Solutions Incorporated
Chapter 2

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Wanda stepped into the office and declared, “Karen knows that I’m here.”

“It is nice to have people in your life that you can trust,” Magus said.

“Yes,” Wanda said. She studied the man seated at the desk. He reminded her of an older version of the character Lumpy in that television show made in the sixties. He wasn’t fat; he was chubby. He was seated at a very large wooden desk that was placed in the middle of the room. There was a set of bookcases behind him that was filled with law books. The wall behind his desk had a single door into a separate room. She assumed that door led to a bathroom or closet.

Magus gestured to one of the two chairs in front of his desk. He said, “Have a seat.”

“Why did you ask me here?” Wanda asked suspiciously. The instant messaging trick he had played on her raised significant doubts concerning his trustworthiness. He had to be some sort of hacker or criminal mastermind to pull that off. She had spent a lot of time wondering how he had managed to do that. She made her way over to the chair he had indicated.

“Well, I was going to do something altruistic for you. However, I discovered that you had a serious problem,” Magus answered.

“I don’t have a problem,” Wanda said while sitting down in the chair. She was still trying to figure out what game Magus was playing.

“Yes you do,” Magus countered.

“No I don’t. I would know if I had a problem,” Wanda said while crossing her arms across her chest.

“Just because you don’t know about a problem doesn’t mean that you don’t have it,” Magus said. He sat back in his chair and folded his hands across his belly. There was a sad expression on his face.

“What problem do I have?” Wanda asked.

Magus said, “First things first. We must take care of a small matter of the payment for my services.”

“How much?” Wanda asked. She was thoroughly convinced that this was some kind of scam despite Karen’s assurances to the contrary. She had spent the whole afternoon with a very emotional Karen. The idea that Karen had gotten her son out of trouble, a new job, and the chance to talk to her husband didn’t seem like the kind of thing one did as a business.

“The first solution is ten dollars and you’ll owe me one favor. Each subsequent solution adds a zero to the price without requiring an additional favor,” Magus answered.

At least this agreed with what Karen had told her. Wanda asked, “How can you make money that way?”

“I like to encourage repeat business, but I don’t want people to make a habit of coming to me for every little problem in their life,” Magus said.

Wanda asked, “This isn’t some sort of blackmail scheme, is it?”

“No. I’m in the business of providing solutions to problems; not creating problems,” Magus answered with a sigh. It seemed to him that young women were very untrusting. He assumed that was because many young women felt vulnerable. Of course, all of his clients were vulnerable; that’s why they were his clients.

“If I don’t know that I have a problem, why should I give you any money?”

Magus chuckled. He answered, “You will find that the solution that I offer you is priceless. Your ten dollars will be well spent.”

Having been warned of the price by Karen, Wanda had a ten dollar bill readily accessible. She pulled it out of her purse and handed it over to him. She said, “I’ll need a receipt.”

“Of course,” Magus replied. He slid a receipt across the desk to her.

Wanda stared at the receipt realizing that he already had one prepared for her. She said, “So give me your solution to the problem I don’t know that I have.”

“Like I said before, I was going to do something altruistic for you. I have a soft spot in my heart for the young men and women who go off to defend this country against its enemies. I understand the hardship on the families who are left behind. I was going to arrange for you to video conference with your husband,” Magus said.

“That would have been worth ten dollars.”

Magus slid an envelope across the desk to Wanda. She stared at the envelope as if it was some kind of poisonous snake. He said, “However, in discussing the matter with your husband’s commanding officer I discovered a problem.”

“What kind of problem?” Wanda asked. She felt like someone had punched her in the stomach.

“Inside that envelope is an airline ticket to Germany. You’ll meet your husband there,” Magus said.

“Why is he in Germany?”

“He was wounded yesterday,” Magus answered.

“Oh my God!”

Magus held up a hand and said, “His condition is stable. I read the medical report and he’s going to be okay.”

“Oh my God! I’ve got to go see him.”

“I was sure that you would like to see him so I have made arrangements for you to visit him. You have prepaid reservations at a hotel there. Your flight leaves tomorrow afternoon. That should give you time to get your affairs in order before leaving.”

“What am I going to do?” Wanda asked. Her hands were shaking. Mentally she was still trying to come to grips with the fact that her husband had been wounded.

“I checked and saw that your passport is up to date so you will have no problems traveling out of the country. In case you are worried about your obligations here, I have given you the name of a woman who will take care of the library while you are gone. You’ll need to call her this evening,” Magus said.

“How did Doug get wounded?” Wanda asked. She was so caught up in her concerns for her husband’s health that she didn’t hear a word that Magus said.

“I think Doug would prefer to tell you about it himself,” Magus answered.

“I’m going to have to go see him. Where can I get the money for a ticket there?” Wanda asked. Her hands were shaking so hard that she knocked her purse to the floor without noticing it.

“I told you that I got you a ticket,” Magus said. He could see that Wanda was not dealing with the news about her husband very well.

“I’ve got to get a ticket,” Wanda said. “Maybe the bank will loan me the money.”

Magus called out, “Officer Corrigan.”

A young female police officer stepped into the room through a door in the wall that was behind Magus’ desk. She looked at Wanda noting that the woman was in a state of shock. Having a feeling that she knew what the answer to her question would be, she asked, “Are you ready to tell me what I can do to repay the favor I owe you?”

“Linda, would you mind taking care of Wanda for the next eighteen hours? She’s had some bad news and is feeling a little distraught,” Magus said. Wanda was staring at the floor trying to come to grips with the news that her husband had been wounded.

“No problem,” Linda answered. She moved over to where the young woman was seated.

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