Boston Solutions Incorporated
Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac
The attractive woman glided through the door to the offices of Solutions Incorporated as if she were on roller skates. Every gesture she made was the epitome of grace. Her clothes were obviously expensive designer brands and of the highest quality. Despite the fact that her clothes were of a conservative business cut, she looked sexier than most women in lingerie. She carried a small stylish purse that attracted attention only because it didn’t attract attention.
Seated at the receptionist’s desk, Claudia was hard at work doing nothing. The mad rush of college students looking for easy solutions to their problems had abated significantly. Upon hearing the door open, she looked up at the woman and instantly decided that she didn’t like her. It is almost a law of nature that more than one attractive woman in a room at one time tends to eliminate any chance of peace. In a frosty voice, Claudia asked, “May I help you?”
In a very cultured silky voice, the woman answered, “I have a two o’clock appointment with Magus. Please let him know that I am here.”
Claudia glanced down at the appointment book to verify that there was actually an appointment. She said, “Darla Darling.”
“That is my name.”
“What kind of name is Darla Darling?” Claudia asked thinking that no parent would ever curse their child with that kind of name.
“It is my nom de guerre,” Darla answered. She actually sounded a bit French when she said it.
That was a new one for Claudia and she had no idea what it meant. She said, “If you’ll wait over there, I’ll see if he’s available.”
“Send Miss Darling in here,” Magus said from within his office.
Rather than immediately heading into Magus’ office, Darla leaned over the desk and traced a finger along Claudia’s jaw line. In a voice that practically purred, she said, “I can guarantee you two thousand dollars a night if you will work for me.”
“What?” Claudia asked unable to believe what she had heard.
“Some men really go for that cheerleader look. For that matter, so do some women,” Darla said with a predatory smile.
“Women?” Claudia asked wide-eyed.
“I could partner you with another woman who works for me and you would have men lined up from here to the moon,” Darla said.
“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“I guarantee two thousand dollars a night. Think about it.” Darla turned and glided into Magus’ office leaving a stunned Claudia behind.
Magus came out from behind his desk and extended a hand for Darla to take. In a soft voice, he said, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Darling. I saw a picture of you several years ago and I thought that you were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. May I say that you are even lovelier in person?”
“I hope that I’m not so beautiful that I make you uncomfortable,” Darla said while placing her hand in his. Her voice was so steamy that it could have been used to remove wallpaper.
Magus smiled at the comment. He released her hand once manners dictated that it came to an end. Looking her in the eye, he said, “Miss Darling, you could never make me uncomfortable.”
The sound of Claudia making gagging noises filtered into the office.
“I have to say that it is such an honor to finally meet you Magus. I have heard so much about you,” Darla said. Her voice sounded like honey.
“I hope that none of it was bad,” Magus said.
“All of it was exemplary,” Darla said. Claudia snorted.
“Please have a seat,” Magus said gesturing to a chair.
“Thank you, Magus. I had heard you were a true gentleman,” Darla said.
There was a squawk from the front office when Magus asked, “Would you care for tea or coffee?”
“Neither. I fear that this is not a social call. I am here because I’m in need of the services of Solutions Incorporated,” Darla said.
Magus went over to the door and paused to listen to Claudia mumbling, “He says beautiful women make him uncomfortable. Miss Prissy comes in and he’s falling all over himself to be nice to her. He even offers her coffee or tea. He won’t even let me in his office.”
Smiling, Magus closed the door before returning to his chair. He said, “In that case, I suppose that we must get the distasteful business of payment out of the way.”
“I am quite familiar with the practice of settling the matter of payment before services are rendered,” Darla said. She smiled at him in a manner suggesting that Magus was equally familiar with the practice outside his business.
“Is this consultation associated with a personal or business situation?” Magus asked. He opened a folder with some information in it.
Darla said, “I fear that this visit is of a business nature.”
“If I am not mistaken, you have fewer than twenty employees,” Magus said after glancing down at his notes.
“You are very well informed, Magus,” Darla said nodding her head at him.
“Thank you, Miss Darling. I pride myself on getting access to information that others might find virtually impossible to locate,” Magus said. “My standard fee for a business of your size is that the first consultation will be a thousand dollars and unlimited direct access to the owner of the business for those occasions when I require the goods or services the business provides.”
“As you well know, I run a service business. Will you be paying for those services?” Darla asked. It had only taken her a fraction of a second to get into a mindset appropriate for negotiating.
“Of course I will. I’m in the business of providing solutions, not creating problems. Few businesses can survive if they are forced to give away their goods or services. We shall negotiate a fair and reasonable price in the event that I should ever call upon you,” Magus said.
“I must assume that you’ll be quite specific in detailing your requirements vis a vis the services requested,” Darla said.
“Indeed. I shall state exactly what I want. There shall be no chance of misunderstanding,” Magus said.
“It is such a pleasure dealing with a man who knows exactly what he wants,” Darla said seductively.
“It is always a pleasure dealing with a woman such as you,” Magus said in an equally seductive tone of voice.
“What is the payment schedule for subsequent consultations?”
“We add a zero for each successive solution,” Magus said.
“Your terms are agreeable to me,” Darla said. They also matched what she had been told before coming to visit Magus. She reached into her purse and pulled out an envelope containing a thousand dollars. She discreetly set it on the desk and said, “Shall we get to the reason I am here?”
Sliding the envelope off to the side, Magus answered, “That is a most excellent suggestion, Miss Darling. Please tell me about your problem.”
“Someone wants to use my business to blackmail my clients,” Darla said. For the first time since arriving, her voice conveyed real anger. Under that gentle polite façade was an iron will.
“Do you know the identity of the blackmailer?” Magus asked.
“No,” Darla answered. “I had considered using a private investigator, but immediately dismissed the idea.”
“That was a wise choice. A private investigator would have identified the blackmailer, but he wouldn’t have solved your problem without creating more problems for you,” Magus said.
“Exactly,” Darla answered.
“I’ll need some information from you,” Magus said.
“My business requires a significant degree of discretion. I will let you know if I object to any of your questions,” Darla said.
“I’m sure you will, Miss Darling,” Magus said.
For the next forty-five minutes the pair of them discussed her problem. In the process, Magus filled an entire notepad with notes, observations, and possible lines of investigation. Darla was more impressed by what he didn’t need to ask than by what he did ask. It was an amazingly thorough interview.