Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
It was a hot, typically muggy August day in Washington DC. I sat alone at my desk pondering a trip to Morton’s when my Personal Assistant, Velma, buzzed from the outer office. Velma was well compensated, a tribute to her efficiency, intelligence, and the Lululemon exercise attire that she favored at work.
“There’s a Mr. Roberts here to see you,” said Velma. “He’d rather not give his full name.” Deciding to postpone Morton’s until dinner, I asked that he be shown in.
“Mr. Roberts,” or whatever his real name was, looked distinguished, if the idea of a three-piece suit and wing tips in 85-degree weather is your idea of distinguished. I immediately rejected the idea of offering him a shot of bourbon, as I do with some of my clients, and settled for “How can I help you? May I call you ‘John’ for anonymity’s sake?”
“I’d like to hire you to not solve a case,” he said, twiddling with what looked like a Federalist Society pin on his lapel. In Washington, you have to know your pins. “I’ve heard that you are very good at that.” The bank balance was low, so I resisted the urge to grab him by his tie with the Harvard crest, and succinctly asked “How much?”
Roberts spoke in a measured tone, reminiscent of Thurston Howell III, and went on. “Money should not be a problem. I’m already paying a large group of people to do nothing, so what’s a bit more? I think we could manage around $10,000 if you promise to do absolutely nothing. This is really what we like to call a public relations exercise in the highly unlikely event anyone in the press actually asks a question or two. That hasn’t happened in eons, but, if it does, we want to point to someone else who’s ‘working the case.’ If you agree to put aside the t-shirt and shorts for khakis and a polo shirt if the press comes calling, all you will have to say is ‘Leaker, what leaker’? You don’t even have to know what this is about because we’ll take it from there.”
Business is business. A fee is a fee. And that’s how I ended up with a filet and a nice Cabernet at Morton’s that evening without having to do anything. Nobody’s come calling.Published in