They all want something from me. A nod, an acknowledgment, a handshake that means something more than “you’re wasting my time, but let’s go through the motions.” Because that’s my job.
I am a pariah, a man from away. And outside, where there is dust and shadow, they scatter like gypsies when I walk down the street. They are sycophants and cowards. The squirrel meat between their ears doesn’t quite comprehend that I am the same man inside as out. I am the same man who stores their livelihoods in the polished filing cabinet beside my desk.
I am a man of calculation and whim, and if I don’t like the way you look, or smell, there will be a red check-mark beside your name the next time you make an appointment to see me.
I will give you that handshake you crave, and a smile so you know that I care. But deep in your bones, you already know what my answer will be:
My name is Vernon Kincaid, and how may I help you?