John sat in the chair across from the lawyer's very orderly glass topped desk. The lawyer finally looked up and smiled. He was a chubby man with a round face. The flesh of his neck hung over the knot of his pink silk tie. On top of all of this he was balding and sported a pencil thin inky-black mustache.
"Sorry to have to make you wait so long," the lawyer said. "Just didn't want to lose my thoughts here. What can I do for you? I understand you asked to see me."
"I got this letter from you," John told the man. He unfolded the letter about the back rent and placed it on the desk between them careful not to appear angry or irritated. You get more bees with honey, he mother always said, and then you step on them.
"Oh," Phillip mumbled as he glanced at the letter. He flipped it over as if looking for more. "You do realize that this is not personal. It's strictly routine around here." He glanced back at the letter. "I see," he added. "I remember this."
"I hate that things had to get like this," John said. "I usually pay all of my bills on time and some even before time." He knew that he was stretching the truth a little, but he didn't care. There was some pride at stake here. That was most of the reason for coming to the office and personally paying his back rent. He wanted this to be a clear statement that he wouldn't let things get so behind again.
The lawyer shrugged. "Well, like I said. This is quite routine around here. Some people experience hard times and we understand that. I know I've had a few myself."
John could not believe his ears. The man seemed too nice and forgiving to be in this field.
"Not to pry too deeply into your business, but what happened to you to get behind like this?"
"I guess you could chalk it up to bad luck or a hell of a dry spell. But I recently ran into some good." John didn't feel the need to go into any great detail about his business with this man.
Phillip had a little black calculator in his palm and he was punching in numbers. "You like your job I take it?"
"Sure. I love the work," John admitted. The woman who directed him into the office knocked on the door and then opened it. She told Phillip that someone was waiting to see him. He nodded and then looked back down at the calculator.