"...And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent,
called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole
world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels
were cast out with him."
Mr. Hendricks, a jovial man of some fifty years, with a walrus mustache and a shape like a bowling pin, leaned back in his leather executive chair and squinted across his desk at the much younger man seated across from him. Where Mr. Hendricks favored tweeds and houndstooth and leather patches at the elbows, the younger man preferred reds and blacks and gray the color of smoke. Both wore suits: well cut, tailored (obviously), and made of materials to match their aforementioned predilections and color palettes.
Today Mr. Hendricks wore a sort of periwinkle tweed, and the young man silk and wool. "You can't quit," Mr. Hendricks said, in much the same way he would have said "It's raining", or "fish breathe water". He blinked at the calm young man and shook his head. "Just isn't done old chap. You know that as well as I."
The young man raised a golden eyebrow. He didn't appear to be a day over thirty, and his short blonde hair was cut in the most modern of styles. His shape was much more triangular than Mr. Hendricks', broad of shoulder and narrow of waist, with a jaw that could chop wood, and an artists hands. "I can. And I have." He gestured towards the piece of paper that lay face-up upon Mr. Hendricks fine old battered cherry-wood desk. "My resignation letter has been tendered. My case load has been cleared, my clients..." he seemed to reach for the words. It took a moment. "My clients have no further need of my services. Janet has been given a list of next month's pendings." Janet, in this case, was the young man's personal secretary. A lovely girl with warm brown eyes and wavy auburn hair who collected porcelain bunnies and loved a challenging game of canasta of a Tuesday evening. It was also rumored around the office that she baked a fierce snickerdoodle, and was kind to the elderly and to children.
"Yes, well," huffed Mr. Hendricks, fingers tapping upon his ample belly, "Janet informed us of this during canasta last week. 'Mr. Vail has asked me to reschedule all his clients,' she said, 'something about a long holiday in Florida'. We laughed, thought it a right corker. 'He's such a scoundrel, our Mr. Vail', she said." Mr. Hendricks leaned forward at this, winking good-naturedly at the now identified Mr. Vail. "Methinks she's got her eye on you. What? What?" He laughed as he leaned back again, his leather executive chair mildly protesting at its burden. "She's a smart girl, and a body could do worse then having a smart girl at ones side."
"The resignation letter," Mr. Vail replied dryly, tapping the document with an elegant forefinger. Mr. Hendricks winced each time the younger mans finger touched the document. He eyed the letter painfully, as though it were very very bright. "I'm sure that Janet will make some... young man very happy," continued Mr. Vail. "But she is beside the point. I have performed my duties flawlessly since I took this position, but I simply find that the work no longer suits me. It is time," he took a deep breath, like a pearl diver preparing for an extended trip to the sea bed, "for a change."
"You understand what..." Mr. Hendricks glared at the document as though it had said a rude word. "...this resignation of yours means, don't you my boy? No more benefits, no more access to the resources and equipment to which you have been accustomed? You'll have to leave the flat we've provided you all these years, give up the company car and such." A particular emphasis was placed on the word 'such'. Had this word been been a gun, a round had just been chambered. Hollow point most likely.
"I understand." replied Mr. Vail calmly.
"And of course, we'll be seeking your death." replied Mr. Hendricks.
There was a long silence as both men looked at the document before them.
Mr. Hendricks sighed in the manner of one who had a regrettable but necessary burden placed squarely in his lap. "Well then." He pushed away from the desk and stood, his executive leather chair giving a number of wooden groans of pleasure. Mr. Vail also stood, though his chair seemed to have little to say about it. Each regarded the other, and while it was a certainty that each wondered what they other was thinking, those thoughts went unspoken.
"Good day, Mr. Vail.", said Mr. Hendricks, a bit cooly.
"Good day, Mr. Hendricks.", said Mr. Vail, polite as always.
"Cut is the branch that might have grown full
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough,
That sometime grew within this learned man.
Faustus is gone. Regard his hellish fall,
Whose fiendful fortune may exhort the wise
Only to wonder at unlawful things,
Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits,
To practise more than heavenly power permits."