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Castro Bridge Mix #14: The Contract

Jan 21, 2014

Sam’s Grill, San Francisco

Jensen Reiser scouted out the small reception area of legendary restaurant Sam’s Grill which dated back to the 1860s. She looked everywhere, but there was no sign of him. Then, just as she was about to leave, she heard her name.

“Jensen.” A man’s hand extended out from one of the curtained alcoves that patrons used for ultra-private meals.

She walked back towards the hand and gradually parted the curtain leading to the small alcove. Once inside, she was face to face with Tell Williams who was busily eating the oysters on his plate. Her meal had already been ordered and all three courses were spread out for her. “Thanks for making my choices for me, Tell.”

Tell smiled widely revealing his perfectly-capped front teeth. “I’d say if you’ve made it to this place choices aren’t your long suit.”

Jensen had all she could do to hold herself back as she picked at her salad. “It’s not going to take me long to turn this one around and then you’ll be paid.”

“That’s a good thing.” He ran a blade through the flounder in front of him and carved off a piece. “Because you won’t have an abundance of time.”

Jensen fished around inside her handbag for the contract that she had drafted for the terms of the loan. “I took the liberty of having my attorney draft this agreement.  You can take it to your lawyer to make sure it meets your specifications.”

Tell barely looked up from his au gratin potatoes. “That won’t be necessary.” He unfastened his briefcase and handed her a contract which had several pink tabs for her initials and signature. “I come prepared.”

Jense pushed her plates away so that she could concentrate on the forty-page document. “I can’t review this all here. I’ll have to take it back to my lawyer.”

For the first time, Tell looked up from his plate and stared at her with flames flickering inside his eyes. “Never cared much for lawyers. This is an “as is” agreement, Ms. Reiser. Take it or leave it.”

Jensen’s first inclination was to get the hell out of the restaurant. The terms she had been able to read were incredibly stacked against her. But he was right. She had nowhere else to go. “You aren’t going to make it easy for me are you, Tell?”

“I’m neither social worker nor saint. When your deck has no points, you make the best of what you’re dealt. Any good Bridge player knows that.”

“All right. Then you have a deal. I expect the money wired into my account today.” She began gathering her belongings.

“Done. Aren’t you going to finish your meal?” He didn’t look up from his plate of buttered peas as he spoke.

“If you’ll excuse me, I’ve lost my appetite.” Jensen stood up from her chair and left the secluded dining area so that she could get a breath of fresh air.

© Will Morrison 2014.  All Rights Reserved.