigan barely two days ago, this had been an arduous business trip, as business trips went. The abbreviated time frame made it all the more exhausting.

The chief objectives had been accomplished. Jane—with the help of Khajee and other members of the local Thai staff—had verified the soundness of the new subcomponents supplier.

The good guys (and ladies) had performed well in the interests of the company—of the team—as the corporate motivational slogans would say. Ram had been defeated, his petty, self-interested attempts at empire-building thwarted. No matter what his political connections in Thailand (Jane had heard various rumors) the man could not deny objective data indefinitely. Sooner or later, Ram would have to come around, or leave TRX Automotive Thailand for another company where corruption was more tolerated.

And if Ram decided to leave the company, Jane decided, that might not be such a bad outcome.

But she suspected that Ram would not give up so easily. The Thai manager had proven himself to be quite tenacious.

Chapter 8

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