“It’s spaghetti – fresh. Hot. Prepared like you like.” I handed him the box. He eyed me. “Is it good?”
“Why else would I give it to you?”
“True . . . did you taste it?” I was tired of holding the box out to him at arm’s length so I let it plop onto his desk. “Of course I tasted it. You always want me to taste things before I give them to you.” He smiled. “I have to go,” I told him, sensing the golden moment for an exit. I jingled my keys at him, winked, and left as he started to open the box of noodles.
Four days later I sat in his office telling him what I thought was a rather complicated story when I noticed he was pale and silent. He is a lawyer: silent is not one of their operating modes unless it’s a prelude to entrapment. “What’s wrong with you?” I asked, slightly worried but trained not to show any sort of genuine human emotion around him. “You look like your own corpse.” He shrugged, non-combative. “I told you I didn’t feel well, Lola. I have a headache and I just . . . where did my time go today?” He looked at me vaguely, as if I might answer him, but also as if I might be a llama. How could I know where he’d been – or what he’d been doing?
I recounted our meeting to the director and handed her the files, untouched. “He just sat there looking pale and not saying anything useful,” I told her, deciding that I would refrain from either anger or frustration until I was entirely sure what had occurred. “Pale?” she asked, head snapping up. “Yes, pale. Weird, right? I didn’t think ‘pale’ was a colour he achieved, but evidently it is. He kept rubbing his head and he couldn’t focus on anything and -” she stood up, and I stopped talking. “What is it?”
“Lola, you said he was pale?” her voice had a strained, uncanny sound. I nodded. She crossed the room and looked at the calendar, then turned around and faced me. “Did you give your attorney mono?” she asked, in the same tone.