A Pound of Flesh By Charles Langley

The plaque on the door said “Sam Eliot, Attorney at Law”. It didn’t say that Sam was Samantha or that she was five foot six inches of curvy cuddleness and that she was proud of her obvious assets. It also didn’t warn you that she had a black belt in karate and could protect herself from unwanted attention to those assets. Plaques on a door don’t usually give you all the information you need to know.

Inside the office, Sam was the only thing that made coming through the door worth while. Certainly the imitation oak desk wouldn’t have attracted you, nor would the cheap metal file cabinets right out of Office Depot have gladdened your eye. The only sign of luxury was a leather couch against the far wall. Missing were the rows of law books all law offices were expected to display. Sam’s reference materials were on the Macintosh computer on the table in the far corner.

You got to the office through a foyer where a single platinum blonde handled appointments and phone calls for the eight pint sized offices beyond. Although the girl at the desk had all the right assets in all the right places, one glance at Sam made the receptionist look like a runner-up.

When Arnie came into the office, Sam took notice.of this ruggedly handsome James Garner type and immediately wanted to know him better. Much better. Sam was like that. She never argued with her hormones.

“How can I help you,” she asked, running over in her mind all the things she would be willing to help him with.

“I’m not sure you can, but I certainly hope so,” he said, his eyes taking an erotic inventory.

If not love at first sight, it was certainly lust at first encounter.

“The whole thing is kind of crazy,” he continued. “We had a fraternity bash in my last year at Rutgers that made all drunken orgies look like Sunday school picnics. Under the influence, I made a bet with another senior. I lost, and now, five years later he is here to collect his pound of flesh.”

“You mean that figuratively, of course.”

“I wish. We had just finished ‘Merchant of Venice’ and thought it cool to bet in a Shakespearean manner. We both treated it as a drunken joke, but this week he showed up demanding his winnings.”

Sam composed her lovely features into a frown. It bothered her that this hunk could be so stupid. She looked him over carefully. There wasn’t anywhere on his torso where a pound of flesh wouldn’t be sorely missed.

“Have you offered him cash, instead?”

“First thing I thought of. But the son-of-a-bitch made a killing in software and has more money than he knows what to do with.”

“Give me his name and address. I’ll see if I can find an out.”

The meeting was over. Stupid or not, she hated to see him go.

It was a week later when Bill Evans seated himself across the desk from Sam.

“Glad you could make it,” she said. In looks he wasn’t at all a loser, but compared to  Arnie he came up short.

“Now what is this I hear about a joke bet gone sour? You know it would never hold up in court.”

“You have to hear my side,” he said. “All through school this guy was Joe College. He played basketball like a pro, took all the academic honors, had girls raiding the dorm to steal his shorts. He made me look like a born loser. Now I have money I don’t need, lawyers on retainer doing nothing, and the time to drag him through a case that will show he wasn’t as smart as everyone thinks he is.”

“In other words, this is a spite case that you know you can’t win?”

“You might say that”.

She sat back in her chair, shoulders thrown back, sure that he would appreciate the merchandise she displayed. It was obvious that he did.

“What if I came up with something that would have the same effect but would cost less time and money and still show him up as a loser?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Since Arnie first came into my office he has spent as much time hitting on me as he has preparing his case,” she lied. “He has a certain appeal, but all I’ve given him is the time of day. And I intend to bill him for that. What if you made out without trying where he worked hard and failed?”

Bill was grinning from ear to ear. He was practically drooling.

“You mean… ?” he stammered.

“You know what I mean. I know what I want, and I don’t waste time about it.”

“Let’s get this straight. You’ll give me anything I want if I let you win this case?”

“I won’t give you a damn thing. But I’ll let you take what you’re man enough to take, without any repercussions.”

He thought about it. This made it even more enticing.

“When?”

“Right now.” She walked over to the door and locked it.

His eagerness made the oft referenced eager beaver seem reluctant. He rushed forward, reached, but never grasped. Somehow he found himself landing flat on his back short of the couch. This had to be an accident. He charged forward again. This time he felt himself flying through the air and he knew it was over when his face encountered the corner of the desk. He stood up, painfully, and put on his coat.

“Sorry,” he said as he went out the door, “You win. I thought you were a woman.”

You’ll never know how much a woman, she thought as she adjusted her clothes.

Next day Arnie heard the good news. Case closed. No details of how it was done.

“What’s the fee?” he asked.

“A pound of flesh,” she answered, “but I don’t want you detached from it.”

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