There came a loud and, what is presumably the projection of the knocker’s state of mind leading up to and including the knock therefore anthropomorphising it, anxious knock at B.’s door. B. looked through the spy hole and saw a person. This made sense. The man turned towards the spy hole and said, “Please let me in.” In such a way that an anxious knock might say it. B. opened the door and let the man in; he took one last cursory look down the hallway before closing the door firmly and locking it. He stared into B.’s eyes and said, “Thank you, I didn’t know where else to come.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Offering one to B., who accepted, he proceeded to pat himself down in search of a lighter and began to talk; “I’ve got myself into trouble and have tried to go down the usual routes – ah! here.” B. opened the window as he continued. “But umm, it was no use, it was no use, idiots, fucking idiots, sorry, excuse my language…but they are, they don’t know what they’re doing, not like you, but you’re so damn hard to get a-hold of I thought a quick fix would work, but it didn’t so that’s why I’m here and very short of time, but they were just rubbish I don’t know how they can justify what they profess to be able to do, it’s a real skill you know, you can blag it and you don’t know they’re not up to the job until it’s too late, I lost a bit of money but I’ll be getting that back I can tell you, well you know that, you know how it is, you know how it works, you’re a professional, not like those idiots, but anyway, I’m pressed for time and all I can do is moan about shit that doesn’t matter, doesn’t get me anywhere, let me tell you where I’m at…”
“Let’s start again,” B. moved to his writing desk, opened the bottom draw and removed a sheet of paper, he picked up his pen and began to write;
“Have you ever been in this position before?” B, asked, not looking up.
“Not myself, no, but I know a couple of others you’ve helped. It’s kind of well known that you pass people on to old what’s-her-name, Brompton, but it’s also not the done thing to bypass you. I have her number if that’s what you had planned for me?”
B. thought…the cold sweat pooling at the base of his spine didn’t feel so much like the blade of a knife anymore.
“I didn’t know that. Thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing in this line of work. And yes; I think Brompton would be the best solution in a situation such as this. May I leave you to deal with things from here on out?” B. folded up the sheet of paper and placed it in the top draw.
“Yes of course…umm?” His hand moved to the inside pocket of his coat.
B. gave his most dispassionate glance as the man removed merely an envelope.
“Your fee…I’ve been given a figure but can always get more if I need to?”
B. held out his hand and said, “No, no, that’s quite sufficient, thank you.” He left the envelope on the table as he rose to bid farewell to his unexpected guest.
“Well thanks again, like I say, I was in quite the pile of crap so thank you for all you’ve done, it’s really appreciated,” he held out his hand and they shook. He turned, walked to the door and gripped the handle.
B. said, “Sorry…can I just grab another fag off you? I need to head out but have to make some calls first.”
As the sound of footsteps faded down the hall, B. sat at the desk, lit his cigarette and began to dial.