“It has to be done, Mr. See.”
Harry See stopped writing and threw his pen down, irritated. So much to do and here was this man, feeding him fantastic tales and imaginary nonsense.
Ah Lee didn’t look like a con man. At least he didn’t walk around wearing a tacky Chinese costume and gigantic Buddha beads around his neck. He was subtle for a man of his profession, dressed in a blue checkered polo shirt and khakis. He was thin and short, though with a slight paunch. Harry envied his full head of hair.
“Your mall is doomed. That property has gone through so many competent hands and yet not one of them managed to make anything of it. It’s bad luck, Mr. See.”
Mr. See made no response.
“It’s the dragons, sir,” Ah Lee persisted. “They’re trouble.”
Harry took a deep breath and let the word roll as sarcastically as he could off his tongue: “dragons.”
“Dragons. In the river.”
Ah Lee nodded. “I’ve made the necessary calculations, Mr. See, and my investigation tells me there are three dragons in the Pasig River, which runs right behind your mall.”
“And they’re not fond of malls, I suppose? Or progress?”
“It’s not that, sir,” Ah Lee answered, allowing Harry’s sarcasm to roll off his back. Like a professional. “See, there are three dragons in the river. Two are male, and they’re constantly fighting over the female. This conflict has made the area highly unlucky, and anyone who attempts to develop it has to work against the negative chi.”
Harry See was a businessman. It was no mean feat, going from a tiny shoe store in Quiapo to a chain of malls throughout the metro. Someday, he thought, he might even build the biggest mall in Asia. But now here he was, seated in his office, greeted with the news that his latest venture might not (would not, Ah Lee had insisted) succeed. Because dragons.
He did not hire Ah Lee; he never did believe in that feng shui mumbo jumbo. He thought himself a pragmatic man; he gave to church every Sunday because in this country, connections in church meant connections in government, and every businessman needed those connections badly.
No. Ah Lee showed up uninvited.
“I’m the only one who can help you, Mr. See.”
Harry See responded the best way he knew: he picked up the phone and said, “Mellie? Call security.”
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