Solutions Incorporated
Chapter 6

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Claudia openly stared at the elderly woman who had just entered the office. She was the poster child of misery. She had a split lip, a black eye, an arm in a sling, and walked holding her body off to one side. It hurt just to look at her. Dismayed, Claudia asked, “What happened to you?”

“I was attacked,” the woman answered. It was a more than an attack; she had been sexually assaulted after getting mugged.

Claudia pointed to the door and said, “Go right in. Magus will take care of you.”

The woman shuffled into Magus’ office. Magus immediately rose from his chair and helped the woman to a seat. He went around to his desk. She was about to introduce herself, but he held up a hand interrupting her. He said, “First things first. Before we address your problem, there is the matter of payment.”

“How much?” the woman asked.

Magus answered, “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.”

“Ten dollars?”

“Yes,” Magus answered.

“What can you do for ten dollars?”

Magus answered, “I can move mountains if necessary.”

The woman dug in her purse and came out with a twenty dollar bill. She handed it over to him and said, “I don’t have a ten.”

“Stephen!”

Claudia stuck her head in the office and said, “He’s busy.”

“Send him in anyway,” Magus said.

Claudia rolled her eyes and said, “Okay.”

Stephen entered the office and said, “You bellowed oh great master of assigning impossible homework assignments.”

“Yes. Give this twenty to Claudia and bring back a ten,” Magus said holding out the twenty dollar bill to Stephen.

“She’s right outside the door,” Stephen said.

“Don’t argue,” Magus said.

Stephen walked out of the office and then returned thirty seconds later with a ten dollar bill. He handed it to Magus and said, “She doesn’t bite.”

“Let her keep her distance,” Magus said. He handed the ten dollar bill to the elderly woman. Looking back at Stephen, he said, “Get back to your physics homework.”

“I could use a little help on it,” Stephen said.

“Nonsense, my boy. Just keep reading the book and working all of the problems. You’ll get it in no time,” Magus said.

“When have I heard that before?”

Magus asked, “Just one quick question before you go.”

“What?”

“Are you bored?”

Stephen shook his head. “No, I’m frustrated.”

“Excellent.”

Stephen shook his head in disgust. He said, “I have a whole more year of this. He’s going to kill me.”

“I figure you’ll graduate in a couple of more months,” Magus said.

“Really?”

“Either that or die. Now run along and study,” Magus said making a shooing gesture towards the door.

“All right,” Stephen said.

Magus turned to the elderly woman and said, “Tell me your problem.”

“My name is Mary Sultemeir and I live in Chicago. The neighborhood where I live has gotten very violent over the past few years. It used to be a nice area to live. Now it isn’t that way. Two days ago I was raped while entering my apartment. The man who did it stole my purse with all of my money inside it. I just don’t know what to do.”

“What are you doing in the land of multiple Millvilles?” Magus asked.

“My daughter brought me down here after I was released from the hospital,” Mary answered.

“I assume that you can’t stay with your daughter for an extended period of time,” Magus said.

“That’s right. She lives in a mobile home with her husband and two kids. The kids are sleeping on the couch while I’m visiting,” Mary said.

“Do you want to stay in Chicago?” Magus asked.

“Not really. I just can’t afford to move anywhere,” Mary said.

“Well that simplifies things,” Magus muttered. He rummaged around in his desk drawer for a minute before pulling out a sheet of paper. Handing it and a pen to her, he said, “Take this form out to the receptionist and have her help you fill it out.”

She looked down at the form for a second. The title of the form was ‘Lifestyle Survey Form for Retirees.’ She read a couple of the questions and then said, “It sure asks a lot of personal questions.”

“It is all information that is necessary for finding the best solution possible,” Magus said.

“I suppose so,” Mary said. She got up and made her way to the door. Magus helped her all of the way to the door and then stopped. She looked down at the form and then muttered, “I’ve got no idea why it wants to know if I play Bingo.”

After retreating back into his office, Magus shouted, “Claudia, when she’s done filling out the form give it to Stephen and have him bring it to me.”

“I can bring it to you,” Claudia said.

“Let Stephen do it,” Magus shouted. He muttered, “I should have waited for an uglier receptionist.”

Turning to the attractive woman seated at the receptionist desk, Mary asked, “What’s the matter with him?”

“He’s afraid of pretty women,” Claudia answered.

“I’m not afraid of pretty women,” Magus shouted.

“Yes you are,” Claudia said.

“They just make me uncomfortable.”

In that tone of voice that only a worldly wise elderly woman can achieve, Mary said, “A lot of men are uncomfortable when they get erections while wearing pants. It is particularly bad when they are well endowed.”

Claudia broke out in laughter. When she finally recovered, she asked, “Is that your problem, Magus? Are you that well endowed?”

“Get to work!”

Half an hour later Stephen handed Magus the form. Magus said, “Stephen, take Claudia and Mary out to lunch. Tell Claudia to call Igor and have him escort you. Her husband still hasn’t calmed down. You can have Claudia get the money for lunch out of petty cash. Oh, and bring something back for me. Don’t forget the receipt.”

“Yes, Sir,” Stephen said shaking his head.

An hour later, the foursome had returned from lunch. Mary was seated in the chair in front of Magus. Phil stood behind her. Magus was eyeing the Caesar Salad hoping to wrap up this discussion fairly quickly. He said, “Igor.”

“Yeth mather,” Phil said.

“His name is Phil,” Mary said. She had enjoyed lunch with Stephen, Phil, and Claudia. The two young men were remarkable conversationalists who had a broad grasp of a number of interesting topics. Talking to them had been a pleasure. Claudia was just a very nice pleasant woman.

 
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