ON REDEEMING THE DESIRES OF HEART
Nakamura Sang (or Mister Nakamura) was a gentleman of the old school. He was trained as a stone mason and became eventually a school teacher in Nagoya,Japan. His life would take certain twists and turn until he would encounter a problem he never dreamt of occurring. And it happened in another country where he chose to reside. His romantic view of life would be shattered by treachery and distrust. But that is getting ahead of the story.
A flourishing business
Nakamura was a friend of a fellow Jap whom sometime ago I saved from embarrassment. He was brought to me for consultation. Accordingly, he was duped by his adopted assistant, whom he sent to school and designated as right hand in his marble business.
Earlier on, he was part of a company package tour to visit the Philippines and he was instantly impressed. The people were hospitable, the girls are beautiful and economic activity slow but rather inviting. He was estranged from his family and he needed a place where he could reinvent himself. Months later, he would visit the country once again, this time convinced that he would stay for good. He applied for the status of migrant and tried to be a regular guy on the block. He started out hanging with Jap mainstays and would eventually explore some commercial undertaking by himself. It was a very rewarding experience. He got more involved in industries especially in construction.
It was a successful enterprise since he was able to bag a contract supplying the granite tiles for Ninoy Aquino Airport Terminal 3. The business was flourishing and he could not ask for more. He eventually married a beautiful lass and had two wonderful children. He could not ask for more blessings. He was always feeling on top of the world. He was a fledging school master in Japan but in the Philippines, he was already an accomplished industrialist.
One day, while checking on the receipts, his usual tact to complete his day, he noticed something odd. His receipts have automatic carbon trace at the back so that if one reflects the amount on the covering sheet, a duplicate is made without the usual carbon paper. There on the duplicate sheet were scribbles. The handwriting was very familiar. A letter was written atop the receipt and it marked on the secondary sheet. It was not an ordinary correspondence—it was a love letter! And the handwriting was that of his wife. It was intended for his adopted and trusted aide. Nakamura felt the heavens dropped from above.
He checked the vault and it was empty. His wife was nowhere and so was his staff. He was downtrodden and almost at a loss. Worst, every important document, land titles, contracts, notes and related business permits were all gone. He felt he was burned down literally. He never knew where to start except to call for a friend. If he could not contact anyone, for him that was enough reason to end everything. But his kids were still around and he was doing everything for them. For him, life must go on if only for his children. More so, he loved his wife so much that he wanted to find her so that their children would still continue to lead a normal life. His adopted staff must therefore be punished to the fullest. That was his promise to himself.
My friend’s friend
His alarmed colleague immediately arrived and he took note of what happened. He suggested to his friend that he report what happened to him to the police but Nakamura had a different plan. He wanted to talk to someone who can pull the trigger to rub off the treacherous fellow who duped him. His friend called me up. I was at that time always being interviewed on television as government functionary in charge in the execution of convicts pursuant to death penalty. I was a veritable icon in the world of law enforcement.
Days later, the two foreigners would appear on my door step. There were two expressions I would meet. One was full of excitement, another was gloomy. I was surprised at their visit since it was just the break of dawn, still very early for any transaction.
My friend opened up, “My dear boss, how are you?! It has been a long time since we had that pizza pie in Ermita.” I replied, “Yes, it was a thousand years ago, as a matter of fact. “ I continued, “What brought you here at this very early time? If you think you are trying to be an early bird out to catch a worm, you are in the wrong place. You are now inside a cage!” My friend had a hearty laughter, well, except for his buddy whose face turned from gloom to murkiness.
“What’s up?!!!” I inquired, while ushering them into the living room of my humble officer’s quarters. I was always alone in that place. “Please sit down, and if you care to have coffee, a thermos for hot water and a sachet of coffee is just on top of my dining table. You can help yourself.”
“Thank you dear friend. We had enough coffee the entire night and we just waited for the break of day to see you and consult on certain matters. You see, my friend here was cheated. It’s sordid. His wife was kidnapped by his staff and all his savings and important papers were taken away, including his money.”
