Ivan reports back to me during the conversation I am now having with him.

‘We have now made changes as you wanted.’

‘Thanks Ivan. I really appreciate it..’

‘I am glad to have been able to satisfy you.’ As he says this, I sense a bit of hurt in his voice mixed with a mild sarcasm and realize it must have taken some doing on his part to have the printers make the swap.

‘I hope you’ll agree with me that now the issue looks as perfect as we can make it. I know it wouldn’t have been as big a deal, had we left those pages the way they were. But as long as it was still possible to correct them, I don’t see why we shouldn’t.

To which Ivan mumbles something like; ‘of course you’re right.’

I can’t help but still hear in his voice a man placed between a rock and a hard place. Considering the limitations he must face, he has done a great job and I love him for that. Plus our relationship is beginning to evolve into a friendship.  So I try to further smooth things over.

‘You know Ivan, it may seem like a lot of work right now, but in the end what matters the  most are small details, because at the end of the day the difference between good and excellent are little things.’

And we switch back talking about the launch. I tell him that Playboy Products would provide their Men’s cologne to be included in the goody bag. That the US Playmate Christy Thom (February 1991)  was all set to fly in from Los Angeles to be by the side of Czechoslovakia’s own, voluptuous Playmate Šarka Lukešová whom we had flown into Chicago to be shot.

Ivan confirms that Hotel Diplomat would provide accommodation for the visitors and that booked for me was the presidential suite. The press conference too would take place in the ballroom of the hotel but the actual launch would be at Pálac Lucerna – the landmark building owned by the Havel family and located right in the heart of Václalvské náměstí.  That arranged were three black Mercedez Benz stretched sedans to pick up guests from the airport and scurry around the VIPs. And he rattles off who’s who of the Czechoslovakia’s elite guest list to include Václav Klaus, the Finance Minister and soon to be the Prime Minister and eventually the President of the Czech Republic. Pavel Rychetský, the Vice Chair of the Government,  Jaroslav Kořan, the minister of information who would go on to become the mayor of Prague and later editor-in-chief of Playboy Czech Republic. That the stars Myloš Kapecký and Jiřina Bohdalová were going to be the honored guests. That the beautiful television personality Magdalena Dietlová too would be hobnobbing in the crowd. And that the iconic singer Karel Gott – the country’s equivalent of Frank Sinatra would grace the event with his performance. And the highlight of the evening would be the exquisite culinary spread catered by no other than the Michelin Starred Chef, Alfons Schuhbeck from Munich.

Half of those names go over my head. But sensing his excitement, I feel that Ivan has gathered  the crème de la crème of the Czechoslovakian society and politics.

‘How about Václav Havel?’

‘Well, I am not sure. We have of course invited the President and he hasn’t yet declined. Knowing him, he just might show up.’

‘Wow!’ I go. And then pause for a breather. ‘From what you tell me, this sounds like a black tie affair.’

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