ADAPTATION PART 2
PAGES 7 WORDS 956
“May I please see the office manager,” Ben replied, leaning the sign against her desk.
Somewhat confused, she looked into Ben’s brown eyes. “Of course, sir. One moment, please.” She stood, turned, took a few steps toward the middle of the office where she stopped. “Mr. Davies you have a client, I think.”
Ben watched an overweight, middle-aged man struggle to get out from behind his desk. He walked to the reception desk and extended his open hand. “Good day, sir, I’m Roger Davies, office manager for Jameson Realty. How may I be of service this morning?”
Ben ignored the gesture. “For starters, can you explain why this sign” – he tapped it with his left hand as he handed it to Davies – was attached to my fence.” Davies took the sign, looked at it, then Ben, but before he could reply, Ben spoke. “I think you made a mistake, Mr. Davies. I removed my house from the listings three weeks ago.”
Davies, now in the receptionist’s chair, looked up at Ben. “Your name and address, sir?”
“Ben Willard, 420 Willow Run, Jensen City, 07823. I think you have mistaken my address with a home on Willow Drive,” he added quickly.
“That’s a possibility sir,” Davies replied entering the information into the computer. He shook his head, looked up at Ben. I’m, sorry, sir, there’s no mistake. It went on the market late last Thursday.”
Ben grimaced. “It can’t be. You must be wrong. I pulled my house from the listing over three weeks ago. Who in the hell authorized you to do this?”
Davies asked Ben to repeat his name and address. “I just gave it to you,” Ben replied visibly annoyed.
Davies slowly scratched his chin. “Hmm, interesting,” he murmured, his narrowed eyes and strong gaze indicating he didn’t want a reply. “If I’m not mistaken, sir, Mr. Willard’s attorney, your attorney, contacted us last Thursday morning, giving Jameson Realty authorization to place the house on the market.”
Ben’s veneer of self control had worn thin. “Wait a good goddamned minute; I never gave Bill permission to do that!”
Davies stood, looked hard into Ben’s eyes. “Mr. Willard, or whatever your name is, the lawyer didn’t need permission.”
“What in the Goddamned hell are you talking . . .”
Davies interrupted forcefully. “I don’t know if this you idea of a sick joke or some elaborate means to keep this house from being placed on the market, but frankly sir, I’ve had enough. I think you should leave now.”
“The hell I will!”
Davies nodded in the direction of his secretary. She picked up the phone, began pressing buttons.
Ben saw this. “Okay, okay, I’m leaving, but don’t think you’ve heard the last from me. No sir, not by a long shot!” He took the sign from the side of receptionist’s desk, walked out, mumbling obscenities as he departed.
As he drove away, Ben found his anger slowly tinged with confusion. No matter what scenario he envisioned, he could not see Bill doing this. They had been friends for over twenty five years. What would have made Bill do such an asinine thing? Well whatever it is, he’s going to catch an earful from me today.
Ben pulled into his driveway and noticed immediately a small, thin man knocking on his front door. Now they’re coming in person to see the house. I’ll sue Jameson Realty, I swear to Christ I will. Ben opened the car door, and grabbing the sign, walked towards the small, thin man. As he drew nearer, Ben noticed the man was impeccably dressed and somewhere in his mid-forties.
“May I help you?” Ben scowled.
“Yes,” was the gentle reply. “Would you be one, Mr. Benjamin Robert Willard?”
“In the flesh,” Ben said in a no nonsense voice.
“Oh, I’m so glad I found you,” he replied, apparently unaffected by Ben’s harsh tone.
“Look, Mister . . .”
“Retourer,” the thin man interrupted kindly, “Reginald Ty Retourer,” Mr. Willard.
“Well, Mr. Retourer, let me save you a lot of time and effort: my house isn’t for sale. My lawyer made a big goddamned mistake along with Jameson Realty.”
Retourer raised his left brow. “A small problem, Mr. Willard, but to be perfectly honest, it is no concern to us. I’m here to appropriate what is due my department.”
Ben looked down, shook his head. “I told my accountant not to claim my wife as a dependent, besides she assured me everything on my income tax return, including using my wife, was all above board.”
That’s all correct, Mr. Willard,” the thin man said, not taking his eyes off Ben.
As Ben sighed deeply he suddenly realized why Retourer was here. “Look, I know I’ve been late a couple of times with my quarterly property taxes, but I thought they would notify me by mail, as before, not send someone from the department.”
Retourer nodded. “In a manner of speaking, but it is always preferable to send an agent.”
A deep frown covered Ben’s face. “I don’t wish to be rude, than if it’s not about my property taxes, then why the hell are you here?”
“Oh, ummn,” Retourer rubbed his chin in a manner of someone in deep thought.
“Look, the probate’s office said my wife’s will stated I could use the estate checking account to meet certain expenses. They said my paperwork was in order.”
“That’s not the problem, Mister Willard. All was in order.” Retourer fell silent, smiled.
Ben rubbed the back of his neck hard. May I please see some I. D., now?”
Smiling, Retourer nodded, reached into his suit pocket, saying: “This will be more difficult than we had anticipated back in the office.”
© 2016, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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