“That’s very unfortunate. Why not report this to the police? I can do it for you if you think it deserves proper law enforcement action. Or, better report this to your embassy. It will merit instant response.”
“You see my friend, my colleague here is confused. Even if he wanted to tell authorities on what happened, he had a different approach which he wanted to propose to you.”
“Okay then let me hear it.” I pulled a cigarette stick and lighted it to project a figure of toughness.
The victim started with a hoarse voice but his language was understandable anyway. “Sir, I want to punish the guy who run away with my wife….”
“Wait a minute, I thought that your wife was kidnapped?…”
“Well…sort of…my wife was nowhere and my staff was not in his usual place. Both should be there at home as it has always been that way for more than a year. I saw a letter written by my wife addressed to my staff and they planned to elope.”
“Okay then. So there was no kidnapping. There was mutual agreement to abandon you. So what do you intend to do, what is your proposal then?”
“Well, sir, I am thinking if it is possible to take down my staff for disloyalty and treachery.”
“Let us include your wife because they both committed the same offense to you.”
“But sir, I love my wife …..very much and I wanted her to return……. to me, for our….. kids. Without the bastard fellow she may eventually go back……. to me. I wanted the guy…… taken down! ” He sobbed in between each phrase.
“You see, I have men who take orders from me. But we are different from the rest of equalizers. We study the case first and if in our judgment, there is basis for the imposition of extreme penalty, then we suggest it. If the incident happened because you started it, then I am sorry. We will just sympathize with what happened to you as a consequence.”
“But I am willing to pay. You see, I have a lot of collectibles, except that most of my papers were displaced but I can have it reproduced later.”
“No, don’t get me wrong. I am not after your money. Well it is material but not for me. I would assign someone to take on the case and your money will be used by my agent to settle down away from the heat generated by the revenge. But before he hits, he gets his blessings first from me. I must hear his report on the case before any action is to commence. If in my analysis, extreme penalty is not just, then everything is terminated. I will just inform you that there is no basis for any action. By the way, why not forgive your transgressors. That way you save so much and you get an instant peace of mind. Let the heavens punish your offenders, some kind of karmic justice. Take another leaf and begin a new life, this time wiser and shrewder than before. It’s a lesson on maturity and strength of resolve.”
“I want the fellow dead my dear sir.”
“I can introduce you to my agent and you get instant answer based on what you want. The problem there is that once the money you gave is gone and he expects for more from you, chances are you will forever be giving him so much on threat that he might implicate you in all his song numbers.”
“I prefer to negotiate with you only sir.”
“Then live with my standards or you can look for any other fellow. There is a lot of unemployed looking for hit jobs; you will never find any difficulty at all.”
“Okay Sir, how do you deal with my problem first? I have here 35k only but later I could give you more. How much do you think I should pay your agent?”
“35k is enough. My agent will be too happy to slap the face of your errand boy!”
“35k is just a down payment sir. How much would it cost for the hit job?”
“The cost is somewhere between the value of that which was lost to you. If I were you, I will never even entertain the thought of losing so much. Begin anew. Start once again. There is a saying that life is better the second time around. Brace yourself for more challenges and yes, more pain ahead that is how life is. Of course, there is always a silver lining in every cloud. Take it as a lesson. You are strengthened every time you pass through a problem. Believe me. Revenge is never a sign of happiness. It is a prelude to a lonely life.”
Nakamura was splayed and speechless for a minute. He could not decide on what to do. He could not respond anymore. He looked confused but a bit refreshed. He conferred with his buddy and they had some arguments as they stood up to take coffee.
I observed how the two argued in their language. Nipongo was spoken with inflection and done in shrieking baritone even if what were spoken were mere friendly and conversational dialogues. I could just imagine when a Jap is praying. From a distance it would look as if they are scolding the deity on the altar. Now, I understand why Japan has no religion at all.
Then my early morning visitors stretched out and bided me goodbye. They promised to be back. I said, “Call me up first so that I would set a time for our meeting.” They bowed in a Jap way, nodded and slowly walked away.
That was the last time I heard of my Jap friends.