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Chapter 21

‘Right. … that our client, Mr William Floppy has a tummy ache. I mean who's interested in hearing about it other than your doctor? Where's there any money in this information?

‘Where?! I’ll tell you where!’

‘Please do,’ said Creamy and leaning back in his chair, swung his feet up to make himself comfortable.

Lennie cleared his throat loudly.

Creamy dropped his feet hastily back on the floor. ‘You were saying, sir?’

‘I think it's best if I read from my notes,’ said the man, drawing some sheets of paper from his pocket. ‘You're getting me all confused. Ah, here we go: I was proceeding along Barton Street at 7 pm yesterday, when an apple, hanging on a tree in the garden of house number 17, caught my eye. I leaned over the fence, pulled the apple off the tree, and ate it.’

‘Oh, dear, I can see where that's going,’ said Creamy, trying to be helpful. ‘The owner of the house caught you and poked you in the tummy for stealing his apple, which has caused you the pain and suffering you mentioned.’

‘Nothing of the sort!’ cried the man crossly. ‘Never saw the owner that day. As I was about to read before you jumped in with your silly ideas: After I ate the apple, I went home and had a very bad night, with my tummy rumbling, causing me pain and suffering.’

‘Mmm,’ murmured Creamy suppressing a chuckle. ‘Sorry to hear that.’

‘Not half as sorry as they will be,’ said the man darkly, and went on reading:

'Having spent all night tossing and turning, I decided to do something about it.’

‘Oh, good! You went to see a doctor, did you?’

‘No, not a doctor! Must you interrupt all the time? As a matter of fact, I went to see the owners of the house to complain about their bad apple. And do you know what they said?’

‘No, what?’

‘They said they would take me to court! Would you believe it?’

Lennie, who had been listening, shook his head in disbelief. So did Creamy.

‘I thought you wouldn't!’ cried the man well pleased with the effect.

‘It's not that, it's …’ stammered Creamy.

‘So I said to them: You take me to court? Not before I take you to court! That's what I said! I mean it was me who got hurt, right? So they should pay for hurting me, an innocent passer-by!’

‘Innocent, did you say?’ asked Creamy raising his eyebrows and pursing his lips. ‘I don't know about that. After all, you …’

Lennie had heard enough. He, too, knew where it was going: another client about to be thrown out of the office by Creamy. He glanced at the briefcase at his side which was bulging with money. It's as good as it gets; time to move on before there is yet another scene! he decided and got up from his desk.

In another instant, he was picking up the man's hat and umbrella from the floor where Creamy had dropped them, and handing them over to him: ‘I'm afraid, we don't deal with matters like that, sir. Good day to you, sir.’

‘Why, what's the matter? It says on your door you specialise in complaints.’

‘Not any more, sir, we don't,’ said Lennie. The man glared at him, stuck his hat on his head and stormed out of the office.

Lennie turned to Creamy and smiled. You know something, old pal? I don't think I'm cut out to be a solicitor either. Just pop out and get our name plate off the door. We're leaving the building.’

‘Thank goodness,’ cried Creamy, glancing at the clock. ‘Oh! It's just gone five. I think that nice ice cream shop round the corner is still open. Do you think we might…’

‘Absolutely. Let's celebrate,’ laughed Lennie. He bent down, heaved the briefcase up from under his desk, and followed Creamy out of the room.

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