There was a long, uncomfortable silence in the conference room as everyone watched him read the papers. The massive table in the room was big enough to seat twenty people, but there were only about a dozen people in the room and most of them were lawyers. Sitting at the head of the table was the person everyone was watching, Alexander Hopkins Junior, but he preferred to be called Xander. The young man was reading the papers that had been just given to him by his attorneys. The papers were an offer that was given to the lawyers by other lawyers who represented a young lady that was accusing him of doing something terrible to her. Xander was accused of doing something despicable, horrific, and outright revolting to the young lady and her lawyers had approached his attorneys in an effort to avoid long drawn out trials. The papers made claim that they wanted to settle to save the alleged victim the pain of having to testify and relive her trauma, but what the lawyer was really trying to say was obvious; that it was in his and his company’s best business interests to pay them whatever they wanted and just sweep this entire ordeal under the carpet and pretend it never happened. There was just one problem with that idea; the incident in question never did happen. Xander never did the things that he was being accused of. Now he was being blackmailed by a bunch of spineless lawyers who assume Xander cared more about money and wealth than he did about his reputation as a man. They had assumed wrong.
The lawyers could tell that something was wrong, as the more Xander read through the papers, the more uncomfortable he was becoming. He started to feel hot under his collar, so much that he took off his tie and unbuttoned the top two buttons from his dress shirt. He got about halfway through the offer, and then proceeded to close it as he was frustrated with what he had read already and it was all that he could handle at that given time. Xander then got up from his chair, took his suit jacket off, and tossed it onto one of the empty chairs. He was in the process of rolling up his sleeves and walking around the big table when he finally spoke.
“Mr. Jones,” he called out.
Jefferson Jones, one of the senior partners of the firm that represented the young billionaire and his company stood up upon hearing his name.
“Yes, Mr. Hopkins.” he replied.
“How long have we known each other?” Xander asked him.
“Well,” Jefferson said, trying to quickly do the math in his head. “We’ve been representing you and your company for almost five years now, and...”
“That wasn’t the question,” Xander interrupted, as his tone and posture suggested to the rest of the lawyers in the room that the young man was being hostile to the partner. “I asked you how long have we known each other... personally.”
“Oh,” Jefferson said, pausing for a moment. “I’ve known you your entire life. I’ve been your father’s lawyer for over fifty years, and I was in the E.R. with him the day you were born. I was there when he held you in his arms for the first time.”
“That’s what my father told me,” Xander said, “And that’s why I hired you and you firm to represent myself, and this company.”
“What exactly are you saying, Xander?” Jefferson asked, as he wasn’t liking the direction the meeting had taken.
“You’ve known me over twenty five years, Jefferson.” Xander answered, “Based on what you know about me, do you honestly think that I’m capable of doing what this woman has accused me of?”
The room suddenly went quiet, and Jefferson’s silence wasn’t coming off as sympathetic. The old lawyer was trying to think of the best answer but was taking too long to come up with one.
“Dammit, Jefferson!” Xander said, as he ran out of patience. “It’s not rocket science. Unlike the rest of these cretins, you know me. You’ve known me my entire life and you still need time to consider whether or not I actually did any of this shit?”
“I’m sorry,” Jefferson apologize, “What do you want me to say?”
“How about the truth?” Xander asked, rather sarcastically. “Is that too much to ask for these days?”
“Many men are capable of anything,” Jefferson said, being rather blunt. “Prisons are full of people who many other people thought were never capable of doing what they had done. It happens all the time. People can claim they knew people and never know what the person is truly capable of.”
Xander deeply sighed as he was so disappointed. “Do you really believe that?”
“What I believe doesn’t matter,” Jefferson finally said, “It only matters what we can prove, and right now it’s not looking good for us.”
“Oh my gaud,” Xander said, as something just dawned on him. “You’re going to recommend that I accept this offer.”
“Yes,” Jefferson confirmed, “That is our recommendation.”
“Wow,” Xander said, taking a step back from Jefferson as if he were infected with something he didn’t want to catch. “Never in a million years did I expect to hear something like that from you. Never, never, never... never!”
