Nashville the mood (part.., p.1
Nashville: The Mood (Part 2), p.1Donald H. Carpenter
NASHVILLE: THE MOOD
by Donald H. Carpenter
Copyright ©2014 by Donald H. Carpenter, LLC
All rights reserved. This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.
Cover design by Charles Hooper
Printed in the United States of America
NASHVILLE: THE MOOD
Joseph Harrelson’s administrative assistant announced that David Maybin was there for his appointment.
Harrelson took a deep breath and began pushing aside some paperwork in front of him. He covered it up with another stack of papers, and nervously put away a couple of folders in a side drawer. He knew he was nervous, he knew he was breathing a little hard, but he also knew he did that with each client just before an appointment.
“Send him in.”
David Maybin entered, limping slightly. He always limped from an old war wound; his had been one of the first injuries of the phase of the Vietnam War that began after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Maybin was around seventy years old, tall and slender with a full head of graying hair. He was very distinguished-looking, and even younger people, men and women, thought him attractive.
“Good morning,” Maybin said quietly, making his way slowly across the room to Harrelson’s desk. Harrelson stood up as he approached and offered his hand. Maybin shook it, firmly but quickly, and immediately sat down.
“My leg’s been giving me a little more trouble than usual lately. A little more throbbing pain when I stand. It comes and goes, but this morning it seems especially bad.”
“What was it you wanted to see me about?” Harrelson sat up straight in his chair and tried to adopt a formal tone.
Maybin seemed a little taken aback by Harrelson’s tone of voice. His face seemed to drop ever so slightly, and one could have thought that his feelings had been hurt. But he quickly recovered, and leaned back into his own chair. “I wanted to discuss something in particular about the Ocala Street property, but I also wanted to discuss with you maybe a new arrangement from here on out.”
Harrelson hesitated, and when he answered his tone had sharpened even more. “What kind of new arrangement?”
“I’m tired of coming in here every time I have to see you. You know, making an appointment and waiting out in the little room there. And then coming in here and being constrained by a time limit. As long as I’ve known you, I would think we could do better than that.”
Maybin’s tone was very pleasant, but also very direct. He almost never raised his voice, but he always gave off an impression that he was demanding something from you. He was the client, Harrelson had to acknowledge that, but to an attorney a client could only be so right, so much of the time. Especially in Nashville—as everyone knew.
It quickly flashed through Harrelson’s mind how long he had known Maybin, how they had first met, and how things had generally gone through their ten-year relationship. At the beginning, Maybin had only given Harrelson certain specific tasks, and Harrelson had really liked it better that way, even though he had made far less money from it. Over time, Maybin seemed to have liked the work Harrelson did, and gradually assigned him more. Harrelson knew it wasn’t all the work Maybin had to give, however, because several other attorneys in the city had mentioned to him the work they did for Maybin: real estate transactions, liability issues, and even consultation for a divorce years before. There were no secrets among lawyers in town, not those who had known each other a long time; you would hear it one way or the other from them if you kept your ears open.
“What were you proposing as an alternative?”
Maybin seemed to relax, and crossed his arms over his chest. “I’d like you to be on call a little more. I’ve liked the work you’ve done, generally, and one of my other attorneys is retiring—”
“Which one is that?” Harrelson spat it out without even thinking of what he was asking. He immediately stopped, hoping Maybin wouldn’t notice the slip.
Maybin looked at him for a long second, then waved his hand. “You wouldn’t know about it.”
I probably know more than you think, Harrelson thought to himself.
“As I say, I have some work that’s been handled by another attorney. I’d like to consider using you on it, but I haven’t always gotten a comfortable feeling that you’re available when I need you to beWhat could you do to convince me you will be available when I need you for this extra work?”
Harrelson looked perplexed, frustrated; he couldn’t remember ever having to explain himself to any client. “Well, haven’t I always been available to you when you needed me?”
Maybin shook his head slightly, almost imperceptibly. A look of utter seriousness settled into his face. “No, quite frankly, there have been times where I thought I had to wait too long to hear back from you. I leave word for you, and it could be a week or more before you get back to me. That’s probably the main reason I haven’t given you additional work in a while. The work you have done has always been satisfactory, once you’ve done it. But it’s more of a burden on me if I have to wait for when it’s convenient for the attorney to return my call. I want to hear back from an attorney as soon as possible, and by that I don’t mean as soon as the attorney decides that he wants to get back to me.”
Harrelson could barely contain his growing irritation. “Mr. Maybin, you can hardly expect your attorney to be at your beck and call seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.”
“That’s not what I’m expecting.”
“Then what did you have in mind?”
Maybin leaned back slightly and looked at the ceiling briefly as he thought the question over. “Generally, what I had in mind is that you would come out to my home one day a week, and we would work on certain things together. I would talk to you about what I needed, and you would do as much as you could there. Of course, I understand anything that required filing a motion with the court, or paperwork in the proper government body, would have to be done away from my home. But it would make things a lot more convenient for me, and I could guarantee you that amount of work.”
“I just don’t know that everything you have to do will fit with me going to your home. And I don’t think—“
“I understand that,” Maybin interrupted, seemingly irritated as well. “What you would do is what you could do. I think there will be plenty for you to do, and it will save me a trip into town.”
“But you can’t expect your attorney to make house calls.”
“Other attorneys do it. You know, I live here, and have for the past twenty-five years, but I have friends all over the country, including many who are very wealthy. They have all kinds of individual arrangements with their attorneys, and the attorney either is interested or he isn’t…So I guess the next question is…”
“Am I interested?” Harrelson sighed and sat back in his chair. He was beginning to get angry, but he tried not to let it show. It was a ridiculous proposal, in his mind, but he didn’t want to say that directly; he didn’t want to risk it.
Harrelson thought quickly about what he knew about Maybin. He had never been allowed to handle anything other than individual business transactions, so he didn’t really know the state of Maybin’s net wealth. He assumed he was a wealthy man, at least to a degree, but there was some mystery about that. Maybin didn’t discuss his wealth, and he didn’t act in a showy manner or dress opulently. Even his car was a ten-year-old, medium-range sedan that he
“Yes. Are you?”
“I’m a little reluctant, Mr. Maybin. It’s just not something I’m used to doing. I have certain procedures that I like to follow, and I would ask that you give consideration to the things I need to do to represent you adequately.”
“Well, this is one of the things I would suggest you need to do in order to represent me adequately.”
It was obvious that Maybin wasn’t going to give in easily, and Harrelson tried to assess quickly what he could do to either turn the tide, or to figure out some more acceptable solution. He hated the thought of going out to Maybin’s place, although it wasn’t really all that far. He didn’t like visiting clients outside of his office, where he had less control of the situation. And he definitely didn’t like the idea of spending an entire day with Maybin. Was it Maybin? No, he decided quickly, it wasn’t Maybin. He didn’t really like spending time with any of his clients; he would much rather spend it with other attorneys.
“Is this an either/or situation? If I don’t do this, I’ll lose your business?”
Maybin spread his arms in front of him with his palms open. “It’s quite possible. I’m in the process of re-evaluating all of the attorneys I use, and this is one of the steps. I’m running it by each one of them, and discussing my needs with regard to each individual body of work. At the end of the process, I’ll make certain decisions…Exactly how interested are you in my work, Mr. Harrelson?”
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