Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac
Karen had no idea what to expect when she showed up at Solutions Incorporated on Friday morning. The receptionist desk sat there in front of the door looking lonely and she assumed that would be her work area. She looked around the reception area thinking that it could use a bit of decorating. The three functional chairs and one potted plant just didn’t give it a very relaxing atmosphere. It wasn’t clear if that effect was intentional or not; all she knew was that it would be very uncomfortable sitting at that desk for hours at a time.
She put her purse on the floor behind the desk and took a seat. Magus came out of his office and asked, “What are you doing there?”
“I’m settling in to work?” Karen replied.
“That’s not your office,” Magus said. “You’ll be working out of the office at the far end.”
“Oh,” Karen said. She grabbed her purse and stood.
“I’ve got some money to deposit. I’ll need you to run over to the bank for me,” Magus said. “There are also some case files that you need to file. The file cabinets are in the middle room.”
“Okay,” Karen said. She looked down at the receptionist desk for a second. “When are you going to get a receptionist?”
“When I find the right person,” Magus answered cryptically.
“I could look for someone,” Karen said. She wasn’t sure how long he had been in business, but imagined that he desperately needed someone to handle his calls.
Shaking his head, Magus said, “She’ll come along any time now. They always do.”
“Okay,” Karen said thinking that he should be worried more about when they came along than if they came along. “You really ought to do some decorating in here.”
“I’ll do that when I find the right person,” Magus replied.
“Is that your answer to everything?” Karen asked.
“No,” Magus said. “Sometimes I find the wrong person to be quite useful as well.”
“I’ll have to take your word on that,” Karen said.
Magus said, “Well, I should let you get to work now.”
“All right,” Karen said. She went into the office and noticed that there were now two desks in there. One desk had a stack of philosophy papers on it. She quickly figured out that was where her son worked based on his comments of the previous evening. The other desk had a stack of manila folders.
She noticed that the top folder was labeled with the name of the police department. She opened it up and glanced at the contents. The report inside identified her son as the culprit in the bomb scare. It detailed how he identified her son as the person who had made the call and the actions that he had subsequently made to catch him. Stephen hadn’t had a chance of getting away with it. She closed the folder.
The next folder in the stack detailed her case. She glanced inside the folder and was shocked at the quantity of information about her that was in it. There was even a footnote detailing when she had been arrested as a teenager for shoplifting. That little episode had been her one and only brush with the law. Sitting in jail while waiting for her parents to get her released had been the most terrifying three hours of her life. After that, she had been immune to peer pressure.
The third folder detailed Wanda’s case. She looked at the folder without opening it for a few seconds before deciding that Wanda should have her privacy. She knew what Magus had done for Wanda. It was hard to believe that he had paid her airline ticket to Germany and for a hotel room. She set it aside with the first two folders.
The last folder was labeled with FBI Washington D.C. branch. She thought about looking in it and then decided that she didn’t want to know. She figured that a dozen agents would probably come swooping down on her and lock her away for life if she pried into their business.
She carried the four folders to the filing room. There were a dozen file cabinets along the wall. She opened a couple of drawers to determine how the files were organized. Each drawer was packed with folders with each folder neatly labeled with the name of the client and the date. Once she was satisfied that cases were filed alphabetically and by date she went about filing the new case files. It was tough cramming the new files into their proper places.
Stepping back, she muttered, “He’s going to have to get some more file cabinets.”
“I agree,” Magus said from behind her. She jumped nearly two feet into the air. He said, “Order two more.”
“Okay,” Karen said.
“I imagine that they won’t be delivered until after you leave today. You can spend next Friday organizing the files,” Magus said.
“That’s going to be a lot of work,” Karen said.
“I would say so,” Magus replied. He looked over how Karen was dressed. She was wearing a dress that would have been appropriate for church or a ladies outing. He added, “I would wear blue jeans next week if I were you. There’s no need to ruin nice clothes.”
“I wasn’t quite sure what to wear,” Karen said. This was her first office job.
“Well, there’s no need to dress up. You’ll spend most of your time here in your office area,” Magus said.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Karen said.
“Good. Now run off to the bank with the deposits and get back here. We’ve got a lot more to do today,” Magus said leaving the filing room.
Karen returned to her office to search for the deposit. There was a deposit slip made out for the amount of $100,120.00. She looked at the stack of checks that were under the deposit slip. There was a check for a hundred thousand dollars from the FBI. There was a check for a hundred dollars from the police department. There was the ten dollar check that she had written and a ten dollar bill. She wondered why he had bothered with her case when he could earn a hundred thousand dollars from one client.
The entire trip to the bank took close to forty minutes. Most of the time was spent in transit to the neighboring town where the biggest bank in the area was located. The teller had looked at the checks without batting an eye. She said, “We don’t get many deposits of that amount this time of year. Usually we only get checks that big when the farmers sell their crops.”
Karen said, “It sure is a lot of money.”
“That’s nothing for your company. Last week there was a deposit of a check for ten million dollars. I couldn’t believe it,” the teller said.
“Ten million dollars?” For the hundredth time she wondered what Magus did to earn that kind of money.
“Yes. My hands actually shook when I was holding that check,” the teller said.
“I can imagine,” Karen said. She didn’t know if she’d be able to carry a check for that amount of money. The idea of losing it would give her nightmares for a month.
The teller asked, “Will I be seeing you every Friday?”
“I guess so,” Karen said. She could see why Magus wouldn’t want to leave the business for an hour when a client bringing ten million dollars might walk in the door at any time.
“Well, come to my line. I usually deal with the large businesses in the area,” the teller said.
“I will.” Thinking that it would be a good idea to exchange names, Karen said, “My name is Karen.”
“I’m Melissa, but everyone calls me Mel.”
“I’ll see you next week,” Karen said.
Al Kirk sat in the chair across the desk from Magus with a hopeful expression on his face. He had just handed Magus two five dollar bills. At sixteen years of age, ten dollars was not easy to get. He said, “My problem is that no one treats me like an adult. What can I do about that?”
“Grow up,” Magus answered.
“What?” Al asked disgusted by the answer.
“You heard me. I said, grow up.”
“I can’t believe that I paid ten dollars for that lousy advice,” Al said.
Magus opened a folder and looked over the page inside it. He said, “You have consistently made Bs in school when you could have been making As. You skipped classes four times this year although you were only caught once. You disrupt classes and mock people who are serious about getting a quality education. You have two speeding tickets; one of which was issued when you should have been at home in bed. You haven’t managed to keep a job for more than three weeks. One of your employers said that you routinely showed up late to work and were disrespectful to the customers.”