On the last never, Xander slapped the table with an open hand and startled nearly every lawyer in the room. Jefferson just stood there like a statue, never showing a single ounce of emotion as this wasn’t his first rodeo. He had spent decades watching many big clients, even Xander’s own father, have temper tantrums when things weren’t going their way. There was no reason for Xander Hopkins to be any different.
“Well, I thought I knew you,” Xander said, never taking his eyes of Jefferson. “And that’s why the next thing I say to you is going to be very difficult.”
“And what would that be?” Jefferson asked.
Xander took a long, deep breath. “You’re fired.”
Jefferson’s eyes widened just a bit, as he could hardly believe what he had just heard. Other lawyers from the firm were also aghast and hushes could be heard in the room as well.
“You’re firing me?” Jefferson said, coming to terms with this development.
“Yes, I am.” Xander confirmed, “And I’m firing him, and her, and him, and him... everybody’s fired! As of this moment, your firm no longer represents me, or any company that I own. You’re all fucking fired!”
At this point, Xander was screaming so loud, that everyone outside the conference room could hear what was going on, had stopped what they were doing, and were watching the carnage with genuine concern. Their boss was having what looked like a complete meltdown.
“Get your shit together,” Xander said as he picked up the small pile of papers he was just reading, “Especially this piece of garbage, and get the fuck out of my building!”
“Now wait a second Xander,” Jefferson said, trying to deescalate the situation, “We need to talk this through...”
“No, we don’t.” Xander said, interrupting him again. “You’ve got five minutes to clear out, or I’ll have security remove you from the building by force. So pretty please with sugar on top, get the fuck out.”
Xander didn’t even wait for Jefferson to answer and stormed out of the conference room. He had left the room so quickly that Xander never bothered to pick up his jacket, or his tie. The first thing he did, however, was walk over to the nearest security guard.
“Hey, you!” Xander called out, waving to the guard. “Come here.”
“What can I do for you Mr. Hopkins?” The guard asked, eager to not get on his bad side after what he just witnessed.
“What’s your name?” Xander asked.
“Gregory Smith, Sir.” The guard answered.
“Well Gregory,” Xander said, motioning to the lawyers in the conference room that were packing their stuff. “Those pieces of shit were just asked to vacate my building. If they’re not out of here in five minutes, could you please toss their sorry ass out for me?”
“Of course, Mr. Hopkins.” The guard said, checking his watch. “Five minutes.”
“Good man,” Xander said, giving the guard a playful tap on the shoulder before walking away. He strolled down the hallway and stopped at reception desk where his personal secretary was sitting.
“Janice,” Xander said, “I’m going to be leaving for the day. Cancel and reschedule any appointments or meetings I had booked for the rest of the day as I won’t be coming back.”
“Are you alright, Sir?” Janice asked.
“No, I’m not.” Xander said.
“What do I say if they refuse to reschedule?” Janice asked.
“Well,” Xander said, as he thought about it for a moment. “You can tell them that I said they can fuck off.”
“Even if it’s your father?” Janice asked.
“Especially if it’s my father.” Xander confirmed, and then he walked away.
He never retrieved his coat and just took the elevator down to the lobby on the main floor, and just walked out of the building. It was a warm, sunny day and suddenly the young man was no longer in the mood to spend it indoors as what he was hearing that day was depressing the shit out of him and angering him to no end. Xander took a stroll through a near by park, and after he cut through the entire area, he started to stroll down a busy street, totally blending into the crowd as people came and went along to do their own thing. It was at this point where Xander stopped when he spotted what looked like a small Ma and Pa pizza shop. He walked in and had a small smile on his face as he could smell the fresh pizzas that were in the oven.
“Hey there kid,” the old man said, “What can I get for you?”
“Well,” Xander said, as he scanned the trays of the slabs that were already finished and on display. “I’ll have two slices of that all meat pizza.”
“Good choice, kid.” The old man said, as he grabbed the slices for him, “Do you want them reheated?”
“Sure, but not too much.” Xander replied, “Thank you.”
“You want something to drink with that?” the old man asked.
