The telephone rang on an unseasonably cool Parisian Tuesday. As he sat in the apartment at his ornate Louis XV époque desk, he took the call that he had long expected, but desperately hoped would never come.

When he had started his new life several years prior, memories from yesteryear quickly faded. He reminisced of nothing from his previous existence.

Upon hearing the caller’s voice, it was instantly and understandably clear that those to whom debts are owed do not just fade into the sunset. When that much money and power is at stake, such people could not be expected to disappear. The sunlight peeked through the purple fleur-de-lys emblazoned drapes and reflected off of the gold leaf edges of the walnut desk into his eyes. The sharp brightness, combined with the message of the caller, caused him to feel an extreme nausea that he had not experienced since when he did devil’s work. Because his new life was so worry free, he seldom spent a moment upset, anxious or afraid. In fact, the only concern that he possessed since moving on to his new life was that this very telephone call would come.

Judging by the look on her man’s face as he spoke into the telephone, the unclothed brunette knew exactly who was calling. She also knew that her life was on the verge of changing for the worse. As she drew nervously on her Gauloise Légère and exhaled the smoke towards the immaculate 12-foot etched ceiling, she pondered whether she should, or could, extract herself from this situation. Such thoughts quickly evaporated as she realized that if she ran away, she would be caught and dealt with. When she accepted the life of near royalty many years prior, she knew that such luxuries could come to an abrupt end one day if a “contingency,” as her benefactor called it, occurred…

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Adam Barrist, a practicing attorney based in Center City Philadelphia, is licensed in the courts of Pennsylvania...


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