“So, what’s the reason that you have not paid your bill?” Maria asked in a tone that Mr. Skeptic and Nelly felt she was trying to put them down.
“You have done nothing for us why should I pay you,” Nelly said.
“Yes, we have done a lot,” she responded in a hasty tone, “Look at this file! This whole work has been done for you. Everyone is happy with us.”
“I am one of those everyone’s,” Mr. Skeptic intervened.
“With what you have done to us, if I have any problem I will go to the judge myself,” Nelly added, “Who you think you are. You do nothing and want to get paid?”
“I am sorry to see that you think of law community like that?” Maria returned. “But, I know everything.”
The bluffing tone brought a memory that Mr. Skeptic had from his teenage years in late 70’s. That night the secret police had rounded them up from a Qoran session at Mr. Mohammadi’s small rented house. They were taken to the headquarters of the intelligent agency. There, they received a few slaps each, were given the worst kind of words, and were humiliated. The most frightening part of the scenario was that they constantly told them they knew everything about their so-called organization and the Qoranic teachings. What they knew about while students and their teacher did not? This had deeply hurt the then young boy’s feelings as he kept that in mind for many years to come.
Years passed until Mr. Skeptic came to the understanding that in the hay-days of the secularist government of the day, the agents knew more about London, Paris, and latest fashions in the streets of New York than Qoranic teachings. What they knew of the whole nation was their language. Even their trainings were provided by other nations. Now, Maria was using the same tactic to scare them.
Anger grew within Mr. Skeptic. He felt he had just received such a slap from the agent that his left ear started to whiz. He decided that he had to respond to that tactic with a severe counter-attack.
“Otherwise, this child will keep playing with me throughout this whole procedure,” he thought.
“I know you are an all-knowing person,” he said in a pretentiously relaxed tone, “And, thank you for letting us know.”
“Oh, no problem,” Maria returned with confidence and a jubilant tone.
“You even know nothing about Mr. Douglass’ arithmetic problems, leave alone the case and that big file,” Mr. Skeptic interrupted.
“No, no, I know you have paid seven hundred dollars,” she responded and showed him the list of payments they had made. “Now, I am asking for the rest of it. How much do you want to pay before we go to the mediation anyway?”
“You are a very smart young lady,” Mr. Skeptic returned with a smile while looking her in the eyes, “But you are using your wit in destructive ways. You are concerned about winning only. You don’t care about the truth. You are telling me that you know everything and now you are trying to cover up the truth. You even did not let me finish my sentence and came up with an answer for my thoughts. I know how much I have paid. Even if you do not show me that list, I will show you my receipts.”
“I showed your payments,” Maria said in an agitated tone, “Here they are.”
“And I told you your are doing your best to confuse things,” Mr. Skeptic replied, “And you claim to know everything. To be honest you know nothing about the truth. And you are not here to know about the truth either. You are paid to come here and recover what your company does not deserve.”
“When you work, you should get paid,” she responded.
“Not to get paid for purposeful confusion and intimidation,” he said.
It appeared that Mr. Skeptic’s stance was unexpected for Maria.
“Can I see your retainer agreement to show you something?” Maria asked.
“After what you showed, do you think I ever trust you again to show you my document?” Mr. Skeptic retorted, “Use your own copy. You have a copy of it.”
Maria was taken aback again, however Mr. Skeptic never deeply thought about her reason for asking for the retainer agreement. She had a big bundle of papers with herself. She must have had a copy of the agreement in the bundle. In those moments, Mr. Skeptic was afraid she might ruin his document and use an altered version of the document. Later, he found out she was trying to exclude him from the whole argument. He strongly believed Mr. Douglass had given her the direction to eliminate him from the whole process.
“Who the hell is he?” he thought Mr. Douglass might have told Maria when he taught her how to exclude Mr. Skeptic from the debate, “He was not my client. I had no deal with him. He is a lunatic simpleton big mouth.”
Certainly, Mr. Douglass was fully aware of Nelly’s language problems. Also, he was fully aware of her shortcomings in strict and rigid logical arguments. These must have been disclosed to him in his few meetings with Nelly. The young woman’s few sentences with Nelly might have given her the backing for that stance as well. Nelly was a softer target. It was easier for them to knock her out. While they were in the position of trust they had found things that they were going to use against them now. Mr. Skeptic’s stubborn manner was of some use after all, however until then he had not quite understood the usefulness of what he called his “big mouth”.