“I’ll have a few cans of Dr. Pepper,” Xander said, noticing the can in the fridge behind the old man. It had been ages since he had that soda and even pizza for that matter. He was splurging, that was for sure and he didn’t give a rat’s ass. The old man passed the kid his slices and cans.
“That will be five dollars and sixty cents, please.” The old man requested.
Xander tossed a twenty onto the table. “Keep the change.”
“Thank you,” the old man said, surprised.
“It is alright if I eat it here?” Xander asked.
“Sure,” the old man said, “There’s a few stools over there.”
Xander walked over one of the stools and sat there quietly as he at the two slices and down one can of Dr. Pepper. When he was finished, he thanked the man again for the great pizza and took the other can out with him. Xander continued to walk around town, hoping the answer might come to him. Before he knew it, Xander was standing in front of the city courthouse. He stood there looking at the building, a symbol of what was to come if he didn’t take his current problems seriously. The problem was that his lawyers were not take it seriously enough, not from the perspective that he wanted them to at least. He spotted a well dressed man with an attaché case and walked up to him.
“Excuse me,” Xander asked him, “Can I speak to you for a moment?”
“Hurry up, kid.” The man replied, “I’m don’t have much time to spare.”
“I assume you’re a lawyer, correct?” Xander asked.
“Yes, I am.” The man answered, “Keep going. Time is money.”
“Alright,” Xander said, as he got right to it. “If you were accused of something terrible, but you didn’t do it... can you tell me what lawyer you’d hire to defend your good name in court?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” the lawyer replied, “I’d hire Russell Benson. That man is relentless, and is the only person I would trust with that kind of case.”
“Wow, you didn’t even hesitate.” Xander said, as he even smiled a little. “Thank you for your time.”
“No problem, kid.” The lawyer said, “And good luck with whatever shit you’re in.”
“Thanks,” Xander said again, even chuckling a bit as he watched the lawyer walk away. He then dug into his pocket and took out his smart phone, and started to google Russell Benson. He walked over to a bench that was in front of the court house and sat there for a little while, reading articles about cases that Benson had fought for in court. The lawyer wasn’t kidding even a little bit, as this Russell was every bit as relentless as advertised. This was exactly the man that Xander needed at this time in his life. He used the phone to look up the address where the man worked and the law firm that he worked at was just down the street, only a few blocks away.
“I’ve come this far,” Xander said, standing up. “Why stop now?”
It took Xander about fifteen minutes to find the building he was looking for, and he took the elevator to the fifth floor. Once he was in the lobby of the law firm, he strolled over to the main desk and patiently waited to be seen.
“Hey there, hun.” The lady said, not even looking up. “Can I help you?”
“I hope so,” Xander replied, “I’m looking for Russell Benson.”
The woman looked up at Xander, with a suspicious look on her face.
“Are you here to serve a summons?” she asked him.
Xander raised both hands up to indicate they were empty.
“No, Ma’am.” He replied with a grin, “I seek his council regarding a very urgent legal matter.”
“Do you have an appointment?” She asked him.
“I do not,” Xander admitted, “But as I said before, this is an urgent matter and Mr. Benson actually came highly recommended.”
“He did?” The woman said, almost as if she could hardly believe it. “What’s your name?”
Xander paused for a moment. “Xander Hopkins.”
The woman stopped whatever she was typing and quickly looked back up at him.
“Excuse me?” she asked, wanting to make sure she didn’t mishear him.
“My legal name is Alexander Mason Hopkins Junior,” Xander said, as he realized just mentioning his name might get her attention, “But I prefer Xander.”
“Are you shitting me?” the woman asked.
“No, I’m not shitting you.” Xander replied, as he took a business card out of his wallet and handed it to her. “I’m the founder and CEO of Xander Communications, and am worth well north of a hundred billion dollars. I am knee deep in a very unfortunate legal matter, and I would really like to speak with Russell Benson. So while I don’t have an appointment, I hoping Mr. Benson might be willing to make an exception.”
“Okay,” the lady said, looking at the very fancy business card. She looked up at him for a moment and then back at the card. “Excuse me, Mr. Hopkins.”
Xander watched with amusement as the woman suddenly got up from her desk, and ran off. The young man didn’t move as he decided to remain at the front desk, and wait for her to return.