“And the stamp comes out of here, yes,” said Mr. Jones. “I get it.”
“That’s right.” Takumi pointed to the slot on the diagram. “It works like a Polaroid camera, only it prints your photo onto a stamp. Each stamp high-res, sixteen megapixels-,”
“You’ve said. Look, Tak-,”
“Dry within five minutes.” Takumi was trembling.
Mr. Jones looked around the dusty Rochester café, embarrassed.
“Kodak Stamp’d,” repeated Takumi. In his mind he was back in his study, rehearsing the pronunciation.
“I don’t believe that Royal Mail-,”
“Martin Calbury, is the man I spoke to.” Takumi’s anxious leg was now rattling the table. “The head of their Rights Department. All the ‘Polaroid’ stamps are fully useable, First and Second Class blank sheets would be purchased from the Post Office, or…and Polaroid, they don’t make the refills anymore. If you would just take a look at the documents…” Takumi lifted the brown folder from the table again and pushed it at Mr. Jones.
“I don’t have time,” said Mr. Jones. “You’ve told me everything.”
“There won’t be any copyright issues. I can get a patent. It’s a new brand. Kodak Stamp’d.”
“I know the name, Tak.”
Takumi paused and shook his head. “You know the Tenth Floor won’t take me seriously, if you’re not on board,” he said. “Kodak would have a one hundred percent market share.”
Mr. Jones tried to avoid looking at Takumi’s pleading face.
“I’ll be another quack inventor without you.”
“You’ll be another desperate bloke trying to keep his job at a bankrupt company,” corrected Mr. Jones.
“Is this a no?”
“No-one sends letters anymore, Tak.” Mr. Jones began to put on his coat. “Finish your coffee.”
“I send letters,” said Takumi.
The man at Royal Mail had said it was a great idea. It was both retro and cutting-edge. It would bring the whole world together, rejuvenate the values that people used to have. People would send letters, love letters, again, for Christ’s sake.
Takumi rose to his feet. “Mr. Jones!” He said loudly. Boldly. “You do not know what you are passing up! I demand that you at least have a look at the plans. This will save this company, this will bring-,”
“Takumi!” Mr. Jones stood up and towered over Takumi. “Please! Don’t embarrass yourself. I have a headache. We have to get back.” He rubbed his forehead. “This discussion is over.” He threw a ten pound note onto the table and walked toward the door.
Takumi’s audience was leaving, and they hadn’t heard him properly. The words in his folder they were almost poetry, the visions, the marketing plans, the advertisements he had planned, they were all fine-tuned. Takumi would not be ignored. He closed his eyes and gripped the folder hard so that his fingers turned white and the nail on his right hand made a terrible scratching sound on the cardboard.